By J. A. Weymouth
A strange smell woke Fanny to a cold room. Dawn’s gentle glow seeped through naked windows lighting the room as she sat up. Dazed, she stretched wiping the sleep out of her eyes and taking in her surroundings. The smell reminded her of floor polish when she recognised it. The air was laden with fumes of a new coat.
Fanny Fahrner, seventeen years old – found it strange when she remembered. The world became so much bigger and stranger as the memories tip-toed back inside, cautiously, unsure on whether they should return or to run away screaming. When they did, she was sure she should be dead. Not alive and well rested.
Fanny was in the same room though, exactly from when she was murdered. Here she was, sitting in the same clothes, in the exact spot and feeling normal; without aches or pains sensing that her reality was more like a dream.
There was no sign of the wicked man who had chased her into the room either. Nowhere to be found. Her memories of the night before etched in, uncertain of what order they belonged in but the dread of that night, the fright of the chase and the utter helplessness of it all appeared to her like a terrible nightmare. One that was beginning to fade. The details blurred. What had happened? She wondered.
Fanny was busy in her thoughts when she noticed the wall length mirror reflecting light into her eyes. Her hand naturally came up to protect her gaze when she noticed something strange about her hand. She turned her hand over and once again; not a hint of dirt speckled her skin.
Something else she noticed strange about the room that it was completely bare but the lone mirror, staring out in the corner of the room, not directly in front of her but shyly placed away. No furniture lay, or painting hung.
Another important detail itched at her with an unnerving feeling. The derelict room she had supposedly fallen into showed no trace of dust or dirt either. It was like new. The floorboards were polished and the wall a clean pepper green.
The only thing dirtied was the lone mirror and yet, here it stood proudly towering over her but alone in a furnitureless room; its arrogant frame shining in the light. It was all too strange.
The rest of the room was naked, no dust or cracked paint or broken floorboards and the collapsed ceiling had been repaired. Nothing but the lone mirror and the despondent girl was left in this room.
Fanny stood and went to the window to let in some fresh air when a worried sensation distracted her. It was her scarf, pulling, tightening around her neck. She felt the scarf needed to be loosened. Fiddling with it she coiled her fingers around her neck, and pulled. The scarf came free, though the feeling of something tight and uncomfortable still lingered, not chocking but enough to unsettle her.
Standing up, uncomfortable, the girl moved towards the mirror to see what was wrong. As she came closer, although the dust on the mirror obscured her reflection, an oncoming sense of unease dawned to something new. She moved faster, almost frantic as she swiped the dust away in a desperate stroke and saw the horror then. An unkind feeling and knowing took shape in her mind. It was the same “awareness” one felt in a nightmare. But this was no dream – and her sense of panic would not disappear once she woke up.
It became all too real as last night’s events, the rest of what had happened – what she forgot, what she denied – came back to her. The murder. Hers. How the man had strangled – had twisted and played with her – using the broken pieces of a mirror. She had seen the pieces rip at her when he laughed.
It was this mirror, standing, staring – mocking her because it was this mirror that had killed her. She had seen her reflection, strange, obscure – alien – as the man had taken her, the night she had died – its jagged edge cutting into her when he had finished. Tearing. The mirror had looked into her soul.
Death was her reflection as she screamed out at the girl with the bloodied neck, raw and open. The laughing gash didn’t stop the scream.
Once, a long time ago, there stood an abandoned mansion resting on top of a hill, its proud grounds had decorated the land on the outskirts of a kind town, now fallen into shame and dust after war had eaten its pretty sites.
In it lived a room, broken and collapsed. The roof had fallen inside this part of the house and shattered a once beautiful mirror, long forgotten by its owners. The mirror, in pieces, despaired in regret for being left behind. In its loneliness it witnessed a horror and became a part of something again. Piece by piece it grew strong as it captured the soul that screamed a scream that can only be heard in children’s nightmares. The mirror kept a secret in the abandoned room.