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Fiction: The Reflecting Fear

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He dared not look. 

It was ridiculous, he was a Professor for heaven's sake! He’d spent most of his life looking at things. Searching, investigating, experimenting… But no more. Professor Francis Whyte was now quite terrified of something as simple as looking. 

It had all started with that book, that accursed tome. Found on a dusty shelf in Somerville Municipal library, it was unremarkable to look at, though it was certainly a hefty volume. The curiosity in him had been immediately awakened and that had been his undoing. As he pored over the book more and more mysteries revealed themselves, fueling his desire to unearth answers. Before long he was reading phrases from unfamiliar languages and even speaking some aloud, though he had little idea what they actually said. One word resonated: Tyndaly’th. All too late he had discovered that some knowledge is best left undiscovered. Some words left unspoken.

That had been the definitive moment, a flashpoint. Of that he was sure. As he had uttered the guttural syllables of that one particular fateful phrase, the temperature had dropped noticeably, and hoarfrost had formed on the rims of his glasses. He had immediately slammed the book shut and placed it back on the shelf, his desire to know more quite sated. It had been too late. He cursed himself, he should have known better, but he had felt compelled to read. Not exactly against his will but certainly influenced, though by what he knew not.  Everything seemed fine, he thought he had escaped with no serious effects. That had been until he looked in the mirror. 

It wasn’t him though, he was unchanged. No, it was in the reflection, something was there. In the mirror. He had to look twice, he had thought he was just tired, but no, there was something there, indistinct, like some kind of shade, but becoming clearer. Sinuous, with claws and fangs. He’d shuddered and looked away. There was nothing in the room with him, it was definitely IN the reflection. Looking back in the mirror there it was again, and it was getting closer. Reaching for him. He’d screamed and left the room...  

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