by Andrea Jones
A short story about a woman's experience.
I was reading the newspaper and sighed; the train taking me away from my latest failed audition was still stuck on the line, the engineer having told us it would take an hour to get help. It was late, the only passengers in the carriage being the sleeping student and myself. I looked out of the window and saw a strange shape; it was a, what looked like, black figure, though I could not make out any of its features. It appeared to be moving towards me.
It frightened me.
I looked away from the figure, instead focusing on my reflection in the glass. I stared into her eyes and she stared back into mine. I noticed her crow's feet, wrinkled forehead and lips no longer full. She noticed hers, too.
My eyes flicked to the side and my pupils dilated as the shape had silently crept right up to the carriage. I could only see a hand which pressed, flat palmed, against the glass. The hand was not normal, but rather made of a black mist simply forming a hand-like shape. Before my eyes could record any other detail they became heavy and I slipped into unconsciousness.
I awoke in a pitch black room, no longer on the train. By feeling around, I could tell that there was a single door in front of me.
A voice boomed into the room, "Hannah Hartley, 58."
I failed to find the source while I replied, "Where am I?"
Then a light switched on. I looked to see a single light bulb hanging, though I could see no ceiling or any wiring. I could see my surroundings, or lack of them, now. The room was no more than twelve foot in both length and width.
Then I noticed that the door was made of thick glass and when I looked closer I could see a word etched in it. I couldn't quite make it out as the tiredness was once again seeping into my eyes.
Waking up in a different, dimly lit, room this time, I could see the shadowy sillouhette ambling towards me. There was light behind it and as it became closer it also became clearer.
I prepared to feel the horrid sensation I had felt before. I scrunched up my eyes and balled my hands. But I felt nothing.
My eyes focused and I was staring in a mirror. No, it wasn't a mirror. Standing in front of me was a reflection of myself but when I looked into her pupils I saw black.
Her features suddenly became young and fresh, taking forty years off of my life.
The younger version of myself suddenly lost her youthful grace, her forehead becoming wrinkled. I could sense her spirit diminishing.
Despite this, I felt happy and alive for the first time in many years. I was laughing. I nodded at my doppelganger and she smiled before fading.
I awoke once more in a field full of flowers that I remembered playing in as a child. But, there was the glass door.
I smiled as I could now see the glistening writing on the door,
My eyes were tired.
I awoke as the train jolted to life.
I felt a new sense of my existence.
My eyes shone for the first time in decades. I looked up and saw the shadowy figure watching over me.
I looked into its eyes, the only solid thing about it, and got lost in them.
I relaxed back into the seat, my eyes drooping.
I felt her stare in my mind.
I understood now that it was being kind to me.
I smiled as my lids gently shut.
My last curtain call.
I could feel my heart slowing.
Rest in Peace