The House of Mirrors

16 Oct

The House of Mirrors

“Gooooooood Morning. It is exactly 7 o’clock and it’s a beautiful day. Remember I am always to your right, and the way is up,” announced the radio watch. “It was twenty years ago today-“. Edward Meadow groaned at its sound, and unwillingly woke up, dusting off his red, itchy eyes. He looked to his right, and the clock was not there.

Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play -” the clock was in the upper left-hand corner of the room, which meant the ceiling was now in the floor. “They’ve been going in and out of style-” he blinked. Immediately the whole room switched around. “But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile. So may I introduce you-” He was now looking forward to what should be the floor. If he looked up he could see the right wall the window it bears.

The act you’ve known for all these years-” He blinked again. The music on the radio suddenly got louder. He looked right, and the clock was now there. “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…”

“Very well. Brain is now regulated, let us start the day,” said Edward to himself, as he walked through the door and down the hall. As all beings of this planet he was very intelligent and very unfortunate. His highly capacitated brain was very complex and intricate. A four-sided mirrored brain – the only one successfully produced nowadays. It had the same size of a common archaic brain. It was as light was a feather, and as transparent as glass. Its circuit was microscopic and therefore could only be seen by a microscope. It is installed as soon as you are born (and eventually taken out every 25 years for repair), and automatically starts taking and following orders from all the other limbs. It correctly executes all tasks, except for the ones sent by the eye.

The four-sided mirrored brain recognizes blinking as a command to switch the side being used to process information. As a result, the image presented through your vision is taken care by a different side every time you blink, and since they are all mirrored, the image that comes back to you can be distorted. It feels as if you have a mirror house in your own head.

Edward resumed his shower, making a mental note as not to blink. Not that blinking as against the law, it was just inappropriate. Therefore, as all humans, he also had a really tired looks, constantly lost concentration and his eyes were very red. In fact, except for newborns, which always slept, all other barely close their eyes, afraid that things might suddenly change.

Nothing really changed. It was only their brain switching to a different mirrored-side. The ceiling was still the ceiling and the clock had always been at his right. Up is still up, and down is still down. All sides except for left – for left no longer existed – were still in the same place.

He went to his kitchen, and turned the television set in the living room. The news was about another no-blinking record breaking. Although they still blinked from time to time, many preferred to go days, sometimes months trying not to. The most successful would set a new record. Not that it mattered; a new one was set every other week. Edward opened the fridge. The cold air rushed through his face and brought a sense of comfort. It then brought tears to his eyes. He rapidly looked for milk and closed it. He wasn’t really thirsty, and just drank half of a cup on impulse. It was time to go to work. Careful as not to blink he put his goggles on – it was a windy day – and started for the door. He looked to his right and saw the long hill that went up. Right was the side, up was the way. Edward was a teacher for blind people – or as he called them… the lucky ones. He started going uphill. People always went uphill. It was the only way of getting back on track on the case of an accidental blink. As the houses went by, Edward noted that the usual silence had been broken by the wheels of a car. He turned around, but the sun hurt his vision. By mistake he let go of his will and blinked. The world swirled around. The car was now close. He blinked again. The world swirled around a bit more.

He blinked.

The world swirled

Blink.

Swirl.

Blink.

And the order was back. And the car was too close. And something hit him in the head.

Blink.

And the world just went blind.

* * *

“Edward Meadow. Number 325978, please step forward.” As he did so, several men – all wearing bright white clothes – came to view. One of them had a white cup in one hand and a blue pill in the other.

“Take it,” he said. Edward did. He drank the water from the cup without complain. It wouldn’t do any good. He gave it back and watched as another man was being called. It was the first of many roll calls of the day.

For the last month or so – thought Edward, even though he had been there for as nearly as three months – roll calls, and pills had been his life. Sometimes he was taken to a room full of mirrors, where he was told to close his eyes and open them again, every 10 seconds. Every time that happened, his brain would fuse out, and go dark. He would wake up in the next day, with his name being called. He hated the place. All walls were either bright white or silver. The lights were never shut down, not even at night. Not that he knew what time it was. No one knew. There was little there to know.

And this is what he didn’t know. That place was the Experiments Section of the Brainia Enterprise – the government funded corporation which built the four-sided mirrored brains. Edward and the others were just human guinea pigs, testing, without knowledge, the corporation’s new experiments. They were not allowed to blink in any occasions, unless they were told to do so. They could not talk; they could not look at other people’s eyes.

Today was October 15, 2028. It was early in the morning, and things were about to change for Mr. Meadow. He was called up again. As Edward stood up, he was blind-folded from behind, and by reflexes his eyes immediately closed. He was taken down some way – which he will never get to walk again – and put in a room. He was told to lie back, and while doing so, he felt a sharp pain on his arms. In a matter of seconds his brain shut down, and he heard no more.

In a matter of seconds his brain restarted.

His blind fold was taken away. Edward still had his eyes closed, afraid of what was about to take place.

“Edward Meadow, open your eyes.”

He didn’t

“Edward Meadow, open your eyes.”

He did. And as he did, the air he had in his lungs left his body. He was looking to himself in a mirror. He looked even older than before. He blinked once, and to his surprise he could see perfectly. He blinked again, and the world was motionless. Tears of joys ran down his cheeks.

As you can guess Edward was the first one in a series of test for new brains. These brains were, of course, two sided, and not mirrored. They were not perfect though. Once in, it could not be replaced or repaired. It was also a lot smaller, which meant some features had to be let go of.

Edward jumped up and down the house of mirrors, happy that he could now blink.

Blink.

The world didn’t swirl.

Blink.

The world didn’t move

Blink.

The world was in place.

Blink.

The world was gone.

He fell to the floor, desperate. “What happened to me?”

“It seems that you have gone blind.”

“Why?”

“The new brain we put in your head. It is not equipped with vision.”

“What? A new brain?”

“Yes, a prototype. It is organic”

“Take it out.”

“I can’t. No one can. It is permanently fixated-“

But Edward never heard what was said. Blind, he ran from side to side, banging at all the mirror, which all break. He felt pain, but didn’t care. He felt cold, but didn’t care. He just ran as fast as he could, and on the darkness of his own world, he was hit.

* * *

“Gooooooooood Morning. It is 7 o’clock, and it’s a beautiful day. Remember I am always to your right and the way is up. In the town where I was born.-” Edward Meadow groaned to the music. He opened his eyes, but nothing changed. “Lived a man who sailed to sea-“

He trusted his hand to the right and pressed a button. The TV came to life. Coincidently at that same time, all four-sided mirrored brains, one by one, went blank. “And he told us of his life.” One by one all of those who had such brains (which consisted of everybody minus Edward) started to blink without stopping. “In the land of submarine-

And the world was now between blinking silence and the blind Edward Meadow, the last of the lucky ones.

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