Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

As a child I was fascinated by the reflections you see when you place two mirrors facing each other and stand between them. Trying to understand that fascination drove me through mathematics and into science, down into quantum foam and up into the things that make reality real.

I could never shake the feeling that what I saw in those mirrors was something fundamental, if I could only understand it. When the new scientific fields caused by Tennerson’s discovery of the principles of wormhole transit opened their doors, I made sure that I was one of the first to get access to their data. Then Cravedine had his accident during a wormhole transit experiment. It caused an utter sensation, but I ignored the media furore. I knew that deep within the logs of that event was the thing I needed.

To go directly from one reality to its alternate is impossible. But in a wormhole, certain laws are placed in abeyance. A wormhole can deliver you into another reality. I added Cravedine’s rather elegant energy field equations to my mirror theories and used the gestalt result as the focus for a wormhole. Reducing the bizarre mechanism down to a backpack and a bag of portable reflective surfaces took longer than the science.

The paired mirrors are the key. The field generated between them places you in a portal. If you can see a reflection of yourself distinctly, you can go there. There being a reality divergent from our own. Of course, you needed to count how many instances from here the reflection is, so you can return.

My first jaunt was reality plus one, my shorthand for going through the right-hand mirror to the first reflection. I found myself in a familiar place, but standing in a sizeable crater. After scrambling out of it, I found the nearby city blocks deserted. Upon reaching populated areas, I got some odd looks. When I read the headlines about my ‘crazy’ experiment demolishing a neighbourhood, I ran back to the crater, unfolded a pair of mirrors and stepped back into reality minus one.

The guard standing in my laboratory was white-faced with surprise, but he held his rifle steady as he ordered me to stay put. I said I needed to stabilise myself by putting up two reflective surfaces. He nodded assent and while he called for backup, I unfolded my mirrors and stepped back into reality plus one.

I stepped into my laboratory and the me in there screamed like a girl before collapsing, hitting his head heavily on the corner of the bench. I heard his neck snap as his head twisted. I unfolded mirrors and got the hell out as I heard running feet in the corridor outside. This time, I chose reality minus two.

The ruined laboratory was open to the sky. Climbing up, I beheld the ruins of a city stretching as far as I could see. So I sat on charred masonry, snacked, drank and thought hard. Then I mirrored up and selected reality plus fourteen, the furthest that I could make out.

Six years later, I am still here. I have become a best-selling author with a backpack and a bag of mirrors cemented into the foundations of my Swedish home. I didn’t think it through. A reflection is never an exact copy and each reality has its own reflections. The reflections I saw in each reality were reflections of that reality, not mine.

I discovered the most effective method of exile ever. Then inflicted it upon myself.


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