Vanity Kills

Imagine if you stared into a mirror and the reflection began to change. It grew scales and glassy eyes. Gills and fins. You’re the same. Only the reflection has transformed. Then, of course, the reflected fish creature comes to get you.

That was the premise for a work of flash fiction I wrote over a year ago. It’s finally seeing publication in an anthology called Fish from Dagan Books.

The inspiration for this came from an old Chinese myth about a race of creatures that live in mirrors. I read about if from The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges. In ancient times, there was a war between these creatures and mankind. The Yellow Emperor used magic to enslave these creatures in mirrors, forcing them to mimic our movements. If you stare into the depth of a mirror, you may sometimes see the fish shimmering just at the edges, ready to throw off its shackles and restart the ancient war.

That’s creepy. I thought, what if that really happened. I mean, you stare into a mirror and things start to change. A bit like a reverse Alice in Wonderland. Instead of you going in, the creatures come out.

Tim Kane