Authors: DJ Shaw
Tiger Dynasty Publishing
Lurid Leopard Press (Imprint)
Things in the Mirror
©Text Copyright 2013 DJ Shaw
Edited By: Kristina Gehring
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Cover Art by
Megan J. Parker for
This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious and are products of the author’s imagination. Any
resemblance to actual events, or locales or persons living or dead are entirely coincidental.
I would like to dedicate this piece to my husband, Terry McGuire. I hope he now understands that mirrors can, in fact, be very dangerous windows to oth
The lights suddenly went out, causing me to jump. There were no warning flickers, no big bang, no thunder or flashes of lightning; just one minute there was light and the next I was in complete darkness. I slowly made my way in the dark until my hand met the wall. Using it as my guide, I continued towards my bedroom. I really hated the dark. Being alone in it was even worse, but what really scared me about the dark were mirrors. When I was alone like that, I tried very hard to avoid mirrors at all costs. Only bad things happened when I looked in a mirror in the dark. Nobody ever believed me when I would tell them, but I knew first-hand how bad things could get.
I made it to my bedroom and stupidly flicked the light switch, hoping against hope that it would turn on. I moved slowly through the room towards my night stand and my charging phone. Right before I reached my destination, I tripped over
the sneakers that I had left lying in front of the bed. I landed hard on my hands and knees, pulling the phone down with me. I checked the charge, decided it would be enough and called my husband at work.
“Hey, honey, I’m just wrapping things up here and then I’m heading home.
Everything okay?” Terry asked by way of greeting.
“Everything’s fine, but the stupid lights went out again. You know how much I hate being alone in the dark. How soon do you th
ink you’ll be home?” I replied.
He answered me with an Irish accent, “Faster than a will o’ the wisp
tricks an unsuspecting human.”
I laughed softly, which had been his intention, “Okay, then I’ll sit tight until you get home.” I heard him give a long suffering sigh as I pulled the phone away from my ear to hang up and he said, “You can always go down to the basement and check the breaker box yourself, dear.” The condescending tone could be heard before the phone was even placed back to my ear. “I know
, but I’d rather wait until you get home to get it done,” I told him sheepishly. It always made me feel childish when Terry used that tone while talking to me about my fears of the dark and mirrors. Maybe they were but I didn’t have any good memories of either. Especially if they were combined.
The rumors of our home being haunted certainly didn’t help matters. Strange incidents had been reported by former home owners and neighbors. Things like the lights going out for no reason. Terry didn’t believe in supernatural or paranormal anything, but I had done an in-depth search before we settled into the place. The only strange things to have happened since we moved in six months before were the lights. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Everything was brand new, from the breaker box all the way down to the wires. Terry had installed it all himself after the first incident.
“Rissa? Are you there?” Terry’s voice, trying to get my attention, brought me out of my musings over the house and my childhood fears.
“Yes, darling, I’m here. My mind just wandered a bit. I still want to know why this only happens when you’re not home,” I answered him. I sighed and, “I’ll let you go so you can get done and home.” Terry chuckled, “I’ll be home b
efore you know it. I love you.”
I sighed again
; “I love you, too. See you soon.” I hung up and stood.
Returning to my musings, I recalled where my fear of mirrors stemmed from. When I was six or seven years old, my mom had a friend
who we would visit once a week. This friend had a daughter who was only a few months older than me, so while mom was visiting, I would hang out with her daughter. They moved into an apartment complex with a strong history of being haunted, but I didn’t believe in things like that back then.
One afternoon while my mother and I were visiting
, I had to go to the bathroom. When I asked to use it, I was told to use the one downstairs, located under the staircase. I entered the bathroom, turned on the light and looked into the mirror. Doesn’t everyone do that when they enter a bathroom? Almost like your eyes are drawn to the mirror hanging there? But what I saw gave me pause. In the upper right hand corner of the mirror was a purple blob, just kind of oozing out of the corner. I looked behind me to the area of the ceiling where the blob thing should have been reflected in the mirror, but didn’t see anything. I shrugged and did my business. As I was leaving, I glanced back into the mirror and saw that the blob remained.
This went on for a few more weeks, the blob getting bigger each visit
, always appearing only in the mirror. One afternoon I’d finally had it and decided I needed to let my mom know. I had a primal fear of the blob and the mirror by this time, afraid that it would finish its oozing out of the reflection and I really didn’t want to see what it manifested into. I called my mom into the bathroom, pointed to the blob and asked her what it was. She looked in the mirror then looked behind us at the wall. Seeing nothing outside of the mirror, the color drained from her face. She told me to finish up and rushed out of the bathroom. Seeing my mom scared of whatever this blob was only intensified my fear of it. I hurried, setting a record time a six or seven year old used the bathroom.
On the way home, my mother tried to explain the rumors of the apartments being haunted. When I asked if she meant ghosts, she simply nodded and said, “Among other things.” That was the end of the discussion. I never did find out what the blob was and I refused to use that bathroom again. My mother was a firm believer in second sight. She always told me that it could be in the form of premonition or in the form of seeing things that most people couldn’t. She believed that I had the latter. She spent the next ten years teaching me how to function in everyday life
while seeing what others couldn’t.
By the time I was nine, my fear of mirrors had truly set in. One of my friends came to school one day with a story her older brother had told her over the weekend; the urban myth of Bloody Mary. She admitted to me that she was terrified, yet curious about whether it was real or if it was something her brother had told her just to scare her into behaving for him. She convinced a couple of other girls and me to use the school bathroom at lunchtime to find out. I tried to talk them out of it, telling them that I didn’t think it was a good idea. I was teased and called a Scaredy Cat, but I didn’t care. I had a really bad feeling about what was going to happen.
I buckled under the peer pressure and name
-calling, and followed the girls into the bathroom. Nina waited until all of us had filed in before locking the door and turning off the lights. We all stood side by side in front of the line of mirrors, waiting for Nina to join us and start. She was the only one of us who knew what to do. There was no special ceremony, no trinkets. We just faced the row of mirrors and listened to her chant “Bloody Mary” over and over again. After five minutes, she stood in front of us and said, “You guys need to chant with me. Nothing is going to happen if I’m the only one calling her.” She sounded almost disappointed and a little disgusted with us. We nodded like little bobble heads and that seemed to pacify her enough to get back in line with us and begin the chanting again, with us joining her.
Another ten minutes and I began to feel something. I looked at the girl on my left to see if she could feel it but she seemed un-phased. Looking to Nina and the girl on my right showed
more of the same. I tried to shrug it off, but the feeling, the power for lack of a better word, just kept growing. When my attention returned to the mirror, I saw an extra reflection. Something, someone, was walking slowly to the mirror’s surface, her hand outstretched. She seemed to be reaching out for me. Her hand came through the mirror, scratching my right arm. At the contact I let go of the hands holding mine, backing up until my back hit the wall. Almost as soon as my hands let go, the spell, or whatever it was, broke. Nina and the other girls laughed nervously. Then Nina turned on the lights, “Well that was a bust. But at least now we know Tom was just trying to scare me. Come on, let’s go. Class will be starting soon.” The girls followed her out and I inspected the three scratches on my arm. They weren’t really that deep, but they were bleeding and stung. I cleaned them up with soap and water, patted them dry and went to class. My fear of mirrors continued to grow.
My musings had found me in my living room. I tried to have a seat on the couch to wait for Terry to get home, but my trip down memory lane had made me so anxious that I couldn’t sit still. I wandered slowly through the house, my eyes starting to adjust to the darkness. My mind continued to stray back to Bloody Mary and all the weird things that began happening after my friends and I had called her. The scratches on my arm had only been the beginning. I started seeing her in every mirror I came across. I asked my friends about it, but they claimed nothing like that was happening to them. Every reflective surface I passed, a mirror, a clean window, or even a shiny appliance, would show her face. She had been haunting me and there didn’t seem to be anything I could do about it. I had been afraid to tell my mom, afraid she would chide me for being so foolish. I threw my hands up in the air. There seemed to be no way to get around thinking about my past and what kinds of things could happen with mirrors in the dark.
I made my way into the kitchen to get a cold glass of water, trying to calm the fears that were threatening to overwhelm me. Once the flood gates had opened, there seemed to be no way of stopping the rush of memories I hadn’t allowed myself to dwell on for years. All I could do was try to hold them at bay and pray Terry made it home before they overtook me completely.
On impulse, I decided to go into the bathroom and face the mirror. It was beyond time for me to lay my childhood fears to rest. Terry would be home soon, and if things went south then at least he would have no choice but to finally believe me. There was only one problem: which fear would be waiting for me to face? Bloody Mary or the purple blob? Or would it be something else entirely? Mirrors were said to be portals to other realms and I truly believed that, but if there were any good ones to be seen or reached, I had yet to find them.
I was standing at the threshold of the master bathroom, trying to work up the courage to cross it and go to the mirror. My memories were mixing with every horror movie scene, flashing through my mind as I attempted to take a timid step forward. My hands, gripping the doorjamb, were slick with sweat, and my heart was racing. I was fast approaching hyperventilation but my brain didn’t seem to be in control of my body anymore, so it was hard to see past the fear.
While I was struggling to get calm, I heard the noise. It was a scratching sound coming from the bathroom. My heart seemed to stop as I strained my ears and my eyes darted around the bathroom, looking everywhere but the mirror. The scratching came again and there was no stopping myself from looking any longer. The sound was coming from the mirror!
My limbs went limp with fear, causing my legs to go out from under me, and I landed in an untidy heap of arms and legs in the doorway. There were shadows moving within the mirror but I couldn’t make out what they were. I
didn’t want to see what they were going to be but all reason had fled my mind when function had left my body, leaving me frozen in place with no other choice.
My eyes were riveted to the mirror and the shadows writhing inside seemed to be getting a sick, perverse pleasure out of my
frozen, fear-ridden state. I couldn’t tell what they were; they weren’t really defined in the darkness of the room. I tried to pry my eyes away from the mirror and look anywhere else, but my body wasn’t listening. I sat there, willing my body to get up and run as far away from this room as I could possibly get. It seemed that my body was offering itself up to this evil.
A soft keening sound joined the scratching noises and I soon realized it was coming from me. I knew in my bones that if Terry didn’t get home soon, he may not find me when he
arrive. That’s when the shadows started talking. It was so soft at first that I couldn’t understand them, but they began to gradually get louder. When they reached a level that my ears couldn’t stand, I found I could move my arms. I clapped my hands over my ears and tried to shrink into the floor where I had fallen to get away from the voices.
Finally, everything went quiet. I stayed on the floor with my hands over my ears for another few minutes, just to be sure things had calmed down. Slowly moving my hands away, I opened my eyes and took a look around. Everything seemed to be as it was when I first entered the bathroom, except the mirror. It was hanging slightly askew. I stood on shaky legs and cautiously made my way towards it. I stopped where the bathtub ended, terrified to get any closer. I examined the mirror from where I stood, knowing that I couldn’t straighten it because I wasn’t close enough, but not caring. I also knew that it would drive me batty if I didn’t straighten it soon.
While I was weighing my options, the shadows
resumed writhing in the depths of the mirror. I took a shaky step back while I watched them. They continued their dance, seemingly unaware of my watching, while I retreated to the doorway. I was beginning to get angry, with the shadows and with myself.
Just when I thought my anger was going to override my fear, something truly horrifying made itself known
to me. It was this dark, hooded figure with flashing red eyes and an evil grin. From what I could see of its face, it seemed to be trying to pass itself off as human. “Come closssser, Rissssa,” it hissed at me as it placed its clawed hand onto the reflective surface inside the mirror. I continued to back away, shaking my head in denial, until my back hit the doorjamb. “H-h-h-h-how do you know my name?” I asked, my voice wavering in true fear. What I felt before was nothing like the cold tingle of ice running down my spine and freezing my insides on its way back up. “We know many things, Rissa,” it replied with a reptilian hiss. “Your fear is a lovely banquet to us. It has kept us sustained for twenty-seven years. Now it’s time for us to make our escape...with your help, of course.”