Winning Stories: FUSION Student Fiction Contest

Your Own Admirer

Krystof Senfeld
Admirror analytics employee Kevin Demusio let himself fall into the pit of his office chair cushion and experience the muted atmosphere of his cubicle at twenty minutes before working hour. His eyelids drooped on their own accord, and blindly but almost unconsciously he reached into his satchel for his alertness medication. He groped past the more cylindrical insomnia drugs, pulled out the desired Provigil tablets, and swallowed two.He then looked at the Admirror to his right to check if he didn’t have rings under his eyes, if his hear wasn’t unprofessionally disheveled, if his collared shirt wasn’t too noticeably wrinkled from days of consecutive use. But no, his skin was smooth, his hear freshly combed, his clothes, brand new from a signature store, were bright and crisp. It brought a smile to his face – life wasn’t too bad. And he had Saturday to look forward to.

“Morning, Kevin.”

“Hey, Mike,” Kevin answered, spinning in his chair to face his colleague. “You’re here earlier than usual.”

“Wish I could say the same about you.”

Kevin chuckled and turned back to his computer to turn it on and enter his login information. “Just like to go that extra mile.”

“Mm. Well it must be working because there’s no way you could afford that shirt with the same pay I’m getting.” The office lights began to drone, and Mike waited for the sound to cease. “Anyway, were you still planning on going out with Karen and me on Saturday?”

“Of course. It was at eleven, right?”

“Yeah… Isn’t that too late for you?”

“Nah, I can sleep it off on Sunday. I’ll be there.”

“It’s the Goodman Steakhouse outside the city, though; not the one in the center. Karen insisted, sorry.”

Kevin raised his brows. “It’s all right, I can still make it.”

With that, Kevin swiveled his chair back to the work position and opened his email. But then he realized that, strangely, Mike was still standing there. “Do you want something?”

“Well, about Saturday,” Mike began, tugging at his collar. “The thing is… There isn’t really a nice way to put it, ah– It’s just that, I sort of invited you without asking, and after telling her, she got upset; she doesn’t want you to go–”

Instantly, Kevin rose from his chair. “What?”

“I know, I know, and I tried telling her, but­–”

“And what?!”

“She doesn’t–“ One of the temps, Donna, walked by the cubicle with an anxious expression on her face, but Kevin waved her off. “She doesn’t want you to go.”

Breathing deeply, Kevin rubbed his temples and then gesticulated with his arms as if searching for something to strike. “You know, you wouldn’t have known her if it weren’t for me!”

“I know, and I’m sorry, I–”

A twitch went down Kevin’s arm, as though bringing it to life, and before he knew it his fist shot forward. Mike splintered into dozens of formless shards, and in pieces the Admirror scattered over the desk. Kevin recoiled, stumbling back.

“Come with me, Mr. Demusio.”

A security guard was behind him, alongside Donna who stared, with hands covering an agape mouth, at the blood seeping from Kevin’s hand.

“Do you wake up in the morning, look into the mirror, and frown at what you see?” said a voice of a radio advert in the ambulance escort vehicle. Kevin’s gaze was out window, into the still dark dawn.

“Do you wish looking back at you would be a more confident, more energetic, more talented you? With Admirror, your wishes can become reality! A scientifically augmented mirror, Admirror is designed to modify its reflected image using preset qualities such as body size, skin smoothness, hairstyle, and many more! Are you ready to meet the improved you? Get an Admirror and become your own biggest admirer!”


Sean Callahan
The first thing I remembered was the cold air hitting my lungs as I ran through the snow-covered streets of the village. The next was the mutual sense of terror that I could feel reverberating from the crowd closing around me. Everybody was running from — what I could only infer from the bits and pieces of sentences I could hear through the hellish harmony of shouting and screaming — a man with an axe gone berserk. I trusted my fellow villagers enough to not want to find out for myself so I followed close behind them. Houses and shops flew by us as the trampling herd of people ground the hard-packed roads into a slushy, muddy mess that only impeded our escape. As we ran I began to worry because of the reactions of the people who kept turning around to get a glimpse of their pursuer. The expressions on their faces and the shrieks that escaped their mouths suggested that the killer was closing in on them so I kept running as hard as I could and never looked back for fear it would slow me down.Then a young woman, perhaps in her late teens, broke away from the crowd and ducked through an open door of a shop ahead of me on my right. In the hopes that the madman would follow the crowd, I quickly followed the woman inside. As we entered the shop my memory again faded with the screams of the crowd as they fled into the distance…. The bloodcurdling scream and the warm spray of blood on my face woke me from my amnesiac state as the young woman was cut down just beside me. I didn’t need to look twice at her to know she was beyond help, so I scrambled through the next door and shut it quickly behind me. When I examined the room, my hopes of escape were shattered like the glass of the windows that were absent from the four walls that surrounded me. It was over. I had run into a dead end and my only option was to turn and fight.

So I stood up and turned around expecting the door to open and the agent of my demise to rush through it. My heart leapt out of my chest when I saw the killer standing right in front of me. My heart then fell to the floor — frozen, never to reclaim its spot in my body — when I realized that the door was still closed… The axe felt heavy in my bloodied hands as I stared into the mirror that was hung on the back of the door.

Glass Forest

Kaitlyn Rose Maley
“What am I searching for?” she wondered aloud, wandering between the dense, snow-covered pines; following a stream as it wound through the woods. Half expecting the forest to answer, she paused a moment, but it remained mute. Snow fell softly, causing the shadows from her lantern to dance on the ground. In the darkness, the rosy fingertips of the dawn were barely visible through the thick forest. Only one sound rendered audible: the wind whispering to the trees; the stream flowed silently. Alone in the snowy forest she continued on, not knowing how long she walked, nor how far remained to go: only that she searched. No signs of life showed themselves in the quiet woodland other than the gentle pines, yet no fear accompanied the solitude.Turning a corner, a sudden break in the trees revealed a large, perfectly round pond. Approaching the shore, she saw the stream flowed into the pond; the water remained motionless, as if frozen. It proved impossible to estimate how far the icy depths continued; it seemed as if she gazed into eternity. Kneeling, she poised a single finger above the glass surface, longing to reach out and touch it, yet an inexplicable disquietude held her back. After a moment’s hesitation, she timidly caressed the water. This disturbance caused a ripple, which began at the bank and traveled to the center of the pond. In an instant the ripple reached the middle, and a warm green light pulsed through the pool, illuminating the clearing in an earthy glow. The snow ceased, and eleven streams emerged from the body, each leading in a different direction. For a moment, calmness ensued while the twelve pathways branched out; until the stream by which she came froze over and dissipated into the earth. Suddenly the sun, still low in the sky, appeared to speed up rapidly, washing over the trees, bathing them in sunlight. Observing silently, she watched in wonder as the pines transformed to crystal and twinkled with light. The sun vanished over the horizon, and serene darkness dazzled her eyes. Stars shimmered overhead, irradiating her surroundings; standing at the water’s edge, she perceived eleven beacons piercing the night through the hazy barrier of the glass forest. Eleven streams glowed, guiding her towards the beacons, and she knew a decision must be made: which path would she follow? Nobody could make the choice for her. Forgetting the lantern beside the pool, she began walking towards the centermost stream. Passing an invisible veil, she glanced behind momentarily then continued down her chosen path.

Luminescent stars lit her way as she traveled down the no longer glowing stream. The shining beacon appeared brighter and brighter every step she tread. Finally she came upon a small lantern hanging from a post. Great pines faded into their natural hues as she reached out to take the light. Snow began to fall, and the sunrise could be seen peeking through the forest. Wind whispering to the trees was the only sound she could hear; the stream had become silent. On she continued, following the stream as it wound through the woods.