“Tarnished” by Jennifer Combden | Short Story Winner

She rounded a corner, nearly running into an unexpected dead-end. Blinking in surprise, she stood unmovingly. She couldn’t say how long she’d been trapped in this white labyrinth, as time had no meaning here. She had no need to eat, her body never changed, her teal dress never ruffled, and she never felt fatigued. So she continuously wandered, memorizing its layout, measuring time by completed circuits. However long it had been, nothing had ever changed. Until now, that is.

With nothing but her continuous exploration to keep the overwhelming whiteness from enveloping her, she kept moving. Re-memorizing the layout, the changes came slowly at first. At first, she might have done several rounds before she came across a missing door or hallway, but now there were perhaps a dozen or more changes by the time she returned to the room where her entrapment began.

Normally she rushed through the room, the window to the room where she first discovered the beautiful silvered mirror only a flash in her periphery. This time she paused before the glass she had banged on for likely hours after she had pressed too hard on the mirror. She had tumbled into this room most ungracefully, amazingly not damaging herself or the mirror. With a deep breath, she looked forward and gasped. The oval of glass was no longer clear, only a small section still showed the room she
remembered. Silver tarnish closed in, destroying the mirror. Destroying her world.


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Words © 2018 Jennifer Combden. Image © 2018 Kit Sora.

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