Look into the mirror. What do you see?
Mirrors reflect our world as our world reflects life. Yet, under a cloak of devised vanity, the mirror endeavors to beguile us with our image. Have you ever noticed how your eyes are pulled strangely toward it, as if it were nothing more than a conceited afterthought--a friendly vision?
There is a strange foreboding of evil that lurks within a mirror. We can sense it, and yet we push the feeling to the back of our minds as nothing more than silly superstition. Nevertheless, there are times—times when we are able to discern that something in the all too friendly mirror isn’t quite right.
For example, a quick look while passing will sometimes show a blurring of facial features...a darkening around the eyes...a face within a face...even a shadow closely following.
What is it in a mirror that only briefly appears to the glancing eye, and then abruptly reverts to the normal image we would expect to see? Is our mind caught off guard, and then quickly rearranges things in order to make them appear just as we imagine them to be?
The history of mirrors has always spurred the imagination; like doorways into other realms of fantasy, and reality. Or like Alice...caught in the Wonderland.
Perhaps this phenomenon can best be explained as nothing more than a true reflection of our innermost selves. Or perhaps there is something that lives inside the mirror—something watching…waiting….
Ashley Hanson pulled her chair closer to the mirror. She seated herself directly in front of it, her hands gripping the frame and her face pushed very close to the glass. In that position, she examined every flaw and mark upon her reflection, every little blemish and pustule eruption.
She felt a quiet ache in her heart as her image showed the exact same flaws as did her own young face—all the defects and imperfections of a sixteen-year-old.
“I’m hideous!” she screamed slapping her hand against the cool flat surface. She raged inside, completely overwhelmed by the complexities of her teenage life. Bowing her head tragically, she closed her eyes, unable to gaze upon her likeness any longer.
“The Holiday Dance is coming," she moaned. "And I still haven’t been asked.”
Her shoulders trembled as she cried, her life spinning in an emotional washing-machine. “Everything is going wrong. And now this . . .” she stared into the mirror mournfully. “My face looks like zit central—like I’ve got some kind of biological plague or something. Who would ever ask me to a dance when I look like this?”
From the corner of her eye, Ashley caught a blurred motion. Startled, she stopped crying and felt the hair rise at the nape of her neck. Immediately, she looked about the room, rubbing her eyes and staring in wide disbelief. “What the...that was weird.”
She stood and moved away from the looking glass, still feeling the cold wave of fear and adrenaline that had shot through her like a jolt of lightning. "My hormones must be running rampant. I'm imagining things."
Disregarding her instincts, she decided to take a long hot shower and go to bed early.
She gathered some clean undergarments, and headed for the bathroom. As she passed the mirror again, she naturally looked at herself.
There it was again, a swirling movement right behind her.
She spun around, but there was nothing there.
The room was empty except for her, and at that moment, she thought about Aliens: physicians from space, proctologists from the great beyond. She almost ran downstairs to where her mother was. But she hesitated, knowing the age of running to her parents every time she became frightened was a thing of the past. She bit her lower lip, edged around the mirror and rushed into the bathroom.
Locking the door, she cranked the hot water on and began to undress. She noticed her skin was covered in goose bumps and she couldn’t shake the dreadful feeling of being watched.
Quickly, she stepped into the shower and closed the glass door behind her.
The hot water calmed her nerves as it flowed over her and she began to feel silly for letting herself be scared.
“What a baby you are, Ashley.”
Grabbing the shampoo, she closed her eyes and lathered up her hair.
A breath ran through the shower stall like a hoary wind--as if the door had just silently opened and then closed again. She peeked through squinting eyes regardless of the stinging soap.
Nothing. There's nothing.
Quickly she rinsed her head, and then rubbing her burning sockets, she desperately searched the hot mist that surrounded her.
In the corner of the shower, the vapors swirled as if being displaced by something that moved through them. With a chill that ran a cold finger down the length of her spine, her skin erupted into goose flesh. Again, she had the uneasy feeling that there was someone in the room with her—very close, but invisible.
Too frightened to continue her shower, she practically fled the stall at a run.
Dripping wet, she grabbed her towel and tried to leave the steam-filled room, but had forgotten that she had locked the door, and for a brief instant felt her heart pound in horror at the thought of being trapped inside.
She hastily threw the latch and stepped into her room slamming the door behind her. She took a deep breath and tried to relax. Then she hastily dried herself and dressed into her bedclothes.
Turning down her bed, she glanced at the bathroom door.
It stood wide open.
When had that happened? She could have sworn she had closed that door. She sat on the edge of the bed, a wave of faintness floating through her head like parachute silk.
From across the room, she saw her reflection in the mirror. She looked scared, crazy. As she approached the glass, she regained her composure. They were still there—the pimples, the acne, and the heartache. "Mirrors do not lie," she said. "They show it like it is."
Ashley’s former grief triumphed over her fear, and she again sat down in front of the mirror and began to apply a new cream to her face. It was as though her image transcended her anxiety.
Something whirled in the mirror like an eddy of preordained evil. She quickly spun around, thinking it was a reflection of something behind her and backed into the mirror until her shoulders felt the cool glass. Her heart knocked so hard that her vision pulsed, and a lump she couldn't swallow gathered in her throat.
There is nothing in this room that could cause that type of movement, she thought. Nothing at all.
She tried to retake her seat but found she could not move away from the glass. Her back was stuck to the mirror as if someone held her there.
Panic gripped her as the surface of the mirror swirled about her like a tempest, ripping at her flesh, and dragging her further inside.
“Oh God! Mommie! Mommie! Mom...mie....”
Then she was gone, and the room fell silent.
The mirror stands today as it has always stood, clear and reflecting a young teenager's bedroom. But every now and again, a swirling entity appears in the face of the glass. And a faint voice can be heard calling for her mother--faint and barely audible but nonetheless there. A scared voice.
Scared to death.