Mirror, Mirror.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
My entry for Ch. R.'s Fiction Writing contest, genre Horror.
Sometimes appearances can be deceptive.

Submitted: June 22, 2016

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Submitted: June 22, 2016

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Mirror, Mirror.

 

Happy Birthday, darling! Thirty today and you don't look a day over twenty.”

 

How Colin could be so 'bouncy' at 6.30am was a mystery to Beth. She blearily opened her eyes and tried to focus on being awake rather than on the dream she had just been having.

 

Thank you, Colin. But what time is it?”

 

I know it's early but I really wanted you to see your present. I just know you are going to love it so much.”

 

Beth couldn't be grumpy, and besides, Colin's enthusiasm was catching. What on earth could he have got her to warrant such excitement. Beth saw the fancifully wrapped package leaning against the wall. It was large. A picture, perhaps?

 

Beth untied the ribbon and let the paper fall free. There, standing before her, was a mirror. It looked like it was very old and its surround was silver, intricately detailed. It was......beautiful.

 

Colin, I don't know what to say. Its........fantastic.” Beth hurried away from her inspection to give him a hug. “Where ever did you find it?”

 

You know the old shop by the office. I went in there looking for inspiration and just as I was giving up I spotted this beauty right at the back.”

 

But it must have cost a fortune, Colin. You know we can't afford this sort of thing.”

 

Don't worry, Beth. It's worth a fortune, that's for sure but the old guy obviously didn't have a clue. The perfect gift for the perfect lady and a bargain to boot. How could I possibly resist? And now I'm going to make you a fantastic breakfast.”

 

As Colin left the room Beth approached the mirror. The detailing of the frame really was amazing. Roses, rosebuds and even thorns entwined over and over again around its surface. Beth reached out to stroke the frame with her hand and as she did she could have sworn that the surface shimmered.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

For a week the mirror held pride of place on the wall. Whenever Beth stood in front of it she could almost believe that she was beautiful. Even though she knew she was pretty much average in every way that feeling gave her extra confidence.

 

Colin had noticed the change in her and so had the girls at work. Beth had found them discussing possible reasons for the change in her but she left them to guess. They wouldn't believe it was nothing more than a mirrors reflection anyway.

 

One month to the day since the mirror had been placed Beth carelessly banged into it. The picture hanger moved and the entire thing crashed to the floor.

 

Beth was aghast! She didn't dare to turn it over, certain that she would find the floor covered in broken glass. How could she have been so clumsy?

 

It would have to be done. There was no point in putting it off. Beth placed one hand on either side of the frame then quickly withdrew them in pain. On each of her fingers was a spot of blood, almost as though she had grabbed hold of thorns. But that was nonsense. There must have been some sharp pieces of metal in the framing that she had missed touching before.

 

Carefully taking hold of it again Beth turned the mirror over. She let out a sigh of relief when she saw that the glass was still intact. No seven years bad luck then.

 

Beth attached the mirror firmly back in place. She stood inspecting it, casually sucking the blood from each finger. And then she saw it, one tiny crack in the bottom left-hand corner that seemed to have a bit of a dark smudge around it. Perhaps she'd be able to wipe it off. She just hoped that Colin didn't notice.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

Over the next few days Beth couldn't help but notice that she was looking increasingly tired. The mirror clearly showed dark circles beginning to form below her eyes, more pronounced against her unusually pale skin.

 

And she did feel tired. All Beth wanted to do these days was to curl up on her bed and let her eyes shut for a while. Her everyday life wouldn't allow that though, so she just had to struggle on.

 

The strange thing was that no one else seemed to notice the changes in her appearance. No one else remarked on how tired and sick she looked. When she asked Colin if he thought she should see a doctor he looked at her incredulously.

 

Well, Beth, if you really feel that bad you should go. But honestly you look totally fine to me.”

 

Beth did look pretty normal in the mirrors at work, she had to agree. It must be a trick of the lighting, a way to keep up staff morale.

 

It wasn't working on Beth. She knew she looked a mess. She knew that she was becoming a wreck. After all, that's what her own mirror told her.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

Every day when she stood before the mirror Beth could clearly see a deterioration in her appearance. She was starting to look grey, haggard. Her skin was dull, dry, almost dead looking. Any sparkle that had been in her eyes was long gone. And tiny wrinkles were starting to appear and she was only thirty years old.

 

More make-up – that was the answer. Beth started to apply more and more. She had always favoured the more natural look but not any more. Beth was determined to cover up her ravaged appearance no matter how much it took.

 

So she looked like a clown in the mirror at work; that couldn't be helped. The other girls were frequently giving her strange looks and Marie had even enquired if she was okay.

 

Beth had snapped, “Of course I am. I'm fine! Why do you ask?”

 

She hadn't meant for it to sound as hostile as it did. Beth was just so, so tired. It was all she could do to keep her eyes open long enough to get through the day.

 

Colin didn't approve of her new look either. “Beth, I'm not being funny but don't you think you should cut back on the make-up. You used to look fantastic but what you're doing now – you are making yourself look cheap.”

 

Beth ignored him. He was a man and what did they know about make-up!

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

Beth found her hair to be even more of a problem. She had loved standing in front of the mirror, brushing it in to a deep dark brown curtain. Her hair had always been one of her best features.

 

Now it was dull, drab and tangled no matter how much she brushed it. But worse than that was the amount of it that was falling out. It seemed to be dropping out in clumps.

 

Beth treated herself to a trip to the hairdressers; a trim and conditioning treatment should help, surely. At least they might know what was causing her sudden hair loss and advise her what to do about it.

 

But Zara, her usual stylist, noticed nothing wrong. “Such beautiful hair you have, Beth.”

 

I'm worried though, Zara. It seems to be falling out at an alarming rate. Whole clumps of it sometimes.”

 

There's no sign of that, Beth. It's certainly nothing for you to be concerned about. Nearly every customer that comes here would give anything for hair like yours.”

 

It hadn't been much help but Beth left Zara a big tip for trying to cheer her up. And it did help her feel a bit better, right up until she caught sight of her own reflection in her own mirror and was again confronted by the truth.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

Beth, what's wrong?” Colin was finally becoming concerned. His wife had all but stopped eating. She wasn't looking after herself at all. She didn't bother having baths or showers. She didn't even bother brushing her hair.

 

Beth had stopped going in to work, saying that she was sick and needed some time off. She hadn't been out of the house in days. She had hardly got out of bed.

 

So you are finally agreeing with me. Finally admitting what I have been telling you for weeks?”

 

No, Beth, I'm not. I don't think there's anything wrong with you apart from what you are doing to yourself. I think you might need psychiatric help.”

 

Beth turned away at that and buried her face into her pillow. Colin couldn't tell from her shaking body whether she was laughing or crying. He walked out of the room and left her to it.

 

After he had been gone for a while Beth dragged herself from her bed and reluctantly stood in front of her mirror. So Colin thought she was crazy! She certainly looked the part with her dead eyes, grey sagging skin and wispy hair that framed her head in clumps.

 

Why was her reflection smiling at her? Where were the tears that she could feel running freely down her cheeks? Perhaps Colin was right and she really had gone insane!

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

She must have been asleep for quite a while. Beth stretched and listened. The house was in silence so Colin must have gone out. He was probably getting shopping that she had neglected to do. No doubt there would be more accusation in his eyes when he returned.

 

Beth forced herself to sit up. For a moment she felt the room spin but the sensation wore off after a while.

 

That mirror! This had all started after she had knocked it from the wall.. Beth shakily stood up and made her way over to it. She studied the murky patch that had appeared beneath the crack and, in front of her eyes, it grew darker and spread.

 

From the mirror her reflection stared at her. But this was the reflection of Beth as she had been, not as she was now. What the hell was going on?

 

Two hands reached out and grabbed Beth's arms. Their grip was firm as they pulled her steadily towards the mirrors surface. She didn't even have a chance to cry out.

 

And there she was, trapped, staring out at the person she had been. The person who stood in front of her was giving a victorious grin.

 

When Colin entered the room Beth stared in horror from behind the glass. He thought that he was with her. She hammered her fists on the surface, screamed out his name. He didn't notice, didn't hear.

 

As they walked from the room the new Beth turned back for a second and waved.

 

 

 

1821 words.

 

 


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