From her bedroom, she could see the mirror. The big tall one that hung at the bottom of the stair case. Until last night Callie had been fine with the mirror. That was until something had reached out and grabbed her. Some of her friends from college had decided to get together for a week at an old rental house. Nick, Tim, the Mallory sisters, and Sheila had called Callie and asked her to come on short notice. Had she known that Josh would be there she might not have come. She had been head over heels for him in college, but things did not work out.
Now she really wished that she had not come. After dinner the second night Callie had to go upstairs to retrieve her purse before a few of them headed out to a club. The lights were off upstairs and outside it was dark early. She had cautiously begun walking up the stairs. On the landing, three steps up, she walked extra carefully. The night before that she had fallen and hit her head. Now she stood on the landing trying to find the next step and she felt something, like a hand, on her shoulder. She turned and an arm was outstretched from her own reflection, outstretched to Callie's shoulder.
Then almost as quickly as the hand was there, it was gone. She had went on up the stairs and gotten her purse and called for Josh.
"Yeah?" He was out of breath from running up the stairs from the urgency of her call.
"Have you seen my keys?" She asked shyly.
"Callie, you called me all the way up here about your keys?"
"Callie, I haven't been up here since we arrived."
"Right. I'm sorry I guess old habits die hard."
"So I am still the knight that comes to Caraline's rescue?" He smiled and pushed back some hair that had fallen in his face. "Man I need a haircut."
Callie laughed "After seven years you still find time to go shoot pool with the guys or watch a game on TV, but not go get your hair cut?"
"As you always said, I’m a man. Come on everyone is waiting." He took her hand and they started down the stairs. Callie had made sure to go first, watching the mirror carefully as she went.
The rest of the evening had gone well. But now, as she lay in the bed, fear over took her. Her heart was racing and she knew her nerves were at it because she felt sick at her stomach. She reached to turn off the lights and as soon as she did, she pulled the covers up over her head.
Callie heard the door creak open slowly. She could never remember feeling so scared in her life. She almost jumped out of her skin when she heard, "Caraline?"
She pulled the covers down and looked at the figure in the doorway. Even in the dark Josh stood out. He flipped on the lights. "Are you okay? You look as white as a ghost."
"Well if someone didn't just barge in."
"Sorry I just wanted to see how you were. Tim noticed your quietness at the club and was wondering how you felt and if anything was wrong or...” He stuttered before she interrupted.
"Or you were worried?"
"Sit down." She pulled her body back and patted the end of the bed.
Josh sat down and took her hand. "Callie, are you okay?"
"Well you don't act like it sometimes. Like when I asked you to dance you said no. Yet when Tim asked you, you were up in a heart beat."
"I also did not make out every night of my junior year with Tim."
"Are you really that uncomfortable?"
"No. I guess after you said I still thought of you as my knight, I didn't really want to make it seem like I felt that way.”
"I loved you, Callie."
"I know. There I was and I thought I felt the same way. But I didn't know what love was back them."
He changed the subject. "I always knew that you would go far."
"I haven't gone anywhere."
"Yes, you have. You have a great job, a great life, and ..."
"No one to share it with."
"I...I...” Josh stuttered. "Oh never mind."
"Nothing." He looked away. "I need to go to bed. Nick and Tim want to go fishing at five." Josh rose from the daisy covered bed and left.
Callie felt strange and heard the door open and shut again. After a moment rolled over. She rolled over expecting to see Josh. Instead she saw herself.
"What is going on?" Callie jumped out of bed.
"I'm you. Or your mirror image at least."
"What do you want?"
"What?" Callie began to question her sanity.
"You missed your chance with him and now I want him." The mirror image began to move towards Callie.
"Get away from me!"
"No. I want my life back."
"Your life? This is my life. You are an image. You shouldn't be here and you aren't here. You aren’t real.”
"Oh I'm not?" The image stepped forth and slapped Callie. The felling was so real that she screamed.
"Josh can't save you.”The image covered Callie's mouth and grabbed her by her hair. "Guess what. I have a surprise for you." The image began to push her forward. "I want to show you something."
The mirror lit up like a TV screen and began to play like a VCR. It was seven years earlier and Callie's black hair was long and in curls like she used to wear it. Josh was there with her. Seeing it again made her heart skip. She realized that he looked much older now. Then he was 22, about to graduate college and full of energy. Now he looked tired and you could see that the seven years had begun to take their toll on him as he crept towards 30. They were sitting on her car in the parking lot of her college job. It was about midnight and Callie could see the tears rolling down the young Josh's face.
"Callie, I don't understand."
"Look, I am just at that point in my life where I need a good friend, not this. I...”
"Caraline," he kneeled before her. "I can't lose you. I love you and I want to know if you will marry me."
"Josh, no. I can't. Please just give me more time."
But that day she had gotten up and got in the car. She avoided him as much as possible for three months, until he graduated.
"You ruined it for both of us. Now I have a chance. And you will not mess it up." The image pushed Callie towards the mirror. "Now you get to watch."
"No." Callie felt a hard shove and shielded her face to stop the glass for when she hit. But she didn't hit the mirror. She simply went into the mirror. She spent a moment disoriented. Then she realized that she was in the mirror and the image was on the other side. The image began brushing her hair and a moment later Josh burst into the room. The real Callie could only listen.
"Callie? Are you okay?"
"Yeah," the image seemed shaken.
"But I heard you scream. You called for me."
"It was a nightmare that upset me. I thought that if I brushed my hair it would relax me."
Josh took the brush from her. "Into bed." The image did as instructed and got under the covers. Josh got behind it and began to brush its hair.
"Callie, remember earlier when we were talking?"
"I still love you and I want another chance."
The real Callie died inside, the image was right, she had ruined it. Now she had a chance and the mirror image was going to take it from her. "No. No! Let me out!" She began to scream but neither heard her. The image then turned to Josh, "I love you, Josh." With that they kissed and Callie began to scream.
"Callie, calm down. Callie, shush!"
Callie opened her eyes and saw most of the household around her. She heard the youngest of the Mallory sisters speak. "Great. Our first night here and already somebody is hurt. At least it wasn’t me for once.”
Callie realized that she was on the couch with Josh next to her. He looked down at her. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah. I think so. Josh did I just hear them say it's the first night?"
"Yes, you fell down the stairs. Maybe you should go to the hospital and get checked out."
"No. I am fine. I just...had a nightmare. I think."
"Well at least you are okay." Sheila patted her hand, "We are going back to cooking dinner. We'll call you when it is ready. Josh why don't you stay with her?"
"Sure." He looked down at her and Callie saw that spark in his eye. She decided to take her dream to heart and smiled at him, hoping for what the future would bring. And as he smiled back, she knew this was right.