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Rot Junge


D.L. Campbell

The face in the mirror stared back at him. It seemed to mock him relentlessly, every time he glanced at it. It ridiculed him, silently, constantly.

The young man scraped a dull razor across his jaw. The grating noise it made reminded him of sandpaper and made him wince. He cringed slightly as he nicked his jaw. A small dot of red appeared. The man cursed and stuck a piece of tissue over it.

He threw the razor down and scrounged through the drawers for a new one. His eyes fell upon a small box, containing a single blade. He pulled it out and held it to his face.

The man hesitated, and then lowered his hand. He touched the blade to an index finger. A bright red line materialized and the man jerked his hand away. He held his finger to his mouth and his eyes met those of the boy in the mirror. Wrathful, they were, and angry. The man thought the boy looked as if he wanted to destroy something precious.

“I know how you feel,” said the man to the boy. He set the razor down.

He didn’t finish shaving.

At 12:07 pm, the man slammed his apartment door shut and smashed his fist into the nearest wall. The familiar indent grew larger and plaster crumbled to the floor. The man growled in rage.

“I’m not good enough for ANYTHING, am I?!” He shouted to no one.

His breath came out in pants as he tried to gain control of his anger. Tears of rage stained his cheeks.

The man inhaled deeply and gritted his teeth. His knuckles throbbed in pain. The man lowered himself to his knees and put his head to the cool floor of his living space.

“I’m not good enough,” he whispered. “I’m a failure.”

Hours later, the man woke up on the floor, the side of his face covered with bits of plaster. He brushed them off and felt his unshaven face.

“You can’t even shave properly,” he muttered softly.

His feet carried him to the bathroom. The mirror. Like always, the boy was there. Watching him, always. His angry blue eyes followed the man. The man picked up the unused razor and placed it to his face. The boy did the same. The man dragged the razor across his jaw, and the boy followed suit. The man and the boy stopped. The man pulled the blade down in a horizontal line, creating a thin, red stream of blood on his face. The boy did the same. There was nothing in his eyes. They were blank blue pits of nothingness.

The man frowned and tilted his head. The line of blood ran towards his chin. He let it drip into the white porcelain sink. The boy did exactly the same.

The man grew frustrated at the boy’s relentless mocking, and he quickly drew the blade to his cheek. He cut a jagged line across his jaw. Blood ran down his face. The boy did the same.

“God damn you!” the man roared. He let his arms drop.

The boy held his arms loosely at his sides, a mirror-image of the man.

“Leave me alone!” he cried. “Just go!”

The man looked down. He had the razor pressed against his wrist.

He mouthed the words, ‘down the highway,’ to himself, and cut. His eyes widened as he lengthened the cut. He ran the blade across the throbbing artery in his wrist. Blood flowed out in beats, synchronized with his heart.

The man looked up. The boy was bloody, but he was not enduring what the man was. The boy’s eyes were cold and emotionless. The man thought that his own eyes must shine with the thrill of an adrenaline rush.

The man looked at the boy in the mirror and said hoarsely, “I win,” just before he collapsed to the floor.

The boy stared in the mirror at the crazed man. Blood gushed from the boy’s wrists and a razor lay in the sink.

As the boy’s vision darkened and he lost his balance, the man seemed to be saying, “I win.”

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