Reflection

A Wild Arms III Fanfiction By:

Black Waltz 0

A/N: This creepy idea came to me while I was watching an older drama class at school perform. It is also Alfred centric, because he isn't in enough fics so far, and he deserves to have his very own story. Besides, Alfred is a little cutie, and macabre is fun!

xxx

Mirrors.

Alfred hated mirrors.

Not because of what it was, or what it did, but what it offered to him in a substitute of his own reflection. Everybody needed mirrors, everybody needed to see themselves and identify themselves with their own shape, their own form. Without a reflection, nobody would ever even know what they looked like. A simple piece of glass it was, painted with silver nitrate at the back for the reflective effect desired. So simple, yet…

If there was one thing Alfred hated above anything else, it was a mirror.

It had only taken him a week to confirm this fact, seven days after his thirteenth birthday. On that date, in his family's lineage and genetics, it was the day that his latent supernatural power would come to fruition. All Schroedingers bore a magical ability that was always diverse and different to the others of their clan, as unique as a fingerprint or a strand of DNA. Nobody could ever tell precisely what each Schroedinger's power would be, they would always have to experience it themselves on the child's coming of age ceremony. No longer a child, Alfred had become a young adult, a teenager. On that day, his power had been realised. The day when he turned, saw his reflection and screamed.

Alfred could still hear himself screaming in his mind.

His older sister Maya bore the ability to channel different streams of thought through her mind and make them tangible, a formidable ability that she used to it's fullest extent in the heat of melee battle. His father had been able to summon creatures from other worlds and dimensions, which was also the origin of his ginger cat friend, Shady. His mother had been powerless, having married into the family and aiding his father on his many different experiments and ventures. Hell, Alfred had even heard that he had a cousin somewhere who could manipulate and control lightning at will. They were all unusual, slightly separate from the rest of mankind. His mother had called it a magical blessing, but…

No, that could not be right. This had to be a curse.

Little Twister was unnaturally quiet that evening, carriages rolling though the main road being pulled by sweaty tired horses, the only sound drifting through the lazy heat-stricken air. Alfred was standing in the middle of his tiny room at the inn, not the Honey of Roses, because that building was not an acceptable place for a young lad like himself, or a lady like Maya, as said by their guardian Todd himself. The inn they were resting at was old and decrepit, but cheaper than most. And they had all managed to get their own room, Shady included.

The room was so quiet he could hear himself breathing, his hands limp by his sides, the left one clutching rather firmly at the straps of his favored panda backpack, the satchel empty with it's contents strewn all over the bed. His ocean-blue eyes were staring firmly, almost dully at the spotty and slightly rusted full-length mirror screwed tightly to the wall, bolts digging into the aged wood underneath the sheet of glass and silver. Slowly, gradually, Alfred's hands went limp and he dropped his backpack onto the floor, not caring where it lay. The mirror showed all.

That was his power, the mirror showed all.

His reflection was different to his outward physical appearance, and he had only recently gotten used to seeing it instead of a mirror version of himself. It still made him feel sick to his stomach though, and he had an inkling that no matter how many times he saw his reflection, the feeling would never change. Alfred raised his gloved hand and gently gripped the side of one of his cheeks and watched his mirror self do the same, feeling a tiny prickle of pain when he squeezed lightly. His blue eyes did not flicker, though he narrowed them a little bit. "Are you really me?" He said to the mirror, his timid voice lonely in the silent afternoon.

The face that stared back at him was the face of a seasoned adult, roughly looking to be in his mid twenties to early thirties. His face was lightly tanned by constant exposure to the sun's rays without proper protection and he stood far taller than the height Alfred was at right now, his clothing many kinds of browns and greys, made from durable and timeworn leather. His hair looked like it had been blonde once, many years ago, but time had darkened it to a mix of blonde and brown, cut short so it would not get in the way. His chin was scratchy with stubble that had not been shaved off, almost a visible beard but just not quite. Also, and this was the most disturbing thing of all, the man's eyes were of a faded ocean blue, just like the boy standing in front of the mirror, in quiet anxiety. This was Alfred's power.

When Alfred lowered his hand, the man in the mirror did the same, mimicking the boy's movements perfectly and without hesitation. On his birthday, he had run crying to his older sister and tried to show her exactly what he had seen, but all Maya had seemed to see was Alfred's regular boyish reflection, just the same as it had been the day before. Todd and Shady had seen the same thing. Alfred secretly even wondered if Maya believed what he had been telling her in the first place. Probably not. He was probably going crazy. That would be the only proper explanation. After all, what use would a power like this have?

The door opened with a creak and Alfred turned to face it, wondering who it could be. Sunlight was streaming through the windows and hurt his eyes a little as Maya poked her head in through the door, waited a second, then walked the entire way in. She was dressed in her drifting clothes, ready at any time for an adventure. "Hey Alfred," She said, looking at her younger brother, totally ignorant of Alfred's problem and fear, "I'm just gonna go out this afternoon and look for some leads at the tavern. You don't have to come, stay here if you like. Oh yeah," She folded her arms and allowed herself to pass her younger brother and sat down on his bed, brushing aside some of the half-finished explosives left lying over the blankets. "I left a book in here this mornin' while I was using your mirror, the cheap bastards in the inn didn't give me a room with one."

His own reflection had not been the only one that had changed. The other day, offhandedly and by his own mistake, he had glimpsed Todd's reflection in the mirror and saw a vision different to the form of his sword-toting guardian and friend. Alfred had seen an old man with pure white hair, no longer up in an impressive-looking afro, it was much shorter and sensible, while the man himself had been bowed by gravity, and instead of a powerful weapon, Todd had leant upon a simple wooden cane. Todd as an old man. Todd in the future.

And now, as Alfred looked upon his older sister's reflection in the mirror, as the blonde-haired woman stood up and grabbed the small novel from off Alfred's bedside table, the young boy caught a view of Maya's reflection, only her back, not her face. His eyes fixed upon the mirror and went past Maya herself, his mouth slowly opening in a silent gape of horror. Maya cocked her head to one side, confused. "What? What is it?" She asked, placing her hands upon her hips. Alfred did not answer. He could not answer.

The mirror Maya did not look any older than the realistic version standing in front of the golden-haired boy, but she was unlike the true Maya, so unlike her that Alfred felt a tight lump in his throat form from sheer terror. "Sis…" He said once, weakly, feebly, almost inaudibly. Then he repeated himself a few times, the volume of his voice increasing and decreasing in a strange fluctuation. "Sis… Sis… Sis…" He whispered, eyes wide, his breathing catching upon the lump in his throat.

Mirror Maya was slouching in her seat, sitting down, her gloved hands resting dejectedly upon the armrests of her wheelchair, still in her drifting clothes, though they looked a little faded, as if they should have been replaced or worn out ages ago. Her blonde hair was only a little bit longer, and still its vibrant sun-gold colour. Alfred was so immensely glad that he could net see his mirror sister's face, he didn't think he could bear to see what kind of future her blue eyes held. Mirror Maya straightened up when the original Maya did, and when the real Maya folded her arms, the mirror Maya let her hands drop to her sides despondently, her fingers brushing up against the steel wheels of her portable prison.

Maya strode back to the doorway, and doing this, her mirror self told a hold of the wheels of her wheelchair and pushed herself along the same path that he present self had taken, yet never moving out of Alfred's mirror, or out of Alfred's vision. Turning around, Alfred suddenly forced himself to look directly at his older sister, just before he could have taken a look at mirror Maya's face. He just didn't want to find out. Maya turned her head to look back at him, seeing the young boy's distraught face and assuming it meant something else. "I'll be back before it gets dark, don't worry." She assured him, then left, closing the door.

Alfred stared at the door for almost a minute or so, his mood darkening as every second rolled by. Curling his small hands into fists, he turned back to the mirror, seeing his older self in the same posture. "Why are you showing me this?" He demanded angrily of himself, and the mirror, "Is that what is really gonna happen to her? When? What use is this power if I don't know anything?!" He looked at the window, where the sky was beginning to show the onset of dusk. A terrible impulse jabbed the back of his mind, the result, a horrific pressure upon his heart.

Now…

"Now?!" Alfred nearly shrieked to the mirror, dredging the answer up from Guardian knows what. "She will be injured now?! How?!" The boy jumped onto his bed and slammed the window open, nearly leaning half his body out the see the land surrounding the inn. The landscape was calm, serene. From his second storey room, he could see a great deal of the southern part of Little Twister, and the main road that lead it's way through the town. Maya was just leaving the front door of the inn, shutting it closed behind her.

Then Alfred heard the thundering of distant hooves, originating from the visible horizon, and the creaking of wooden boards and metal joints, the sounds of a carriage being driven at very high speeds.

He leant backwards and jumped off his bed, half sprinting, half throwing himself nearly all the way across the room. But an inner force in his head held him back, the tendrils and creeping hands of his own inner power. Alfred forced his eyes shut, tears beading at the corners. "I can save her!" He cried to the mirror. "I know what will happen! I can save her! You can't stop me! Look at me!"

If you change her future… His heart told him, Then you will change your own as well… Observe.

Alfred looked back into his mirror, and his blood turned icy cold.

His reflection was that of himself, only thirteen years old, except that his skin was pasty white, his lips a cold blue. His eyes were closed to the world forever, the boy dressed in the finest change of clothing he owned. The view Alfred was receiving of his reflection was a bird's eye one, because mirror Alfred was reclining peacefully in a modest-looking casket, a coffin ready for burial. The clothing covered the track marks that the carriage wheels had made upon him when he was run over, and overall the mortician had done a fine job in making the body look as good as it possibly could. It was him, a snapshot of his own funeral. Alfred screamed and threw his arms around his body, sinking to his knees. Even now, he could hear the hooves coming for his sister, but if he went out there to save her, his future would be…

But Sis will be saved, He yelled to his mind, Sis will be okay, but I will die…

He moved to the window again. Maya was crossing the street. Then she glanced off to the side as somebody called on her, making her stop halfway in the road. The great bell on the nearby church began to ring, sounding five chimes and drowning out the roar of Maya's unfair punishment. Alfred slid off his bed half-heartedly and looked up at the full length mirror, biting his lip so hard that it almost bled. "If I save her, I'm a…" He looked hard at his reflection, his mirror corpse did not move at all, stiff and still. Alfred closed his eyes. "But if I leave her, I will be…" Opening them again, he was greeted with his older self, alive again. The bell struck three. He could have screamed out to her if only his voice was a little louder, but he knew that the bell would drown him out without mercy.

"I…" Alfred whispered, covering his face with his hands. "I can't do it."

Detaching itself from Alfred's movements for the barest of seconds, Alfred's mirror self bowed his head.

And smiled.

xxx

When Alfred heard his older sister scream in the street, the frenzied horses whinny in fright, and the inescapable crunch of a human body hitting fast-moving wood, metal and being stepped on by sharp hooves, the young boy was hiding under his bed and trembling, with his white pillow over his head, sobbing like a broken soul.

Red trails of blood were smeared across the pristine fabric though, his nails bleeding heavily from every digit.

And the beautiful full-length mirror lay in shards upon the floor, ripped from it's place by Alfred's frantic hands and smashed with a hysterical howl.

Mirrors.

Alfred hated mirrors.

-fin-