Story Shorts - The Stagnant Reflection
The Stagnant Reflection
Elena had always been told that her mother’s eyes looked right back at her every time she saw her reflection. Mirrors in their world weren't just reflective surfaces. They revealed one’s future self, albeit subtly, morphing with every decision made, each path taken.
While most of Elena's friends excitedly checked their mirrors on their birthdays, eagerly watching for signs of future success, love, or even potential pitfalls, Elena became anxious every year. On her twenty-first birthday, her reflection hadn’t aged a day since she was eighteen. She looked just the same: youthful, unscarred, and untouched by time.
Curious and unnerved, she visited the Mirror Mages, wise individuals who understood the magic behind the reflective surfaces and often guided those distressed by their reflections.
Master Miran, the eldest Mage, studied Elena intently as she stood before a grand, ornate mirror in his chamber. "Your future seems to be... paused," he murmured.
"But why?" Elena's voice was barely above a whisper.
Miran replied, "Some events, choices, or encounters halt the flow of time in one's reflection. It's rare, but not unheard of."
Determined to understand her stagnant future, Elena undertook a journey across the realm, seeking answers from sages, scholars, and anyone who might have knowledge about the mirrors.
In a remote mountain village, she met Liora, a woman with radiant skin and hair streaked with silver. To Elena's surprise, Liora's reflection showed a young girl, barely into her teens.
Liora spoke of a time when she was tasked with a decision so significant that it impacted not just her life but many others. By choosing not to make a choice, her reflection was frozen in time, a reminder of the standstill she had brought upon her destiny.
"The mirrors react to our essence, our souls," Liora explained. "If you’ve hit a crossroads, your reflection might remain unchanged until you take a certain path."
Elena contemplated Liora's words as she journeyed back home. She realized she had been avoiding confronting her own fears and desires, particularly the passion she felt for music, which she had set aside for a 'practical' career, fearing her family's disapproval.
She decided to embrace her true self, enrolling in the finest music school and letting her melodies resonate with her soul. Months into her training, one morning, she noticed a tiny wrinkle on her reflected forehead and strands of maturity in her hair.
Elena learned that sometimes, to move forward, one has to make choices that resonate with one’s core, even if they seem daunting at first.