Mirror, Mirror
by ff_b

The mirror was an antique of indeterminate age, one which had been in his family for generations. The ornately carved oaken frame surrounded glass darkened and distorted with age, and there was an old family tale that the mirror harbored some kind of enchantment. Large in size, the mirror hung prominently on the wall, having been passed on within the family for longer than anyone could tell.

Glenn disdainfully regarded his image in the mirror, and wished that he would see reflected what he inwardly yearned to be; a red fox! He hated the bare skins of the pinkies, their flat, unexpressive ears, and complete lack of a proper nose; the inferior one that he had could barely smell anything! The body that came with this face was no better, and had reflexes and agility that would be considered laughable by any animal standards.- -Lord, this was going to be a long life in this sorry flesh!

As he gazed critically into the mirror, Glenn decided to challenge his image to a staring contest, and locked eyes with the face that he saw. The staring contest raged on hour after hour, with Glenn denying himself food, water, sleep, and even bathroom breaks; this contest was a serious affair not for those unwilling to make a commitment. As the event continued, Glenn wearied but drew on inner reserves of strength, his eyes red from fatigue and his body aching from the strain of sustained effort. Still, Glenn persevered, for great prizes demand extraordinary sacrifices.

Four days later, Glenn won the staring contest. The human image in the mirror screamed, broke off eye contact, and exploded into thousands of tiny bits of light and color which raced to the borders of the mirror and then vanaished as they ran off of the mirror's edges. The glass of the mirror then darkened and clouded over, swirling mists roiling over the troubled surface.

From deep within another alternative dimension captured by the mirror, a deep voice echoed. "You are the seventh son of the seventh son of He who was with me at the beginning," rumbled the voice.

"Say what?," answered Glenn. All that he knew was that he had never lost a staring contest with anyone.

"Much to learn have you!," chided the mirror, "Yet the blood of the great father courses within your veins, and I shall honor my contract with him! I shall grant you the fondest wish of your heart!"

"Cool!," breathed Glenn. "So what do I get?"

"Everything!,"promised the mirror as swirling motes of light and color moved upon its surface. The pinpoints danced faster and faster, finally coalescing into a new image, one which was distinctly vulpine. Glenn stared at the mirror but this time in wonder, raising his hand to his face only to see that it was no longer a human hand at all, but rather a paw-like adaptation of a hand, one with a black fur covering. Momentarily alarmed, Glenn found that he could still flex and extend fingers although they were now clawed. As Glenn's expression registered his surprise, his gaze shifted to the mirror's image to find that it was doing precisely the same thing.

"The law of attraction," explained the mirror. "That which is like unto itself is drawn!"

"Speak English!," demanded Glenn.

Something akin to a sigh emanated from the mirror before its voice patiently continued. "Thoughts both conscious and unconscious can affect things outside of the head, and not just by motivation but through other means. You have long known that you have wanted this transformation, and in that have asked the universe for it. Now believe...feel and behave as if the object of your desire is already here!"

"I do believe!," swore Glenn as he locked eyes with his new image of self.

"Then be open to receiving your new identity!," guided the mirror. "This is the secret!"

"Magical thinking," dismissed Glenn, "but I'll take it!"

"Works for me!," shrugged the mirror.

Yipping and flexing all four of his newly reconstituted limbs, Glenn vaulted out of the nearest window and embraced his life reborn, sprinting into the forest. As the sounds of his departure faded, dark ever-changing vortexes moved across the surface of the mirror.

"And just what might your fondest desire be?," asked the mirror of those reading these words. "I know you're out there...I can hear you breathing!," it added with a note of amusement...