The room was dark. So very dark. Bob realized he couldn’t see a thing besides his own hands. He wasn’t sure where he was and he doesn’t remember where he was last. He didn’t want to admit he was nervous, but he knew better than to lie to himself.
Then he spotted it. A figure in the distance. Bob hesitated, then started to walk towards them. Surely it was someone in the same boat as him. Lost and confused. He raised a hand and called towards the stranger. “Hey! Over here!”
The stranger turned and began walking in his direction. Bob stopped as he waited for the person to approach. He blinked…
And the figure was gone.
Bob cursed under his breath. He was alone again. Or maybe he always was and his mind was playing tricks on him in the dark. Brains did that right? Wanting to visualize something so it creates images in the dark. Something like that.
“Lookin’ for something?”
A voice sounded behind him, nearly making him jump out of his skin. Bob turned and came face to face with… Himself?
He lifted up a hand just to see if it was a mirror. The double didn’t copy his movements. Realizing what this was, Bob took a step back. “Ah, fuck. Is this supposed to be some sort of inner reflection or some shit?” He jabbed a finger at his double’s chest. “I’m havin’ none of this fucking nonsense.”
The other Bob raised an eyebrow, then smiled. “Man, I’m just as confused as you are. Tone it down.”
The… The accent was off. That wasn’t his accent. It was his voice but it sounded all wrong .
“You’re not me. This is some stupid fuckin’ dream and I’m lookin’ forward to waking up.” Bob said rather flatly. “Who the hell are ye anyway?”
‘Bob’ stepped closer and closer to Bob, who began backing away until his back hit an invisible wall. He was cornered but that didn’t mean he wasn’t gonna go down fighting. It was just a nightmare anyway, right?
The ‘Bob’ was right in his face now. “I’m you alright. I’m you but…” His voice lowered to a whisper. “I’m from New York. And I’m walkin’ here.”
New York Bob began to laugh. The invisible wall fell away and Bob ran for his life, daring not to look back.
Then he tripped on his own feet and fell forward. There was no floor. He just kept falling and falling into the endless abyss. Last thing he saw was New York Bob looking down at him from above, a wicked grin on his face.
Then Bob’s eyes snapped open.
“You sure he’s fine?” He heard a familiar voice say.
“I’m sure, yeah.” Said another.
His eyes finally adjusted to the light and he was finally able to focus on the people around him. He was grateful to see that it was just his fellow bandmates.
“You alright?” Pete asked him. “You passed out. We were just talking about tour dates and you just fell over.”
Bob sat up with a groan. “Remind me where we’re going?”
Johnnie helped him to his feet while Garry pointed at a piece of paper in his hands. “Next stop is New York City.”
He could hear New York Bob’s laughter in his head and he paled. “There’s enough rats in New York City. Let’s skip that one.”
Everyone looked baffled. “Skip? Is that even possible? People already ord-” Pete began but was interrupted.
“Skipping. It.” Bob said. “That is it.”
The other Rats looked at each other in confusion and concern. They should probably discuss it more when Bob was in a better headspace.
Bob took a walk outside and took in a deep breath of fresh air. He was safe. Or at least he thinks he was. Hopefully they won’t come anywhere near New York for a good time. Why was he so afraid anyway? New York Bob wasn’t real.
Simon poked his head out the door. “Telephone. It’s for you.”
Bob sighed and walked inside, taking the phone from Gerry who was holding it out for him to take. “Hello? Who is this?”
He heard the familiar voice again over the speaker. “Bada bing… Bada boom…”
Bob dropped the receiver, hearing laughter coming from the other end. Simon and Gerry looked at him in confusion. “What’s wrong?” Gerry asked. Bob just looked at him, seeing his own terrified reflection in his sunglasses.
He just walked away.
Bob walked back outside of the building and began walking down the street, trying to clear his head. It was just a nightmare. Plus, he passed out so it’s normal to be a bit disoriented after, right? Maybe he just needs a drink of water.
He passed a few people on the street, most giving him rather odd looks. He wasn’t sure why. He was sweating like crazy and it wasn’t even hot out.
Then he heard a cry for help. Someone in pain. He looked around. No one seemed to be able to notice it. Of course he wasn’t going to ignore it. New York Bob didn’t exist anyway, he needed to get over it.
Bob ran off towards an old abandoned building. He looked around cautiously, took a deep breath, then opened the door and went inside.
He couldn’t see. It was pitch black inside. Bob frowned and hesitantly took a few steps inside, looking for a light switch.
Once he was a few feet away from the door, it slammed shut, leaving him in total darkness.
A light turned on. He was now face to face with himself. Bob jumped in surprise, but was relieved to see his reflection do it too. It was just a mirror. He put a hand to the glass, feeling its cool surface.
Just a mirror.
Then a hand emerged from the mirror and grabbed his wrist. Bob let out a shout and attempted to pull his hand back, but the hand grabbing him was much stronger.
New York Bob’s head came out of the mirror. “Ayyy, long time no see.” New York Bob said with a smile.
“Oh fuck you.” Bob snarled back at him.
“You got some beef or somethin’?” New York Bob said and laughed. He finally fully stepped out of the mirror. “You have to face your fears, Irish Bob. You can’t run from New York.”
Bob kicked his double, sending him stumbling back and letting go of his arm. Bob turned to run, but came face to face with another mirror. He turned around, but there was another mirror. He was surrounded.
“How about this. Break the mirrors. Simple, easy. I’ll let ya go.” New York Bob said.
“What’s the catch?” Bob asked.
“Don’t get caught.” He said. The moment he finished his sentence, a Bob emerged from every mirror. There was at least 8 of them.
Was this a metaphor for something? He wasn’t sure. But right now, he needed to be quick. He spotted a hammer near the mirror the first Bob walked out of and made a run for it, ducking underneath a two Bob’s reaching arms.
He swung his arm, hammerhead connecting with one of the glass mirrors. It shattered and one of the many Bobs screeched and disappeared.
7 more to go.
He was pretty lucky to be able to dodge the hands of his clones. They seemed a lot more stiff than he was. Left and right he was breaking mirrors and more and more Bobs vanished from sight.
Then there was one left. Thing is, he doesn’t know where the last Bob is. He looked around, but saw nothing. Bob looked back at the final mirror and let out a deep breath. Be fast. Be very fast.
Bob let out a cry and ran towards the final mirror, arm pulling back for the final swing…
Then an arm came directly in his view as the other Bob appeared and fucking clotheslined him, sending him crashing down on his back. The hammer fell beside him. He tried to reach out for it, but the New York Bob kicked it away. New York Bob bent down and grabbed Bob by the collar before lifting him up to look him in the eyes.
“You can never outsmart a New York Rat. We’re clever, Irish man. Very clever.” He chuckled. Bob struggled in his grip. He was so close! There was only one mirror left!
“Now, what do ya think’s gonna happen? I’ll tell ya. I’m gonna take your place. Everyone will know you as the Rat that came from New York.” He laughed.
“Fuck… Off.” Bob grumbled. New York Bob shook his head and turned around, bringing him to the mirror.
“Time to go into your new home, Irish Bob. Have fun in the mirror world.” New York Bob said and began to push him back into it.
He had to think fast. He sure didn’t want to get put into whatever the hell was going on inside that mirror. Bob’s mind was racing.
Then he thought of an idea.
Bob smiled back at New York Bob. “Yer forgettin’ something.”
New York Bob paused. “What?”
“Irish rats are just as clever.” He said, then kicked back at the mirror. It fell over, falling to the ground and shattering. New York Bob let out a scream as he slowly faded from view.
Then there was silence.
Bob stood there, surrounded by broken mirrors. He could see now. It was as if he imagined the darkness in the room, because now it wasn’t there at all.
He let out a sigh and wiped his forehead. That was one hell of a situation. Bob looked around at the broken glass at his feet. It was over. He won.
Now he needs to get out of this little shithole.
Bob walked out of the building, feeling that it got a little chillier out. He needed to go tell the band that he changed his mind, they were going to New York City.
As he left, a single, dirty looking rat watched him from the shadows and laughed.