This week’s prompt:
A trespasser, glasses, a particularly inconvenient phobia
Kolby tried to help Alex look through the house for a bag to carry food and water in. He had to stop and come back to the kitchen though, because every room in the house had mirrors. Full-length mirrors, wall mirrors, mirrored doors on the closets. It was just too much. He could not bring himself to look into the mirrors. The old fears kept coming back. “Don’t look behind you in a mirror, Kolby.” His mother’s soft voice told him. She was brushing his long red hair. It was so much like hers it made him ache sometimes. “The monsters know when you see them in the mirror.” Kolby had no idea what that meant He remembered sitting there on the edge of the bed. She sat crossed legged behind him, the brush made a soft whoosh as she brushed. The mirror on the vanity in front of them reflected the surrounding room, bright afternoon sun filled the windows and cast mother and son into silhouette. But he knew the bruise was there. He saw it this morning before she put on her makeup. She talked of monsters, but the only monster he knew slept in the same bed as his mother. He shut his eyes as he had on that day and remembered that moment. She wore no perfume, but always smelled of lavender talcum powder. She hummed tunelessly when she was concentrating. The feeling of the brush through his hair. How old had he been then? Ten? 12? He could not remember. It was one of the last memories he had of her though. He was 16 when she was murdered. His father said it was a robbery, but Kolby knew better. The days and weeks dragged on, but no one was ever arrested. Of course they weren’t, there was no intruder. But Kolby kept silent. Kept his head down and prayed his father would overlook him. He did not. Two weeks before his 17th birthday his father came into Kolby’s room. He reeked of beer and whiskey and cigarettes. He staggered in to the door frame as he pushed the door open. Kolby lay silent in his bed, back to the door. He had not locked it tonight. His father had been out for a couple of days this time. He had hoped the man had drank himself to death or run his truck off into a ditch and died. No such luck. The man lurched across the room, stumbling on clothing and books. His alcohol and smoke tainted breath came hot and loud behind him. “Git up, boy,” His father said. It was slurred, but still intelligible. Kolby remained frozen. “I said, get up,” a rough hand grabbed the back of his head and pulled him up by his hair. Kolby gasped and struggled, but his father did not let go. “You best not be ignoring me.” He hissed into Kolby's ear. Kolby kept his hand close to his chest. “No sir,” Kolby mumbled. “That’s what I thought.” The tight hand in Kolby hair loosened a little. It became something like a pet, like you might a dog. The rough calluses of his fingers tangled and pulled, nothing like the relaxing strokes of the brush his mother used to give him. “You are too like her,” The hand became a fist in his hair again and he was pulled roughly from the bed, his knees hitting the hard floor with a thump. He kept his hand tightly closed. His back was still to his father. “You think you can tempt me with that red hair and those long lashes?” Kolby was not sure where the shift in the conversation came from, but the blow to the right side of his head was something he was familiar with. He held the knife tighter. He needed to make sure he did it right the first time. There would be no second chance. His father was still drunkenly rambling about the evils of red-haired women and his hand had gone back stroking his hair. Then it moved to the side of his neck. Kolby gasped and shook his head, forcing the memory back. It was over and done with. He never had to think about it again. If only there had not been so many mirrors. Who did that? The poor people that owned this house they had borrowed for the night, is who. They were probably dead, or worse, wandering around their neighborhood looking to bite the first thing they got their hands on. “This should do,” Alex came out of a small room off the living room. It looked like they had used it as an office. He held a satchel up. It was a leather messenger style bag. He opened the flap and dumped out the contents onto the counter. Papers, unopened mail, and a pair of reading glasses fell out and a metal case. It looked like an old-fashioned cigarette case. Alex picked it up and opened it, He gave a low whistle of surprise. “Well lookie here,” he purred and pulled out a thin tube twisted at both ends. He gave it a sniff and grinned. “Hell yeah. We’ll have some fun tonight.” He put the joint back in the case and shoved it into his own pocket instead of back in the bag. “Let’s fill it up and get out of here, we are burning daylight,” he announced, throwing the pantry open. He started grabbing pouches of tuna, a jar of peanut butter, and a package of crackers, and a bag of chips in the satchel. Kolby hardly noticed. He was seeing the reflection of the room in the stainless steel refrigerator door. It showed the slow, shuffling approach of one of the monsters as it limped toward the house. It was time to move on.