Oliver James was losing his senses, plunging through a glassy ripple that he could see no end to. Panic filled him as he tried to reach back towards the world from which he came, but it was no use. He simply continued to fall, his screams silenced by the strange distortions around him.
Suddenly, color returned to Oliver’s surroundings, and very slowly, he realized where he was. He stood in front of a mirror in a bathroom, much like the one he’d been in seconds ago, but the shower was on the right side of the room instead of the left, and the wallpaper, which had been a beautiful blue, was a bright, gaudy orange. What in the world could this possibly be? He’d been in a room like this seconds ago, a bathroom in his best friend Sofia Flores’s house... until he rubbed the mirror.
As Oliver looked around the room, he developed a hunch that something was not right. After all, who rubs a mirror and suddenly pops up in an entirely different bathroom, which suspiciously appears to be the reverse of the room they were just in? He was generally not one to feel surprise or shock; only a heavy lump of uneasiness sat in his gut as he cautiously opened the door to see what was outside.
“Whoa, dude. Why and how the heck you just come bargin’ in here from the loo?” complained a girl the moment he opened the door. She was around his age, with a tall, lanky body. Her hair was bobbed and dyed yellow, which Oliver thought was an awful choice of color. Her skin was the color of coffee, and her eyes were the brightest blue he’d ever seen. To him, the girl, who sat on a king-sized bed looking at him incredulously, was just an ugly swirl of hues. “This is my home, you wackadoo. You can’t just...” She seemed to study him for a moment, scanning him up and down with narrowed eyes. “Oh, I know who you are. Forget I said anything.” She relaxed, her face developing a cocky smirk with one eyebrow raised. For once, Oliver had the capacity to express shock. How did this random girl know who he was?
“How on Earth do you know me?!” screamed Oliver, clutching his jet black hair. “I’ve never met you in my life! And where am I? Everything’s...”
“Reversed, I know.” The girl slid off the bed, offering her hand for Oliver to shake. “The name’s Aifos Serolf. Call me Ai. You must be...” She paused for a minute, as if she were trying to remember something. “Oliver. Pleased to meet ya.” Oliver didn’t move a muscle. Aifos seemed like a strange name. Where could she be from? Slowly, he realized that although the house was somewhat similar to his friend’s, Ai was different from Sofia in nearly every way possible, from personality, to height, to hair color...
“You’re the complete opposite of my friend Sofia!” Oliver exclaimed. “Can you please explain to me what’s going on here?” He was too baffled to have any room for kindness. How could it be that this place was so drastically different than where Oliver had come from? Ai rolled her eyes at him, as if he was some weird kid who was speaking gibberish.
“God, man! When will you ever stop yelling? You’re hurtin’ my poor eardrums.” She frowned, sticking a finger inside her ear and twisting it around, as if there were something lodged inside. “Since you come from the Original Dimension, you prob’ly don’t know where the heck you are. Welcome to the Mirrored Dimension, dude! Everything here is reversed from your world. Even magic totally exists! Everyone from the Original Dimension, which is where you’re from, has something called a reflection in the Mirrored Dimension. Reflections are antipodes of people from the Original Dimension. I just happen to be your buddy Sofia’s reflection! That’s why my name is hers backwards.” Ai grinned widely after the last sentence, as if being Sofia’s reflection was her greatest accomplishment. There was a long, awkward moment of silence, in which Ai still smiled, and Oliver looked completely and utterly confused. Aifos Serolf was, as he discovered with a wrench of his heart, Sofia Flores backwards. “No, I swear, it’s true!” Ai blurted. Oliver had been doubting the girl, but he hadn’t said a single thing about it. When he stared at her suspiciously, she coughed and looked at her feet. “Sorry. I’m telepathic. I try not to read people’s thoughts unless it’s necessary, but I can’t help it sometimes.”
Oliver thought she was just joking, but her face was dead serious. It really did seem as if she looked into his brain and found dubiety there. He was unsettled by the notion that Ai was still reading his thoughts, but he tried to ignore it, as he had a pressing question he needed to ask.
“Why am I the only one who can visit the Mirrored Dimension? I’ve seen plenty of other people rub mirrors, but none of them warp to another world.” Ai seemed suddenly excited. She began to fidget with her tank top, which was the same color as her hair, and she smiled in an ecstatic way that made Oliver uncomfortable.
“You, my pal, are a rad Traverser,” explained Ai, punching him gently in the ribs. “Traversers can travel between the dimensions through mirrors, but they’re super rare, man. You’re one of the only two Traversers in existence! That reminds me... I need you to bail me out with something here!” Ai promptly grabbed Oliver’s arm and dragged him out of the bedroom, down some steps, and out the front door of the house.
The moment Oliver stepped, or rather, was dragged out of the door, he decided that Ai was to be trusted. Everything was, as she’d said, the opposite of his world. Ai’s garden was in the front yard instead of the back, as was everyone else’s. The house had the same overall shape as Sofia’s, but it was on the other side of the street. Even cars drove on the left of the road rather than the right.
Ai let go of him and led him into the garden. There were all the same, sweet-smelling flowers Sofia had planted recently--lilies, roses, and climbing clematis--but they were differently colored. Ai gestured for Oliver to sit in one of the two Adirondack chairs. He was unsettled by her cold expression. Although he’d only just met her, he knew something was definitely wrong if she looked this serious.“I’ve been searching for another Traverser for a long time,” she said, her voice as solemn as her face. “You see, there’s trouble in the Mirrored Dimension. There’s an enemy who’s convinced everyone but me he’s their savior, when in reality, his plans are unimaginably evil. He’s corrupt, selfish, and he wants to rule both dimensions on his own. I’ve been searching for someone like you because I cannot fight him on my own. I need your help.”
Oliver was astonished, not only by Ai’s sudden transition from lazy slang to well thought out sentences. He’d just had a ton of information about other dimensions hauled at him, and now he’d been asked to help fight an enemy he didn’t even know how to defeat. The request was so brief and simple that it seemed like one of his teachers giving him a hallway talk for not paying attention in class.
“Who is the enemy?” he asked, but Ai didn’t seem to hear him. She’d sprung from her chair, and for some reason, she held out her hands in some type of spell-casting position, blue sparks curling around her fingers like cobalt wires. Could she generate electricity, too? She was getting stranger by the minute.
“Thoughts... evil thoughts,” she hissed. “His!” Oliver’s heart did a somersault. Did she mean the enemy was nearby? As if to answer his question, a teenage boy appeared in front of him, seemingly coming from nowhere. “You again!” yelled Ai, the sparks she held crackling. Clearly, this was who she’d been fighting for so long. The enemy, who looked albino, was around the same height as Oliver. His deep magenta eyes seemed to glow with spite and balefulness. His powder white hair was combed quite similarly to Oliver’s, but it was parted on the right instead of the left. His grin was so handsome, yet so awful, it stirred up every little bit of fear inside Oliver. Especially when he realized who the enemy really was.
“It’s such a pleasure to see you again, Aifos,” he crooned, his eyes flickering red. “I see you’ve made yourself an acquaintance.” Oliver had to muster all his strength not to vomit as the boy walked, or rather, stalked towards him. “My name is Revilo Semaj. Pleased to meet you, my reflection. It’s a shame you’ll be leaving so soon.”