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The Man Without a Reflection

Amidst the golden rays of dawn, Edgar Rowan’s polished shoes tread the cobbled streets of Melville. Yet, no shadow trailed behind him. No glint in shop windows or ripples in rain puddles bore his visage. The town knew him as the “Unmirrored Man”, for reflections seemed blind to his presence.

Inside his antiquated residence, thick drapes swallowed any semblance of light, guarding against gleaming surfaces that might betray his non-reflective curse. But on a raw winter morning, as Edgar’s fingers trembled, dragging a razor against the grain of his cheek by sheer memory, a peculiar shade materialized in the bathroom’s ornate mirror.

A ghastly, hazy world, drowning in perpetual twilight, with a sky that wept ash. There, another Edgar stood — a version fractured by life, with eyes that whispered tales of torment. Every day, this shadow Edgar’s desperate fingers seemed to claw at the invisible barrier, longing to breach the abyss between them.

At first, Edgar thought himself mad, that loneliness had finally gnawed at his sanity. But as days seeped into nights, the ghastly murmurs from the dark reflection grew palpable, the scent of its rotting air wafting into his room. Words formed from the ether, whispered in his ear in a voice eerily his own, “Free me.”

Edgar’s once quiet life spiraled. He began to cover mirrors with ebony cloths, avoided pools after rains, but the allure of that haunting voice proved intoxicating. One evening, against better judgment, Edgar found himself before the ensnared mirror, the twilight world pulsating with urgency.

With bated breath, he extended a trembling hand. The glass rippled under his touch, cold as death, and the two worlds intermingled for the briefest of moments. Edgar’s counterpart, now inches away, bore eyes aflame with a mingled wrath and yearning.

“You wish to swap?” Edgar ventured, voice choked with emotion.

The doppelganger, his voice a distorted echo, rasped, “Not swap. Combine. Let our realities merge.”

Terror gnawed at Edgar’s heart. He envisioned the ashen sky replacing Melville’s azure, his doppelganger’s mournful existence supplanting the town’s merry rhythm. But alongside that fear, lay an ember of understanding, the shared burden of desolation that twined their fates.

But Edgar had no intention of letting that bleak world fuse with his. In a moment of fierce determination, he shattered the mirror, silencing the beckoning voice. The fragments of the once ornate glass lay scattered, a mosaic of an existence trapped and denied.

Edgar believed he’d sealed away the twisted realm. Yet, one evening, as he passed a window, the familiar ash-tinted sky and its melancholy met his gaze. The alternate world, with its relentless pursuit, was breaking through, bit by bit, from every reflective crack and corner.

Despondent, Edgar made a choice. In a selfless act to protect his reality, he stepped into the world of eternal twilight, sealing the bridge from within. From that point on, in Melville, he became a legend — the man who sacrificed his existence to keep nightmares at bay. But on cold, silent nights, when shadows grew long and the wind whispered secrets, they said Edgar Rowan could be seen, walking amidst the twilight, forever guarding the fragile veil between realities.

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