Jules took care of his ailing mother, Ravenna. Every week there was less of her. The boy knew about his father’s machine. He knew his mother’s brain was cut open and slices of brain-tissue were used to operate the organic computer in the transference device. Only a human brain could make the holographic calculations necessary to complete a transference of consciousness. Jules fed and bathed his mother. She spoke less and less. Her eyes seemed to connect with Jules and reassure him of her love. She was still able to hug the boy in appreciation of his ministrations. Jules wandered through the dismal halls of Ruby Mansion at night when he was supposed to be sleeping. It was the only time he had to himself. He walked in a daze through caverns and tunnels of red rock that seemed to weep clots of blood. He climbed staircases that went nowhere. He opened doors that led to bottomless pits. Some rooms were filled with machines that seemed to flicker in and out of reality. One night, Jules saw what appeared to be a large mirror covered with a black sheet. The mirror was hooked to an electronic device that looked like a rotary engine. He lifted the cloth from the mirror and stared into the glass. He heard the sound of the engine coming to life. Lights danced off the walls of the room. At first Jules saw a reflection of himself – then it began to change. He saw a slender, young man who looked like his reflection, but different. The mirror-image was not doing what Jules did – if Jules moved his arm, the reflection refused to move. The boy in the mirror was smiling – something that Jules never did. Obviously, the reflection was not Jules – what clinched it was when the reflection started to speak. “Hi,” said the guy in the mirror, very matter-of-factly. Jules was knocked backwards. The reflection just laughed in a friendly manner as if they’d known one another forever. Jules always thought he was scrawny and not very nice looking (his father always told him he looked like a toad), but the guy in the mirror was nice, self assured and very handsome. “I’m you,” he said, “just not the same you.” Every night, Jules would meet the boy in the mirror who called himself Julian. At first, they talked about their similarities, then they explored their differences. Jules talked about the nightmare of living in Ruby Mansion under the thumb of his scientist-father. Julian told a very different story about his life. “I live by a lake,” he said, “mom and dad are kind of fussy, but really pretty ok. I know they worry about me – don’t like me playing soccer – always afraid I’ll get hurt; but they come to all my games. I was in a play at school and everyone loved it. Mom said I was a great actor. She kind-of exaggerates.” Jules was confused. He felt sad because his life seemed so hard compared to Julian’s. He wasn’t jealous – more than anything he was glad he met the boy in the mirror. Julian was his best friend, his only friend. Since Jules was never allowed to leave Ruby Mansion on his own he had no opportunity to make friends. Jules suspected the boy in the mirror was some sort of wish fulfillment, a projection from his subconscious that had more to do with narcissism than anything else. His father taught him the meaning of scientific labels and referred to Jules as a selfish narcissist – but it didn’t matter. Jules was eager to spend time with Julian. One day, he realized he cared more for the boy in the mirror than for himself – with that realization the mirror began to dissolve and Julian was able to push his hand through the mirror from the other side as if it was a shimmering pool of water. Eventually he was able to join Jules for brief periods of time. They could explore Ruby Mansion together. They spied on Carmine Stolemock (Jules father) as he worked in the laboratory finishing the transference devise. They saw Doctor Stolemock giving a treatment to Ravenna (Jules mother) and forcing her into total submission. Julian was horrified, visibly shaken after witnessing what happened to the woman. Jules put his arm around Julian to comfort him. “But you live here, Jules” the boy stammered, “how can you take it?” Emotions that were locked deep inside bubbled to the surface like a volcano. Desire mixed with love flowed between the boys and afterwards they were bonded to one another.