Fine China

Fred is alarmed to find Sam’s bedroom door open and the room empty.  There is no bed, no furniture, no sport posters or school pictures on the walls, no trophies on the shelves.  ‘This burglar works fast, how long has this stranger been in the house?’ Fred thinks as he hurries down the hallway.

The stranger stands in the corner of the master bedroom and, with a startled, confused look on his face, stares at Fred.  Fred can’t see Clarissa but senses she is not in the room. “Now I’ve got you!”  Fred shouts as he charges across the floor, crouching low and bracing his shoulder to smash into the stranger’s chest. At the moment of impact the stranger and Fred crash into the oval-shaped, mahogany-framed, floor-standing mirror, which disintegrates into an entangling, spider’s web of shards of silvery, shiny slivers of glass, as they fall struggling to the floor. Fred pounds his fists into the stranger as shards of glass cut through his gloves into his flesh. In a blind fury he continues to drive his fists into his adversary, while waiting to feel a return of blows, but as he sits up he finds himself alone on the carpet.  The stranger has flown, the coward.

Fred rises shakily but triumphantly to his feet.  He stumbles to the bathroom, leans over the sink and splashes cold water into his face. As Fred slowly raises his head on his stooped shoulders, his eyes behold with shock the stranger’s face peering at him from the bathroom-mirror. He swings around sensing the stranger is behind him. There is no one there.  The stranger has disappeared again...vanished…like a rogue.

Fred turns back and there, in the bathroom-mirror, reappears the stranger, wearing Fred’s clothes; the dark-blue tie twisted in the struggle, the shirt Clarissa gave him for his birthday, dishevelled, buttons missing, dark patches of sweat at the armpits, wrinkled creases in the pressed sleeves.

“Get out of my clothes, you villain!” he yells. The stranger, his face contorted, doesn’t move.

A shrill, high-pitched wail reaches Fred’s ears as he stands transfixed in front of the sink. The burglar’s face in the mirror is screaming - his  features are contorted in painful suffering, imploring, frantic eyes searching for understanding,for guidance, for comfort, the mouth stretched open in mortal agony - wailing and bemoaning the soul’s anguish. Fred is immobile with increasing terror as his conscious brain begins to realize what is happening.

MORE pages to follow: click the page numbers below!
author
Lawrence E. Collins travels, hikes, fishes and writes from his hometown, St. John’s, NL. His stories have been published in magazines, including Canadian Stories Magazine, ‘The Dress’, Vol 17 No. 96, April/May, 2014, ‘Ebenezer's Party’, feature story, Vol 17 No. 99, Oct/Nov, 2014, at www.canadianstories.net [Archives 2014], and ‘Sidney’, Vol 18 No. 102, April/May, 2015.
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