The mass of men live quiet lives. They live; they die, ignorant to the wonders of the worlds around them. Most are born directly into the shroud, thrashing blind until time takes its full and they recede into memory. But every once in a while, one is born who rises about the seething seas of desperation, if only for a moment. He or she who pulls back the veil, and sees the realm beyond.
These are the blessed, or the cursed few.
Tyronn wiled away his nights alone, ignorant to the wonder that slunk towards him. The TV buzzed, turned way down as he texted a friend, idly surfed the web, with no purpose but passing time until the sun rose on another day, and then another, until he had to live no more and could be blissfully forgotten. Such was to be his fate, so he thought, such was the fate of every man.
The hours blurred, and gradually Tyronn heard an odd sound, a scraping and scratching that came from no-particular-where, like something pulled itself forth from the very air he breathed. So far outside his ken of experience it was that he discounted it as madness, as his mind playing tricks on him, but lo and behold, the air before him shimmered and after a while he saw it.
And nothing in his life was ever the same.
It was a mirror, reflecting Tyronn’s tired face, but nothing else in the room. At first there was darkness in it, black night pressed against his brown skin. But as he peered further, as he crept closer (or perhaps as the mirror pressed itself more into the world), the world it contained began to coalesce. His reflection hung above a sea unlike any he knew, swirling rainbow currents brimming with fish of silver and gold. They leapt up, dozens of feet in the air, dozens of feet into encroaching darkness, and fell back down into light.
And that was another wonder. The sun lay beneath, a purple ball of fire boiling under multi-hued waves. The sky above was, lest Tyronn’s eyes played tricks on him, a black ice hull containing this world, or whatever it was. It collapsed towards the ocean in the distance, and all was water and flying sealife for as far as his eyesight lasted.
Tyronn fell to his knees at this splendor, so unlike all that he knew, and crawled towards it. Here something divine spoke to him. Here was a purpose above all others. Here was a chance to escape. The mirror hummed and called to him. He put his hand on its surface, and tried to push his way through. At first it seemed willing to receive him. The surface rippled at his touch, his fingers sunk inward. On their tips, he felt a warm wind, a surprise on a planet born in ice.
He closed his eyes, and imagined himself submerged in the rainbow sea. He wondered if it was as salty as Earth’s oceans, or if he would ever find land. Even if he swam and swam and found nothing, and ultimately drowned among scaly aquatic aliens, he would die happy. For he would die knowing something no one else was even capable of knowing, for this was a world all his own.
Alas, it was not to be. After pushing into the mirror up to his elbows, suddenly its rippling mass grew solid, and some powerful force pushed him back out of the new world and onto his knees. When he gathered himself, and looked at the mirror, all that remained of the world he once saw was blackness, and his brown face, and the tears that stained it at his abrupt gain and equally abrupt loss. He heard the scraping and scratching that had heralded its arrival, and thought to speak out, to protest.
“Please… don’t go. I just. I need something to hold on to.”
Alas, the mirror faded, creeping its way back out of this universe the same way it had come. He choked on a final plea.
But soon, despite his need, Tyronn was alone. With the TV quietly buzzing, with his mundane friends and life containing nary a surprise.
Decades later, as he lay dying, surrounded by his loved ones. Those who saw him pass left mystified by his final words.
“The sea. Oh for but one swim in that glorious rainbow sea!”