An icy torrent of wind whipped and lashed against the red-brick house on the moors. Desolate and lonely in all its presence, it stood unfazed from the snarling of the storm. A rusty lamp on the exterior swung to and fro and, in doing so, created a dancing shadow on the barn-yard style latched door. As red as the thickest blood, the house was elegant in its grandeur and had an unearthly demeanour that could have only been established by the owner of the house.
Maurice Stewart was a lonely man. He had been the sole occupier of the house on the moors for over twenty years, and was only abandoned by the untimely death of his wife, Jessica, whom he found stabbed to the death in their kitchen. At the time of the death of his beloved wife, Maurice had been a well renowned author and poet and had number one best-sellers in multiple languages in multiple countries across the world. But on the day Jessica died, something died within Maurice himself. Or rather, the old Maurice died and a new Maurice was born. He vanished from the limelight and evaded the paparazzi with the stealth of an undercover agent, disguising himself from the public eye. Now, Maurice spends his days in his sitting room, rocking back and forth in his chair and sipping from a glass of rich, dark port. He hadn’t embraced pen and paper for twenty years, and did not plan on ever doing so again until the night of the storm came.
As he sat in the grandiose and sumptuous sitting room that was once his workshop for writing, Maurice felt a stampede of chills charge down his spine. Tears sojourned in his eyes and he was as motionless as a corpse. He was staring directly at the large, gold-framed mirror which hung on the wall above the fireplace, and the mirror was staring right back at him. It showed him for what he truly was, and not the veil which he had asphyxiated himself with. He clenched his fists and his murky, overgrown nails dug deep into his tainted skin. But he did not wince, for he was in complete shellshock at the sight of himself in the mirror. As a mighty clap of thunder shook the very foundations of the house, Maurice heard a voice call to him, in a raspy and forced tone.
‘Pick up the pen.’ Wheeling around, Maurice stabbed the pen with his intense glare. He felt his entire frame go stiff and rigid, and he could not move his limbs. Without an ounce of intention, he felt his right arm reach outwards and his fingers extend. Simultaneously, his legs pushed down and lifted his body out of the chair; they moved towards the thick, oaken desk at the opposite end of the room. Maurice tried opening his mouth in an attempt to utter a word, or force a noise of some kind, but he did not succeed. Maurice had lost total control of his body and something had gained it, but what had remained unknown to him. He reached the desk and unwillingly struck his hand upon the surface, snatching up the fountain pen that he had used for so many precious moments: signing his manuscripts, replying to the letters of other renowned authors, and for signing his own wedding certificate.
‘You know what you want to write.’ The hoarse voice reverberated in Maurice’s ears; it sounded so close, yet there was no one within enough proximity to be saying it. The enigma rattled in the very depth of his brain, but he could still not answer it or speak out, as his arms began to move again. Scribbling on a scrap piece of paper, Maurice’s hand guided the fountain pen in its story. He wrote a description of a relaxed scene with a husband and a wife in bed, deep in a land where dreams are not a reality, and nothing could hurt them. Bewildered, Maurice tried with all his might to pull his pen back up. All of a sudden, another voice screamed out, this time much higher and piercing than the other.
‘You know this story. You started this a long time ago and never finished it!’ A deafening smash sounded. Maurice darted his eyes to the mirror, where a beautiful crack had flourished. His face was now perfectly disjointed. The right hand side of his face had separated from the left, and there appeared to be a notable difference between the two: the side on the right was smiling. Maurice could not fathom what was going on, for he could not feel his face muscles stretching in to a smile. He was taken aback when he saw the face on the right wink its eye and a sharp stinging sensation hammered inside his head. Out of control, his head shot back to the desk and his hand that was still writing out a narrative. The equilibrium had been disrupted, and the wife had left the bedroom and gone to make a drink in the kitchen. A man can be seen lurking in the shadows by the back door, but the wife is oblivious! Abruptly, Maurice managed to let out a cry:
‘No! Get out!’ His hand continued moving in an ominous, rotary movement as the words were thrust upon the paper. Another crack in the mirror appeared. Maurice’s face was now separated into four. Another voice cried out:
‘Kill her!’ Thunder began battering the Earth, and the walls of the once peaceful house now shook with a terrifying instability.
‘There’s the knife!’ The shadow man neared the wife, and the narrative was about to take a turn for the worse.
‘Stab!’ She fell gracefully to the floor.
‘Again!’ Blood spurted swiftly out of the jagged, fleshy wound that the death artist had drawn upon her face.
‘Finish it!’ The knife dropped to the floor, causing a splash as it hit a pool of crimson liquid that artfully surrounded the carcass of the once beautiful wife. Tears were glistening in Maurice’s eyes. He still could not control his body and his passive story-writing. The killer slowly edged towards the bathroom, washing his hands of the guilt that had stained his cold, harsh skin. He splashed his face with water as if to be reborn and have his sins forgiven. Turning around in a menacing fashion, he revealed his identity to the mirror.
Putting the pen down, Maurice silently rejoiced at regaining use of his limbs. He hesitated, before grabbing the paper on which his narrative lay. He crept over to the mirror, and examined his many faces. The image was like that of a kaleidoscope, but much more carefully selected. A grin slowly crept upon Maurice’s face. He sniggered. Raising his bloody hands to the mirror, he took a shard of glass out. In the opaque window of glass, his reflection sneered back at him, waving a bloody knife about and stabbing it towards the glass in a threatening fashion. Behind the mirrored Maurice laid the body of Jessica, his beloved wife, who was quite blissfully dead.
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