Reverse. Short Story.

Everything is starting to go back to normal now it would seem, though it is slightly strange to think this time last week I was in hospital trying to type with a drip in the back of my hand. It’s a good thing I am not afraid of needles, though no more crazy piercings for me, lest they need to be quickly liberated from me again. Still, I’ll just have to do something else to compensate. Shave a swear word into my hair, get a face tattoo, sword swallowing. ya know. usual stuff.
Anyway, on with the show!



Jessica had been feeling strange all day, nothing she could put her finger on, not exactly, but something wasn’t right. Physically she felt fine, there was no pain, nothing that would signal the coming of a migraine, which she suffered from occasionally. It seemed as though everything was just a little too bright, a little too colourful. People seemed to smile at her a lot this morning, at least, more than usual. It had been slightly unnerving but she had simply passed it off as mild paranoia.
There was no reason she should feel this way, but the feeling remained and refused to be shaken away. The day passed quickly, strangely so, everything seemed to slot perfectly into place, she finished her work early, she had even managed to clear away some of the more pressing issues that were not due until tomorrow. Everything seemed to be going her way today, everything but that strange feeling.

Jessica sighed and rubbed her eyes again, trying to clear her mind of whatever was causing the problem, everything was fine, better than fine. She had even found a ten euro note while going out to lunch. Everything was going her way today, it was her lucky streak. As the work day drew to a close, thick thunderclouds had started to gather, and Jessica groaned. She had dressed for the warm day that was forecast, not expecting rain and though slightly annoyed that she would get home sopping wet, she was slightly mollified, reasoning that it was the impending rain that she was sensing. A crash of thunder heralded the rain fall which fell in thick, heavy drops. Though not looking forward to the walk home, she ignored the noise of the rain hitting the window and finished off her work. Though the drumming of the rain grew louder she continued working until it reached its crescendo. Jessica looked up from the computer screen, annoyed at the rains persistence. If it had to rain, it could at least have the decency to do so quietly. Some people had to work.

After a few moments the torrent slowed and then finally stopped, the sun breaking through the dark clouds, creating random spotlights. By the time she was clocking out the clouds had cleared and the sun was shining again, though it seemed to be doing so weakly, as though the sun had expected the rest of the day off and had given up after the clouds moved in.

Jessica always enjoyed the world after rain fell, everything smelled cleaner, fresher. Flowers and plants seemed to perk up and there was the heady smell of damp earth in the air. It was cool outside, but not cool enough to require a jacket and, carrying it in her arms, she set off for home, savouring the feeling of a fresh, clean world.
On the way home she considered stopping for some groceries, then, decided that there was nothing that she needed urgently, after all, she had enough to make herself dinner and if Tom came over, he could just mooch off the leftovers as he usually did anyway. She would need to stop in somewhere soon though, her cupboards were getting embarrassingly bare, nothing left but a few lonely old cans keeping each other for company.

The onslaught of rain was sudden and drains found themselves clogged and backed up, allowing the rain to create huge, deep puddles, giant mirrors that coated the streets, smooth until ripples marred their surface. Jessica paid no attention to the large reflective pools, instead, she was lost in thought. She reached out to press the cross button and a few seconds later, the reflection did the same. She carefully moved some hair out of her face, then continued on. The reflection paused for a moment, then followed.

She didn’t hear the car beeping, suddenly airborne, she flew through the air, body spasming at awkward angles before landing heavily on the road. The impact had knocked the breath out of her and she struggled to breath, her lungs screaming for air but unwilling to expand. There was a deep throbbing pain in her leg, and her arm was twisted somewhere beneath her body. As crowds of people rushed to her, no one noticed the reflection moving ever so slightly. Jessica’s free hand fell to the tarmac, sinking into the puddle she lay in. Her mind still struggling to accept what happened to her, she tried to raise herself up, she needed to stand, that was all, then she would be fine. Everything would be fine. The reflection moved its hands over Jessica’s and the world seemed to waver momentarily as a wave of nausea washed over her. She struggled to push up again, then fell back to the road, lying in the puddle. The sky was beginning to darken again, low grey clouds moving in and obscuring the sky. People huddled around her, unsure what to do, how to help. She blinked slowly, then tried not to scream as she looked at the people standing around her.

They were all indistinct figures, rippling and grey, their mouths moved but no sound came out. Something behind her moved, shifting her entire world as she fell upwards, spilling onto her feet. She tried to speak but no sound came out, her lips moved but words refused to come. Her arms moved of their own accord, reaching out, a few of the shadow people stepped forward, as though trying to help her. They gripped her arm and she felt her head shaking, her lips pulling at a smile. The grip was cold and clammy. The person looked concerned, their features shifting and distorting, but she nodded again and they seemed satisfied. She began to walk, not knowing where she was going, she wasn’t in control, her body moved of its own will, refusing to let her know what was happening. She suddenly realised she was cold, so very cold, the pain in her leg which before had been a steady roar was diminishing with each step until it was gone, her arms swung freely by her side.

She was walking for a few seconds, trying to figure out what was happening, why everything seemed so different before darkness engulfed her vision. She could feel herself moving, but she couldn’t see. She was blind. She tried to call out again for someone, anyone to help, but still no sound would come and her body continued forward. Suddenly there was light, bright and blinding, she tried to squint her eyes to protect them, but they wouldn’t move. Everything began to ripple, slowly at first, but then faster as more and more ripples appeared, spreading outwards, crashing into one another. Jessica looked up and saw herself, looking at the sky. It was beginning to rain again.

She stared at the clouds, feeling the rain on her skin. It was nice, feeling the cool drops on her warm skin. She felt so alive, so full of vitality. She looked at the puddle near her feet, her eyes meeting Jessica’s. The reflection’s eyes showed a fear and horror that was not present in her own. She smiled at the reflection, then, turned away and continued on her way home.

About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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