Seeing the destroyed landscape outside, a bad feeling started welling up inside me. I decided that I had overstayed my welcome to this strange place. The lack of people, the apocalyptic feel of the world, how old everything looked, I had a feeling like I might be in more danger than I thought. As I looked for a stairway to bring myself back up to the floor the mirror was on, I started to hear the scuttling sound once again. This time, it gave me a slightly ill-feeling. Just what was hiding inside the walls? Was it the reason there were no more people?
I walked up the stairway, quickening my steps as fast as I could while still feeling ahead of me so that I didn’t do another floor plunge. When I returned back to the forth story, I found the familiar hallway including the hole that I had fallen through. As I shined my light down the hall, something shined back. To be specific, the light of my flashlight was reflected back to me, outlining two eyes in the dark.
“What… in… the… hell?” I asked as I stared at the thing.
It made a chittering noise that reminded me of what I heard behind the walls. Except, this thing wouldn’t fit behind any walls. It looked like a rat, except that it had absolutely no hair. It was also the size of a large dog. At this point, I was certain that wherever I was, it wasn’t Earth anymore. This place was more dangerous than I had ever thought. My eyes immediately went to the closet with the mirror in it.
“Keeee!” The creature let out a cry and started running forward.
“Shit!” I cursed and then started running right at it.
If I didn’t make the door, I’d jump down to the floor below again. That lost it last time. However, if I found another one down there, or something worse, I was seriously screwed. Thankfully, its speed was slow when comparing to its size. It couldn’t even reach the speed of a dog of the same size. The closet was also much closer to me than it. I opened the door to the room with the mirror and jumped in, slamming the door just as it reached.
Its snout had made it through the crack, and I heard a crunching noise as I slammed the door on the creature’s nose. It let out a screeching sound that hurt my ears, but I didn’t let up. If I let it in, I knew I’d be lunch. Plus, it could be worse. Maybe it could get through the mirror and harm my family as well. I tried to kick it, and it ended up biting my foot, shoe and all. With a cry, I pulled my foot out of my shoe before it bit it in half. Once it had my shoe, it backed up and I was able to seal and lock the door.
When I got it secured, I spun around and pushed my back against the door. I could hear it making noises as it ate my shoe just outside. I then grabbed one of the metal shelves and shoved it against the door for good measure.
Only then did I start to relax just a bit. I went to the mirror, angling it away from the door. I reckoned that even if he managed to get inside this room, he couldn’t wedge himself into a corner to get in front of the mirror. With that, I reached out and touched the mirror. Nothing happened.
With a frown, I looked around, and then my eyes fell on the symbol on the mirror that I had been trying to clean the first time. It looked like an assortment of gears. The design was shockingly intricate. My fingers touched it. There was a flash of light, and I was back in my room.
“Brother? Your dinners getting cold!” A cry came from my doorway.
I jumped at the sound, having been on high alert after the attack as well as wandering around such a strange place. Before I could say something, the watch on my hand suddenly made another 3D display.
“Ah… I-I’m coming!” I called out as I grabbed my watch.
On the screen, a bunch of lines of code was flashing, as well as a sentence across the top.
Wireless signals detected. Connecting… Connected
Downloading all wireless data… disseminating. Data sorted and categorized. Currently sorted by signal.
Please pick a selection to view the contents.
A list of numbers appeared on my watch. Using the keys of the watch, I made a selection.
“Yay, uh… pepperoni. Um… I can’t eat pork, it’s against my religion.” A voice suddenly came up over my watch.
I immediately tried to turn it off, but I only found the sound which I turned lower.
“Pepperoni has pork in it, sir.”
“Our pepperoni is made from a combination of pork and beef.”
“B-but, I like pepperoni.”
“I’m sorry sir…” There was a brief silence. “Sir? What will you have?”
“A pepperoni pizza…”
I finally figured out how to shut it off. Now that I thought about it, wasn’t that the voice of my neighbor? He was three doors down. He was a hippie who seemed to follow a different trend every week.
“Ah! Y-yes!” I made sure the screen was no longer displaying and then I opened the door to reveal my sister standing there in her home clothing.
My sister was as refined as any girl when she was out, but when she was home, she dressed down horribly. In particular, she liked these really old shorts made of cotton and a white tank top. Both were old and worn, hanging from her body more than covering anything. It was extremely obvious she wasn’t wearing underwear. That was the top and the bottom. If she bent over, there was a chance you’d be greeted to a vertical smile. They were that flimsy. Plus, two little raisenettes poked out of her white shirt on top of her mounds. Many men would lose their minds seeing my sister like this, but it was wasted on me, her brother.
She put on a mischievous grin, trying to peek into my room. “What is brother trying to do in here?”
“Nothing!” I declared, trying to close the door on her face.
“Eh?” She tried to push her way in even more. “If brother was playing with that, do you have proper material?”
“That’s none of your business!” I cried out.
“Ara Ara, so that is what brother is doing?”
“It’s not! Get out…”
“As your older sister, I have to make sure you’re developing properly!”
“Get out!” I managed to get the door shut.
Then, I remembered that I was leaving to eat my dinner. I grabbed a long sleeve shirt, one that covered my watch. I took a blanket and tossed it over the mirror. Taking one last look at it, I sighed and left my room. Thankfully, sister had abandoned her position outside.
When I walked into the kitchen and dining room, she looked up from her bowl and gave me a mischievous grin. I wanted to chuck something at her, but I resisted, instead I took my place quietly in the spare chair, where food was waiting for me.
It was just rice and vegetables. We couldn’t really afford meat right now. I ate quietly. Mom and Sister had already finished. Mom was just behind me doing the dishes, while sister was clicking through her cellphone.
Feeling a bit of curiosity, I excused myself to the bathroom. Once I was in there, I pulled up my sleeve and looked at the watch again.
There was a small beep like when voice control devices were used on current devices.
“Check a wireless signal.”
The numbers came up again, but I couldn’t make sense of them.
“Can you determine which device is my sisters? Ah, her name is Hazel.”
A screen appeared, and it took me a moment to realize I was looking at my sister’s cellphone screen. In the corner was the word ‘live’. She was clicking through a quiz site. I looked at the title.
“’Is my brother a siscon?’ What the-!” I clicked off instantly, but then my finger clicked another link, another phone appearing.
This one had a picture of me and my sister.
“Hmm? Isn’t this my mother’s phone?”
There was a sudden alert, someone sent a text. Mom must have accessed it because the page opened up and a messenger was displayed. The top of it said, Dr. Gabriella. That was my mother’s close friend, and also our doctor. She usually did most check-ups for free because they were childhood friends and close. Mom had also borrowed from her in the past and felt ashamed to borrow any more. However, Gabriella was a good family friend.
Gabriella: The test results came in. Do you have time to come to my office?
Aubree: I can’t today. I have a million chores and this is my only day off this week.
Gabriella: How is the new job?
Aubree: Not good, the manager has started looking at me. I thought if it was a couple… but the wife seems to blame me for attracting her husband’s eye.
Gabriella: I’m sorry… I wanted to tell you in person, but it’s more important you know immediately.
Aubree: Not good news?
Gabriella: I got the test results back. Malignant. I’m sorry, Aubree. You have cancer.
Aubree: I see. Thank you for getting it tested. I know you could lose your job doing this.
Gabriella: Stop… what’s a little insurance fraud between friends. However, the treatment… that’s not something I can write off… and we need to start soon, or it could spread.
Aubree: I understand.
Gabriella: Do you need me to tell your kids? I’m a doctor, so I have a bit of practice in delivering bad news.
Aubree: No, I’ll… tell them. In time.
I spun and pushed my way out the door. My eyes shot to mom. As soon as I looked at my mom, she spun around, hiding her phone in her pocket as she avoided eye contact.
“Mom… are you okay?”
“Hmm? Baby? I’m fine.”
She used her apron to wipe her face, but she was really wiping her tears. Her voice only broke slightly; I wouldn’t have noticed it if I wasn’t looking for it.
“Brother… what is your type for women?” Sister asked while looking at her phone, completely oblivious to what I had just found out.
Mom didn’t know I knew. I had to calm down. I felt like I was about to hyperventilate.
“Brother, are you okay?”
“I’m not feeling well.” I said, “I’m going to bed now.”
“Already, you haven’t finished…” Mom started, but I already ran off to my room, closing and locking the door.
“Damn it…” I muttered quietly under my breath.
I had to look, and now I knew something I shouldn’t know. Mother has cancer. We didn’t even have health insurance right now. That meant that she couldn’t afford the treatment! That was my responsibility! I was supposed to be the one to take care of my family. Yet, I had done nothing! I lifted my hand, almost about to punch the wall when my eyes landed on the watch on my wrist. My eyes turned to the mirror.
Another world with computer technology like this? It instantly hacked every phone in the house. It could scan my status. This was assuredly technology completely unlike anything this world had. If I found this… there had to be more on the other side of the mirror. If I could sell it, I could bring in money. I could get my mother her cancer treatments.
I had to do it. I had money I needed to make.