tagMind ControlCaptured Reflections

Captured Reflections


"Wow," Brian Patterson said, his eyes taking in the vast, cluttered expanse of his attic, "I always forget how much junk we keep up here." He gave himself a brief moment to reconsider his current course of action, then finished climbing the stairs to make way for his three friends to follow.

Justin Davis, Brian's best friend, was next to ascend into the messy space. His skinny chest coughed twice at the dust, then adjusted his glasses. "I changed my mind. I thought this was going to be way easier and a whole lot less depressing. Which of your parents are hoarders?"

"I think it's a combination of the two," Brian guessed, watching as the two large brothers, Sam and Eric brought up the rear into the cramped space.

"So, what are we looking for again?" Sam asked earnestly.

Brian had to love the brothers. They weren't the sharpest, but they were always willing to lend a hand when he needed it, and with their muscular frames, they were always ideal when any heavy lifting was required. "Anything that might be valuable. My mom said I could sell some of the clothes up here that we've kept in storage forever. But she also said there might be a few antiques I could pawn off downtown."

"And why do you need this extra cash again?" Eric asked.

"Cause of the girl, dumb dumb, remember?" Justin responded jovially, gently wrapping on Eric's skull with his knuckles. "The one he works with and wants to ask out. If she says yes he wants to take her to an expensive restaurant to show her he's not the loser we all know he is."

This caused all four of them to laugh as the word 'loser' was sort of an inside joke in their little clique. If possible, all four of them would have tied for 'Most Likely Never To Accomplish Anything in Life' in their senior yearbook. They had all barely graduated four years ago but each had no aspirations for higher learning or the American dream. Instead they had each settled into simple jobs with little to no responsibility, little room for advancement, and never enough money to live on. They could each make the paychecks stretch though, as they each still lived at home. In situations such as this, where the need to impress on a first date was seen as a priority, they had to get creative.

This is what had led them to ransack the Patterson's attic in the middle of summer. Brian had promised each of his friends a tiny cut of whatever it is he could sell, and in his mind it was way better than doing it all by himself.

They opened boxes of useless childhood memorabilia that had not seen the light of day in some time. They scoured inside various chests that reeked of mothballs. And they investigated with the eye of one who can only appraise with imaginative dollar signs in their eyes anything that might come close to being worth some money. They found little, at least, in regards to what they were willing to carry. Some larger furniture items might have been well worth their time, but long ago their creed had been to keep any sort of effort to a bare minimum.

Justin opened a trunk that looked promising but found more of the same clothes that would be worth pennies on the dollar at a consignment store. On the off chance that maybe there was something more, he plunged his hands under the heap of old clothing. As he slid his hand down the length of the trunk's bottom, his fingers hit an impasse. He felt around and was able to get his hand around the mystery item and pull it towards the surface. Out in the open, he saw it was just a small, rectangular wooden box about eighteen inches long. There were no distinguishing marks or design on it. The wood was not anything special. It had nicks and bumps and seemed old but not ancient.

Justin still held out hope that maybe what was inside contained something of value, and he lifted a small clasp in the middle of the box and peered inside. Again, he was disappointed. There was nothing inside but a small, handheld mirror resting on a velvet lining. Justin extracted it from the box and marveled at how cheap and worn it looked.

The mirror's frame was made entirely of wood, but looked like something someone had hand carved and badly. An inch of wood surrounded the mirror and there were markings that had been etched in. The symbols were like nothing Justin had ever seen, but also looked like they could have just been done by several random stabbings at the frame. The handle was the only thing that was the tiniest bit nice. The wood here was dark, smooth and well polished. After his quick examination, Justin put it back in the box and yelled, "Heads up," as he tossed it without warning to Brian.

Justin had forgot to fasten the clasp and as the box sailed towards Brian, the mirror flew out and crashed to the floor. Brian also failed to catch the box which was a surprise to none of his friends in the room.

Justin laughed. "Sorry man. I was going to see if you thought if that mirror was worth anything, but I'm sure it's not now."

Sam and Eric came over to investigate the find as Brian bent over to pick up the mirror, now laying face down. He expected to see reflective shards as he lifted it, but there were none. He turned to look at the mirror's surface and saw there was not even one crack, a miracle given the impact it had suffered. "It's okay. How is it okay? Did they make mirrors sturdier back in the day."

"Maybe it's plastic?" Sam suggested.

Brian scrutinized it, then frowned. "It's not. It should have shattered." And then he threw it on the ground. All four men were astonished as they watched the mirror bounced once, then come to rest again on the floor. No wooden splinters flew and no shards were seen. Brian picked it up again and noted that, other than its shabby exterior, it didn't look as if it had taken on any damage.

"So you found an indestructible mirror," Eric said helpfully. "That's got to be worth something?"

"Not the same with the case it was in," Justin added as he stopped to retrieve the open case. "It's not broken but the lining came out of the top." As he saw the cheap velvet that was drooping down, he saw that it had been held there with a cheap glue. He tugged it lightly and it came out. "Hey, there are words or...something written in here?"

"What do you mean something written?" Brian asked, stepping towards his friend. Justin held up the lid and could see that there did appear to be symbols scrawled on the upper inside portion of the lid. As he pulled the box closer to study it, he let his other hand that held the mirror drop to his side.

The door to the attic opened and Brian's sister's head popped into view a moment later. Casey Patterson was the polar opposite of her brother. She was driven, capable, popular, and in general a delight to be around. She was also gorgeous and Brian's friends were glad she had come home for the summer instead of staying at her college campus. She drastically improved the scenery with her long strawberry blonde hair, svelte figure and long legs.

Casey knew Brian was a bit of a loser, but she loved him fiercely and wanted nothing but the best for him. She tolerated his friends because, though prone to checking her out now and again, they had never behaved inappropriately towards her. She eyed their progress before asking, "Mom wanted to know if you all wanted anything to eat? I see you, um, well you probably haven't worked up too much of an appetite..." she began, noting that no real progress had seemed to be made in their disaster of an attic.

Sam and Eric were already raising their hands. "We'll eat!" Sam said enthusiastically.

"Nothing for me, thanks though," Justin said.

Casey paused, looking at her brother who hadn't seemed to have even acknowledged her presence. "Brian? You want anything?"

Brian had not noticed his sister. He had continued to look at the symbols in the box. Symbols that, the longer he stared, seemed to reshape themselves into words that resembled English. His sister called his name again. One word, the word that he now saw at the top of a list of words became perfectly clear, and he uttered it aloud. "Capture."

The moment he said it he noticed a soft red glow out of the corner of his eye and looked down to spot the source. It was coming from the mirror in his hand. The outer rim where symbols had been etched into the wood were each giving off a dim red glow and Brian saw that the reflection that shown there was his sister's. She must have stepped into it's path while he held it down at his side. He looked up to see her reaction but was surprised to see her standing completely still, her body awash in the red light. And then it was over and she blinked as if she had momentarily lost her train of thought.

"I, what was I...?" Casey began, then nodded her head as she remembered. "Brian, do you want anything to eat or not?"

Brian looked at her quizzically, then shook his head. She went back down the stairs, and all at once all four friends began to speak.

"What just happened?"

"What was that light?"

"Did that mirror hypnotize your sister?"

"All I said was the first word on the list in the box, and then that light hit Casey," Brian explained, still not understanding.

"There weren't any words," Justin said dubiously, retaking the box to examine it again. "Yeah, there's just these symbols that don't mean anything."

"Yeah," Brian agreed, "that's what I saw at first too. But the longer I looked they, well, they became words, or at least the one on top did."

Justin stared at his friend as if he'd lost his mind. "Uh huh, okay. You said the first one was 'capture', here." He tossed the box back at Brian who for once caught something. "What's the next one?"

Brian had caught the box, but awkwardly as he was still holding the mirror in one hand. It shifted precarious in his hand as he flipped the lid open. Again, unreadable symbols were carved there, but as he watched, words began to manifest again, quicker than before. "Copy. The second word is copy."

Again the mirror in his hand shown red and Brian looked over to see that Eric, who had been on his left, was in the path of its reflection.

"Guys, what's happening?" was all Eric got to say before the rest of them saw light seem to bend around him. His whole form flickered for a moment, and then popped back into startling focus. All the more startling because it was not his form, but that of Brian's sister Casey.

"That was weird," the newly appeared Casey exclaimed, then threw her hands over her mouth. Brian, Justin and Sam watched in morbid fascination as her eyes went wide as she looked down at herself. She let her hands glide down from her mouth, stopping at the skin at the top her her yellow t-shirt. After a moment, she continued down until both her palms came to rest on her C cup breasts and without any thought to the others in the room, she gave them both a firm squeeze. "I have boobs guys? Why do I have boobs?"

"Casey?" Brian asked, too confused tell his sister to stop groping herself in front of him and his friends.

"Who?" the girl asked. "You think I'm Casey? I'm not I'm.."

"Eric, " Justin interjected. Lazy though he might have been, he was the smart one of the bunch. Brian was their unofficial leader, but Justin took the lead in the brains department. "It's the mirror. You held it on Casey when she was up here and said capture, and it did. It captured her form. Then when you had it on Eric and said copy, it copied Casey's form onto him."

"But that's impossible?" Brian said stubbornly.

"Then explain to me another reason why your sister would have a hand down her pants in front of all of us," Justin queried while pointing at Casey's form. She had moved past her breasts and unzipped her pants and plunged one hand beneath her underwear.

"Guys," the girl said in a scared but excited voice, "it's not just the boobs. I don't have a penis either! I have...something else." Immediately after saying this, her knees went weak and she almost fell to the floor as her fingers continued to move underneath her panties. She let out a small moan. "Holy cow this feels amazing!"

Seeing his sister begin to touch herself in front of him caused Brian to snap back into focus. "Eric?" When his sister looked up he knew Justin was right. "Stop touching my sister!" He strode quickly over to her and grabbed the arm connected to the hand that had not stopped moving and pulled it into the light. Brian noted with disgust that three of the now exposed fingers glistened with moisture and he wanted to punch Eric but it felt wrong since it would feel like punching Casey.

Eric, sensing possible violence, let out a sound akin to a gasp and a scream but conveyed a powerful need to be rescued. While Brian was still holding Eric's feminine arm, Sam materialized right next to them and growled in Brian's ear, "Let my brother go."

Brian released the arm but stood firmly at the slightly taller, but much more muscular man, "Tell him to keep his hands off my sister's body."

Free of Brian's grasp, Eric melted into Sam's powerful arms, letting them envelope his smaller, more delicate form in a protective fashion. Eric then looked up at his brother's face with the admiration of a damsel that had been rescued from a villain. Brian's face twisted in confusion as Sam took one of Eric's hands gently and said, "I won't let anyone hurt you."

Justin decided to point out the obvious, "Sam, you do know that's your brother, right? And you're holding his hand right now?"

Sam looked down and then released Eric's hand, causing Eric's sweet face to look hurt. "I, yeah, I know it's just real confusing with him looking like that. Especially since I always, uh..."

"Don't say it," Brian's voice said two octaves deeper than normal.

Eric finished for him with Casey's lilting voice, "He's always had a bit of a crush on Casey. Here Sam, feel her tits, you've always wanted to." And before Sam could protest Eric had already grabbed Sam's hand and pushed it firmly against her perky breast, then helped him give it a good squeeze. This sensation seemed to surprise Eric, as a small moan escaped his lips.

Brian started to move quickly towards them in an effort to stop what he was seeing, but stopped as he heard the attic door open and someone ascend the stairs.

"Is everyone okay up here?" Mrs. Patterson asked her head appearing from below and began to scan the room as she climbed higher. "It sounded like someone was yelling a moment ago."

Sam quickly dropped his hands from Eric's new breasts before Mrs. Patterson could see, but they didn't have time to hide him.

"Hey Mom," Brian said, thinking fast. "Everything is fine. We were going to call it quits for today and go over to Justin's house for awhile."

"Absolutely," Justin agreed, going along with any plan that would give them a chance to undo Eric's problem. "Thanks for letting us snoop around up here."

But Mrs. Patterson was frowning. "Casey? Didn't I just see you downstairs? How'd you get up here so fast?"

She watched as Casey just gawked at her, looking completely at a loss for words. Sam shoved her a little to remind Eric that he was a copy of Casey, and she stammered tentatively, "I guess I'm, really fast... Mom?"

Mrs. Patterson broke the tension by giving a little laugh. "Why are you acting so weird? Whatever. I'll see you men later. Casey, I'll still need your help in the kitchen in a few minutes."

"Uh, okay," Eric as Casey said. "I'll probably beat you downstairs." The rest of the guys gave an uneasy chuckle at this.

Mrs. Patterson shook her head and smiled, then went back downstairs. "Oh my gosh that was too close," Brian said. "Here's what we do. I'll hold onto this mirror and the box for it. We sneak Eric out and go to Justin's and figure out how to reverse this."

"Sounds good," Justin said and Sam nodded. Eric was the only one who seemed unsure, but followed after as they all quietly retreated from the attic.

Brian went first, making sure the coast was clear, and they were all able to steer clear of Brian's mom and sister without incident. Brian's dad was still at work so they didn't have to worry about being surprised by him.

Justin's house was a short five minutes away, and they thankfully had his house to themselves as Justin's parents frequently traveled and he was an only child. Once inside, Brian immediately set the mirror on the kitchen table and began studying the symbols inside the box, trying to will them to form words that he recognized. Try as he might, nothing changed, nothing transformed into English, no matter how hard he concentrated.

The others had gathered around him, waiting patiently, until finally Justin broke the silence. "Well, you seeing anything?"

"No," Brian said with frustration etched on his face. "I don't get it. I don't even see the first two words."

"Let me try," Justin said, and he pulled the box towards him and squinted inside, seeing the same gibberish as before. "What were you doing when you read the first word?"

"I, let me think, I was holding the box and the mirror and the symbols seemed to swirl around and..."

"That's it!" Justin interrupted. He picked up the mirror on the table and resumed looking at the box. "There's the first word." Less than a minute later he said, "There's the second." He was careful not to say the words out loud to avoid having a new predicament on their hands.

Brian had caught up to Justin's hypothesis, and explained it to the befuddled brothers. "It seems it will only show you the words that make the mirror do stuff if you are holding onto the mirror at the time. Has it shown you a third one yet Justin?"

Justin carefully pointed the mirror face down and replied, "Yeah. Connect. Didn't show me anything else yet. It's possible we have to utilize the word before it will give us another one."

Brian looked bemused. "I didn't know you were such a magical mirror expert."

"Just drawing conclusions as we go along man. Remember, I'm not the one who started this. You should do the honors."

Casey's face showed fear and Eric made his objection known. "Guys, I don't want to be a guinea pig for this."

"Not what we want either man," Justin assured him. "But we've got to try something or you might be stuck like this."

When Eric said nothing else, Brian shakily lifted up the mirror towards his sister's face and said, "Connect."

The symbols around the mirror's edge shown with a dull red light, then a pained gasp escaped Eric's lips and his hands flew to his forehead. "Ah! Something's happening. It's, I don't know, I feel like I'm becoming someone else."

"What do you mean?" Brian asked worriedly.

"It's like I know what it's like to be a girl all of a sudden."

Justin smirked. "You are a girl right now dummy."

"No," Eric protested. "I mean I can remember being a girl my whole life. I know how to put a bra and make up on. I remember getting my first period and I remember, being apart of your family, Brian."

"My family?" Brian was again confused.

"You're a slacker, but you've always been a good brother," Eric continued but there was a tenderness to the voice. "And, oh holy crap. So much knowledge. I feel like I'm getting so much smarter. I remember everything from college this last year, including, oh, wow. I had sex. I know what sex feels like as a woman and, it's damn good if the guy knows what he's doing."

Brian was trying not to panic or go into shock. "Justin? Any theories here buddy?"

Justin was processing this new development as quickly as he could. "I think Eric here is absorbing all of your sister's knowledge. Probably not just that, her memories, her personality and mannerisms, everything that makes her her. I think the mirror connected them to each other. Made them like an extension of each other. The question is..." He stopped and looked cautiously at Eric. "Hey Eric? You still in there?"

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