Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2316278-Chapter-001-Mirror-Mirror
Rated: 18+ · Novel · Fantasy · #2316278
Carter goes to a park and gets eaten by a mirror monster.

A light wind blew across the park's verdant grass, creating a ripple effect that trickled down to the small pond at the bottom of a large hill. The park starkly contrasted with the tall skyscrapers surrounding it, a canyon of metal surrounding an oasis. The specks of people played, swam, and ran around with fun in mind. No one noticed the bus stopping and the irrelevant people stepping out.

The old bus, older than it should be for public transit, deposited the three guests at the park's entrance. The little boy and girl screamed joyfully as they entered the park's embrace. The older woman, not that old, burdened with a rucksack full of food and sundries, sluggishly walked behind them. She had a lot on her mind and couldn't be bothered with feelings of delight and joy like the children had. She was an adult now, taking care of her twelve-year-old brother at the age of twenty, and all the responsibilities included. Her face turned into a frown at that thought.

"I don't want to be an adult," she murmured with a feeling of helplessness, "I can't even drink yet."

She was glad she packed the food extra carefully, knowing full well what the bus rides around here were like. She wandered into the park and started to look for a place to sit. Carter and Ivy, the children, frolicked and gamboled from place to place without a care. Screams of delight and laughter echoed throughout the park, violating her ears with their frivolity.

"It's a big word, frivolity; I learned it when I was looking up articles on depression. Lack of seriousness. Seriousness. This whole day is going to be serious," thought Carry.

It took Carry a while, but she finally found a small area on the grass that overlooked the lake below. Her brother Carter and step-sister Ivy came running over to where she was standing, and Carter fell on the ground before her.

"Is lunch ready? I'm hungry," said Carter while lying on his back and looking into the blue sky. Ivy, wearing shorts and a t-shirt of aliens, sat down on top of Carter's chest, and he let out an ample grunt.

“How about you guys go play? I'll call you when it's ready,” said Carry. She threw back her long blonde hair out of her face and swatted a pesky fly away. Carry was very beautiful and had many gentlemen callers, as her mom used to call them. She was thrust into this life and wanted her old, self-absorbed life back.

“Okay, Sis!” said Carter, pushing Ivy off him and taking off running. Carter was a blond-haired, blue-eyed, intelligent twelve-year-old boy who liked to wear his hair too long. He was large for his age and just as handsome as his father.

"Don't go too far!" yelled Carry as she watched Carter run away.

“Wait up, Brat!” said Ivy, a blond-haired, green-eyed, capricious twelve-year-old girl. She looked like a miniature version of her famous Hollywood mother: Beautiful and intelligent.

Carry opened her rucksack, removed her favorite blanket, and threw it on the grass. The rucksack was her father's, and she would always get chastised for calling it a backpack. "This is made to last, unlike your flimsy backpack," her father would yell. The name Lt. Grant was stitched on the top of the rucksack. Her dad thought giving her the name Carry, Carry Grant, was funny.

She had picked a spot where she could see the whole park. She started emptying the rest of the contents of her rucksack onto the blanket. A few people sat around her, but the park was not very busy. She could see the tree line in each direction, and down the hill was a placid lake with happy couples paddle-boating around in it. The lake was massive but shallow. It even had an island in the middle of the lake where people would walk around hunting for colorful rocks and stones.

After placing all the food down on the blanket, Carry let out a small sigh. She watched Ivy and Carter laughing, running, and playing on the grass. Their parents were famous actors and had died in an airplane crash a few years ago. Carry had to leave her sophomore year in college to care for her ten-year-old brother. She had to put her life on hold and take on an onus that wasn’t hers. She loved her brother, but she was still a child herself. Ivy still lived with her mother and only came over to visit Carter. Ivy didn’t play well with others and had very few friends. She seemed to only like Carter, so she spent a lot of time at their apartment.

Carry and Carter's parents had been wealthy, leaving them well off. They had naught to worry about financially. She was more worried about her mental state. She was starting to loathe her brother. Her friends had told her about a boarding school. Carry had investigated the school and had decided to enroll Carter for his own good. No, that's wrong. It was for her own selfish reasons, so she hadn’t told him yet.

Carter was a brilliant boy. He retained everything he learned quickly. The boarding school was drooling over his school records. Carter had loved his parents, but he rarely saw them and didn’t miss them as much as Carry did. She rationalized that Carter would be fine at the new school.

“Lunch time!” she screamed down the grassy hill at Carter and Ivy. They both turned around and started running back. She put on a happy smile and placed down their meals.

“It’s for the best,” she thought.

Carter and Ivy sat on the blanket beside each other and started eating. Ivy had the usual pout on her face compared to Carter's smile. "How can a child who had so much trauma in his life smile so much?" thought Carry.

With his mouth full of food, Carter said, “Will we have time to take out the paddle boat? I want to go to the pond on the small island.”

“Yes, there will be enough time. Ivy is old enough now to take you there,” said Carry. Carter stopped chewing and then looked up at Carry.

“You’re not coming?” asked Carter.

“No, I don’t feel like it; I’m sorry,” said Carry as she nibbled a bite of her sandwich.

“Is it because of the new school you’re sending me to?” asked Carter. Carry almost choked on her sandwich when she heard those words.

“How do you know that?” said Carry with a fearful look in her eye. That boy is way too smart for his own good.

“You’re moving away? Why?” asked Ivy with a panicked expression. Carter stopped chewing and swallowed.
“I overheard you talking to the principal of Kervard Institute. I was wondering if you were sending me to a mental institute, so I looked it up. It’s a prestigious school,” said Carter as he pushed his long, blond hair out of his face.

“So, you don’t mind?” said Carry.

"Of course, I mind. But I’m sure you have a good reason for sending me,” said Carter. He gulped down some soda.

“Will I be able to see you?” asked Ivy.

Carter looked over at Ivy and smiled. Even though she was a stepsister, he loved her like a real sister. “You will always be welcome to visit me,” said Carter.

Carry felt a small tear run down her face. How could Carter be so nice? She was shipping him off so she didn’t have to deal with him, and he knew it.

Carter finished his food and let out a loud belch. Ivy grimaced, and Carry started laughing. Carry didn’t deserve Carter as a brother, but she got him anyway.

“Let’s go Ivy! I want to jump into the small pond!” said Carter enthusiastically.

Ivy grabbed the last bites of her sandwich and shoved it into her mouth. She stood up and mumbled, “Let’s go!”

Carter leaned down and gave Carry a big hug. She smiled and hugged him back. Carter was someone who loved giving big hugs and kisses. Everyone was so surprised that a boy could be so affectionate. Carter turned around and took off running. Carry felt an enormous weight lifted off her soul and started cleaning up the dishes and leftovers with a smile.

Carter and Ivy ran down the hill at full speed. Carter was winning and kept looking back to make faces at Ivy. “No fair, you had a head start!” screamed Ivy.

“I did not!” said Carter as he stopped and let Ivy catch up. After she passed him, he took off after her, running at full speed. He passed her again and made it to the paddle boats before her.

“I’m the winner!” said Carter.

“I don’t think I want to go on the paddle boat anymore!” said Ivy with a pouty face.

Carter expressed his best penitence face and said, “I’m sorry. Please, can we go?”

“I want to hear you say it!” said Ivy.

Carter smiled and looked down at the ground. “Can we go, please, big sister?”

“That’s better!” said Ivy.

She jumped onto the paddle boat, and Carter was right behind her. Ivy asked Carter a question as they paddled to the little island in the middle of the big lake. “Aren’t you going to miss your sister?” said Ivy.

“Yes, but she needs time to be young and fancy-free. Plus, I can get a great education,” said Carter. His smile was rather infectious.

“You don’t mind being by yourself?” asked Ivy.

“Not really,” he stopped to think about how pathetic that made him look.

“I’ve been by myself for most of the twelve years of my life. A nanny here, a nanny there. Sis had a lot of friends around her age that she hung out with, and she was gone most of the time,” said Carter.

“Are you going to miss me?” said Ivy.

Carter leaned over and hugged Ivy, shaking the boat back and forth, and said, “Yes, I will miss you the most.” Holding the side of the boat firmly, Ivy smiled and hugged him back. She didn’t even let her mother hug her, yet she allowed Carter to.

“You better!” said Ivy as their little boat hit the shores of the little island. Ivy and Carter exited the boat and hopped onto the sandy beach.

"Race you there!" shouted Carter.

Ivy’s phone rang, and she pulled it out of her pants pocket.

“Come on, let’s go!” screamed Carter.

“Just a moment, it’s my mom,” said Ivy.

Ivy's mother was ending her fourth marriage and always called Ivy for support. She had married Carter's father two weddings ago. Carter is so quiet all the time that he overhears things easily.

A look of disappointment came over Ivy's face as she listened to the voice on her phone. She looked at Carter and said, “You go on, I’ll catch up!”

“Okay,” said Carter.

He turned around and ran down the trail into the forest. The island was about three thousand feet in diameter and was bigger than most people thought. The path was well-marked, and footprints were copious in the sand. Even in this peaceful place, you could still hear the city noises assaulting your ears: police sirens, honking horns, and overpowered cars racing down the streets. Carter ignored it and ran faster.

He finally reached his destination, the center of the island. It was mostly tall grass with a few trees sprinkled around it. The path abruptly ended at the edge of the long grass. The thousands of intruders had not trampled a path to the pond. He started walking faster towards the magical pond, which he now had a glimpse of and excited him.

Carter stopped suddenly because he saw a movement to his right out of the corner of his eye. A reflection in the sun that made him stop. He looked around and noticed that no other people were around.

“Hello,” said Carter softly.

He started walking toward the pond again while his head bobbed left and right. He came out of the tall grass, and a small smile bloomed across his face.

“Must have been a mirage,” said Carter. He noticed that nobody else was there. He had the pond to himself. The pond was clear, clean, and warm. It felt like a big bath. It was one of Carter's favorite places.

He sat down next to the pond and took his shoes and socks off. He waded into the shallow pool. It wasn’t very big, maybe a hundred feet across.

A few years back, the park’s forest rangers painted thousands of rocks and dumped them into the pond for a celebration. Over the years, people had grabbed them and took them home as good luck souvenirs. It was harder to find one now, but Carter always had fun looking. He reached into the water and started digging around when he heard another noise across the pond. He stopped what he was doing and looked over at the pond’s edge. A little ripple traversed across the water's surface like someone had just entered the pond. Despite his intense scrutiny, he was unable to spot anyone around him.

“Ivy?” said Carter, hoping for a response.

“My imagination,” murmured Carter as he swung his head back and forth as if to get rid of a bad dream.

“I wonder where Ivy is?” he added. He looked around once again and then shook his head again. He looked down into the water and saw a pink-colored stone unearthed from his footprint. He bent down, grabbed the stone, and brought it up. It was a pink-colored stone.

“Good luck to me!” he shouted. The many times he had come here, he had never found one.

“Can I have it?” said a warm voice before him. He stopped staring at his pink stone and looked up. A reflection of himself looked back. It took him a little longer for his brain to comprehend what he was seeing.

He first noticed the sharp teeth surrounding the inside of an oval-shaped mirror. They were sharp, pointy, and measured a couple of inches long.

Then, the fur, eyes, arms, and legs came into focus. His mind was playing tricks on him. Carter was frozen in awe and fear. The creature turned its face to look around, presumably to see if anyone else was around. As the creature did this, he disappeared. Carter realized that he could only see the mirror monster when it was directly facing him. That is how it snuck up on him!

“Camouflage,” said Carter out loud.

“Very perceptive, human,” said the mirror-monster as he faced Carter again.

“Can I have that stone? Pink is my favorite flavor,” said the creature as its teeth started to point out from the surface of his reflective mouth. The creature held out its scrawny arm and hand for Carter to place the stone in.

He didn't like it, but fear took hold of him. Carter let out a scream of “No” and took off running. He ran out of the water, past his shoes and socks, and down the path. He could hear the mirror monster behind him, chasing him, yelling, “Come back, please.”

“No!” screamed Carter again, holding onto his new pink luck-rock.

As he was running, his fear finally subsided, and a thought came to his mind. “It’s a mirror, and I have a rock,” thought Carter.

His brain was racing, and he thought, “I need to think of a good one-liner before I throw this at him.”

All he could think of was to say, “Here you can have it,” and throw the pink rock at its mirror face. He stopped abruptly and turned around. The mirror monster was closer than he thought. Carter let out a scream.

The mirror monster's mouth went wide as it screamed, “What?”

The monster fell forward as it couldn’t stop fast enough, and its mirror mouth engulfed Carter in one bite. The forest went quiet. Carter's vision turned black, and a sense of vertigo engulfed him. He felt like he had climbed into a rabbit hole that was caving in around him. A silent scream came to his lips.

The mirror monster lifted itself and brushed off the dirt from its teeth and body.

“Oh no!” said the mirror monster when it looked around. “Now I did it; she won’t be happy,” said the mirror monster as it looked around, hoping the little human had hit him and bounced off into the forest.

“Cow, you stupid reflective surface! What is this you sent me?” asked a female voice from the mirror monster’s mouth that wasn’t his.

“I’m sorry, Tain, it fell into my mouth,” said Cow.

“You sent me a human male. Poor thing, it won’t survive in this world. You know that,” said Tain with sadness in her voice.

“I’m sorry. It was a mistake," said Cow with a genuinely sorry demeanor. The mirror monster momentarily sat down in the path, waiting to be scolded.

“Nothing we can do about it now,” said Tain as her voice weakened.

“It’s nice to hear your voice, love,” said Cow, knowing the connection would be broken.

“I love you husband. I’ll talk to you in another decade,” said Tain.

“Carter! Carter!” screamed a voice from down the path. Cow dashed into the forest a few steps and turned sideways, hiding from view. After the hysterical female ran by, he ran towards the larger lake. Cow jumped into the lake, dug a big hole, and covered himself up. He would spend the next ten years hibernating again, building up enough power to open the gate again. Cow will not make another mistake, condemning a human boy to death like that. Next time, he’ll send a prime female human sample to Thresh. His large, round eyes started to close.

“Damn!” he mumbled into the surrounding silt. “I never did get that pink stone!”

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