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Totality by Gregory Harvey
SUMMARY: Umm... this is wierd. Really wierd. Placeholder title for the moment as well...
Tears of sweat streamed from the man's bald head as he scraped the shaving foam from his face. One drop fell from his strained eyebrow, and landed on the cheek below. For but a moment it had hindered the man's view of his own eyes – into which he had been staring for some time. His eyes were heavy – opened wide against the bags hanging from them. The man did not watch his hand as it shaved his face. It was an action so often repeated that it had become mindless. Like breathing.
If the man adjusted his gaze to the bottom left hand corner of the mirror, he would see the boy sitting behind him. The boy's eyes were drawn out the window. The sun had fallen, and the rows of buildings across the way were burning. The towers of flame blanketed the night sky with thick smoke, reflecting red in the firelight. Immense heat was floating in through the window.
"I shave my face. I shave my face not because I feel it necessary to appear in a certain way. I shave my face because a beard quickly becomes irritating. It itches. Therefore I shave it well."
The boy listened as the man who was going to kill him spoke. The words seemed to carry with them something that could be described as ritualistic elegance.
The man continued, "I am fifty-three..."
He reached into the basin in front of him with cupped hands. He filled them with water, splashing it across his face. He used a towel beside the basin to soak the water from his cheeks and then the sweat from his head. Having fulfilled its purpose, the towel was dropped to the floorboards.
"...and you are fifteen. That is what separates us."
The soon-to-be-killer turned to his victim. Their eyes met – and to the man it was not at all dissimilar to staring in the mirror.
"I refer not to the physical passage of years however, as we both are existing in this one place, at this one time – and are, therefore, one in that respect. I refer to the circumstance."
The man moved closer to the window – to the boy – and peered out of it, "I am fifty-three. You are fifteen," he raised his view to the window, gazing through it, "The fire burns."
Following his murderer's gaze, the boy spoke, "No fire engines arrive yet. No one fights the flames. Yet the buildings still stand amongst the blaze."
"The fire burns, but does not consume," the man said, moving from the window and back to the basin. He twisted the tap and allowed the cool water to run over his hands. "I am fifty-three," he said, locking onto his eyes in the mirror, "You are fifteen. And thus I look upon you with envy. With jealousy and contempt... but not anger or violence."
He turned the tap backwards, cutting the flow. It continued to drip into the basin. The man who was going to kill the boy stared at the end of the tap as each drip formed, and then fell, only to vanish into the air before splattering against the sink, "The water falls," he said, "but does not flow."
Once again he turned from the basin, "Your eyes are as my own. I see the same in you as I do my reflection. Almost as though we were... one," he paused, "No... not one.