Contrast contest winner: ‘Something You Don’t Just Lose’

(Atticus Rice / McDaniel Free Press).

Congratulations to Eamonn Fay, winner of last month’s Contrast contest. Below is his submission, in which he describes missing something unusual when looking in the mirror. 

“Uh… Phil?” Tom whimpered.

Phil had already been half-awake. His roommate was never particularly good at being quiet as he got ready in the morning. Today was no exception.

“What?” Phil replied groggily.

“Come here,” Tom said. “This is freaking me out!”

“For the last time,” Phil said as he sat up in his bed. “I don’t know if that damned scab is infected or not. See a doctor.”

“It’s not that!” Tom said, desperation growing in his voice. “Come on dude, I feel like I’m losing my shit right now! Come here!”

Phil gave an exasperated sigh and stomped over to his roommate, who was staring dumbly into the mirror. He shoved Tom slightly to have a look for himself and saw a whole lot of nothing. He was about to start chastising Tom but quickly realized what the problem was. There really was nothing. He had no reflection, and neither did Tom. The mirror only showed the wall behind them.

“What in the hell…?” Phil said, unsure of whether to feel more perplexed or afraid.

“You’re seeing what I’m seeing, right?” Tom asked.

“If by that you mean not seeing anything, then yes,” Phil replied.

It was no trick. The mirror was working exactly as it was supposed to. Every angle accurately showed the reflection of the room, but their own reflections had mysteriously vanished. They did a double take, looking at each other for a moment before looking back toward the mirror.

“What the fuck?!” Phil shouted as he took a step back.

Their blood chilled. The two boys stood face to face with their reflections, but they weren’t at all right. The figures in the mirror didn’t even bother following the boys’ movements. They stood, straight-faced, perfectly still. Their ghastly discolored flesh clung a little too close to their skulls. Where their eyes were supposed to be, there was only skin. They couldn’t pry their sight away from the mirror. They had wanted to turn around, run away, and scream all at once. But instead, they stood horrified as cold hands wrung their necks from behind them.

The Free Press is partnering with Contrast to bring creative writing contests to both of our readerships.

Read the next prompt below, and feel free to contact Contrast Co-Editors Marya Kuratova and Nathan Wright at, or visit a Contrast meeting on Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 19, and Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. in Hill 208 to workshop your writing and receive feedback from other creative minds on campus.

This month’s prompt: In up to 500 words of prose or up to 50 lines of poetry, respond to the following phrase: everything changes in autumn. Email submissions to by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 3.