Her apartment looked like a circus freak show.
The two drag queens were sitting in a corner smoking something illegal. Moira was taking care of LaWanda. The drag queens make up was rubbing off but they still had their dresses and wigs on. They looked like pigs in wigs. Or maybe like Miss Piggie when she was in Pigs in Space.
Diane was ashamed to admit it but she needed a fucking drink. She hasn’t had one single sip of alcohol ever in her life. Apparently there was no time like the present. The only alcohol in her apartment was in her bathroom medicine cabinet in the form of a Scope bottle. She wasn’t that desperate yet, however.
Walking over to the drag queens she asked quietly. “Can I get some booze?”
The one called Valhalla gave her and up and down look. “I thought you didn’t drink?”
“I do now.” She said grimly.
“That’s the spirit! Here, have some spirits!” Valhalla tittered at her own joke.
“Honey, do you think that’s such a good idea? With LaWanda like this?” Barbie asked.
“Are you actually showing concern for someone other than yourself?” She retorted.
“Touché.” Barbie said.
Diane took the small flask and went to her bathroom. Her cats were still lined up in a circle around the perimeter of her apartment. She loved that they would protect her like this but she had to admit, having watched them stand still for hours, they were kind of giving her the creeps.
She went into the bathroom and closed the door behind her, locking it. She wanted peace and quiet and this was the only room she could get it. Not wasting a moment, the unscrewed the flask and took a healthy swallow of the booze. She didn’t care what kind it was, only that she not feel anything anymore. Then she took another. After the third swig, the room began to get all wobbly around her. She was certifiably drunk, she guessed, having never been drunk before.
Trying to stand, Diane grabbed the bathroom sink to steady herself. She raised her head to look in the bathroom mirror and almost screamed, but the person she saw there raised a finger to his lips and whispered “Sssshhh…”
Stifling her scream with effort, she looked at the man in the mirror. He was impossibly old, almost ancient. Though she knew who he was, she asked the question that came to her lips anyway: “Who are you?”
“Why Diane, I’m surprised at you.” The mirror man said, his voice a hiss of a whisper that made the hairs on her arms stand on end. “Surely you know who I am?”
“Yes,” she said. “I know who you are, but not what you’re doing or how you’re doing this.”
“The answer to your second question is much more simple. I am able to talk to you like this now because you’ve torn away a piece of your wall. Your cats won’t let me get in, won’t respond to my games. Even the trannies have a little fight in them.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Of course you don’t. You got drunk and made your body and mind vulnerable. It was just the entrance I needed. With a piece of your wall gone, I can come right in.”
“Then why are you doing this then?” Diane tried to keep the panic out of her voice but it was difficult. “What’s to be gained by killing all of us?”
“I told you before, I was invited in. Once that is done, I can’t undo. Besides, don’t you want joy?”
“What does joy have to do with it?”
“People such as yourselves, you try to find joy in everyday things. But to the enlightened, they know that true joy can only be found upon death and the light it brings. I am a bringer of joy, Diane.”
“You’re a monster!”
“To some yes. To others, what I do is an art. I normally carve a poem into the skin of the people I choose. This is far more crude, but effective.”
“Please go away.”
“I can’t. The game has begun. Haven’t you realized that you’re part of it? And you wandered in here without a bishop or a pawn to protect you.”
“What do you mean?”
“I give you the gift of joy, Diane.”
“I don’t want your kind of joy! I don’t want your fucking gift!”
“Then you should have stayed sober. Enjoy the joy, Diane.”
He made to reach for her through the glass. She expected it to shatter and have her body covered in shards of glass. However, before she can comprehend what is about to happen, the mirror bends as if it is made of water, the silver surface rippling and swaying. He grabs her around the throat and she is pulled into the mirror.
Diane wonders if this is what Alice in Wonderland felt like. For a moment, she sees only darkness. When it clears, she is in a stone room that is lit by one over hanging light. In the center of the room is a little girl. Diane recognizes her instantly as the girl turns her head to look at her.
“Mom! Do you want to play a game?”