AntipodeanSF Issue 307

Kevin J. Phyland

Kieran springs for the five bucks entry into the amusement park and quickly mingles with the crowd of merrymakers donating their hard-earned to the rogues gallery of flim-flam artists and sweaty carnies. 

A fool and his money, thinks Kieran, and slows to a less conspicuous gait, reasonably sure that the two policeman have lost him in the general noise and bustle of holiday bonhomie, but just to be certain he looks about for an attraction that might kill some extra time and ensure his clean getaway.

A barker outside a nearby tent spruiks up the dubious merits of the bearded lady, the dog-faced boy and the world's oldest dwarf. Kieran shudders slightly. The money he took from the liquor store is still hot in his pocket, but he draws the line at paying good money to support the exploitation of genetic unfortunates. His ethics are fluid to be sure.

He strolls further along and spots the rather antiquated Hall of Mirrors, where a large, bored-looking woman of indeterminate age trades paper tickets for the chance to 'find revelations in a world of infinite illusion and reflection', as the advertising hoarding proclaims.

It seems to Kieran to be as good as any other diversion to kill some time with, and he dispenses another five dollar note and redeems his ticket.

Inside it is almost dark and he waits a few moments for his eyes to adjust to the level of ambient light before looking about him. On his left is a row of oddly shaped mirrors, the first bowed outwards, that makes his middle look grotesquely fat, like an ambulant Buddha. 

He moves on to the next one. It is rippled along its vertical length and his shape mimics this as he waggles his frame from side to side, like an Indian rubber man.

Moving further onwards he comes to a pair of mirrors facing one another and he walks into the narrow defile between them. 

His image is repeated infinitely back and forth from left to right, gradually getting darker and smaller as it recedes into an illusory distance. He waves his arm up and down and a billion Kieran's copy his motion. How far deep do the images go?

He puzzles over this and imagines the Kieran who first entered is still bouncing between mirrors further and further away. He sighs with the realisation that he will not have changed in any of the images.

With a shock of this revelation, however, he takes off his jacket and, pulling a rubber band from his pocket, quickly puts his long hair up into a ponytail. Not much of a disguise but perhaps enough for a policeman to overlook in a brief scan of the crowd.

His decision made, he places the remaining money he stole on the ground in front of the two mirrors and leaves. It looks like far more money than it is and still too little to potentially ruin his life.

A new Kieran walks out of the Hall of Mirrors, while the old one bounces forever inside the mirrors, getting smaller and smaller until he eventually disappears.

rocket crux 2 75

About the Author

kevinjphyland 200Old enough to just remember the first manned Moon landing, Kevin was so impressed he made science his life.

Retired now from teaching he amuses himself by reading, writing, following his love of weather and correcting people on the internet.

He’s been writing since his teens and hopes he will one day get it right.

He can be found on twitter @KevinPhyland where he goes by the handle of CaptainZero and his work is around the place if you search using google or use the antisf.com.au archive.

aus25grn

Issue Contributors

The AntiSF Radio Show

antipod-show-50Our weekly podcast features the stories from recently published issues, often narrated by the authors themselves.

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Meet the Narrators

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