Alexander Hammil broke one of the cardinal rules and looked into the mirror. He hadn’t looked at his face in… years, possibly. He couldn’t remember the last time.

He knew what his face looked like and this wasn’t it.

The angles were off, the spacing was off, everything was off, just slightly. He recognized himself as a parody of himself. He was older than he should have been; heavier, too. These jowls weren’t his. He ran his fingers along his jawline, and the image followed, just a split second behind, stranger’s hands tracing a stranger’s chin. His hair was too long, and shaped the wrong way. He couldn’t make it go in his eyes the way it was in the mirror. The mirror was wearing glasses. He didn’t wear glasses.

A shadow moved across his eyes.

He couldn’t move, couldn’t look away. He strained to refocus his eyes, but everything behind the face was blurred and indistinct. He saw — or almost saw — piles of books, paper tigers, crocodile heads. Bird skeletons and ancient rifles. He tried to turn his head, tried to swing the heavy load of his eyes left, and saw