Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Reflection By Kat Hunter

The whirring of the machine came closer to my head, ringing in my ears. A needle passed into the soft skin behind my ear. It burrowed deeper until it reached a cluster of nerves. I felt my eyes close.

‘Holly, wake up. It’s feeding time.’

The noise from the machine started again. I could feel my eyelashes brushing against my brow bone as I woke up from whatever slumber had taken control of me.

‘There you are, honey. You’ve been gone for quite a while!’

The woman’s voice gave a tinkling laugh. I thought I recognised her grey hair and deep-set dimples.

‘Everyone’s waiting for you in the dining room if you wanted to go ahead and join them. Let me just remove these wires quickly, there we go, now you’re all set. Go ahead, my sweet, breakfast time! It’s spinach today.’

Even with the wires removed from my skull, I felt unable to move. I glanced around at my surroundings. I’d been standing up this whole time, encased in a glass tube. What was I, a hamster?

That was when I realised I couldn’t actually feel anything. No panic. No fear. Just emptiness.

‘Oh Holly, stop this nonsense. Take my hand. It’s not like you’re a twenty year old woman capable of looking after herself,’ she tutted, rolling her eyes.

I felt the rough scraping of calloused fingers gripping at my hand, pulling me out of the open tube. We walked along a corridor of more glass tubes, each one open, empty. I let my eyes linger momentarily on each case, wondering who it had held.

She coughed under her breath. I hadn’t even noticed we had come to a stop, paused outside a set of double metal doors. The fluorescent lighting reflected off the surface, making my eyes squint.

‘Here we are.’

She stepped back and pushed me through the doors. I tripped, landing on my knees in the dining area. Just the entrance I needed.

Even from the floor, I could feel eyes watching me, analysing my every move, judging me. The room went silent. Averting my eyes, staring at my grey plimsolls, I shuffled towards the food counter.

A loud voice interrupted my embarrassment, asking, ‘What will it be today, love? Spinach? Or spinach?’

Everybody in the room gave a collective laugh, stopping just as abruptly as they had started. Hilarious.

Once I’d collected my breakfast, eyes still focused on the floor, I waited by a table and grabbed the nearest empty chair.

‘Hi, Holly. I’m Holly. Nice to meet you.’

That was the first time I looked up at somebody else. I saw myself. I frowned, receiving a smile in return.

‘It’s alright. You’re in the right place. Isn’t she, girls?’

The whole room gave a synchronistic ‘yes’. Looking around the dining room, it was like being in a hall of mirrors. I was reflected in every face, every body, every action. They were all me.

‘Welcome. We’re going to have so much fun.’

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