I’ve always had this thing with mirrors. In all honesty, I’ve always felt a forbidden lure to them. As if mirrors called to me. Every time there’s a mirror, I can’t help but look. I can’t help but find and look into any form of reflection. Maybe subconsciously I wonder if my appearance changes from moment to moment, but I know that’s not the reason. Secretly, despite wanting not to, I know the real reason is because there is something probably there, drawing me to look.
At night, I cover my mirrors. All of them. Throughout the house, throughout my room. Especially in my room.
When I was just a little girl, I saw something in the mirror for the first time. I must have been six when I woke up in the middle of the night, with that feeling that everything was asleep and not stirring. That feeling that the darkness swallowed light and sound, leaving you helpless in your bed. When you’re a kid, your bed was the only safe haven in the dark, and you dared not move unless you wanted to disturb the silence the darkness so strongly built around you throughout the night.
But that’s when I first remember feeling it. Not just the darkness, but a pull. My eyes were well-adjusted to the darkness, as one’s eyes are usually when you wake up in the middle of the night. I could see everything in my room clearly: my stuffed animals, a rocking chair that has since been sold at a garage sale, and many other knickknacks found within a little girl’s room. I remember looking over these things, slowly turning my head. I felt like I had to look. I couldn’t stop, and I didn’t want to. I kept feeling this pull to look at that mirror. And, when I finally turned my head to look dead-on into the mirror, what I saw in that horrible reflection was enough to drain the color from my face. My little round face became as white as my nightgown as I took in what I saw.
A scream erupted from my throat, and didn’t stop until my parents stormed into my room, flipping the light switch on. As soon as the light came on, that horrible thing disappeared. That night haunted me for many nights afterwards and my blood-curdling scream echoed in my dreams for years.
It wasn’t until we were completely moved out of that house and into a new one that my curiosity got the better of me. I asked my mother about the old house we used to live in and about that night. She began to tremble so hard, she had to put the mug of coffee she held in her hand down on the counter in front of her. Her face flushed just as mine had when I was that poor six-year-old and she said these words:
“That night, what you told us was very disturbing. At first, we thought you had been dreaming. Passed it off as a nightmare. Tried to convince you that it was only a dream. But it wasn’t long afterwards that your father and I started experiencing peculiar things that we could not explain,” my mother hesitated for a moment, “honey, do you even remember what you told us?”
I shook my head; my mind had forcefully removed that image from my memory, to protect my sanity, I’m sure. The good it did in the end, with all my mirrors covered anyway.
My mother took a deep breath, “Your father and I did research on the house and found out that it was owned a few years ago by a single dad. There had been a murder there not long after they bought the house. According to the newspaper article we found, there was blood everywhere, but no body. Investigators called it the most disturbing crime scene they had ever seen in all their careers. The father who committed the murder hung himself in his cell before they were able to get anything out of him. The murderer was a father of a beautiful little girl who went missing and was presumed by the investigators to be the victim. The only thing the man said was that the “other side” was telling him to do horrible things. That’s the only bit of information that they were able to extract from him before he took his own life.
“That article and what you saw was enough to convince us to move out of that house as quickly as we could,” she shrugged, “call us cowards, but it really scared both of us. We didn’t want that for you.”
Finally, my patience was at its end. I slammed my hand down on the counter, making her jump, “Mother! What did I see?!”
My mom looked at me for a second, trying to calm down from the start. She gave me a look before continuing, “You said you saw another little girl looking right at you with blank eyes on the other side of the mirror, with a few bullet wounds in her forehead, with blood trickling down her face. She smiled at you. You said her smile was strange because her teeth were sharp and uneven. But it wasn’t what she looked like that scared you, you told us. You said it was what she said,”
I couldn’t even hear my breath at this point, “What… what did she say to me?”
“The little girl – Maribelle was her name – told you that your daddy was going to kill you. That he was going to stuff you in the mirror where you would never be found again. She said you would never be able to escape, just like her. You said her voice sounded like a little girl’s should, but it had undertones of other voices. That’s when the little girl pressed herself against the mirror and tried to bite through the mirror. And that’s when we came in. You must have been screaming through the whole experience.”
By the time my mother ended the story, I had tears in my eyes. This was far too intense for me, but I had to know more. “What else did you find out? Was that it?”
She gave me a pained look, wanting this topic to blow over, but I wouldn’t let it go. I repeated my questions with more vigor, wanting answers. She finally caved, “When we started seeing things in the corners of our eyes, lights flashing, shadows in mirrors that shouldn’t be there, we knew something bad was looming over us. Your father almost lost it at one point, smashing the mirror in our bathroom. He swore things were whispering to him. Incoherent whispers that drove him crazier each second. We decided to leave the house.
“That’s when we decided to look into the house’s history. The stuff the realtors hide from potential buyers. Well, there were a ton of murders in that house, not just the one. The one was the most pressing at the time, but we found that there were a few other murders with similar descriptions: blood everywhere and no body,” she paused, her hands shaking as she brought her coffee mug to her lips. I waited for her, my heart racing and my throat dry.
When she finished drinking her coffee, she looked at me dead-straight in the eyes, her voice filling the silence around us, “When all this came up – your vision, the history of the house, your father experiencing the voices – we left that house behind. What you saw that night changed the house for us forever and there was no way we wanted to stay. I swear, sometimes your father jumps when he sees himself in the mirror and he’ll start talking to himself, too,” she shook her head, still bewildered by all the memories, “Strange man… he needs to go on vacation. He works too hard.”
To this day, I still cover my mirrors every night. My father and I have changed because of that house. In the day, everything is fine. But, at night, I cannot remove the image that my nightmares concoct: me as a wide-faced six-year-old, looking at my own reflection that night and, instead of seeing Maribelle’s face, I see mine, filled with the bullet holes and suffering from the jagged teeth, gnawing and scratching my way from inside that mirror, only to jolt awake to the sound of Maribelle’s voice saying, “You will never be found again. You will never escape. Just. Like. Me.”