They were always there, those demons, staring at the mirror. It doesn’t matter if it was early morning with the Sun painting the sky with tones of red or if it was late, and the moon and the stars only broke the dark’s domain. I called them demons, but they were more like shadows, and they all looked like a deformed version of myself.
One was tiny as chihuahua with big deformed eyes and talked about my cowardice. Another had empty holes instead of eyes and talked about how lost I was. Another was like a 200 years old version of me with a disgusting hump and deformed arms, and he remembered me the burden I was to those around me. And there were others, and each one was so bizarre as the other and responsible for tormenting me into a particular subject.
However, there was a particular shadow that was worse than the others. It was always in the middle of the mirror, with the surrounding others. It was the biggest source of my torment, and it was the thing I hated most in the world, my nemesis. Its powerful voice was heard among the demons’ murmurs, and if the demons’ voices hurt my mind slowly, its voice crushed my mind with one hit and almost put me on my knees, like there was a giant black dog over me crushing me with its weight. But the scarier thing about it was the fact it looked just like me, a dark version of me.
One morning, I entered the bathroom, its wall was white with blue details, a white sink over granite, the humidity of a recent shower filling the air and making the already small bathroom feel even smaller. I looked in a mirror over the sink, and there it was waiting for me with a triumphant smile.
“You took your time,” it said. “Missed me?”
I remained silent.
“Not talking? It suits you. Always a coward, never fighting back.”
I still refused to answer.
“Ok, coward. I can do the talking. Anyway, we both know why you came to me, don’t we?”
“What are you talking about?” I finally asked.
“Don’t pretend ignorance. You came to me because you’re broken and lost, and you don’t know what to do.”
“That’s not true,” I said without confidence, not trusting in a single word I just said.
“You’re a terrible liar, you know?” it said, laughing. “You’re tormented because you have everything, but still feel empty. You have everything, but you’re still sad and don’t know why.”
I started to tremble as it continued.
“And you feel guilty because your sadness is making the people around you sad as well. You’re a burden to them”
“How… How do you know that?” I said with a faltering voice.
“I know everything about you. Everything,” it answered, smiling. “That’s why I will give the solution.”
“Yes. But you already know what it is.”
“Yes. It’s in your father’s nightstand,” it said, almost whispering.
I froze with fear and temptation. I knew what it was talking about, and it was something I tried to keep out of my mind. But it always came back, tempting me with an easy solution for everyone’s problem. When something is a burden, all you have to do is…
“No!” I said, putting my hands over my ears. “That’s not right.”
“It’s useless to resist,” it said. “You know this is the only way.”
And suddenly, I saw myself in the total darkness. I tried to scream, but my voice was muffled like I was drowning in a dark ocean. I was suffocating in the middle of bad thoughts and memories. The bullying, the depression, my failures, my broken family, everything was trying to drag me deeper into that darkness. I was almost giving up.
But then a beam of light appeared in the middle of that darkness, illuminating me. From the light came different images. First, my parents and friend always supporting me. Then the conversations I had with my psychologist. And lastly, different happy moments of life. The pressure I was feeling softened a little bit, and I regain control of my breath. I need to fight back.
I saw the mirror in the darkness and went to its direction. Before I could reach it, the shadows appeared around me and grabbed me, dragging me down back to the darkness. I tried to free myself, but suddenly I felt my throat being pressed. It was my nemesis strangling me.
“You can’t defeat me,” it said. “Because I am you.”
Its words made me realize what I was missing. I looked to its eyes and said, “You’re right. You’re part of me.”
“But that’s the reason you can’t hurt me.”
“What are you saying?”
“I see now what I have to do,” I said. “I have to accept you as part of me. I have to accept my shadows, my flaws, my mistakes, my problems. And then act over each one to solve them.”
“You’re not strong enough,” it said, hesitant. “I won’t let you!” It pressured my throat even more.
So, with a guttural scream, I punched it in the face, throwing it against the mirror. The mirror cracked and exploded into broken glass, and an intense white light blinded me. When my vision normalized, I was back to the bathroom, seated on the floor with my back to the wall. However, the mirror was broken, its glass around the floor. And to my surprise, I had a cut on my fist. The blood was spreading from it, falling to the floor. Not far from me was my father’s gun, which was soiled with blood, dropped amid broken glass. I didn’t know what happened, but yet I was relieved and calm. Because I was free again, and it wasn’t dark inside anymore.
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