There are some stories that are meant to be told. This isn't one of them. But it's the only thing I have left. I know I will regret this, but someone must know the truth. Anyone.
I came from a picturesque, fairytale family. You know the ones in those life insurance commercials? That used to be us. We recently moved into the city after living in suburbia our entire lives. I got a well-paying job, my wife started her own business, and my daughter Maggie…I’m sorry. It’s too difficult…I can’t... A beautiful wife and daughter was all that I had… You need to hear the full story.
A few weeks ago on a warm Sunday afternoon, my wife and I were visiting neighborhood garage sales in search for a bargain. Having just bought a pricey apartment on the outskirts of the city, we decided it was best to buy something cheaper for the time being.
To my surprise, we managed to find plenty of unique things: an ornamental music box, a working clock radio from the 70’s, a first-edition Nintendo Entertainment System that came with a collectible Super Mario Bros. game; a little dusty but overall, a treasure.
It was not until the fifth garage sale when something caught my wife’s eye. We pulled our car to the curb of 66 Ernest Street, a Victorian-era home in a quiet suburban neighborhood.
“Look at that…it’s beautiful, isn’t it?” She was referring to a brass mirror leaning against a table, with ornamental edges filled with golden vines surrounding the mirror. I have to admit, it was a sight. “It would look great in our bedroom, don’t you think?”
Before I could answer, my wife rushed to the owner, gleaming with enthusiasm.
We were the only ones at the garage sale, and the woman running it was a timid-looking old woman sitting alone and staring to the distance.
“Excuse me,” The woman’s pale-blue eyes did not pay any attention to Anne. “Sorry to bother you, but how much is that mirror?”
An uncomfortable pause followed. The woman slowly turned her head towards Anne, “Five dollars.”
My wife looked at the woman in disbelief. “Are you sure you have the price right? I mean, it looks like it would cost more than five—”
The woman made me uneasy. It was her eyes… pale and blank like flawless pearls. My wife paid the woman, and we anxiously packed the mirror into our trunk and drove home, hesitant to get away from that odd encounter.
“She…was a weird one.” I said.
“Oh, stop it. She is just a lonely old woman. Plus, she gave us this splendid mirror for a steal.” Anne said, smiling. I tried to forget the woman for the rest of the day.
As we arrived, our daughter Maggie rushed to greet us. “Did you get me anything?” she said, excited as any six-year-old can be. I handed her a teddy bear with a pink bow that I bought from one of the garage sales. My wife and I carried the mirror into our bedroom, where we hung it across from the bed. “It goes great with the color scheme.” Anne said as she observed the new addition to the bedroom.
That is when everything changed. I had a horrible dream that night that woke me up in the middle of the night. My new alarm clock read 3:00 am. My wife is a heavy sleeper, and as she laid dreaming and snoring beside me, I noticed something in the corner of my eye. For a split second, I could have sworn there was a shadowy figure standing in the mirror and staring at me, with luminous white eyes. I hastily turned on the light, waking my wife in the process. The figure was gone.
“Anne, wake up. Please wake up.”
“What is it?” my wife said, half-asleep and rubbing her restless eyes.
“It’s the mirror. There is someone in the mirror.”
She squinted at the mirror. “No there isn’t, James. You just had a bad dream. Now go to sleep, you have work in the morning.”
And I did fall asleep eventually. But every night since then, I dreamt of those pale eyes.
The following day, I forced myself to believe that I just had a bad dream. The workday was ordinary. Eventually, my mind forgot about the mirror. I came home at five, my wife still at work.
The house was peculiarly silent. “Maggie!” I called my daughter. Usually she would run and give me a hug at the doorway. Today was different. I heard faint voices coming from my bedroom. One was Maggie’s and the other…was not. I rushed in.
Maggie was talking to the mirror. There was nobody in the mirror but her own reflection. “Oh, hi daddy.”
I do not know what I felt at that moment. If I could describe it, I would say relief tied in with nausea.
“Who were you talking to?”
“My friend.” She replied, innocently.
“Who’s your friend?”
“The girl in the mirror.”
I looked at the mirror, but everything seemed normal. There was no girl but Maggie. I did not put much thought into it, I mean, kids have crazy imaginations. But Maggie never really had any imaginary friends. When I told my wife this, she laughed it off. “When I was her age, I had a few imaginary friends of my own. Forget about it.” Nevertheless, that did not explain the voice I heard. I forced myself to forget it, as it was probably just my imagination playing tricks on me.
After supper, I asked Maggie about her imaginary friend, but Maggie seemed resistant. “She’s not my friend anymore.” I was surprised, and asked her why. “She tells me to do stuff. Bad stuff. She’s not my friend, and I don’t like her.”
That same night, I awoke at 3:00 am to a loud sound. Quiet and eerie moaning. I was beyond afraid…but I forced myself to look at the mirror. To this day, I wish I hadn’t.
A clear figure of a girl not older than 10 stared at me with those same pale eyes, blank and inhuman. However, the figure did not disappear this time…she just stood there. Then, she slowly crawled through the mirror and into our bedroom. I tried to scream but no sound came out. I tried to move but it was as if I was completely paralyzed. I even tried to close my eyes, but they would not even blink in the slightest. The figure forced me to watch as it crawled to me, with a spine-chilling moan. She was staring into my soul. Then, silence.
A whispering sound came out. “She did this. She did this to me.”
Then, the girl began to decompose, eventually crumbling into ashes.
The following morning, my wife dismissed it as a nightmare. “Ghosts aren’t real. They are a figment of your imagination.”
I didn’t believe her. How could she possibly understand the horror I witnessed that night? I do not expect her to understand. I was not about to forget about it again. That same day, I skipped work to take the mirror back to the woman I bought it from.
However, I could not find that house. I circled the neighborhood at least five times before resorting to asking a neighbor.
“66 Ernest Street? There is no 66 Ernest Street here,” said a jogger as I pulled up next to her.
“But that’s impossible. I was here a few days ago…there was an old woman with pale blue eyes running a garage sale.”
“Ernest Street ends at 65. You probably have the street name wrong.”
I knew that it was right. As I was driving, I heard a knocking on my trunk. "Let me out," said a whispering voice. "You cannot leave me. I’m with you forever, and ever, and ever, and—"
“Shut up! Just, shut up! I have done nothing to you. Leave my family alone!
I drove to my work building. Luckily, there was a dumpster in the back where I could dispose of the mirror. Before doing so, I made sure to use a nearby brick to break the mirror into small shards. “You can’t hurt me anymore.”
You should not have done that. The faint voice followed me, repeating that same phrase over and over the entire car ride home. As I came home, I went upstairs into my bedroom to make sure the mirror was gone.
There stood my daughter and my wife, pale and emotionlessly staring at the mirror. I didn’t make a sound as I backed away in fear and disbelief. I rushed into the bathroom and locked the door. I don’t remember how long I was in there…could have been days. It felt like an eternity. Each night spent in that cold bathroom, I heard a knocking on the door and a chuckling coming from the other side. She was taunting me.
The police came days later. The neighbors complained about an unsettling smell coming from my house. My daughter and wife were found dead in my bedroom, skinned corpses, motionless, with pale white eyes.
I was transferred to White Mountain Mental Wellness Centre, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. They think I killed them. Maybe I did. Maybe I am insane. At least, if I were it would bring about some closure. A comfort knowing that it really was my mind.
Every night, I hear her voice. I see her wherever I go. She will find me, and she will kill me.
You cannot leave me. I am with you forever, and ever, and ever, and ever.