My friends had dared me to go into this cave at the edge of our town. There were a few bodies found in there that the police dug up, so that began rumors. Now anybody brave enough to go inside was considered to manliest person ever. I didn't have anything to lose, I didn't believe in the rumors, and I know the police found the bodies because they were abandoned there during some crime a long time ago. So I accepted the dare.

I went to the cave early in the morning, like I had promised my friend, Chris, the person who dared me. I wasn't in much rush in the morning, so I ate breakfast and got myself all prepared for the trip, even brought a flashlight.

When I walked my way over to the cave, there was a descent crowd waiting for me there. Every person who had heard the rumors was probably interested in me going inside. I saw Chris waiting for me in front of the crowd. I walked up to him and he said, "Dude, I was only joking, you don't have to do this."

"It's okay, nothing bad is gonna happen." I replied, "Plus I don't wanna disappoint this crowd."

I walked to the entrance of the cave and was admittedly a bit nervous. When I looked into the cave, I couldn't help but feel my body slow itself down. Staring into the darkness, I couldn't help but have second thoughts.

I turned back to the crowd and looked at Chris. He said, "If you go in there for like, three minutes then walk out again, everyone will be happy, and I'll buy us lunch."

That remark got me into a brighter spirit, and I turned back around, clicked on my flashlight, and entered the cave.

I walked in, not too far before everything was pitch black. When I turned back around, I could just barely see the light of the entrance. I looked down and saw steep slope leading far down into the cave.

I stopped right before it, looked down and thought, there was no way I could possibly have gotten this far, the three minutes are probably up, I'll head back.

And right when I turned around, I felt the ground slide underneath me, I lost my balance and fell backwards into the slope, tumbling a muddy, rocky slide deep into the cave. Only after several bruises and cuts did I reach the bottom of the slope. My eyes were closed, I was dazed. I kneeled on the ground, placing my hands on the smooth floor.

"Wait a minute, caves don't have smooth floors, do they?" I opened my eyes to see a completely square room. It was wide, perfectly edged, on the ceiling was a dangling lamp, emitting just enough light to see the mirror, mounted on the opposite wall.

I stood up, slowly, wincing at my pain, dumbstruck by the room. I limped over to the mirror to check my cuts. When I looked at my reflection, I didn't move. What I saw was indeed me. It had to be me. But I'm not smiling. Why is my reflection smiling?

I lifted my hand to my mouth and felt that I wasn't smiling. I stared into the eyes of my reflection, I couldn't help but feel them stare back at me.

Then, slowly, the reflections hand raised, and my body went numb. In the hand of my reflection was a knife, and without hesitation, he plunged it into his neck, staring at me, smiling.

I leapt back from the mirror, I grabbed my throat, but felt no blood. I looked at my hand and saw no blood. My eyes were fixated on my hands, because I didn't want to look away, I was scared of what I might see next if I looked back at the mirror. I turned toward the slope I fell down from, and saw the incline was too great and muddy to climb. I was stuck here.

I gathered up my nerves, and forced my eyes to look back at the mirror. My eyes fought me, but I forced them, out of damned curiosity. And I saw me, looking at me, smiling, with no knife in its neck. It was just standing there, it wasn't copying me, but it looked EXACTLY like me.

I got angry, I don't know what came over me, but I wanted to try something to get some answers. So I walked close to the mirror, got right into my reflections face and shouted, "Who the hell are you?"

The reflection reached, and I felt its hand, grab my face. From between the fingers, I saw the smile grow wider. And my reflection lunged back, and slammed my face, hard, right into the mirror. It cracked, and cut my face. I fell back, slamming the ground. Barely conscious, I looked up at my reflection, and it looked down at me. I saw how its eyes widened, and its smile grow as large as it could, it looked so excited, derangely excited. It leaned forward and put its hands on the mirror, pressing up against it. It looked up at the dangling lamp, and before I passed out, I saw the light flicker, grow dimmer. Then I faded into unconsciousness.

By Connor Birmingham