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M watched himself wake in a mirror. His hair was gone and electrodes circled his skull, their wires stripped and dangling like witch hair. The mirror extended from the arm of the gutted surgical chair he was in. It hung over him, its strange reality becoming his.

M had dreamt of giant beetles jittering down a hallway, their bodies upright and crisscrossing in formation, antennae casting light beams on twitchy wings, hard shells, and cracked walls, a door shattering into white. M had watched himself jostled head first into the dried skin of some animal.

M reached for his skull, but rubber caught both his wrists. He turned his head, both to prove he could and to avoid the mirror. Behind him, his wires dragged along the floor and rose up a half-lit metal cart into the back of a black box—featureless except for a switch.

Continued at Akashic Books.

Photo by PiccoloNamek, used under CC by 3.0, cropped


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