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On Mirrors and Dreams

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I don't know what started it, and I don't really care. If I had to pick a starting point, I'd guess it was when I started noticing differences. My reflection didn't look quite right. Sometimes it would be smiling faintly when I wasn't smiling, sometimes I could see shadows in the corners that weren't there when I turned. Mirrors just reflected back reality- they weren't supposed to show such things. It was unnerving, to say the least, but also rather cool.

I started actively trying to catch my reflection in the act. Any time I went to the bathroom in our house, I kept glancing up at the mirror at intervals, wanting to see if my double in the mirror had the same expression or the same look. Sometimes it was identical; other times one eye would be looking in a different direction, or my reflection's mouth would be smiling when I wasn't.

I began seeing things. Never outright, always just outside my field of vision. Shadows seemed to flit around my eyes, flirting with my peripheral vision. The shapes were never definite enough for me to know what I saw. Sometimes I thought the shadows would cover my eyes completely, and I would be blind.

Small objects would change position when my back was turned. Once, I was making tea for my father and I couldn't find the sugar bowl. I looked and looked, then behind my back I heard a strange noise coming from the dining room. When I went to investigate, I found the sugar bowl on the tabletop. I had already cleaned off the table recently in search of the bowl and it had not been there.

Then the nightmares came. I would wake in a cold sweat from dreams of falling to the bathroom floor, covered in blood. My vision would fade as I heard mocking laughter in a familiar voice. The familiarity of it bothered me. I couldn't place where I had heard such a tone of laughter before.

As time progressed, I started to fear looking in the mirror more and more. My reflection seemed to change with each glance. I covered the mirror with a thick black blanket that I owned; in the morning it had fallen off and would not remain over it, even when nailed to the wall. Another time, I took a baseball bat and swung it at the hateful thing. It bounced off as if the mirror were made of steel.

Father wanted to get me mental help. I was jumping at every noise, he said, and crying out in my sleep at night. Something about being so close, so close! He was worried for me. I smiled and lied; I told him everything was fine. School was just stressing me out, I said.

One stormy night, alone in the house, I decided I'd had enough. If the mirror was what had started this, I would finish it. I ran to the bathroom and faced the reflection head on. Lightning flashed, the power went out, and I could still see the warped image inside.

The face in the mirror was scarred, as if someone had attacked it with broken glass. It smirked openly, not even trying to hide the dissimilarity any more. The hair was lank and greasy, hanging over eyes that glowed a faint green. I glared back at it.

"Alright," I growled, not recognizing the rage and fear in my own voice. "You want more scars? I'll give 'em to you!'

I took my father's straight razor from the bathroom sink. I slashed at the horrible face in the mirror. The sound that was made as the razor hit the glass was like nails down a blackboard, or maybe the thing shrieked as one of its scars was cut open. Blood began to ooze from the mirror. Gleefully, I slashed again. And again. It seemed like I had been cutting the mirror forever. I barely noticed the dizziness in my anger. It wasn't until I slipped that I realized it.

There was so much blood here. Far more than should have been coming from the mirror. I looked down at my body, and saw the cuts.

My mind whirled: Why? What had I done wrong? I was so close!

As my vision faded, I heard a young woman's mocking laughter; it was my own.

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