Eisoptrophobia – A Terrible Short Story

Hey guys! This is my first short story I’ve posted on here and well… Yeah, here it is. I am well aware it’s not greatly written, I’ve decided that my forte in writing utter crap about anything and everything, rather than trying to construct something. But anyways, here you go:

 

My reflection. The heart of the fear. My daily suffering. The eternal struggle of a phobia. One day something bad will happen, I know it will. I know.

It all goes back to my childhood. I remember it vividly. Walking past the mirror, catching a glimpse of something. Looking back and just seeing myself. I thought nothing of it. A figment of my imagination I told myself. And I believed it. Until that night. The nightmare. The first of many.

Staring at my reflection, paralysed, immobilised, unable to move. A figure, behind me, moving slowly forwards. Long, straggly hair masking most of the face; only its dark eyes are visible. Black eyes. Dead eyes. Closer and closer it moves, slowly, knowing I can’t escape. Fear wells inside me. I try to scream, but the figure raises its hand. Hushes me with its finger. It’s smiling now, as the scream gets trapped in my throat; Immobilised. Like me. The creature extends its arm – dead skin, burnt red – and touches me. I feel pain. It becomes excruciating. I let out a scream. And that’s when I awake. Screaming. On and on and on.

My dad comes rushing in. He holds me, trying to comfort me. My scream is drawn out, my eyes fixed on something. He follows my gaze. He sees only a mirror.

I see the figure, reflected behind us. The grin. The finger upon the lips. The straggly hair. And the eyes. The cold, dead eyes.

 

Several weeks later. I remember being taken somewhere. A shrink they called it. To be cured they said. Several long hours of questions. Analysed to the end of the earth. Taken home, told to come back tomorrow. At home, the nightmare repeats itself.

Diagnosed the next day. Eisoptrophobia they called it. A fear of mirrors. They are wrong. It’s not the mirrors I fear. It’s the creature inside the mirror.

Life continues. I get by. Trapped in a shadow of fear. The nightmares continue, always the same. All the mirrors have been covered up. They think it helps. But it doesn’t. I still know. Know that it’s still there. Hiding. Waiting.

Fourteen years old. Dad is fed up. Says it was a childish fear. Says that I should face it. He doesn’t know what it is. No one does.

He’s uncovered the mirrors. I screamed at him. He didn’t listen, saying it was time to confront the phobia. I can’t. I refuse. I won’t.

Walking past mirrors, not looking at them. Avoiding my own gaze. I don’t care what I look like. I can go without that. It’s worth it, to never see it again.

I’m seventeen now. Still avoiding mirrors. Still plagued by the nightmares. I even start to believe that’s what they are: just nightmares. Maybe I imagined it all. Maybe the figure is not real. A figment of my imagination, as I once told myself. I’m going to do it. I’m going to look in the mirror.

I wait until the night. Wait until my dad is asleep. Turn on the light, prepare myself. Tell myself that there is nothing to be afraid of. I take a deep breath. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Look up…

and see my reflection. Just my reflection. No figure, no nothing. Except me. I let out a laugh and blink.

And there it is. The figure. Grinning at me.

I try to scream, but she silences me before it can fully form. An arm shoots out of the mirror and wraps around my throat. The searing pain from my nightmare becomes real. I feel my flesh ripple. Then, I’m gone. Pulled into the mirror. Lost forever. Tormented endlessly by my nightmare.

 

The Influence of J.R.R Tolkien

First of all: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Second of all: I have serious difficulties thinking of interesting things to blog about… so apologies if this one is a tad dreary.

Inspired, rather unfortunately, by school work, this post is basically about Tolkien’s influence, both intentional and unintentional, in modern day fantasy books/novels… or even stretching to films!

This hideous school work (which in fact is not too hideous as it is totally self-chosen) is mostly about Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Novels. Yet towards the end, I felt I had to bring in Tolkien, as I am a truly massive fan. So, I started to discuss possible moments within Pratchett’s writing which could be linked to Tolkien (I did warn you; far too academical, especially for Christmas).

Now, as Tolkienian scholar (yes, that is a thing) Tom Shippey said “No modern writer of epic fantasy has managed to escape the mark of Tolkien, no matter how hard many of them have tried.” which, if I’m honest, is probably true. Every fantasy story as an element of the strange and bizarre and out-of-this-world-ness, that’s what defines fantasy. And the iconic fantasy characters, such as: elves, goblins and so on, no matter how they’re depicted, were fully-formed by Tolkien (they had probably been used before but Tolkien was the first one to show them off on a grand scale).

So naturally, Pratchett’s writing, which is heavily full of weird and wacky things, is going to seem tolkien-esque to certain people (particularly people who wish they lived in Middle-earth… like me). But, there are certain moments in his books, which are either an attempt to pay homage to Tolkien, or subconscious links which Pratchett didn’t realise he had made (hence why they were subconscious… duh, Richard). Such as, in Wyrd Sisters, a parody of an amalgamation of Shakespeare’s plays, Pratchett introduced a dwarf (instant fantasy connection) play writer, who has written a play called ‘The King Under the Mountain‘… I’m sorry, but the King under the mountain IS Thorin Oakenshield… or Smaug, depending at which stage you look at it.. or even Thror… Or his ancestors… Jesus I’m going to stop.

There is a certain section within another Pratchett Discworld Novel, Witches Abroad, where he talks about a grey-ish creature, with long fingers, floating down a river on a log. He even speaks and says “It’s my birthdayssss”. Alarm bells went wild in my head at this point and thought that this was blatant plagiarism. Then, after some research, found that it was actually a homage to Gollum from Lord of the Rings, not just Pratchett stealing ideas… Then realised most of Pratchett’s invented characters are basically different historical or memorable figures combined into a new, exciting one… This was the end of my very brief anger at Pratchett.

Not entirely sure why I wrote this blog in all honesty. Possibly because I am completely stuffed full of food and can barely think, let alone stop myself from throwing up. Or maybe it’s the fact that my world seems to revolve around Lord of the Rings and the Discworld Novels (seriously, I went from reading to Terry Pratchett today to playing Lord of the Rings Top Trumps… I THINK I have a problem).

If anyone found this interesting then I am very glad and hope that it did make sense… Food and a fire and presents and more food tends to make me a little bit (very much so) drowsy. May have had a bit too much to drink as well…non-alcoholic of course but still, it is quite filling either way. As Pippin once said: “It comes in pints?! I’m getting one.” can’t fault you their young Peregrin, can’t fault you at all.

 

 

Lord of the Rings – The Lore (and Laws) of The Eagles Explained

Okay. This has been sparked many times over my life of being a self-confessed Lord of the Rings nerd. My friends, who watch Lord of the Rings for the first time (I know, it’s truly disgraceful isn’t it?), always think they’re incredibly clever and ask me smugly “why didn’t Frodo and Sam just ride the eagles into Mordor?”. They then take my inability to answer as a victory. Yet this is not the case. The reason for my inarticulateness is that fully explaining why the eagles did not help would involve delving into the actual Lore of Lord of the Rings, going all the way back to The Silmarillion, and then explaining it to my friends in some condensed way that their inexplicably useless brains would understand (when I say useless, I mean useless at understanding Lord of the Rings… heh, awkward). As I find it easier to write things than actually say them, I decided I’d do a blog post about it in some vain attempt to make them understand.

So it begins:

In The Silmarillion (basically the history of Middle-earth), Tolkien – and his son, Chris – mentioned that the eagles were in fact Maiar incarnated as large birds (Maiar being lesser Gods, or Angels, if you prefer). Therefore, they are servants of Manwë, the King of Valar (who is basically an archangel). As they are servants, they obey Manwë, and Manwë only. Gods are always depicted as rulers, who tend to survey mortals and let them solve their problems. Imagine that eagles are the sort of pompous person, who basically flat-out refuses to get involved in anything, unless they’re either feeling really nice, or are commanded to do so by a higher authority. The only reason that the eagles save Frodo and Sam at the end of the Lord of the Rings is because the One Ring has been destroyed, so the eagles seem almost to ‘reward’ Frodo and Sam for their victory by carrying them away to safety. Eagles also have an extreme hatred of Orcs and Wargs, which would explain why they attacked and saved Thorin and his Company in The Hobbit. As for why they save Gandalf in Lord of the Rings…

The most obvious reason is that Gandalf once healed Gwaihir (the Lord of the Eagles) from an arrow wound, and he therefore feels obliged to save Gandalf. However, further explanation for the reasons shows that Gandalf is not a mortal man. He is an Istari. A mortal(ish) interpretation of Maia Olórin, sent by Manwë to aid mortals in their fight against Sauron. So obviously he gets special treatment. For example, when he dies, he is sent back by the Valar, until his task is done. In the book of The Lord of the Rings, when Gandalf is imprisoned on top of Orthanc, he is sent a message by Radagast (you know, the eccentric brown wizard in the Hobbit film played by Sylvester McCoy?) who has an extremely magical (and quite frankly, weird) connection with birds and beasts. Radagast makes use of the eagles because of this connection with the birds and beasts. So really, Gandalf is saved completely by chance.

A fairly obvious point to why the eagles weren’t used to fly the Hobbits to Mordor is also that it’s not exactly very inconspicuous… I mean, imagine, having an eagle for each Fellowship member (that’s nine, in case you didn’t know), all flying towards Mordor. Orcs have bows and arrows, Sauron has his eye (which can “pierce cloud, shadow, earth and flesh), and then just in case you’d forgotten, Sauron also has his nine ‘birds’: The Nazgul upon their Fell-beasts. Even though the Eagles could probably win a fight against a Nazgul, I don’t think they’d be able to with a Hobbit upon their back…

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So there you have it. I think that’s most plot holes to do with the Eagles covered… Hopefully I’ve managed to expand upon your understanding and will no longer have to bandy crooked words with a witless worm.