Lost Within a Trace

Artwork by Taylor Daniels

Artwork by Taylor Daniels

The procession was slow and painful. The white noise of crying from all around was nearly unbearable to my ears. Just like I predicted, there was no happiness. Despite how everyone hoped it would go, there were no good memories of my grandfather to share. The only thing I remembered was his cold, dark nature.

I always hated funerals.

Especially for family. People I hardly knew tried to show their sympathies, although many didn’t know me as Garrett, but rather Cane Nelson’s grandson. Old friends of his approached me as if they’d been a major part of my life, perhaps trying to make up for problems they had with my grandpa. If they were trying to apologize, they were doing it to the wrong person. I know my grandpa died, but that doesn’t mean they should apologize to me.

And I don’t even know why someone would want to apologize in the first place. My grandpa was a cruel man. A raging alcoholic, hypocrite, liar, and thief. He took advantage of my grandmother’s trust by having several affairs during their 58-year marriage. She was too blind to ever divorce him, and she couldn’t stand to break a vow with God. She had fallen out of love with him in the last five years of his life, which he seemed to survive only because of the vodka he consumed. Now she sat two rows ahead of me in the front pew, all alone. Not one tear fell from her eyes. She had become a shell of her former self, thanks to my grandfather’s addictions.

And how he died was indeed brutal, but fitting for such a horrible man. He was murdered by a suspect, still to be named, a week ago on his way home from a liquor store. My mother bawled for hours when she heard the news. She was the only person left in our family who still had faith in him, and when he died, so did a part of her.

By the time the last song was played, I suddenly grew extremely tired. It made no sense for me to be so exhausted suddenly. I widened my eyes in attempt to stay awake. After blinking once, a throbbing headache formed at my forehead. The throbbing exceeds and before I closed my eyes once again I saw my father faint in the pew in front of me. My mother screamed and the music stopped. What had happened to my father?

I wasn’t sure, but I knew I was next.

Light. That’s all I could see, at least at first.

After blinking a few times, I realized that I was lying on something, and the light source was coming from a ceiling lamp directly above my face. As my eyes focused, the lamp transferred into something you’d expect to see in a high-tech hospital right before a surgery.

I quickly examined my surroundings, which seemed to be a hospital operating room. Confused, I whispered:

“Where am I?”

Silence. No response.

I looked around to the other side of the room, to the farthest wall, and saw a huge mirror. After a quick examination, something about the mirror startled me. The room I was looking at was completely empty. And I mean completely. Beside the bed I thought I was lying on and the light above where I thought my head was, there was nothing and no one else.

Get this—I didn’t even see my own reflection.


The room was truly empty. The only indication of my existence was my indent left on the thin mattress of the bed.

Something was clearly wrong.

I stepped off the bed, watching my indent disappear, and approached the empty mirror. Carefully, I reached out to tap the glass.

Again, I grew intensely exhausted. The throbbing begun again at my forehead, and I collapsed to the ground.

I opened my eyes and saw the back of a seat on a plane. The room was bright and full of people. The plane was packed and everyone around me seemed not to be alarmed. However, I was freaking out. Questions flooded my brain.


Where was I? Why was I there? Where am I now? What happened to my reflection?

I examined my surroundings, hoping they’d explain something if not anything to me. The only thing I noticed is the bathrooms at the end of the row of seats, all filled with passengers. I jumped out of my seat and walked over to the bathroom, hoping to see myself in the mirror as my reflection.

I opened the door to go in, but before I could shut it, I saw a reflection.

Yes, a reflection, not mine. I stared into the eyes of a complete stranger, standing in my place.