The room filled with the bright light as it did every morning. Catherine stirred, not wanting to face yet another day here, in this room, in this place. Eventually, she threw back the white comforter and white sheets and swung her legs over the side of the bed.
Sitting slowly, she looked down at her white, lace nightgown. Not her choice, but nothing here was her choice. Sliding her feet into the white slippers on the floor, she stood and looked at the ivory clock on the painted white mantel over the fireplace. Early, as usual. But it didn’t matter. Time stood still here.
Slowly walking to the long window, framed with white linen curtains, she tried once more to see the outside world. Only a blinding whiteness lay beyond the glass. Daytime was complete white, nighttime endless black. Always the same, always the same.
She pulled the white curtains closed over the window as if to block out the white beyond and turned away. Her eyes slowly scanned the room, as she had done a thousand times before. An ornate and old bed, painted white and dressed in white. A chair, upholstered in white. A white table, with a white lamp. The mantel was white, a bookcase was white, the floor, the ceiling, the walls: all white, white, white.
Only four things in the room broke the endless emptiness the monochromatic color scheme offered. One were the words in the novels on the bookcase. While the books themselves where bound in white, with white pages, the words were black. She could read, at least.
Second, she still had her fair complexion and soft, chestnut hair. She would look at her hand sometimes for hours, savoring the break from utter whiteness and wondering how long it would be before she too faded away.
Third, while the fireplace featured a white painted wooden frame around whitewashed bricks, the flames were bright hues of orange, yellow and red. The colors were welcome, as was the heat, but they did nothing to alleviate the desolation and loneliness she felt. She was always cold.
Night brought the opposite of the white. Blackness filled every space until all she could see was the fire. The room would seem endless then, a void where nothing mattered. She had nightmares of disappearing into the darkness, of losing herself and never finding her way back.
But then morning would come again, and the brightness would replace the darkness. Again. Opposites, yet both left her feeling empty, alone, scared.
She walked away from the mantle and toward the full size antique mirror that stood in the corner of the room, the last thing to give color to her small world. The mirror itself was painted white, the frame ornate and intricately detailed, with strange, carved faces of what she had at first thought were cherubs. Over time, she had seen the demonic visages for what they really were. More gargoyles than cupids.
Gazing into the mirror, she didn’t see her reflection looking back. Instead, she saw him and the world beyond. She knew the man’s name was Rafael. She knew other things about him she wished she didn’t. She also knew he was in the real world, the world of color and life, and that she was trapped here, in this strange, drab copy. Her prison.
He sat dressed in a black suit, on the bed that mirrored the one here, but with maroon and gold linens. On the opposite side of the looking glass in the antique frame, Rafael watched her and smiled at her, his crooked, sad smile. Then he stood and walked away, to the door in his room that was the one thing missing in her room. She had no exit, no escape.
Catherine watched him go out the door and shut it behind him. As he did, the room she saw in the antique frame shimmered and vanished, the glass once more solid white. Crossing her arms over her chest, she turned away from the mirror. She was alone again. Nothing but the endless white, at least until the endless black replaced it.
This week's Theme Thursday topic is "Mirror".
I decided to use the first chapter of the novel I wrote back during the NaNoWriMo of 2008.
For more Theme Thursday ---> Mirror