Dead and Alive

Even with the welded door and absence of windows, the room was like a cheap motel’s.  Fist-banging had covered the walls with spots of dried blood and skin.  There was no way out, and Mark was weak and hungry.  He was cold and confused.He knew he was going to die.Suddenly one of the walls changed texture and Mark was looking at himself and the room.

“That’s not a mirror, Mr. Trent,” a voice said from a hidden source.  Cortez, Mark thought.  “Since your pop can’t pay my money I figured we’d play a little game.”

“Dammit, Cortez!  We’ll get the money!”  Mark yelled through cracked lips, flinging a cheap vase in the voice’s direction.

The madman chuckled.  “Don’t think of this as a trap, but an opportunity.  I’m giving you a chance to pay me in full.  Game?”

Mark was silent.

“I’ll take that as a yes.  The room you’re standing in is special.  Unique.  Built by your pop as down payment.”  Mark’s eyes continued to dart, looking for some sign of escape.

“That is not a mirror, Marky boy.  That’s another room, another you.  The perfect copy in every way, even the little umbrella in the corner.  Quantum entanglement, yes?  And that vase you broke held the tiniest bit of uranium…”

When Cortez wanted revenge, he made it personal.  This had been his dad’s research, his underfunded livelihood, the reason for his gambling and loss. Mark knew where he was.  He was no longer a man, but a cat in a box, a Shrodinger’s paradox.  That is not a mirror.  The “him” on the other side was now choking and wheezing, features blurred in a cloud of gas from a smashed flask.  In a game of chance at the quantum level, his twin had rolled snake-eyes, a single atomic decay setting off a geiger counter and its tiny hammer.  With one last gasp he struck the floor, dead.

“Right now you’re dead and alive, but when we open the door, you can’t be both.

“Care to make a wager…”


About lacolem1

I'm a first-year Physics graduate student who spends his long drives from Mississippi to Texas thinking of new ideas and writing/enacting stories and publishable content in his head. I've been a comic book geek since I was 12, an internet philosopher since 18, and a wannabe media inventor since five minutes in the future. I love the beauty of short form fiction a la Maupassant, the ticklish excitement of flowery prose a la Bradbury, and the strict directness of blunt imagery a la Hemingway. Alas, this is countered by my love for bad black-and-white sci-fi from the 50s, bad Benetar-esque pop music from the 80s, and Bridezillas and the Real Housewives of Atlanta. I'd like to think I have a natural talent for words and storytelling, but I guess it's up to you guys to decide
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