Tyler had never liked his reflection. Similar to most people, there were thing about his appearance that he would have liked to have been able to change, but that was not the issue. He did not like his reflection because when he looked at it, he was not sure that he was really looking at himself.
It did everything that an ordinary reflection was supposed to do. It winked when he winked, it moved as he moved, and it never missed a single thing he did, no matter how fast he was. That was not the reason behind his suspicions that he was looking at someone – or something – else. He had seen himself in photographs and on video and he had seen his reflection, and there were clear, alarming, differences.
For starters, there were noticeable differences around his eyes. In photographs, he had bright eyes surrounded by a few age lines that became more visible when he smiled. They were natural, and although they revealed his true age he did not feel particularly bothered about them. His reflection have his eyes another appearance: they were surrounded by dark marks, as though his daughter had attacked him with mascara and missed. They made him look tired and mean. It was alarming to look in the mirror and see himself like that.
Then there was his hair. No matter how much he looked after it, washed it and treated it, his reflection stared back at him with a head of greasy hair. He would run his hand through it whenever he saw himself, but he knew that it did not really look like that. He could feel how soft and smooth it was under his fingers.
The worst feature his reflection had, however, was its smile. Tyler did his best not to grin when he looked into the mirror, because the smirk that was shot back at him by his other self was disturbing. Reflective surfaces would sometimes catch him out, and he had to be careful not to react to that grin when he was out in public. The unnerving appearance of his reflection gave him chills up and down his spine and nightmares all night long.
Was it just his mind playing tricks on him? Was he only imagining that he looked good in photographs? There were times when he thought he had to look like the man who stared back at him in the mirror and that the man in photographs was only a projection of what he wished he looked like. Then there were other times when his reflection freaked him out and he was sure that there was something evil hidden behind those dark, judging eyes.
And then there were yet other times when he had to remind himself that he was a forty-eight year old man who did not believe in ghost stories or monsters or evil doppelgängers living in mirrors.
He stood in front of the bathroom mirror and tested his reflection from time to time. When he was satisfied and walked away, he would often wonder whether he had been the one in control – or whether it had been his reflection that had been testing him. Every day it looked a little bit darker, and he became a little bit more paranoid that it did not belong to him.
Tyler had no idea what he would do if his reflection did do something unexpected. Scream like a baby, perhaps. That imperfect copy of himself haunted him wherever he went and he watched it carefully, certain that it was watching him back.