The Girl in the Mirror
The girl in the mirror isn’t me, and she hasn’t been for a long time.
Other mirrors don’t do this. Every other mirror in the world shows me, dark hair and darker eyes, and the reflection moves as I moves, just as a mirror should. But the mirror in the upstairs hall of my grandmother’s old Victorian house doesn’t work quite right. It does for the rest of my family, and it does for my friends, but whenever I stand in front of it I see a girl, pale and doll-faced, staring back at me with red eyes and a bleeding nose. She doesn’t blink, and she doesn’t turn her head, but her eyes watch me wherever I go.
I’ve tried telling people about the girl in the mirror, but nobody believes me. My mother says I’m too old to play tricks like this. My father tells me to leave him alone, he’s working. My older brother tells me to shut up. My friends laugh and say that they’re not that gullible.
I didn’t think to ask my grandmother about it. After all, she didn’t even live in the house anymore. She was at the old people’s home down the street. We’d been trying to sell the house for years, but nobody had taken it. We only ever went in to make sure the rat infestation hasn’t returned.
But my grandmother. She was crazy (at least, that’s what my mom says). I didn’t like to talk to her, because she always pinched my cheeks and talked about when she was my age. I didn’t like visiting her, because the building smelled like medicine and everyone talked in a whisper.
On one such visit, I was drawing using the nubby remains of the crayons my grandmother had. Only the red and the black worked right, so I found myself drawing the girl in the mirror as best as I could. I was only eight, and my art skills weren’t anything to write home about (they still aren’t, and they probably never will be). But my grandmother saw what I was drawing, and she let out a shout of surprise. “Why, that looks like little Lucy!”
I froze and dropped the crayons. “You know who this is, grandma?”
“Of course I do!” she was smiling at the picture fondly, like she was looking at an old friend. “She’s the girl trapped in the mirror in the upstairs. She wasn’t always stuck there, you know.”
I looked to my parents, who were arguing about something in the kitchen. My brother had earbuds in, his music playing loud enough for me to hear. Still, I brought my voice to a whisper as I asked, “You can see her too?”
“Well, not anymore,” my grandmother said. “She was my best friend when I was your age. She kept the bullies away. Of course, once I turned thirteen she stopped coming. She only worries about kids like her, you see.”
“How did she get stuck there?” I asked.
My grandmother’s face became grim. “That’s a long story, little one, and not a happy one. You’re too young for it.”
“I’m not too young!” I argued. “I’m only one and a half years away from being double-digits!”
She didn’t even laugh at my silliness (although I didn’t think it silly at the time). Her eyes were unfocused, like she was lost in thought. “No... no, it’s too much for you. There are some things you are too young to understand.”
“But I want to know!” I whined. “Please?”
My grandmother shook her head. “No. When you’re older.”
I hated that. When you’re older. But no amount of begging would convince her to spill the beans. When we left that day, I was so angry I was crying, and my father had to carry me to the car.
My grandmother died three weeks later, and I thought that was the end. We finally sold the house, and I knew that none of the people who were moving in would be able to see Lucy. It kept me up at night, the thought of the little girl trapped inside the mirror, her bow-shaped lips stained with blood that dripped from her tiny button nose. But three years passed, and I tried to forget about her as best as I could. I had other things to worry about.
I should’ve known that that was only the beginning.
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