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Grandpa's Stories

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BathroomMirror1

My grandfather used to tell me scary stories every Saturday night when I was a kid. I looked forward to them every single week, and often lept onto the couch and pestered him to 'start it already!' The stories varied from being about haunted pirate ships that still splash about in the open sea hundreds of years later with no port in sight, to old schoolhouses that were all shut down fifty years ago after the mysterious disappearances of several children.

One night, however, my grandfather said that he wasn't up for telling a complete story, as he had just gotten over a slight cold and wanted to rest. Instead, he told me a short little tale that he claimed was real. He asked me if I knew about the undead, like vampires and ghosts, and how they couldn't see their own reflections. I nodded in agreement, having read all about this piece of vampire folklore in more Goosebumps books than I can remember.

'Well,' he said, taking a seat on the couch and taking off his eyeglasses, 'there is actually a very good reason for that, son. You see, mirrors are not simply pieces of glass that show a reflection. They are windows to another world, a world far different from our own. A world some people call the afterlife. The person you think is your reflection is actually your spirit, waiting for you to join with it upon your death. Until then, their job is to keep you out of their world. But...you know why I mentioned vampires?' I shook my head, enthralled and wondering in anticipation what he was going to say.

'When they became undead, their spirit vanished.' He snapped his fingers in the air and made a whooshing sound. 'Gone, just like that. Because of this, son, there is no one to keep them out of the other world, the afterlife. They can freely move back and forth between each world like it's an open doorway. But the truly scary thing is...you know how a vampire turns you into one by biting you?' I nodded, becoming even more anxious and fearful. 'That isn't exactly true. What they really do... is go into the other world... find your spirit... wait for it to move in front of a mirror... and *kill* it!' He suddenly shouted, nearly making me jump off of the couch.

'Then you become one of them...' He then leaned in, trying to make me sweat a little bit more than he usually would, telling these stories. 'So you have to wonder... are any of them on the other side right now... looking for you?' He grinned and told me to brush my teeth and go to bed, leaving me shakily heading upstairs. While I stood in the bathroom, brushing my molars, I finished up and put my toothbrush down, inching closer to my reflection. Curious, I pressed my hand against it, then moved it around, trying to trick my reflection into making the wrong movement.

After a few seconds of doing this, I gave up, telling myself that even if grandpa's story were true, no one would want my spirit anyway. I was just some random little kid who hadn't done anything wrong. Only moments later, however, my peripheral vision caught something in the mirror... it looked like a hand beginning to grip the door frame. Just as I saw something beginning to lean in, I looked back at myself in the mirror. My reflection stared back at me, looking terrified, and blinked.

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