Lost in the House of Mirrors

James Knight

Bent double like an old beggar under my stack of mismatched matchstick houses, knock-kneed, coughing like mad from too many fags, I cursed through the House of Mirrors where reflections pranced and jigged, turning my back on haunted faces, knackered, desperate for a rest that didn’t seem forthcoming, marching asleep, my boots killing me and filling with blood, drunk with fatigue, deaf to the derisive hoots of the owls nesting in the upper circle (“What a gas!”), so tired even the mannequins’ caresses didn’t interest me, their ecstasy of fumbling making me recoil so violently my mask slipped and I found myself shouting, stumbling, fumbling to put it back on but unable, incapable of maintaining my role, burning with shame in the limelight, dimly aware of the others on stage, floundering as I tried to remember what came next or whose line it was, thinking of the sea…

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