Monster in the Mirror

Chapter 7

I had no idea how long I had been down here, all I could tell was that it was pitch dark both down here and outside. I had stopped crying a while ago, now reduced to sniffles and a state of self-loathing as I heard the rest of my family retire up to bed. 'Why? What did I ever do to them?' I wondered as I sat there in the dark, listening to the wind howl outside.

After a couple more hours of sitting in the freezing basement, I silently crept up the stairs and used one of the two bobby pins in my hair to pick the lock on the door. Once the door was unlocked, I quietly snuck upstairs to mine and Alex's room where I removed my beanie, hoodie and pants: leaving me in the body suit I had kept hidden. The torso consisted of a dark-black jacket with an Assassin's Creed style beaked hood that glowed a dim dark-red underneath.

The hood was down, slightly exposing extra stiff flaps of torn fabric on the back of my shoulders, making it look like I was spreading a pair of shredded wings. Down the sleeves was a pair of tribal red dragons that glowed dimly: slightly helping the hood in lighting up the darkness around me. The jacket was unzipped, revealing the same dark-red of the interior and the gray of the attached undershirt. The pants were skintight leather with twin pieces of stray fabric trailing down from my belt down to the backs of my knees: giving the appearance of a tail.

Down my legs was a tribal fire design that glowed the same dark-red as the rest of my outfit that looked like Connor Kenway's black and red hoodie from Assassin's Creed. The entire body suit made me look like a Goth kid or an assassin you hear parents tell their kids about to get them to behave, but I really didn't have a choice as to how it looked. Turning my attention from myself to the bedroom, I saw that Alex was sleeping like the dead and the heat lamps for the snakes had been turned on.

'At least he didn't forget.' I thought as I quietly opened the window and climbed out and on top of the roof, after I shut the window so I wouldn't wake my brother. As I sat on the rough slate of the roof, I stared at the wind as it swirled the loose snow around: making shapes and patterns only it knew the meaning of. Looking up, I couldn't stop the breathless gasp as I saw the violet-purple sky coated with the infinite number of stars and planets and the teal-green of the northern lights as they flashed across the sky.

In Florida, you would be lucky to see the Orion constellation and a few stars: here you couldn't tell where one constellation ended and another began. Seeing the vastness of twinkling stars made me forget all the wrong in the world for a minute as I looked up and felt as if I were flying. Leaning back on my hands, my face split into a wide grin as I saw a shooting star fall across the sky and land somewhere over the mountains.

'Oh little Wishing Star, please grant this lonely soul this one request: send me a friend who understands the weight of the world, one who won't be afraid of me but will stick by me until the end. I don't think I can stand living this way much longer.' I wished, placing my hand on my chest in hopes that it will somehow help. I had been so absorbed in my one wish, that I didn't notice myself crying again until a particularly cold blast of air smacked me in the face, turning my tears to ice in no time at all.

Wiping them away, I moved to stand up and head back inside, when the 'whoosh' of fabric and a solid 'thud' caught my attention. Fearing it was my dad or one of my pursuers, I rolled over on my feet and took a fighting stance, preparing to defend myself against the intruder. What I saw couldn't have surprised me more: standing on my roof was a boy about my age dressed in what looked like a superhero costume.

He was cloaked in a dark-purple cape, with a lavender suit on underneath, he had on olive-colored gloves around his hands and brown boots on his feet. Across his chest was a lime-green 'M' and a bright-green question mark on a spring attached to his hood, making him look comically confused. I couldn't make out most of his face because it was covered by a black mask: all I could make out were piercing blue eyes and a cautious scowl for his mouth. But what made me kinda want to laugh was the fact that he wore a pair of white underwear over his pants, only I didn't laugh as we stared each other down.

For a few minutes neither of us moved, as if frozen in time, while the wind played harmlessly with our clothing: giving a classic movie image of the hero staring down the villain before the final battle. Gulping nervously, I decided I would speak first, keeping my stance in case he made a move to attack me. "Who are you?" I questioned as he narrowed his eyes for a second, as if he was surprised that I had spoken first. "My identity must remain a secret: however, you may refer to me as Mysterion." he said in a rough voice, as if someone were rubbing gravel on sandpaper.

"Well 'Mysterion', what are you doing here, and how did you get on my roof?" I asked, relaxing my stance a bit. "You are not normal, dangerous even: no normal fourth grader can do the things you do. I am an angel that watches over this town at night so tell me before I start assuming: are you friend or foe?" he questioned with a glare, making me gasp in fear and stumble backwards. Unfortunately for me, I had stepped on black ice, causing me to slip off the roof with a startled squeak.

Before I could hit the ground, I felt something grab hold of my wrist, stopping my fall instantly. Looking up, I saw the blue eyes of Mysterion as he helped me back onto the roof. 'Holy shit, I didn't even see him move! I suppose I could tell him a tiny bit of the truth, considering he did just save my life.' I thought as I nodded my gratitude to him as he moved to stand in front of me with that same cautious look in his eyes.

With a sigh, I turned to look over at the dark silhouettes of the mountains that surrounded the town. "Whether or not I'm a friend or foe depends on you, I mean this town and her residents no harm: but if you were to attack me, then I have no choice but to defend myself." I said as I sat down, not really caring if he followed suit or not. "Now let me ask you this Mysterion, seeing as you are a superhero and keep this town safe, what is your superpower?" I joked, not really expecting an answer from him, but there was something: something in his eyes that I myself see every day in the mirror.

"That is not for you to know." he said simply, annoying me a little bit. "You don't have to tell me, but don't assume anything about me. This may come as a surprise to you, but you're not the only one burdened with a curse you never wanted." I said, watching as his stoic persona vanished, only to be replaced with a wide-eyed look.

"How did you-" he started, only to be interrupted by the faintest rays of sunlight creeping up over the mountains, blinding both of us momentarily. "Maybe if you earn my trust I will tell you mine if you tell me yours, but be warned Mysterion: my trust with this particular subject is hard to earn and easy to lose." I said, turning to face him, only to find him gone…with only a pair of footprints in the snow where he used to be.

'The fuck am I doing telling a stranger this?! Now he'll probably work to gain my trust, just so he could stab me in the back and sell me out.' I scolded myself as I climbed back inside and slipped into bed without waking Alex. Even though my mind was screaming at me for my limitless stupidity, a very small part of my instinct told me I could trust this kid, but with how much remained to be seen.



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