:: Article

The Mirror Room

By Alyssa Gillon.




I find a shack in the woods, kick down the door and announce to Rufus, “Here is our final resting place.”

My diseased cat and I are fugitives; our numbered days are spent munching mud and contracting amoebas with which to decompose ourselves in beauty. In two hundred years they’ll uncover our skeletons.

But I can’t find the cat.

“Rufus! Rufus, you disgusting thing,” I scream.

I circle the shack, batting at bushes and shaking trees, thinking Rufus is a goner because either something’s eaten him or he finally ate himself.

A cat saunters out of a hole at the base of the shack. Rufus? Gnaw wounds healed, fur grown back, Rufus purrs: he’s transformed from demon to gleaming beast. Twitching his tail and strutting around, Rufus doesn’t lick or scratch himself once.

I peek into the hole he came out of. Below the floor of the shack is a room containing an unfinished project. One wall is covered in mirrors, and more mirrors are stacked on the ground. I dig the hole bigger and slide down through the earth into the room. Inside the room are buckets of glue. I pry them open and churn the separated chemicals with a stick, then I slather the walls. I hold the mirrors to dry in place and then I do the ceiling.

As I work, what I’m doing really starts to make sense! The room is healing me. My nostrils burn, my brain is blooming! I look into the ceiling and spin with my arms out. I grin at my reflection, but my nose starts bleeding, and I realize, “Hey! This isn’t magic, I’m rocketed on fumes.” For hours all I can see are humans growing back into monkeys.

I wake up. It’s dark out, and it’s time to hunt. I crawl out of the mirror room and eat all the moss, berries and mushrooms I can find. I smell animal tracks and hot-foot through the trees, and an hour later I’ve got two turkeys wrung by the neck. I’ve stuffed their gullets with rosehips, and some roots I dug up that might be potatoes.

When I return, the floor of the mirror room is a lake. Rufus waits on an island in the middle with a small fire burning. We feast on the turkeys, berries and roots, and Rufus fishes from the lake for our dessert.

“It’s wonderful to have you here,” I tell the butterfly that visits our island. “Bring the bees!” And they come buzzing in to work on their hive. Turtles climb through the entry-hole and fall into the lake. Snakes chase mice and rabbits. A bear moans while he digs his way in.

I make a phone call and ask, “Do you deliver?”

“Not usually but I can help a girl out.”

“Bring us all the bananas you got,” I say, and a banana tree shakes the mirror room as it sprouts. “Actually oranges! Guavas?” Both trees quake into existence.

“Nevermind what you bring,” I say, “Just bring lots and soon.”

“This is weird,” he says,“but is the house big?”

And I say, “You’ll see when you get here.”




Alyssa Gillon writes and hikes in Oregon.



Image found and manipulated by 3:AM.


First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, October 27th, 2017.