It was a dark and stormy night, because of course it was. That's the way that these things usually start. If I’m not stumbling up messages from ghosts in my database, or cryptic old books that seem to have gotten a man killed (by...something?) then my life is pretty normal. No strange nightmare inducing pictures showing up in my inbox, nothing living in my walls (I think). Every now and then...well...this happens; on a very cliche dark and stormy night.
It was just before Halloween and I had settled in for the night to enjoy a small marathon of Friday the 13th movies. While it's a very bad idea to watch gory slasher flicks at night, around Halloween, with a bad storm outside this would probably be my one opportunity to do so. My wife hates them, and I don’t want them to be on when my infant daughter is up. Back when I was "foreveralone" I would watch all nine over the course of a week, but in recent years I've yielded to the sensibilities of my aforementioned wife and baby.
Tonight though my wife had to help out with her parents' Halloween party. I figured I could get the first two in by the time she came home. Grabbed some assorted salty snacks, soda, and checked the baby monitor was near and functioning, and hit play. Fairly uneventful through the first movie, and through most of the second. I will say it gave me quite the shock when my phone rang just as Jason jumped through the window to attack Paul and Ginny. Pause movie. Answer phone. Silently thank God I didn't piss my pants. It was my wife, she said that she was still not done with the cleanup and would be staying at her parents', because she felt too tired to drive safely. I told her it was a good decision and that I loved her. She thanked me and said she loved me and that she would come home first thing in the morning. I finished the movie and thought, “Hey I can watch part three, too.” Alas I checked the time, it was midnight and I was getting exhausted. My small double feature would not be turning into any sort of marathon at my age.
I turned off the TV, grabbed the baby monitor and my cell, and went to flick off the lights. I just stopped to look at my self in the mirror. My eyes were clearly droopy. Going to bed was a good decision. I flipped the light switch by the mirror darkening the living room, and then did something small, but profoundly stupid. I quickly glanced back at the mirror at the same time lightning flashed, and I heard the sound of thunder, and for a brief instant I saw my reflection smiling back in the mirror. Let me be clear: I was not smiling, my mouth muscles were not in smiling position. But I thought I saw my reflection smiling.
I immediately turned the lights back on, and looked into the mirror. I just stared at it. Waiting for my reflection do something unexpected. Nothing happened. I moved and it moved in sync. I grabbed something and it did too. I danced, and it danced. I moved away from the mirror and slowly came it from the side and my reflection did the same. Just light bouncing off me, to the glass, and back to my eyeballs. The smiling must have just been a trick of the light I thought as I reached again for the switch. But I stopped when it hit me: The smile wasn’t the problem. The light switch is on another wall perpendicular to the mirror, but I saw the reflection looked as if I was standing right in front of the mirror. A chill went up my spine and I decided to leave the lights on. Damn the electric bill, the price is worth it for piece of mind. If my wife asked I’d say that I left them on as a courtesy in case she decided to make the drive home anyway.
I slowly climbed the dark staircase attempting to calm the trembling in my chest. When I got to the master bedroom I was about to climb into bed when I realized there were two mirrors in the room. I did not feel comfortable being unconscious around them, however I couldn't take them down without looking suspicious (and with my luck they would break), and I couldn't cover them without risk they would fall from the hooks or the covering would fall off in the middle of the night.
I didn't know what to do, so I went down the hall to my daughter’s room to check on her. As I was peeking in through the door crack I thought I saw a shadowy figure at the other end of her crib. I quickly, but quietly rushed it, but there was nothing there. My mind again playing tricks. I looked around and saw that there were no mirrors in her room and decided it would be best to stay here and guard my sleeping baby. So I grabbed a nearby blanket, sat down in the rocking chair, and proceeded with my vigil.
I heard every noise in and out of the house. Outside the pitter patter of rain against the siding interspersed with flashes of lightning and claps of thunder, and several people returning home from parties, probably drunk. Inside I heard the whir and clunk of the icemaker, the heat turning on and moving through the vents, and...what I could have sworn was breathing. It may have been air getting through gaps in the window frame. Slowly, I became desensitized to the noises and drifted off to sleep.
I was awoken the next day by the baby’s fussing and screaming. I was too slow in getting up and she threw the bottle at me. She may not be able to speak, but she can communicate her needs very well. Just as I am leaving the room I heard the front door unlock, my wife was home. And as I reached the top of the stairs I heard her shouting my name with rage. I raced downstairs to see what the matter was.
“Do you mind explaining this!” she said as she pointed at the living room mirror. It had been written on with what appeared to be (fake?) blood. At the top there was a simple smiley face made up of two dots and a curve, the “blood” had dripped a bid and was running down the mirror. Just under the face in more runny “blood” there were two words written backwards: Happy Halloween!
“Well..?!” demanded my wife.
And what could I say? A strange mirror person probably did this? No, I smiled and said the only thing I could:
“Happy Halloween!...I’ll get the Windex and some paper towels, right after I give the baby her bottle.”