Behind the Glass
by Eric J. Krause
Donny didn't notice the blood spilling from his nose. He didn't realize his left eye had already begun the process of swelling shut. The three loose teeth in his mouth--one on top and two below--didn't cross his mind. All that mattered at the moment was the reflection in the mirror. No, not his, but what was behind him, beyond him.
Bronco and his cronies caught up to Donny after school in Pride Park. Donny was lab partners with Jessica Tanner in chemistry class, and Bronco figured that meant Donny and Jessica had a thing. Though it wasn't true (Donny wouldn't have said no, but the problem was Jessica wouldn't have said yes), it made perfect sense that Bronco would consider that the only explanation. After all, he couldn't spell chemistry. Heck, he probably didn't even know what letter it started with.
Bronco had a crush--a mad crush--on Jessica, and anyone he noticed getting close to her got a beat down. Now Donny found himself on that list without earning it. Jessica had already put him in the dreaded friend zone for which there was no escaping for guys like him. Did Bronco understand that? Of course not. He still didn't understand why it was called tying his shoes when all he had to do was connect the Velcro strips.
But who cared about all of that? What mattered was in the mirror. Another world. A world where Bronco couldn't get him.
Or did he just have a concussion? Maybe he was just seeing things. Maybe? Ha! No doubt about it. Medieval castles surrounded by a lush forest, his idea of heaven, didn't show up in mirrors in a public park restroom. Or any mirror, for that matter. No, Bronco and his crew added a brain bruise to the bargain.
Donny put his hand up to the glass and gasped. It gave a little, as if made of a sheet of plexiglass. He pushed again, this time harder, and his hand disappeared in a sploosh. Dare he go further? It wasn't like Bronco would stop. Donny would remain lab partners with Jessica, and Bronco would still be after him, probably with worse results next time.
That made up his mind. He pushed his arm in further and watched in awe as it disappeared. He couldn't see it on the other side, but that didn't bother him. He'd be in the castle universe soon enough, far away from Bronco. He shoved his other arm in and crawled up onto the counter, where he threw his entire body through.
Donny opened his eyes and found himself in a long, dark corridor, no castle in sight. He looked back at the mirror, the back side of it, with a full view of that public restroom. On the floor, sprawled out as if dead, lay his body. He pushed against the glass to get back, but this time his hands wouldn't pass through.
He pounded against the glass, but it still wouldn't budge. He couldn't leave his body lying there helpless. He sagged against the mirror and let out a huge sigh. What else could he do? He turned and looked down the dark corridor. A bright light now shone at the other end. He started towards it.