Face Maskculinity

Chapter 13: Chapter 7 Super Ego



   Life changed so much in a day since Robert discovered his unnatural abilities that even a shower was strange. The outcome of his first shower the next morning was shocking. The dirty water flooded to his ankles, as it felt like he was standing in mud, but not as dark.

   Robert wanted to, but could no longer ignore the flood, as the dirty water reached halfway to his knees. He reached his hand in his dirty water and grabbed a palmful of the strange liquid to get a clear examination. The substance was a much darker pigment than his darkest urine, which was frightening as it slowly escaped his palm, much slower than water would have. So he found a cup, filled it up, and showed it to his reflection in the bathroom mirror.

   “What the hell is this?” Robert asked.

   His reflection looked at it and smiled.

   “What do you think it is?” his reflection asked.

   “I don’t know. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s like superhuman dirty water. It kinda look like motor oil in the middle of its life cycle. Is this how my dirty water will be from now on?” Robert asked.

   His reflection chuckled.

   “It’s not motor oil or dirty water. It’s worth a lot more. What color is your skin when the sun shines on it? That’s the answer to your question,” His reflection said.

   Robert took a moment to think. His skin was a brown, caramel complexion, as he was considered a black man in America. At nighttime, his skin might have been pitch black, but in the sunlight, his skin was brighter, maybe a reddish complexion or even

   “This is gold?” Robert asked, confused.

   “Jackpot!” his reflection said.

   This was too good to be true. The dirty water from Robert’s shower turned into liquid gold. The gold in his cup hardened, and by the time he turned back to the bathtub, most of the gold turned solid and shiny. He could not believe his eyes.

   “So how do I get it out the bathtub?” Robert asked.

   “Destiny can do it,” his reflection said.

   “When Destiny finds out my dirty water turned to gold in her bathtub, she will flip! She doesn’t know about my abilities. I didn’t tell her yet.”

   “You need to worry less about getting people upset, and focus more on not losing control of your emotions. Women are a lot more powerful than you think. Never underestimate them, especially your girlfriend. She can handle it.”

   Perhaps his reflection was right. Maybe he did care about other’s feelings more than his feelings which caused him to be depressed when people disappointed him, but he still did not think it was right to leave Destiny’s bathtub in this condition.

   “You don’t think it’s rude for me to leave her bathtub like this?” Robert asked.

   “Let me think. Do I think it’s rude for you to pay the mortgage for the entire year with one shower, and leave it for her to take care of the payment? I don’t think so,” his reflection said.

   His reflection was right, although Robert hated to admit it because it did not feel right to leave Destiny’s bathtub like this. However, for the amount of gold that was in the tub, it perhaps could pay two years mortgage for this house and his mother’s house.

   “I have to at least tell her, which means I have to tell her about my powers, and it may scare her,” Robert said.

   “There you go underestimating women again. Destiny can handle herself, and you don’t have to do anything until you feel it’s the right time. You’re a man. Embrace it. You don’t control people, you control the situation. You tell her about your secrets when you’re ready, and if she has a problem with gold in her bathtub, she comes to you,” his reflection said.

   None of this felt right, but Robert’s reflection won this argument. He had no more rebuttals. He did wish he had 5 more minutes to shower, but it was not the end of the world.

   In the bedroom, Destiny was still asleep, so Robert put on his work clothes quietly, but quick so he could avoid showing Destiny the guilt on his face.

   Clearly, Robert did not have to go to work anymore, but he was not ready to fully embrace all the abnormalities that occurred within the past two days. An hour into Robert’s shift of his first day back at Cheap Prices since being sick, he already hated his life. Without the customers, there would be no business, and no business meant no job, but dealing with multiple personalities throughout the day completely ravaged his mood. The only difference today from any other day was his newly discovered super strength, his dirty shower water turning into gold, and the extraordinary ability to interact with his reflection in a mirror. How many people in the world could do that? More importantly, how was it possible?

   Since being sick, Robert did not miss work one bit. Of course, there were many pleasant customers with great personalities he encountered daily that he enjoyed talking to, but for the most part, the customers that he dealt with were annoying, angry, extremely impatient, and difficult to deal with. As a result of the fast-paced environment he worked in, it was painful at times to deal with elderly people because they slowed the pace down, but out of respect, he took his time with them and attended to them the best he could. God willing, Robert would one day be an elder too, and hopefully, he would earn the respect and assistance needed from the youth as he served today.

   Every time Robert saw an irksome regular customer approach the desk for assistance, he would sigh. Today on a few occasions, he had to bite his lip extra hard to restrain himself from arguing or causing any conflict. It was difficult but crucial to maintain his professionalism no matter the circumstances. He also remembered what his reflection said about controlling his emotions.

   Robert walked to the bathroom frequently to talk to himself in the mirror to improve his mood throughout his shift. Of course, he had to do it discreetly so his coworkers or customers that used the bathroom would not think he was insane. Talking to his reflection was like talking to a much-improved version of himself. At times, he imagined how it would feel if he were not himself and had the opportunity to meet himself. He no longer had to use his imagination. This was real, and nobody could know about his special ability, including Destiny and Mom. He did not want anyone thinking he was going mad.

   Destiny was parked outside the store, waiting for Robert after his shift ended. Walking up to her car, he caught her fixing her makeup in the mirror. He already informed her yesterday that he went to the gym, which she was not too happy about, but he did not tell her of any of the supernatural occurrences, and he did not mention the gold in the shower. He could not tell anyone, although it was too vast a secret to keep inside. He most certainly could not tell her about the fight. She probably would be upset at him even though it was not his fault. Oddly, not once through text message did she mention the gold, so he was still in control of the situation. That was the most frustrating part of work today: owning enough gold to earn him thousands of dollars, but instead he went to work at his job that he hated just to keep the image that he was still a normal human being. It was best to put this subject to rest until he and his reflection figured out the next step.

   “How was work today, babe?” Destiny asked as Robert entered the car.

   Robert kissed her before he spoke. This was the highlight of his day.

   “It sucked. I feel like my head is going to explode every time I stand behind that courtesy counter! How was your day?” Robert asked.

   Destiny smiled at Robert. “It was OK. I’m glad I’m with you now,” Destiny said.

   “Me too,” Robert said as he kissed Destiny again.

   Still no mention of the gold. It was almost as if Destiny did not see it yet, but Robert knew it was impossible because she used that shower multiple times a day.“I think I’m ready to quit my job,” Robert said.

   “Where would you work if you quit?” Destiny asked.

   It was crazy how with his supernatural ability, Robert could now consider professional sports. With his dirty shower water turning into gold, he did not have to work at all. In a sense, he was essentially rich for the rest of his life. He would make money whenever he took a shower or washed his hands. He took no risks at work, only using hand sanitizer. It would be near impossible to hide this from Destiny, the more he thought about it. He had to come up with a sound plan with his reflection.

   “I’m not sure yet. Maybe I could start my own business,” Robert said.

   “I want to be part of your life as you figure it all out. I want to be your love, inspiration, and support,” Destiny said.

   Destiny was unreal. She could be with anyone else in the world she wanted. Even at thirty-six years old, the sight of her would melt most men’s hearts, but she genuinely believed in Robert and held a passionate love toward him. This was the first time he experienced this, and it made him feel special.

   Moments later, Destiny pulled up in front of the house of Robert’s friend Brian. He lived a few minutes’ drive away from Robert’s house in Freeport. Although Brian had a small house, he lived on his own, so his house was the unofficial party central of Freeport. Parties filled with former high school classmates every Friday and Saturday night, when there was drinking, smoking, and girls.

   On most occasions, Robert would try to behave himself because he did grow up in the church, but it was hard. He was young, and life was too much fun when you partied. On a few occasions, the nights ended embarrassingly, but in all actuality, it is only embarrassing if you are embarrassed. He was blessed to be alive still and healthy. He had no regrets, but today, he would not get out of control because Destiny was here.

   Brian held a barbecue to which he invited a lot of the same friends as Robert. He had not seen Brian or any of his other friends in about a month, mainly since dating Destiny. Perhaps today would be a good day to see them and introduce them to her. Deep in Robert’s mind, he was hoping Destiny would not find any of his friends more attractive than him and dump him, like a few of his ex-girlfriends did in the past.

   “You don’t seem too thrilled about this barbecue,” Robert said.

   “I am,” Destiny said. There was no excitement in her tone or facial expression. “I just don’t want to be a buzzkill. I want you to have as good a time as you would have if I wasn’t here.”

   “You and buzz-kill don’t belong in the same sentence. You bring me joy. I’m not gonna lie, I used to be wild, but I respect you, so those days are behind me. I just want to have a good time, and maybe show off my super hot girlfriend.”

   Destiny chuckled. “Showing off can cause problems. You have to be careful,” Destiny said.

   The way Destiny stared into Robert’s eyes seemed like she was sending a hidden message.

   Moments later, they headed to Brian’s backyard by the left side of the house. Robert could smell the aroma of the tasteful barbecue food cooking on the grill. He also smelled a hint of marijuana smoke, which soothed his soul instantly. By the squint on Destiny’s face, he saw that she smelled it as well. Since meeting Destiny, he did not have the urge to smoke like he did prior. Smoking for Robert filled the depressing void of not having a girlfriend, but now being with Destiny, he did not need marijuana to enliven his loneliness. She did. God forbid Destiny ever left him, now he had his mirror reflection as a confidence boost to help him move on. Hopefully, he was strong enough not to give in to his former addiction.

   “Don’t worry, we won’t be here for long,” Robert assured Destiny.

   Anxiously as Robert opened the gate, he saw a gathering of friends that he had not seen in ages, some drinking beers, others eating food. Brian held the marijuana joint in his hand, puffing clouds of smoke away from his nostrils and mouth. Robert somewhat missed the days he used to hang out with Brian and the rest of the crew. Most of the guests shifted their attention over to Robert and Destiny, but he had a feeling none of them were looking at him. Destiny was looking stunning as usual. Robert still could not believe that she was his girlfriend.

   As Robert entered, he greeted each of his friends and introduced all of them to Destiny. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see some of the guys checking her out. It did not get him upset; in fact, it was pretty awesome to see the other guys rudely admire his girlfriend. Having an attractive girlfriend like Destiny, he knew other men would look and would attempt to kick game and take her away. He would let it play out and see if she would give in to it, but he would not allow any man to get too close. She was his, and he would allow no one to take her away from him this time.

   Watching the marijuana smoke float in the air, Robert was now tempted to smoke and drink with his friends. He needed to calm his nerves of being around so many people. He always told himself when he found love, there would not be any need for any of those bad habits, but he wanted to go back now. Something inside him was deeply attached to this kind of lifestyle. He thought about grabbing one beer, but one beer would most likely turn into fourteen by the end of the night. Honestly, deep in his heart, he did not believe that drinking or smoking, depending on the content, was a negative thing. The negative part was allowing it to become an addiction. The one positive of having an addiction was that every single human being on earth had one as well, and no one should judge as if their addiction is better.

   “That’s why you ain’t been chilling with us. You act like a bitch when you have a girl!” Brian said.

   Everyone surrounding them burst out into laughter. Destiny was all the way at the opposite side of the grass by the metal fence of Brian’s neighbor. She was talking to a group of three: two guys and one girl, all appearing to be his age. Robert did not pay it too much attention; it was nothing. One thing he remembered about hanging out with Brian was that he enjoyed calling him a bitch, especially in front of people. It was disrespectful, but what could he realistically do about it? Brian was three times his size and a few feet taller. Robert would get beat down if he ever challenged Brian to a fight, so he accepted another man calling him a bitch, which meant he actually was.

   Robert was not going to allow Brian to disrespect him anymore by calling him a bitch, especially in front of others. Brian still had a threatening demeanor, but Robert knew without a doubt that Brian could never accomplish the feats he did yesterday—the massive weights, or the four colossal men he defended himself from in Goliath Fitness. This time, size really did not matter, and it honestly never should have. Whether it resulted in a win, loss, or draw, he should have never allowed another to disrespect his name and character.

   “He stepped his game up. No disrespect, but your girl is bad!” John said.

   “Yeah, but he’s still a bitch though. He don’t hang out with the homies no more. He don’t smoke weed, he don’t drink he’s in love!” Brian said, continuing his mockery of Robert.

   “Word I don’t be seeing you anymore. You don’t be on Facebook, Twitter, the Gram I bet you don’t even have a Bulb,” Latrell said.

   Robert was growing upset at Brian deliberately trying to embarrass him in front of everyone just to make himself look good, but he let it die down, just for the sake of a good time.

   “Bulb? I never heard of it,” Robert eventually said.

   “She got you whipped! You’re a sucker for love,” Brian said.

   Robert ignored Brian as best as he could because his next words would come from his fist. Plus, he knew Brian was allowing the alcohol and weed to influence his words.

   “It’s a dope new social networking service that allows you to do the most,” Latrell said.

   Brian pulled out his iPhone and showed off the Light Bulb application to Robert. It seemed cool. Brian scrolled through various blogs from left to right on his screen. Some of his Light Bulb friends Robert recognized. Robert was not very interested in creating an account. He was not into the whole social media excitement anymore, although he did think it was a useful method of communicating with friends. When he did use Facebook and Twitter, every few seconds, he would post an immature blog. It was his personality. He loved to seek attention by posting outrageous blogs, but he was over it now, especially now that he was dating. He did not want Destiny to get the impression that he was immature, even though he was.

   Overall, Robert was not really impressed with Light Bulb, or excited to create a new account.

   “You need to create your account. Everybody has one, negro. Even my five-year-old daughter has one,” Latrell said.

   Robert could not remember if cell phones were even invented yet when he was five, and if they were, his parents most certainly would not allow him to own one.

   About an hour later, Brian decided to throw a beer pong match. Robert wanted to play so badly, but he did not want to drink in front of Destiny. He fought off his temptation up until this point—not even one beer.

   Robert did not want to do anything to potentially turn Destiny off. She most certainly did not deserve to be with an alcoholic. She was a woman of high class. She was much better than dealing with an alcoholic. Maybe he was overthinking the whole thing, and he should just play one game of beer pong.

   “You’re a bitch!” Brian said in front of everyone again, just because Robert declined to play beer pong.

   Robert could not let this slide again, especially in front of Destiny now.

   “Make that the last time you call me a bitch, please,” Robert said in a calm but serious manner.

   Brian was surprised at Robert for finally standing up, but Brian did not look threatened at all. He smiled as if this were a joke. His nonchalance angered Robert.

   “Whatever, bitch!” Brian said with more emphasis.

   Robert knew Brian was drunk, but it was no excuse for the disrespect that he was displaying, even if it was at his home. Robert had to put an end to this now. No man would ever get away with disrespecting him in such a manner, ever again! So Robert walked up to Brian, standing inches away from him, intimidated because of his size, but Robert was confident he could take Brian out if he had to, especially since all the miraculous events of yesterday.

   “You want to say it to my face and see what happens to yours?” Robert asked.

   In his peripheral view, he could see everyone around him in shock. If Brian did hold any fear, he it hid well, behind his massive bravado and all the alcohol he consumed. He probably never thought he would see this side of Robert. Finally, he had the courage to stand up to Brian. It was not about the name-calling. Robert did not care if any man thought he was a bitch or a nigger. It was about the unnecessary disrespect, especially in front of his girlfriend. He could not have her thinking that he was a wimp.

   “You better get out of my face, dog, before I whoop your ass!” Brian said, now irate.

   Robert’s adrenaline ignited like an engine of a jet. A few of the guys around attempted to pull the two away from each other to calm the tension down, but they could not move Robert an inch. Brian put on a show, pushing away the arms of those trying to calm him down. Robert showed no fear and maintained his poise. If Brian only knew that his day was moments away from being over with one punch to the skull, Robert could have very easily gotten to Brian.

   Through the commotion, Robert could hear Destiny yelling his name in the background, but he remained deadeye focused on Brian in case he wanted to try anything stupid.

   “What?” Robert eventually answered Destiny, now unable to ignore her distinct calling.

   “Let’s leave now!” Destiny demanded.

   “No! I’m not going to let him disrespect me no more!”

   “Let’s just go! He’s a friend! If you hurt him, you’re going to regret it later!”

   The look in Destiny’s eyes seemed as if she somehow understood the power that Robert had. She was 100 percent right. Although Robert wanted nothing more than to counter the embarrassment Brian was causing upon him, it was best just to walk away from this fight. He did not want to hurt his friend even if Brian was disrespectful. Robert did not quite understand his strengths yet, and if he could not control himself, he could hurt and inflict a tremendous amount of pain to Brian, and after the adrenaline died away, it would be more painful to watch. With the power Robert had, it could possibly be fatal, and land him in prison.

   After they left without incident, Robert was still enraged by Brian’s insults as Destiny drove to her house. There was so much anger boiled up inside that he had to be by himself. He learned the hard way in many of his past relationships that it was best to be alone when angry, and the fewer the words said, the better. Maybe it was immature of him to be upset, but he did not care. Destiny probably never got bullied in her life. She did not know how it felt to be bullied every day in high school and, worst of all, never having the courage to stand up!

   “Take me home!” Robert demanded.

   Destiny sighed. She said, “Don’t let what happened get you upset, babe. I understand how you feel, but you—”

   “You don’t understand nothing! I need to be alone!” Robert said.

   “Babe, you could come by, and we could talk about it. I just want you to be with you tonight. I want to be in your arms when you’re happy or upset.”

   What could Robert say? It was immature to be upset about not being able to stuff his fist in Brian’s face, but he was. If Robert was to talk to her about anything, he would have to talk to her about everything, and he was not ready yet.

   “Could you just take me home? I don’t feel like talking about it!” Robert said.

   Destiny shook her head, appearing to be displeased.

   “Why are you upset?” Destiny eventually asked.

   “Pull over and let me out right now!” Robert demanded.

   Robert felt the intensity of his overreaction right away. He could see the frustration and disappointment in Destiny’s face. Without saying another word, she pulled over to the nearest opening by the sidewalk of the main street and parked. He then exited her car without a kiss or a goodbye. She did not understand how he felt. Right now, words would only complicate it more.

   It took Robert about ten minutes to walk home from where Destiny dropped him off. With his newfound miraculous abilities, he could perhaps sprint home in sixty seconds or less, but he needed the time alone to think deep and reflect on everything going on in his life.

   Entering the house, Robert still wanted to punch something and break it! He saw his mother in the kitchen and he did not want her to question him in this state, so he avoided her and ran upstairs into the bathroom, locking the door.

   “What I’m trying to understand is why you’re upset at Destiny,” his reflection said as Robert faced the mirror.

   “I’m not upset at her; I just don’t want to be bothered right now!” Robert said.

   “She’s not bothering you. She helped you out of a situation in which you would have hurt one of your friends badly.”

   “He called me a bitch in front of everyone! I should have broken his jaw!”

   “You are acting like a bitch right now! Would you have challenged him like that without your newly discovered power?”

   It was difficult for Robert to say that he would. Before gaining these mysterious strengths, the only advantage that he had over Brian was that he was quicker and pretty strong for his size. He could see his quickness helping him win a fight with Brian, but if he grabbed ahold of Robert, the fight would be over. Brian was much stronger than Robert.

   “True power is not physical aggression; it’s mental warfare. The best way to use your brain is to relax. You’re too tense. Never let people disrespect you, but understand your abilities first. You know you have great power, but no matter how much strength you possess, if you can’t control it, you’re weak. You don’t want to do to Brian what you did to the men in the locker room. Destiny was only trying to help you see that Brian was a pointless battle. You do not fully understand your powers yet. How would you feel after you hurt him?” his reflection asked.

   At the moment, it would have felt great to balance the embarrassment Brian was dishing out, but eventually when the rage died away, it would be a terrible feeling if he harmed Brian anywhere close to how he accidentally harmed the men in the gym. Destiny and his reflection were right, but there was still an unsatisfied rage inside of him that needed to be released.

   “I’m tired of getting bullied! It’s not going to stop unless I knock someone out,” Robert said, fighting tears.

   “I agree. Not one of your friends though. I actually have the perfect candidate, if you’re up for the challenge,” his reflection said.


   Suddenly, there was a knocking on the door. “Robert, is that you?”

   It was his mother. Robert held his index finger over his mouth as his reflection now mimicked the action. He then opened the bathroom door.

   “Yeah, what’s up?” Robert asked his mother, trying to conceal his anger.

   “You OK? Are you talking to yourself?” Mom asked.

   Robert could not deny it; he was too frustrated, even to attempt to come up with a lie. “Yeah, I’m fine,” Robert said.

   “Why are you talking to yourself?” Mom asked.

   Robert sighed. “Sometimes I’m the only one that listens.” Robert said.

   Robert could tell his mother wanted to laugh but held it in because she saw that this was a depressing moment for him. “You need help. You need God more than anything. I made fish ’n’ chips—it’s in the kitchen. If you need to talk, I’m in my room,” Mom said.

   “OK thanks,” Robert said as he closed the door. He focused his ears outside to listen for his mother to enter her room and close the door. “OK, we’re clear.”

   “Nate,” his reflection said.

   Hearing Nate’s name shot a jolt of fear inside Robert that instantly released his aggression. He tried to force the memories of Nate out of his head because they were embarrassing to think of. If Destiny only knew the severity of how he was bullied in high school, she would dump him.

   “I don’t know. Nate is probably a drug dealer or something now, or most likely, he’s in prison. I don’t think I have seen him since high school,” Robert said.

   His reflection grinned. “He’s not in prison, he does sell drugs, and he lives in Hempstead now. I can take you to him if you’re up for the challenge,” his reflection said.

   “How do you know all this about Nate?” Robert asked.

   It would have been cool to show Nate that he could not be bullied anymore by him, but deep down inside, Robert did not want to do it. He was still intimidated by the thought of Nate. It was better just to avoid the encounter. He probably had a gun or a knife. This was reckless, foolish, and life-threatening.

   “I’ll show you. Do you want to explore my world? If you do, you have to go see Nate as my personal challenge,” his reflection said.

   Explore what world? As if it wasn’t incredible enough that Robert could interact with his mirror reflection, suddenly and unnaturally, an arm identical to his own extended out of the mirror glass. Robert was very hesitant, but he eventually grabbed his reflection’s hand. He was then pulled and absorbed into the mirror glass as everything turned black.

   Robert felt a static shock throughout his skin. When he regained his sight, the environment around seemed to have a shimmering effect to it, just as the day he first became sick. Everything in the bathroom in this mirror dimension was opposite to the real world: the bathtub, the toilet, the sink, even the mirror portal he entered from. Most shocking of all, beside him stood a man that was identical to him, his own reflection, live in person. It was an unusual feeling meeting him. This is how I look in person, he thought.

   “Welcome to my world,” his reflection said, walking to the bathroom door. “Here you will learn how gifted you truly are. I bet you still don’t know how you received this gift.”

   Before receiving these phenomenal abilities, Robert was near death, only limited to simple movements in Destiny’s bed. It happened the very next morning after having sex with her. Even though he did not want to accept it, all the clues were clear.

   “It has to be from Destiny. I got sick the next morning after I slept with her. I still don’t know how when we used condoms,” Robert said.

   “I’m glad you figured that much out. Destiny has a secret to share with you. When she does, it’s going to change your life forever. Be prepared,” his reflection said.

   “Is she the cause of my powers?”

   “Yes, but I can’t tell you how or why. She must first. I can help you explore your abilities. When I open the door, there will be a strong gust of wind. Brace yourself. The winds will attempt to knock you off your feet, but you will not allow it! You are stronger than the fiercest winds!”

   His reflection opened the door, and the strong winds instantly breezed across Robert’s face. The closer he walked toward the door, the stronger the forces of the wind were. It was incredibly difficult to keep balanced. He could not believe he was in this supernatural experience. On the other side of the door, his reflection stood relaxed near the cliff of the center of a wide cylindrical hole. Several doors identical to the one Robert exited from circled around all the way to the opposite side. Looking above and below, the platforms were all identical. Each platform layered a few feet above the other in what appeared to be an endless cylindrical pattern. Never had he seen anything like this. He was stupefied by the images in this fascinating dimension, still while trying to maintain his balance.

   “I know you’re probably wondering why there are so many doors. Behind each door is an individual that you have sometime in the past seen, not limited by television or the Internet. None of the doors are labeled, but I know who’s behind each one. You see the door shining bright above us?” his reflection asked, pointing a few levels above them.

   Looking up, Robert spotted the illuminated door a few floors above him. “Yeah,” Robert said.

   “That’s Nate’s door. Are you ready to visit him?” his reflection asked.

   Robert did not want to explore his abilities against Nate. It was too risky. “No. I’m scared,” Robert said.

   “You have nothing to be afraid of! You will never learn it until you confront your fears. You can have all the fears in the world you want, but you will not fear

   It took Robert a moment to understand his reflection’s message fully. It was OK to have fears. All humans have fears, but real men face their fears. A real man is courageous and does not allow another man to be disrespectful. All of a sudden, adrenaline boiled inside Robert again.

   The fierce winds blew from all angles, keeping Robert unbalanced. According to his reflection, the key for maintaining stability was relaxing and allowing his body to adjust to the winds and air pressure. It took some time, but eventually the winds became as calm as the eye of a storm.

   “Your body is strong enough to battle the winds, yet dense enough to float. You can control yourself in the air,” his reflection said while levitating off the platform. “Allow your body to adjust.”

   Robert remained calm as he allowed the gusty winds to take him off his feet. Although it was difficult, he was in control of his body. This was an experience like none other, lifting himself up from the ground under his own control. Slowly as he elevated, he began to inch in on his reflection. Robert was a bit scared of losing control, but he maintained his focus on staying relaxed. He followed behind his reflection to the platform level of Nate’s door.

   “Stay relaxed, and you won’t lose control. You can use the winds from behind you to guide you onto the platform. It requires a lot of focus,” his reflection said, landing gently on the clear platform. Robert felt he would have much more difficulty landing than his reflection did. He closed his eyes to relax his body. Then he allowed the winds from behind to help guide him to the platform.


   Robert shot into the wall, dropping down onto the platform floor. He felt a bit dizzy on the ground, but no pain.

   “You’ll get better,” his reflection said, chuckling. “I would not suggest using this skill in your world until you master it here. Not that you would feel it, but you might ruin our faces, and I’m not about that.”

   Robert had no intentions of flying in his world. He did not want people thinking he was a freak of nature or a superhero. Now that he did have super abilities, it probably would be cool to be a superhero. He could call himself Mirror-man maybe.

   The winds were too strong for Robert to stand in.

   “Relax deep in through the nose, slowly out through the mouth,” his reflection said.

   Robert gave into the winds pounding and pinning him against the wall. Then suddenly, his body involuntarily adjusted to the force of the winds. He slowly rose to his feet and then followed his reflection walking to Nate’s door. It was empowering to know that his body could battle the fiercest winds.

   Entering the room, Robert’s body momentarily had to adjust back to the subtle air. Walking to the center of the room, he came upon a motionless live replication of Nate in a tight-spaced bathroom. Nate was facing a black animated wall. He looked the same from high school as far as the way he dressed, with a fitted Detroit Tigers cap, baggy jeans, loose T-shirt, and Air Jordan sneakers. He looked to have gained a significant amount of muscle mass since the last time Robert saw him years ago, but physically, Robert had the advantage. Even in high school, he had the advantage. He wished he had the courage to stand up to him back then, but now it made this moment much sweeter. There was still a lot of anxiety inside him.

   “Are you ready?” his reflection asked.

   “This is stupid. I don’t know,” Robert said.

   “Do I have to remind you what you accomplished yesterday? You beat down three men twice your size without even trying! The fourth guy didn’t even want to fight you! You think Nate could do that?”


   “Then why are you scared?”

   “I didn’t put myself in that situation. I’m lucky to be standing now. Why am I foolishly throwing myself into a battle with Nate? He’s a thug. He’ll probably pull out a gun or knife. Or he’ll probably get his gang members on me.”

   That was the real concern. Robert did not want to lose his life over an act so foolish.

   “As I said, you have nothing to be afraid of. Your skin is special. You took a shower in your world, and your dirty water turned into gold. If you take a shower in my world, it might turn into something better, depending on your taste. Your skin is impenetrable to violent force. Bullets and knives won’t harm you. And he has a lot of money with him.”

   Robert could not believe what his ears were being exposed to. Money made this mission more interesting, although he now made money by showering, but it was hard to accept that he was bulletproof. If that was truly the case, he really did have nothing to fear but God.


Chapter 8