by Emily Neal
Short psychological thriller about a mentally distrubed woman and her bathroom mirror.
|A 20 something year old woman dressed in hospital clothes stares out a barred window in a mental ward. A male Psychiatrist sits on a couch across the room and says “So, tell me about this woman you speak of. This woman in the mirror”
“The woman in the mirror. Those sad dark brown eyes hidden behind green contacts are a dead give away as to what she’s trying to hide. Dead…” She scoff’s a laugh. “That’s a funny word. It’s such a simple one syllable word, yet it holds so much meaning and instills so much fear in the living. Those eyes know that fear and those eyes know the meaning of death all too well. Those artificial eyes that belong to the woman in the mirror are so enchanting and mesmerizing that I get lost in the mix of colors.”
She turns to sit in plush leather chair in the middle of the room, folds her hands together between her knees and rocks slowly. A blank stare is fixed in the doctor’s direction. “The woman in the mirror is such a mystery to me, and yet she seems to know all my secrets. It’s her eyes that give her away. She stares at me with accusation.” She begins to rock faster. “She knows what I’ve done. She knows my fears and my dreams.” Rocks faster. “She knows what I do when I’m alone and she uses it against me.” She yells, “That bitch in the mirror! She recites my sins; those horrible things I never should have done.” Rocking slows to a stop. A finger plays with a loose blond curl. “I would curse myself for telling her, but I didn’t. I’ve never spoken them aloud and… somehow she knows.
She shakes her head at me and shames me with that finger.” She mimics her words. “I hate that damn finger… One night I tried to help an ex-boyfriend; nothing much really. See, the guy said I was clingy and that I only thought of myself, so to prove him wrong I did him a favor. I blindfolded him ‘cause I wanted it to be a surprise. I took him to my basement, handcuffed him to a sturdy poll in the cement and slowly with my best knife I sliced the extra layers of fat off his body; he was a real porker.” She laughs then a perplexed look crossed her face. “I don’t think he liked it very much. He kept screaming and he began to cry, but not tears of joy. He was in pain.” She shakes her head as if answering a question. “I was willing to continue to prove how much I loved him, but then... he started calling me names, names I don’t even dare repeat. At that moment as much as I loved him, I hated him three times more. I didn’t want to help him anymore. I took my knife and stuck it deep in his heart.” She begins to laugh loudly. “He broke mine, so I broke his.”
Her laugh grows uncontrollable, but quickly she silences and grows angry. “I went upstairs and looked at the woman in the mirror. I had every intention of hiding what I had done, but she already knew and she shamed me with that finger. I couldn’t sleep for hours. I found a pair of shears and I went to face that bitch with the finger. I told her I had a surprise for her. When she smiled, I smiled too, she had no idea what I was about to do. I said, “Hold out your hand!” and I held out mine to show her how I wanted her to do it.” She holds out her hand. “She did it too. Then I quickly took out my shears and snapped off my right pointy finger.” She re-enacts the event. “The pain of my ripping flesh and breaking bone was so excruciating I couldn’t scream as I watched my dismembered finger fall to the floor. But my pain soon faded into gratitude as I looked up to face the woman in the mirror.
She was a copy cat; I knew if I chopped off my finger, she would too. She was holding her mutilated finger in the sink, running water over it. So I did it too. I held up my amputated finger and pointed it at the woman in the mirror, “How do you like it, now?! Does it feel good?!” Then I laughed a laugh I had never heard before. It was so foreign to me I had to look around to make sure it was me.” She looks around. “Had I laughed so evilly? Could that manic laugh belong to me? I refused to believe it, I had to ignore it. I looked back at the woman in the mirror and she had this sort of worried, sort of scared look on her face and was crying.” A long silence fills the room.
“I was pleased. Finally, after years of torturing me with the reminders of those horrible crimes I rightfully committed. After calling me awful names like: murderer and psycho, I finally got my revenge. So, maybe I had to lose a finger to get it; it was so worth it to see the pain in the eyes of the woman in the mirror. I wrapped up my stump and put my finger in my jewelry box. I went to bed that night with a smile on my face. The woman in the mirror will bother me no more.”
Two months later… (The doctor is called in again. The patient causes a disturbance after stealing the maintenance chart.)
The doctors sits in the same chair, the woman paces the floor. “She’s taunting me again. I thought I had showed her. I thought she had learned her lesson. But every time I go in there, every time I see her horrible, ugly face she’s laughing at me. She says I only hurt myself by cutting off my finger. She smiles at how dumb I’ve become. Then without saying it, I know what she’s thinking. I know she thinks I’m stupid. “I’m not stupid, you’re stupid” I say before she could get the words out. How juvenile I felt. I wanted to call her a “poopy head” and leave it at that, but I knew I had to be smarter.”
She stops and looks as if she's pondering something as she sits. “If only somehow I could get her out of that mirror. She hides behind that glass as if it were stone.” She smiles. “If I got her out, oh the things I would do. Those damn fake eyes, I’d pull them out with my fork and cook them up just for fun.” She puts up her hand like she was holding a fork. “I wouldn’t eat them though, I’m not crazy. But I might make a soup of eyes, fingers and toes. Then just for flavor, you can’t forget the flavor in a soup like this.” She says, amused. “I’d throw in some hair. I’d pluck out each hair on her body one by one.” She pretends to pluck. “Then I’d leave her alone with no fingers, toes, eyes, or hair. I think she would have had enough; I’m not that insensitive as to kill her. After all, she has sort of been my friend; a rotten one, but my only one.” She almost looks sad. She waits a long while before continuing with a slight smile on her face. “I would however, cut out her tongue; I hate hearing her mouth.
Now, I know what you must be thinking, “This chick is insane, a real monster”, but I assure you I’m not. I’m very sweet. I’m the nicest, most caring person you will ever meet. And if you’re nice and kind to me, we’ll never have any problems, but that bitch in the mirror tortures me so. Every single day, calling me names. Telling me I don’t deserve to live and I need to die for the lives I’ve taken. But I’ve never taken a life that in someway didn’t deserved to be taken. Should I really be prosecuted for bringing justice to the world?” She points at herself with an innocent look. “I say no, but that woman in the mirror, she doesn’t understand. Taking lives is not wrong when you have just cause; and I did. I swear I did.”
Her head lowers and face goes blank, she doesn’t look herself. It’s as if a different person speaks. “But what about those that didn’t die?” Her head snaps back up. “She’s gotten into my head.” She hits herself in the head. “I’m speechless for a moment I can’t answer this question. Alive, Alive! I had forgotten about those whom I’d left alive. It doesn’t matter now I guess; they won’t bother me anymore.
Done is done as done is done and I did what I did because…and that’s it. I promise I won’t do it anymore. She laughed at me again. I couldn’t take it anymore. I slammed the door and nailed it shut. As I drove in the last nail, with the last hit I heard the mirror fall to the floor and break.” Her head slumps down to her chest, but she looks straight into the doctor’s eyes for the first time. “Finally, I’m free.” She wickedly smiles.