Me. The skin me. Not the real me. The me that had stared back at me in the mirror since I was little. The expression, that serene one on the verge of laughter. Tracing the mirror edge, the surface rippled and fingers touched. “You seem happier on that side,” the mirror me whispered, the one that’s grin would crawl into it’s eye when I would stare too long.
“Wallace,” I hissed at the twisting maleficence.
“Didn’t take you very long to figure it out. Rowan there with you, I see,” the woman in the tutu strutted on point, clumsily I might add.
“You’re seeing this idiot in the mirror, right, knight?” I couldn’t tear my gaze away from the dressing room mirror.
“What are those lights?” he asked, pointing out the fluorescent bulbs ringing a set of mirrors across from my mirror. There I stood, the masculine me, the prince in little more than a pair of braise and chausses, trapped in the mirror behind the woman in the tutu.
“You know it’s a one in a billion chance to find your soul mate?” The woman in the dressing room mused.
“I sure as hell am not your soul mate, you fucking banana,” I gritted my teeth.
“And why not? Your soul fit into me just fine, and I you. I rather like this body. It feels better than the one I was in before. And you? Do you not like your new one?” she tiptoed around bags of gear, petticoats, tossed undergarments.
“Enjoy the cramps, bastard. You’re expecting them in two days. And I’m not telling you where the ibuprofen is,” I seethed.
“Now you sound like a proper wizard there. I have no idea what you’re spouting off about.” She settled onto a stool in front of the mirror to preen.
“Reverse it. Put me back. I might find this body acceptable, but you didn’t ask and I sure as hell didn’t say yes to this whole soul transfer thing!” I was liable to grind my teeth into powder at this rate.
“Can’t do that, dear. You see. There’s this thing with soul transfers. You have to die to do it.” She smiled, pink lip glossy reflective under the dressing room lights.
“Die?” I asked skeptically. “So, what are you saying, this is heaven or something? I’m not finding my golden brick road.”
“It took me forever to find that spell, and figure it out. Count yourself lucky. Now we both get a second chance.” She snapped her clear plastic straps to relieve the red welts forming in her shoulders. “Now, explain why all of your clothing feels awful.”
“Died. Come back to died there for a second, honey. You get to live in hellish clothes if you’re going to continue being the me everyone expects, so just deal with it. I’m processing the died part. What the hell do you mean died?” I poked at the mirror. The glass rippled beneath my fingers.
“You know. That thing where your brain and heart stopped functioning? Yeah. If you have a soul mate, you’re likely to be able to swap places with the right spell when the soul leaves the body.”
“I died?” I tried again.
“You and me both.”
“You were bound up in rope floating off into nowhere before your brother got me down!”
“Rowan’s good like that. I think you both will get along well.”
“So, if I find a way to die again, we’ll both switch back?” I asked.
“Nope, it needs to be a pure accident, and unintentially planned.”
“You just said there was a spell for this. You distinctly said Soul Transfer in my head.”
“I see you wiped away my spell,” she pointed at my bare chest. I looked down at where the sigils had been. “Hey it had to be an accident. I didn’t say I wasn’t prepared for one.” She shrugged, pouting her lips.
“I’m going to kill Wallace, Rowan. That all right by you?” I turned to the man standing next to me.
“I’m not sure how you’d be able to do that.” He was accepting this to easily.
“Like this.” I drove my hands into the mirror and encircled my soul’s original body’s throat and dragged her back to the mirror. Sadly I couldn’t pull her through. Her head made a wonderful thunking sound on the glass though.
“Oye, lay off you angry Pendragon! I can’t come completely through the mirror and you can’t come over to this side! Why are you such a vulgar fiend! I thought you were danty, lovely, rather serine. What did I exchange my soul with, a pit of lava?” she demanded.
“You exchanged it with someone who was barely on the verge of civility at any given moment, you quack wizard! Put me back!”
“But we’re soul mates. We fit! I can’t put you back, you already had your one death shot. You die again, there isn’t another soul mate to transfer to. That’s it. You die. Caput. No more wheels, heavens, reincarnations. Now that last one is arguable, but you have to get your soul wiped clean.”
“Great, some useless heap of judgement factory resets us. Ok. So this is my body now then. Not yours. No longer yours. I can do whatever the hell I want with it and you don’t get a say in it anymore, right? Is that what I’m getting out of this? You set some kind of seal on yourself and the moment you died you switched bodies with me because I what, missed and Gregory dropped me and I died?” I qualified.
“It is now entirely yours. You got a free pass to be someone else. And yes, Gregory tripped, snapped his achilles and now I’ve got a wonderful sore spot at the base of my neck.” She cracked her neck for the emphasis.
“And how did I die then, this body that I’m standing in, not the one you’re occupying.”
“Got me. I got caught. I always was a sickly child. The doctors said it had to do with miasmas and that my heart never quite worked like it should. Who knows. So, best suggestion is tame that temper if you want to keep the old thumper ticking proper.”
“Am I going to end up seeing you every freaking time I look in a mirror?” I was tired of this person and amazed Wallace had been helped into living as long as I think my new body was.
“No. Just that one. It hooks into anywhere where I have a mirror though, so you can usually find me if I’m near anything shiny,” she told me.
“You. You’ve been watching me all my life?” Outrage is a funny word. It doesn’t actually define that gulf of cold hatred that seeps into your bones. Or maybe that was the drops of frozen water sweating out of my skin.
“Not all of it. Just in the last year or two when I found the spell. It’s what’s on the back of the mirror if you spin it around. Found it squandered away in dad’s horde. Have you met the parents?”
“Have you met mine?”
“No, can’t say that I have.”
“Yeah, you’re gonna have fun with that. I’ll find you when I need you.” I pulled the sheet over the mirror and sank to the floor. Burying my head in my hands I worked to push the anxious foreboding in my gut out if only to save myself from the fluttering in my chest. “You’re taking this well,” I muttered at Rowan.
“If I think about it too long, I’m probably going to have a nervous breakdown and I don’t have time for that right now, so we’re just going to let this happen, have you make it for your sister’s birthday party, and pretend nothing is wrong. Then I’m going to abandon you for a couple hours, slip down the pub, and wash this whole mess out with a large keg of ale and come to in the morning having forgotten all about this nightmare.” He replied.
“Take me with you. I need something to wash out this nightmare.”
“Nope, you get to deal with Priscilla yourself. She’s your blood sister.”
“Her name’s Priscilla?”
“Who the hell was given permission to name people in this country?”
“That would be the archdioceses, and he doesn’t much like you.”
“I don’t much like him either.”
“Then you’ll get along just fine in this family.”
“I’m not sure that’s reassuring.”
“Wasn’t meant to be.”