The Mirror of Me

Online Serial Novel Exclusive

Past, present, and future intersect to synthesize an elaborate future civilization. Peyton—pulled from a past and a collapsing society into a Utopian future that appears ideal on the surface—relives all times concurrently; her past exploited for education and entertainment purposes; her present weaponized as a catalyst for change; her future unknown. Wynne and Lalita—born of an exalted culture of genius scientists—uncover flaws in their perfect world they wish to evaluate and maybe regulate if they can, at any cost, personal or societal; will something far worse hinder that goal. Willa and Alison navigate a present driven by climate change, where fascism and anarchy reign, while assimilating into a wealthy family—a family destined to shape the future and a civilization in the stars. Unless the monsters of the present destroy them first—or they become monsters themselves.

Trigger Warning: Yes

Intermission I – The Mirror of Me

I’m working on new chapters now slowly churning away in front of the screen and beyond doing all that thinking and scrambling around one does prior to writing another chapter—you know, the hard work. Those chapters are forthcoming—eventually. I’ll post little intermissions occasionally in between with history and influence and playlists and acknowledgements, inspirations, etc. History & Influences & Acknowledgements: This story started percolating as early as 2001 after several adventures on mushrooms that I classify life-changing events. In 2011, […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Forty – Jealousy

“What do you do for him?” Ali stands in the living room placing her laptop and various other items in a brown leather bag preparing to exit for work—whatever work is. Her slight smile teases something larger afoot—to what, she doesn’t say even though I continue asking. Not meeting my eyes: “I do lots of things for him.” And she giggles. I roll mine at her juvenile response and go back to work online. Classified as complicated and dull, she […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Thirty-Nine – Predators

Have you ever been hunted? The feeling that someone is watching you? Anticipating your every move? The slightest touch stiffens and curdles your insides? Instincts screaming fight and flight? That which gives you goosebumps and raises the hair on your arms and the back of your neck? Like static electricity moving through your body? Looking over your shoulder and around every corner constantly awaiting an attack? When you’re asleep, the smallest noises wake and alerts you, heart racing, that threats […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Thirty-Eight – Memories

The first of the videos go viral a few days later—several months after Nik’s death. Max brings the first to our attention after media calls to the West’s publicist for comment drop nonstop. We go in oblivious. There are no warnings and Max doesn’t elaborate on what we’re about to watch. Not that anything could have prepared us. Muffled voices, obscured and shaky video. “Is this a butt video,” Ali laughs smiling. Max looks at her with the rare anguished […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Thirty-Seven – Hubris

After my exit, in the subsequent years amongst the chaos, artificial intelligence was repurposed from fighting disease to confronting viruses sweeping through and leveling populations and devastating socioeconomic conditions. Human virus nanotechnology trials started small then grew in numbers—some with unpredictable and deadly consequences, and modest successes. As with any testing and solution, the science took time and patience. Decades of biomedical research and thousands of scientists and researchers contributed to the unparalleled progress as artificial intelligence was among the […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Thirty-Six – Temptation

“What is this incessant need for me to like you? Why do you think you’re entitled to my affection? Why does any man think they’re automatically entitled to any woman’s affection? Is it that much of an oddity when someone doesn’t desire you? When the Hollywood A-list propaganda doesn’t work and you’ve one less fan?” “I’m not any man. Interesting you use the word desire.” Oof. The arrogance. I roll my eyes to temper the attraction. “No, not really. Do […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Thirty-Five – Maelstrom

Another night, another furious storm. The wind beats a path bowing trees while the waves snap violently against the shore. Lightning shreds the pitch-black sky. I sit alone in front of the overly large windows waiting for the world to split and life to finally end. I feel guilty as hell experiencing the thrill of extreme weather while Mother Earth fends off the vicious blows—the product of us inconsiderate guests violating her body like an abusive partner. I would love […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Thirty-Four – Trauma

I run through the woods. Branches slap me in the face. Lifeless leaves crunch underfoot. My breath comes in harsh bursts as the bitter acidic taste of adrenaline coats my mouth. I feel her inexperienced mind racing. I’m an observer helpless to do anything but watch the reiteration of this slow-mo video. I hear her thoughts and feel her feelings because she is me and I am her—a twelve-year-old child. I push pause and rewind back to when this blink […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Thirty-Three – Boundaries

“Hold up,” I say raising my hand awaiting acknowledgment and consent to continue. Keyword: consent. Given that consent was increasingly a hot topic in my time amongst women and that the philosophical practice of privacy stemmed heavily around the intersection of both of these subjects, I decide to forgo any judgments on any Orwellian-type telepathic monitoring—no matter the horror of such an invasive measure—until I’ve reviewed and analyzed the history and ethics of it currently being used. Still, the recognition […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Thirty-Two – Attraction

He walks off the beach alone with a surfboard under his arm in a full black wet suit; a baseball cap pulled low over his eyes covering his short wet dark blonde hair. A few thin curls that remain loose, bleached by the sun and sea. His mirrored surf shades strapped around his head reflect the empty Sunday morning boardwalk where few people dawdle, run, bike or—like him—exit the dawn tides after riding the waves colloquially known as dawn patrol. […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Thirty-One – Colonialism

Late into the night, back at the main Charlotte facility in Grace’s lavish office, we sit speechless and exhausted. The air hangs as a crypt around us. Dandria arrives after forwarding Mary’s and the other remains to the main facility for their teams to study—something highly illegal and uncommon, considered unethical and immoral; science abandoned to elevate myth while women die around us in favor of a patriarchal misogynistic control fetish that reduces women and people with uteri to wombs […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Thirty – Sex

Behind the mask of polite affectionate loving mother, imagine another Cruella, if you will, with a dyed jet-black beehive do—like the color of a raven—nicotine beige overly large false teeth, and colossal eyes like a grisly gecko getting ready to let slip a stealthy long forked tongue; this from a distorted Polaroid photo that still haunts me to this day. Unlike Spencer, my first and only impression of Gramma Lexington is an artifice—the superficial criticisms she sandwiches between the shade […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Twenty-Nine – Legacies

“I am not named for Peyton Manning. Do you know how insulting that is? He was a football player. Football—that barbaric chase-a-ball-up-and-down-the-field-and-hit-each-other-till-your-brain-turns-to-mush sport, not to be confused with soccer or boxing, both in different contexts. And he was born after me. The nerve.” Exasperated, I continue. “My mother only read one book: the Christian King James bible. I never saw any other books in her hand, ever. Sure, she had some self-help books on her shelves, but I never saw […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Twenty-Eight – False Choices

Instead of hard cold paper covered tables and questionable sterility, there are feathery soft beds. Stirrups that are normally raw, unforgiving and unyielding are pliable and supportive and fade into the warmth and compassion of the room. The light blues and pale pinks of the area are soothing and gentle, like a warm hug from an old friend; one of those full-body-face-in-the-neck hugs that touches that deep place inside you that you return to time and time again when needed. […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Twenty-Seven – Exposition

I’m outside playing. She doesn’t expect me back till dinner. She doesn’t want me back till dinner. She wants peace. She needs tranquility and there’s plenty of it: one hundred acres of woods, caves, and mysteries of nature at our disposal. While I savor this adventure, she rejects it, losing and closing herself in the noisy blather and corner of her own mind, like winding dirt roads that disappear into obscure, overgrown, and unfamiliar territories, she does not want and […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Twenty-Six – Education

“I have chosen a team in collaboration with the mentors, commanders, and directors. We have a proposal that we would like you to consider, Peyton. Both the team and the proposal have the necessary approvals to submit for a vote. We will send our team to the vicinity of a culture …  surreptitiously,” Wynne uses this word with some hesitation. “—release an update—a fixed amount of nonreplicating nanites programmed to deactivate in a certain time frame to allow for the […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Twenty-Five – Obligations

The bumps of the road hiss and sway as we speed towards downtown Charlotte on I77 South. Bowed asphalt and potholes emerge here and there and Jess does what she can to avoid them. The three-black decked out SUVs travel as one carrying all towards answers—vague incomplete ones. The West fam and Max choose to share information sparingly. Grace, Gray, and Parker sit opposite us while Max sits between me and Alison in the middle longer vehicle squeezed between two […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Twenty-Four- Connections

The usual focus, inhale-exhale isn’t working. My conventional tactics are faulty, absent even. My mind is blank. Confusion reigns. I cannot seem to catch my breath. I lean forward and take several large breaths as the cast chair straightens before trying again. I don’t notice the tears leaking from my face. Closing my eyes tight, I clench teeth and purse lips to slow my breathing, to no avail. I hear Q far away endeavoring to right the situation. My display […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Twenty-Three – Remorse

The main house on the estate, private and extensive—behind a wall and security and oodles of guards at every point that our small caravan entered a little too easily—looks like a smaller version of the Biltmore. Just over ninety thousand square feet, Reliquum, a gothic modern castle tucked into the crook of the cliffs overlooks those same Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina. Greyish bistre spears tower over the gardens that surround the property on a backdrop of raven […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Twenty-Two – Transparency

“Do any of you think this is a good idea? There had to be more than a few objections to this?” I ask concerned waving a hand at the imposing repository around us. Wynne pauses arching a brow. “If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have done it, yes?” I stop and look at her. “I gotta wonder if your smart assery is new or only new to me. Regardless, bravo. I’ve always had a fondness for smart asses.” “There is the […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Twenty-One – Love

“Can you take that envelope on the counter up to Niky?” Ali yells from the loft. Sitting on a stool in front of the windows and my easel in the living room, staring at a blank canvas, I curl my lip: “You’re calling him Niky now? Really?” She peers over the wall above me looking down: “Please?” She says sweetly. Almost too sweetly and I wonder what she’s up to. Ali’s machinations shift like the erratic weather lately. She fancies […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Twenty – Spirit

The naked trees of autumn sit somber awaiting the frigid snows and winds of winter. The last of the leaves furl and die withering into cold dust under feet. I watch the cobalt blue sky turn grey, bloated with sleet and snow as shadows disappear. The scent of frosty fog grows increasingly stronger—tainted, like sour milk. I stand at the window of the Carter seat in the multi-colored manor gazing out towards the valley below. The roofs—like small black pods—litter […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Nineteen – Trust

The modest glass sunroom sits near one of the estates many kitchens. Ali and I wake early and meet here. Curled into plush comfy chairs facing the water, breakfast and coffee out of the way, soaking in the morning sun with tea in hand, we’re deep into a discussion about last night’s dinner conversation. “Are you trying to tell me how to lecture white people on racism?” I think on it resigned that maybe I am, in fact, doing just […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Eighteen – History

There is a constant low indecipherable hum that you feel throughout your body and time on Anderas by a mega terraforming generator a few miles below the city powered by robots—robots that do the menial tasks of terraforming in order to survive in that type of environment. There are large industrial sized superstructures that litter the moon including four terraforming units on Titan with hundreds of thousands of robots—this doesn’t include the agra-biodomes that grow the nutrients in the form […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Seventeen – Change

Our small crew assembles in the massive kitchen to concoct our evening chow. Long glass doors line one side of the room opening to a multi-colored stone veranda, grill, bar, and beyond to the pool and lake. The unpredictable climate is seldom this pleasant lately. The fading frantic sounds of the late spring day sound more like the tired melodies of a deep summer; the exhaustion of not knowing what comes next: a raging thunderstorm with torrential rains, a violent […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Sixteen – Art & Music

“This won’t work if they can’t hear it—feel it. Isn’t there scientific evidence that music is beneficial for the brain?” The answer reveals itself to me immediately. “Because now you have nanites. Nice,” I add sarcastically. “I’m in a real life Greek tragedy and have my very own deus ex machina. What happens when the nanites break and wanna get rid of the pesky humans and have world domination? Wait, I know, they never break and have already achieved world […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Fifteen – Privilege

He leans casually against the wall in front of our loft door with key in hand. I stop on noticing him, the box heavy in my hands, attempting to catch my breath after climbing five flights on a dare from Ali. I don’t like him the moment I see him. One, he’s an actor—a very propagandized one. I avoid his type. Cannot stand them. Two, he’s a spoiled rich white guy that gets anything he wants, surrounding themselves with sycophants […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Fourteen – Privacy

“Is there anything we can do to help her? In a way that she won’t lose her social security or Medicare? She’s old and she doesn’t have too many years left.” I ask Max about the woman and what she needs. I’ve never requested anything from her. Our interactions have been passive. Her frown sits impertinently in the middle of her forehead like an iron wall. She appears unsure on how to move forward, which seems unusual for her. It’s […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Thirteen – Reproduction

It’s one of the many things I notice immediately, but haven’t really thought about, till now: The lack of families; the lack of children. Given my rebirth, I figure the fundamentals of family life have changed substantially—dramatically even in fifteen hundred years. The heteronormative family from my time began to change gradually many years before—like for example, two mothers or two fathers, etcetera. The intrinsic core of human procreation, whereby female gestation is the key to human reproduction, is no […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Twelve – Family

The conversation is not one of a grief-stricken mother but a burdened one. “I don’t know what to do with her. I don’t know what to do with her stuff. I don’t want it here. I don’t want to look at it. I don’t want to see any of it. I just want it gone. I can’t do anything for her. I’ve got no money to help her. I’ve got nothing else. I’m not sure what else to do. I’m […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Eleven – Reciprocity

The thrust forward blends through the colors as I exit and blur my way back to where I begin, full stop. My heart flutters like carbonation in my chest. My breathing mildly erratic—nothing life threatening. I blink and I’m back in the merge room. The cast chair straightens. The pressure increases restricting my breathing. I close my eyes and mouth and breath through my nose focusing on the pleasant sounds and pictures of the ocean and the waves breaking towards […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Ten – Sunflowers

I dance, I twirl, I look up; the cloud-grey sunless sky passes overhead in a blur as I get dizzier and dizzier. I stop, I wobble, I watch the world tip and spin. My arms twist and turn and bend in odd ways. My head tilts back. The colors morph into a haze of nothingness around me like distant hums. It’s morning. The overcast light tints the day grey with a blush of pink. Stale and taciturn, the late summer […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Nine – Matter

The indigo blue of fingernails flare against pallid flesh and the pale grey of the bed in the darkness of the room as I roll over towards the windows facing Anderas. The slightest glimmer of Saturn peers through a fissure in the clouds through the field’s facade of night shrouding my flat in a faint serene glow. The flat sits high on the edge overlooking the city in the Handar tower and the exceedingly tall windows give me an all-encompassing […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Eight – Nature

The road twists and turns into a straight stretch. Smaller arteries branch out like capillaries circulating into the state’s largest lake and a wealthy suburb of Charlotte. Newly built subdivisions encroach on both sides with large signs screaming HOMES FOR SALE FROM $800,000—one of the less expensive neighborhoods. Prefabricated plans and hastily constructed houses sit sullen behind white split rail fences. Dwellings that bilge through what little trees remain; development and a blight having taken more and more as time […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Seven – Data

The sweeping winds batter the field. The rain, falling with the slowness and lightness of snow, knocks on the dome like soft pebbles. This light shower—an occurrence that happens every few years—now happens much more frequently. The hydrocarbons swirl through the cold outside like a twisted mist confused and uncertain where to turn next. I sit on the same bench at the rim of the field overlooking the outer mist and the pummeling of the rain. The cool pale blue […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Six – Bread

The squeaky wheel of the grocery cart echoes hollow in the sparse vegetable and fruit section. I don’t hear it. I park in front of the asparagus, drifting in and out of awareness, as I pick through the sickly lot of them, looking for a good batch held together with three skinny blue rubber bands. Hearty veggies and fruits are rare and pricey nowadays. Avocados are as small as lemons now—both can fit in the palm of a small child. […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Five – Anderas

Pale blue ice lights the world through the faint salmon pink haze of steady and sullen dusk. Sixty-five square kilometers, Anderas floats high amongst the chemically generated clouds in the low gravity, dense atmosphere, like an opaque silver disk and sphere—or a floating, flat-bottomed bubble. The nanite energy field protects the city from Titan’s rough atmosphere while the moon terraforms below. The outdoor crystal-like field—permeable to certain approved objects, but not to the environment outside—glistens under a clear frost while […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Four – Poetry

The next morning, I sit curled in a comfy, cushiony chair on the veranda by the lake wrapped in his sweater. His smell no longer lingers. Like him, it’s long gone. The sun shoots odd rainbow-like rays through the overcast sky. Deep lilac clouds, bloated and bruised like violets faded by the sun, flutter and push beyond. Waves chase the wind in ripples to the shore; the sound like an oscillating fan, only faster. Leaves prance in the trees. Early […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Three – Halcyon

I listen to her without words or response. Wynne pauses occasionally, a lurking question in her eye, gone within a blink, acknowledging that I have no questions for her before continuing in her discussion of what it is I will be participating. I silently observe what is around me, I imagine, listlessly perched on my seat like a cat, wide-eyed with a tentative uncertainty. My imagination has gone beyond this point—so far beyond that I’m lost in the confines of […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter Two – Storms

The rain renders the sky grey and bounces off the water like a rave in some sort of rhythmic score as the world around me grows dark. The distant roll of thunder wanders across paths and finds its way vibrating the walls around me. I stand small at the inordinately large windows watching the rain dance indirectly with the lake. A crack of lightning splits the sky white and charges the air. The boat house lights flicker and fixate before […]

The Mirror of Me – Chapter One – Rebirth

Consciousness arrives shortly before rebirth. A cloudy pink haze swirls around me. Mindfulness comes and goes. The pale pink gelatinous fluid gushes forward pushing me through the translucent rubbery skin-like fissure. I fall wet and nude to my knees, coughing, and sputtering for breath and reaching for clarity. The goo coming from all orifices. The buoyant floor beneath me a matte pale grey pliable-like material. The air around me mild, sterile, cool. The taste in my mouth sticky, like cotton […]

© 2011-2020 Pamela Gay Mullins

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