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Grade
11

“I call them the Reflections. Most people think of me as a conspiracy theorist, but that’s not it. I know this is true. They play mind games, they spy on us, they’ve become a part of our lives. I know, I know, this all sounds crazy. Some sort of group that hides in your mirror? Seems impossible, but it’s not,” no response.

“Here’s the thing about the reflections, they start with you at a young age. You get to know them, trust them, without even acknowledging their existence. I don’t quite understand how they do it, but they look like you. They look like everybody. Some sort of shape shifting ability maybe? My best bet is that they have a way of controlling the way you perceive things. They match themselves to look almost identical to you, but slightly off,” again, my sister stared back at me with a blank face. She’s how I figured it out. I’d look at the mirror and notice that a few things weren’t quite right. Then I got to looking at myself. Maybe one day my hair seemed a little longer than the next. Maybe I had a freckle that usually wasn’t there. It was the small things like that. The things that you normally wouldn’t notice. That’s why nobody ever really figured it out.

“I’m not sure if the Reflections have taken over other places, but you know that the town is relatively small, so they got through us pretty easily, I’m assuming. I have no idea how big this group is, or what they’re trying to accomplish, but i’m working on it. I get it, it sounds absolutely insane, but just work with me. Our world has been consumed by the media, right? I mean, completely consumed. Nobody has original thoughts, or fashion, or personalities. Hell, everybody even eats the same thing,” she still stood in front of the mirror, barely moving. It doesn’t make any sense to me, I’m not quite sure how these people allow themselves to be controlled that way, but the more I think about it, the more I realize they probably don’t even know. I know they could hear me, the reflections.

“How long has this been going on?”

She wouldn’t respond. She never did, never does, never will. She’s gone, well, almost.

“Please talk to me. Why won’t anybody talk to me? I’m trying to help,” nothing. “I’m sick of the silence…” She turned towards me, and just as I thought she was going to open her mouth to speak, she walked out.

My sister stands in front of the mirror for hours on end sometimes. It’s hard to tell why, but I can’t really stand and watch for too long. I pace through the hall outside, praying that I’ll catch something. Anything. Her reflection does look different, like an older version of her. Only slightly though.  It’s hard to tell if you move too fast, or pay attention to the wrong parts. Her reflection is slightly shorter, a little bit less proportional. She has tanner skin in real life, longer hair. I have no idea how she doesn’t notice this, but I suppose it’s so subtle that one wouldn’t be able to tell without comparing too intently.

Like I said, everybody acts this way. To the point where it’s hard to differentiate people. They dress the same, act the same. Some people have gone as far as to get plastic surgery, so some people even look quite similar. It’s not right. It’s sick to look at, if I’m being honest. We used to be a thriving society, filled with diversity and culture. I guess certain people got upset with that and decided to make a change.

It’s been going on for a while now, this secret society. Probably longer than I can even think back to. Either way, they’ve been around for quite some time. They’ve gained our trust, they know our secrets. Even though they may just be pretending to be us, they’re doing a damn good job at it. Imagine knowing so much about somebody that you can practically become them. We’re fed lies. Absolute lies. To make us conform to their ideals. I know, I’m sounding more and more like a conspiracy theorist, but that’s the point. You guys aren’t looking at the bigger picture, and that’s exactly what they want. They want you to focus on their perspective, not your own. They want to erase you. That’s something you’re going to have to come to terms with, because it’s happening, and it’s happening fast.

As I was (again) pacing by the bathroom, I overheard something. The Reflections point things out. Flaws I guess? Things they want changed? Except, the voices are coming out of my sister’s mouth, it’s just not hers. I’m thinking that the reflection in the mirror is trying to force out this ideal version. Exaggerating your flaws so that they seem worse, more apparent. That could explain why the reflection is always changing, because if it stayed the same there wouldn’t be much room for improvement, right? Here I sit, listening to my sister spit out all of the things she wants “changed”. Things that she was just telling me she liked, her new haircut especially. And she wants it cut again? It doesn’t make sense. It won’t make sense.

She finally left the bathroom, looking a bit more put together. Makeup, a temporary solution. I peered around the corner, her reflection was still there. Watching. It walked off as well when I made it inside, almost in a panic. As if like magic, my reflection was right there when I turned back around. As usual, slightly different. My chest was smaller and my skin had a few pimples. I felt my face, there was nothing.

“I don’t understand,” I said aloud. There was no response. My reflections lips barely moved. They assume we don’t pay attention, I mean, everybody else is mindless anyways. I tried to walk out of my bathroom, only to find myself back inside as I passed the door. It looked different. The door was no longer right behind me, but rather on the adjacent wall. The toilet and shower were missing.

“How the-” I began.

“Don’t think we haven’t noticed you,” the lady stated.

“I don’t understand,” I said once again.

“You won’t. It’s not important. Nothing is.”

That makes no sense, if it’s not important, why are they so controlling? “I don’t believe you. It doesn't make sense. This whole situation doesn’t make sense.”

“Like I said, it won’t make sense. You won’t get it. It’s not like that. But we see yo, don’t think for a second we’ve forgotten. I get that you want to be the hero here, but that won’t be necessary.”

“What does that even mean?” I scoffed.

“It means exactly what I said. We’re here to help. Things have gotten too different. Violent even. We only want to help, even out the playing field, groom a better future. Like I said, it’s not something you’ll get. This has taken years of planning.”

“So then explain it to me. I’ve got time, nobody will notice I’m gone.”

“You’ve heard about the violence. The shootings, the robberies. They’ve slowed down, have they not? Our country has given people far too much free will over the years. They’ve been selfish, and impulsive, and quite frankly irresponsible. These people have completely and utterly screwed things up. We needed to change that. They needed something less abrasive to worry about, I know looks and personality aren’t the greatest diversions, but it’s something that everybody was familiar with, something that wouldn’t be so suspicious. We’ve been using it as a way to sort of talk people into calming down a little. Toning down harsher personalities, I suppose. We have locks on those who have fallen into us, so they don’t get suspicious. Locks as in, sort of safety precautions. Just to be sure they don’t realize what’s going on, like you have.”

“You can’t do that, though. It’s… It’s-”

“Unconstitutional? Violation? Unfair? You may think that, but all it is, is feeding people more of what they’re already used to. It’s specifically for the purpose of reducing hate. I know you think we wanted “one specific type” of people. That’s not the case, we’re merely using it as a cover up, and it’s working. Crime has reduced by 87%, you can’t tell me those are good numbers.”

“Not at the expense of other people’s thoughts.” Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the locks she had mentioned. They were more like buttons. Random ones with names and pictures associated with them, and a large button that said “FAILURE” in bolded letters. I inched towards it.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You don’t understand the dynamics of this project, the fundamentals. You don’t want to mess with them, I promise you that.”

“I thought you said it didn’t matter? Nothing does,” I raised my brows, my hand slowly reaching out for the button.

“You’re going to regret that.”

“I won’t,” I felt the button click underneath my palm, just before I fell.

“I told you she wouldn’t understand Adam, she ruined it, the whole plan.”

“We’ll just have to start from scratch, we can’t have another society like the one before. It was too… dark. She must not have remembered.”

State
CT
Zip Code
06040