In this mirror, prickled and concealed by patches of settling white steam, I see a misty picture; a tiled wall, a door, the corner of the shower I stepped out of, and a head of dirty blonde hair.
The hair is attached to a head.
That head encases the most hideous set of fantastic eyes, intense crimson eyes that burn every inch of the surroundings to memory. They don't flicker like one would expect, they just scrape every detail of the room.
Those criticising eyes stare back at me; the red only all too familiar.
They don't move their glare. I don't move mine.
In contrast to the silent looming war, I noticed the warmth instilled into the crevices of my skin was still lingering. The smooth texture as it cascaded, too, remained on my back. Those eyes in the mirror, locked with mine, could almost recognise what I felt, what I was reminiscing. Understanding settled somewhere deep in them.
Slowly, the scarlet eyes progress to look beyond my own and drag their glare down the length of my body. I do the same.
The head that holds those prying eyes in the mirror continues on to a body.
Perceptibly, it's a man's body. But it belongs to no man. It's marred with bite shaped scars, hundreds. They are pronounced against any unscathed patches of skin.
The tarnished skin covering the body is that of a monster, and those scars mark their territory well. No creature could ever forget what they are with such reminders tattooed to the surface and beyond.
Strangely, I feel I know the creature before me all too well.
The face in the mirror, the one encasing the bloodied eyes, shows some piercing anguish at my noting of its murdering mementos. But then I see some familiarity to the agony. The body itself, however, holds the stance of comfort. Comfort, I suppose, in knowing he knows what he is. Then the anguish appears once again as it realises the reason for its placation.
It lowers its gaze. But never shall it be low enough.
I move my stare lower too.
I see below the neck are sharp shoulders, home to more crescent reminders of the lives it had taken. In the mirror, I see droplets of water dribble along the slight contours of the blades, tracing the monster's partially healed wounds, heading towards the ground. Even the water wants to get away from it. The bone structure still sits back though; straight, angular, tall and proud. They shouldn't. The shoulders don't belong in the building of monstrosities. They should be the shoulders of the innocent, of the hero. Not of the soulless.
The brilliant red eyes in the mirror simultaneously meet mine again as I look up. They glower back, repulsed by the sight, by the very presence, of me in front of him.
Those evil eyes hold a new realisation.
I stare back at the mirror.
The eyes stare back at me.
I see a monster - a true monster. Me.
The hair, the head, the face, the eyes, the shoulders, the chest… mine. Each scar etched on me has its own story, its individual owner who can no longer boast of leaving it. But they need not; they eternally mark my shoulders, my arms, my torso, my legs and my face. They stain me with the things I have done. They forever hold me to what I have been. They succeed in boasting of their fortune of dying.
In the mirror, the eyes that rake over the disfigured immortal are a quenched scarlet red. And I shouldn't recognise them, but I do. They are mine. Those eyes are mine. They were mine for nearly a hundred years before I knew different. And yet, even now I know different and here they remark their territory in my unchanging face. It is where they belong – the symbolising of a foul creature. They're very appropriately given.
Those scarlet eyes reflect me. Worthless me.
They reflect today; the vivid crimson of the soul I snatched and was not entitled to. I see the eyes of a mad brute, a selfish, insane monster.
These eyes see no reason for themselves, for their very existence. But they crave more… more of the beast within. The one I have unleashed.
Have I no morals?
I can still hear the scream; the sharp, strident cry. I feel all over again the physical liquid warmth flowing through me from mouth to toes. I feel the terror that flowed through her. She felt no more when I left.
But I will feel forever.
I lost control again. Nobody else does that. Only I do.
The ruby eyes watched that replay whizz past in the mirror, and they know beyond today. They know that my disgraces are not limited to today.
I've killed many people. I've killed my own kind out of my selfish thirst. I've killed humans to make them my killers; I shortened their lives and then later disposed of them when I no longer saw a point for them. Why hadn't I been taken then? Why wasn't I struck down? Why didn't one man have the courage to stand up to me and do unto me what I did unto others?
My whole existence means nothing; it holds no value or purpose. The only precious essence it has comes second-hand from those who stay around me. Those people have meaning, but I mean nothing to them. I mean nothing to myself.
Why would anyone want to be around me?
Better yet, why would anyone want to stay with me? I don't even want to be around me. I am a monster. Albeit, I appear a different one to what I had been back then, but somehow I feel no different or better than before.
Anyone who wants to stay with me is a fool. Crazy, even. But when I look into her sweet eyes, her unfathomable eyes, I do not see crazy. She is not insane. Someone so small and fragile and loved can't be. Not Alice.
She is fun and happy. She is perfect. She has no scars. Never could I or anyone in history see her as a monster. She is not like me. She doesn't lose control.
And she doesn't deserve to have to put up with me.
She deserves much better; someone who has flawless skin, something that can control itself when it's important. She doesn't need a burden like me.
Burden, ha, what an unjustified word. I want to laugh at it, for its ugliness is no comparison to me. I am a thousand million times worse than that.
I am useless.
I am brutal.
I am a disgrace.
I am Jasper.
Jasper. That is a good definition.
Blemished, troubled, pointless and shameful.
Living is not something that I should have a right to. I abuse it. I hurt those around me. I should have to endure what they feel and the circumstances, not just detect it.
I should not be around to feel trepidation or torment.
I cause nothing but negative impact.
Naturally, Alice always says the opposite. I feel her pity; it's different from others' though. She always interlaces it with her stunning smile; the smile I see so often that makes my day better. But it shouldn't; she shouldn't be with me, I shouldn't have the privilege of seeing her or anyone else. Monsters do not need pity.
This monster in the mirror does not need it, at least.
The mist is less apparent now, the white clouds turn to pure water in small spots and dribble down towards the centre of the Earth. My eternal cold body no doubt had some sort of impact with that. The mirror only reflects me clearer now though. Each individual wound stands out; each story floods my mind, haunting me.
The smaller one on my left shoulder, just here... that is Alice's permanent mark. It is one I would gladly accept, if it were earned. She gave it to me the first time we made love. She told me that her story behind her mark would conquer all the others that bother me so.
That scar is the one thing this body possesses that has meaning.
But in my reflection, it is the least conspicuous.
I feel like shattering that mirror. I want to punch it. I want to send reflective spikes of glass to the floor in a fountain of silver; to send that reflection of a monster away, in pieces, broken and useless… I want to dispose of it. Brutally. I want it to stop showing me the red! The memory of it will never leave, it will never wash away. No amount of water, or soap or broken pieces of glass will ever diminish what I have done. I will always be there every time I look.
I will always be Jasper.
A stealer of souls.
The one who slips up.
That is what everyone should see.
The mirror reflects the room I stand in. I see a tiled wall, a door, the corner of the shower I stepped out of, and a door behind me leading somewhere away from this mirror. I shouldn't use the door, the escape. I should stay until I truly see me: the callous, cold, eternally damned creature.
After all, a mirror never lies, only the interpreter does.
No one will miss a monster. No one cares for monsters – not that they should. I mean nothing. I serve no purpose. I cause misery and grief, fear and disappointment. That is what a monster does.
And no one will mourn a monster.
I no longer see the shiny mirror. I have turned around.
No, go back – do not run. Coward.
All I see is the door; it is not at all flat like the reflection. It is real. Even it serves a purpose.
Particular red eyes no longer stare pointedly back at me. But I can still feel them raking another scar down my back. They will never leave me alone.
Pulling the door open reveals a new atmosphere, coated slightly again with pity and fear. But more dominantly, there are elements that I should not be able to recognise or comprehend: love and devotion.
I pull the door further back, managing to drag my body through.
My room is not empty like I left it. A new inhabitant stalks among it: a tiny angel with features delicate and beautiful, hair dark and pure.
She stands there tranquilly, motionless with her head tipped ever so slightly to the side; perfect in every way, as always. Her smile is accepting and her mood radiates many things: sadness, fear, love, cheer….
But she does not speak.
You cannot keep looking at her, Jasper. At this pure, lively angel that stands before you. Life is not that kind.
The polished floorboards shouldn't even have to endure your stare, yet you continue to look down at them… The towel around your waist shouldn't be there, you do not deserve it.
The angel shouldn't have to suffer you either. The sensitive, living, perfect angel doesn't deserve torment.
Stare down you fool. Do not acknowledge Alice's lithe steps; you are not worthy of her. You are the slum, the uncontrollable one. You only cause trouble. Do not burden them or her with your presence. You do not deserve to embrace the girl before you. She has life, has meaning. She is not soulless like you. Her existence means something to others.
And so the mist from the mirror has finally lifted:
You shouldn't exist - you saw so in your very own eyes.