The reflection in the mirror always seemed a little strange. A little off. At times my reflection would hang in place before moving, even if it was just a fraction of a second I would still notice. I never mentioned this to anyone in fear that I might be made fun on, in fear that no one would believe me.
This mirror was given to Emma’s mother when she was born by the neighbor’s estate. Old Miss Mildred Penncrip was a quiet and intelligent woman when she passed away at the age of eighty-seven. She had lived through the great depression and this mirror was one of the few possessions she had left, one of the few things she clung on to.
The wooden wall mirror was around three feet tall in length and two feet wide. It had an intricate pattern of roses and vines around the outside edge. It hung on the same wall in my room for the last twelve years and no matter how many times Emma had looked at herself in that mirror it would always feel like she wasn’t looking at herself.
It was the morning of Emma’s thirteenth birthday, October 13th, 1982. Friday’s were always her favorite day of the week. It was usually a lazy day at school followed by two days of no school, no teachers, no rules. Well house rules still applied but she was still happy. Three o’clock rolled around and Emma was free at last. She walked over to the bus pick up zone and waited for the number 307 bus to roll around the street corner. Emma was preoccupied with her friend Roselyn when Roselyn pointed over to the street.
“Hey Emma isn’t that your mom over there in the red car?” asked Roselyn.
“Oh, yeah it is,” said Emma as she ran over to the car and waved goodbye to Roselyn.
“Hi honey, surprise! I thought I’d pick you up early and we’d hit the mall before we went home. Dad and Charlie should be home by then. What do you think?” asked her mom.
“Free clothes and make up? Yes please ha-ha,” responded Emma.
After a couple of hours at Twin Summit Mall Emma and her mom headed home around 6:00 pm in the evening. Emma’s mom parked the car and they both exited the vehicle.
“Here honey, take the keys and open the door. I’ll get the bags from the trunk,” said her mom.
“Are you sure mom? I can help you too,” responded Emma.
“No it’s okay honey. Just make sure your brother did his homework and I’ll be right in,” said Emma’s mom.
Emma went to the front door and slid the key into the keyhole. As she turned the key she felt a slight coldness overtake her body and goosebumps raced across her arms. She shook off the feeling and looked back at her mom unloading the shopping bags. Emma turned back around and pushed the door open to enter into the darkness that stood within her house.
“Hello?” said Emma into an empty house. She could barely see past the couch in the living room. “Dad? Charlie? Are you guys home?” asked Emma as she stepped further inside. She turned to her right as she heard something approaching the living room hallway.
“SURPRISE!” screamed a chorus of voices.
Emma took several steps back and choked on the next words that were coming out of her mouth.
“We got you didn’t we honey?” asked her mom as she walked in the house behind her.
Emma was on the verge of tears but she quickly smiled and started going around the room hugging her friends and shaking hands with their parents.
“Oh man! You should’ve seen your face Emma. Ha-ha. That was classic,” said Roselyn.
“Oh shut up. I had a feeling that my parents were throwing me a surprise party,” said Emma unconvincingly.
Emma’s thoughts came back to that eerie feeling she had right before she entered her house many times that night. She couldn’t shake the feeling that it was something more than the darkness of the house. Maybe it was just walking into a room full of hidden people that set me off. She kept feeding herself excuses but none of them sat right with her. The night went on without incident. Games, cake, gifts, and laughter – a perfect birthday in her eyes.
Nearing 9:00 o’clock everyone started saying their goodbyes and taking pieces of leftover chocolate cake with them. Emma stood by the front door and thanked everyone individually for coming to her birthday party and for the gifts they had given her. After everyone had gone she helped her parents wash the dishes and clean up the decoration.
“So, did you have fun?” asked her dad.
Emma nodded her head and a smile flashed across her face.
“Did you like what I bought you sis?” asked Charlie as he tried to hide his laughter.
“Yes Charlie, thank you for the whoopee cushion and the fart joke book. Timeless gifts,” said Emma as she laughed and shook her head.
“Oh, one more thing honey. Here this is from all of us. Your little brother even chipped in chore money for us to get you this. Hope you like it,” said her mom as she handed her a neatly wrapped gift with a purple bow on top.
Emma looked curiously at the wrapped gift and smiled. She quickly unwrapped it on the kitchen table and started to cry when she held it up.
“A Sony Walkman! Oh man! Thank you guys so much! I’ve wanted one of these since they first came out! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” said Emma excitedly.
“You deserve it sweetheart. Here are a couple of tapes that the store clerk said are their current best sellers,” said Emma’s dad.
Emma ran back to her room and closed the door behind her. She jumped on to her bed and unwrapped the Sony Walkman. She examined it in its entirety and then inserted the batteries. She inserted the cassette and plugged in the headphones. The moment she pressed play I Ran (So Far Away) by A Flock of Seagulls blasted through the speakers located inside the headphones. Emma was ecstatic. She ran over to the old wooden mirror hanging on her wall.
“Woah these look awesome!” she said aloud as she turned back and danced around her room.
The reflection in the mirror did not turn away, it did not move an inch as it stared at Emma dancing around the room. It’s eyes following her every move in a menacing trance like state. Emma’s reflection placed its fingertips against the mirrored glass and pressed against it. Slowly the reflection’s fingertips broke through the reflective barrier and it slowly inched its whole body down the wall and on to the carpeted wall. Emma, still unaware of what had happened continued to dance and jumped on to her bed. The cursed reflection still crawling around her bedroom floor getting closer to Emma.
After a few moments, Emma jumped on to the carpeted floor and landed in front of the mirror with her eyes closed, a fake hairbrush microphone in her right hand, still singing the song in her headphones. When she opened her eyes she stopped singing, she stopped dancing. Her mouth remained opened in disbelief as she saw her whole room in the mirror but failed to see her own reflection. She drew nearer to the mirror in order to get a better view but nothing. No reflection.
As she stared intently at the mirror before her she noticed a shadow rise up behind her in the mirror. When the face came into view she saw her own face standing behind her in the reflection. Emma’s mirrored faced slowly dripped and melted away to reveal Miss Mildred Penncrip staring back at her. Emma opened her mouth to scream as an old deteriorating hand shot up behind her to cover her mouth. Tears streamed down Emma’s face as she struggled between muffled screams. Miss Mildred Penncrip’s mouth curled into a sinister smile before this façade melted away as well. The hand covering Emma’s face turned a ghostly white color. Emma looked back up and noticed the face staring back at her looked like a ragged old woman. Deep wrinkles covered her face. A giant crooked nose protruded from above her cracked and broken smile. Her expressionless eyes were black, void of life or hope.
Emma struggled against this person, no this thing that had a hold on her but it was too strong to overpower.
“I’m free again thanks to you. Mildred Penncrip’s body served as a fine vessel for the time she lasted. It’s your turn now human. I’ve waited trapped in that mirror until your thirteenth birthday, waiting to be set free on to the next vessel,” said the reflective cursed being.
Emma watched in horror as the thing holding on to her opened its mouth wide with its yellow, cracked teeth dripping yellow thick saliva before biting down on her head. With one quick bite the cursed reflection had swallowed Emma’s head before shoving her lifeless body back into the mirror. The reflection watched as Emma’s body floated down into the darkened abyss that lay within the mirrored dimension before switching the reflection back to Emma’s room.
There was a knock on Emma’s bedroom door. The evil being looked over at the door and heard Charlie ask if he could come in.
“Sure thing Charlie,” said the thing in Emma’s voice as it looked back into the mirror and saw Emma’s face looking back.