In between the common and the impossible, some monsters exist in a state neither entirely physical nor purely metaphysical, but something more nebulous and unpredictable.
Mise en abyme - the often-unsettling experience and sensation of standing within the infinite reflection between two mirrors - is something that many will recognise, although few truly understand the potential danger they are in. The question of whether the sense of the uncanny evoked by our own reflections has granted mirrors their place in the history of the esoteric or, perhaps, that their ubiquity reflects the varieties of impossible phenomena that surround and involve them is too old and too byzantine to be properly explored in only one short life; especially one dedicated more to the enumeration than the explication of all that the world has to offer. This uncertain genesis, and the as-yet-unknown causal relationship between the uncanny and the impossible, is typified in the speculation around the potential origins of one of the more nightmarish creatures I have studied - the Odrazi - which occupies the liminal space between light and substance, between the illusory and a real and bloody terror.
The Odrazi has been sighted, or has been shown to be active, across the world and can attack anywhere two mirrors are arranged to create a chamber of recursive reflections, adding a horrifying tension to what is already an off-putting optical distraction. Trapped between two panes of mirrored glass it can appear without warning, visible in only one plane, one version of the endlessly repeated image, at a time. Heightened by fear and shock and disbelief, the reports of those who have witnessed the Odrazi differ mainly by degrees of adrenalised exaggeration. Appearing to be a unique expression of the Panthera genus, an atavistic mutation crossed with dread hyperbole, the Odrazi stands nearly five feet tall on all four paws and proportionally imposing, it is covered in sharp, jagged tufts of coarse purple-black hair. Unlike its more-typical cousins, its enormous jaws are stuffed with rows of razor-sharp fangs, crammed together, overlapping, to create a bite which shreds, tears and rends even more thoroughly than it crushes. Set above this barbarous maw and a snub snout its eyes are a deep green, more similar in set and cast to those of a human than of any other big cats.
Slinking and sloping without a sound through different layers of the mirrored reality, moving beyond the edge of the image and entering another parallel, the Odrazi toys with its victims, playing at the limits of vision before appearing close enough to fix them with the gaze that, if not paralysing them per se, seems to hypnotise or enthral a victim enough to override their fight or flight instincts. This placidity, perhaps enhanced by the sense of disbelief that must surely befall someone for whom there is no contextualising understanding of the scope of the impossibilities which abound, allows the Odrazi to draw nearer without scaring a potential victim out and away from the narrow confines of its killing grounds. Soon tiring of its game, the Odrazi will then move again, making an invisible and intangible crossing to the reflections behind its prey. As the victim, their fate more or less decided, glances around - searching for some glimpse of the impossible beast - it appears on our physical plane, still not reflected by either of the mirrors it previously stalked within, and pounces.
Seemingly unique - both the origination and the endling of its species - the manner and means of how the Odrazi came to be and whether its hunting grounds have only ever been those at one remove from the world we inhabit are the subject of much debate, rumination and speculation. If, even as an apparently unprecedented predator, it had been found under most other circumstances its position on the spectrum of implausible to impossible might, given the sheer variety in the animal kingdom and the bizarre discoveries made therein on a regular basis, edge closer to explicable. Instead there are competing narratives; that the Odrazi was an extant beast trapped between mirrors by an intended victim with the nous for some arcane trickery, that it was conceived of and born in the void in a form assumed by something ancient and terrible, even that it is a reflection of something horrendous that stared into its own eyes for too long and left a corrupt afterimage in the silver-backed glass. Nonetheless, and despite the most fervent and fertile imaginings, no single proposed history can yet be verified or even considered much more or less plausible than the alternatives.
No matter how it came to be and however it came to inhabit such an unusual territory, for those people so unfortunate as to encounter the Odrazi, death seems by far the most likely outcome. Both implausible animal attacks and bloody locked-room mysteries - partly because bathrooms are some of the more typical locations with multiple mirrored walls - are all suspect, although even the attacks, disappearances and murders that could potentially be attributed to the creature are scarce, and those that can be assured to the satisfaction of those who investigate such phenomena even fewer and farther between, it appears most incidences of their attacks are fatal. The hallmarks, bodies ripped to shreds and partially or completely consumed, are almost ambiguously animalistic in their savagery - but the presence of the paired mirrors and the absence of any signs of an animal’s ingress, presence or egress strongly suggest the Odrazi’s work.
Worse still the ageless, undying Odrazi exhibits more than animal cunning, a malevolent bitterness and a taste as much for frustrated revenge as the flesh of men. Where mirrors have been set as traps to draw it out - regardless of if the intent was to hunt or merely to study the creature - it has only ever been seen fleetingly, retreating at the first indication that its prey has not been caught unawares and refusing to be enticed a second time. Later, and the timescale has been measured in years (if not decades), should any of the parties involved in the attempted deception finds themselves unwittingly and unwarily between two mirrors The Odrazi is likely to appear. Foregoing the slow, deliberate hunt that unsuspecting victims are tortured by it attacks with unbridled ferocity, reaping revenge by ripping its prey into grisly pieces and leaving their bodies - far more intact than any that it has hunted for food - as a warning to those who might attempt to entrap it and a sanguine promise to those who have already tried.