(WP) The Lonely Reflection

(WP) The Lonely Reflection

               I couldn’t remember any time of my life without the mirror.

               It had been passed down in our family for generations, and it looked like something out of a fairy tale. I’d always been told that if you didn’t look at it, its wrath was unleashed, and the way always changed. There had always been mysterious deaths, sure, but I figured it was nothing but superstition, creepy stories told to children to make them behave, or to haunt their dreams before they fell asleep.

               It was framed with wood so dark that it looked almost black, like trees shrouded in the cloak of night, with bright green vines climbing all around it. It was beautiful, and it reminded me of Snow White and Grimhilde’s mirror, though this one was not crowned with a blank, speaking face, mouth yawning wide. I always had a weird feeling about it, and I’d made a point not to look at it, no matter who it belonged to.

               It always filled me with something strange: a sense of dread and anticipation all at once.

               Little did I know, it was soon going to be my turn to inherit the object, which I’d begun to suspect was cursed.

               **

               The last person to possess the mirror had passed away, and the coroner had said it was from a heart attack. But I wasn’t so sure.

               My mother called me in the middle of running errands, and I pulled over, into a parking lot, to answer.

               “Calliope? What are you doing?” My mother’s voice came through at the other end of the line, without so much as a hello.

               “I’m running errands, Mom. What’s up? Is everything okay?”

               “We read Uncle Clay’s will today, and he left you The Mirror. Can you come over to the house and pick it up?”

               That’s the way she said it, The Mirror. I could hear it in her inflection.

               “Give me a few hours, and once my errands are finished, I’ll be right over.”

               “Okay, honey. Would you like to stay for dinner? We have plenty, and I worry about you, living in that tiny apartment by yourself. I’m making pot roast.”

               As tempting as that sounded, I had to decline. “I already have plans, Mom. Thanks. I’ll be there later. I love you.”

               “At least take some home,” She replied, seeming not to notice that I was hanging up.

               I continued my errands, but my mind churned. I didn’t know why, but I didn’t want that mirror, however beautifully crafted it was. Bad luck seemed to be attached to it, and I didn’t like the way it seemed to be following everyone; like it was watching. It gave me the creeps.

               **

               After I ran my errands, I drove to my mother’s house and knocked on the door, eager to take my unwanted heirloom and leave. Though I was hungry, having not eaten since early afternoon, I was tired and eager to go home, throw a sheet over the mirror, and call it a day.

               My mother answered the door, smiling and giving me a hug; the scents of garlic, rosemary, and roasting meat greeted me like an old friend.

               “The mirror is in our room. If you need help loading it in your car, I can get your dad from his study.”

               “No, Mom, I should be all right,” I said, smiling at her and walking down the hall, toward my parents’ bedroom.

               “Are you quite sure you can’t stay for dinner, dear?” She called after me, and I laughed.

               The mirror was lying on the bed, faceup, reflecting the ceiling, and I found myself wishing, perhaps unkindly, that Uncle Clay hadn’t passed away.

               I walked to the bed and went to pick it up, trying not to look straight into the looking-glass proper. But when I peered into it, almost on accident, I could see my face out of the corner of my eye.

               And it was smiling.

               **