Our narrator finds themselves looking into their mirror late at night and wondering why something seems...off. Follow them on their adventure to see what happens to them and their reflection.
I started this story in the fall of 2014 when I was a sophomore in high school. This story did not take shape until I picked it back up in February of 2019 and brought it to where it is now.
The way the mirror looked didn’t give me very much comfort. It was already 3:00 in the morning. The mirror was fogged, which didn't make much sense because the shower had been off for six hours or so. I cocked my head to the left, and my reflection did the same right on queue. I jumped back in instinctive fear, and my reflection did too. I don't know what startled me, but I chuckled it off as I touched my forehead to wipe the drop of paranoid sweat off my brow. My reflection touched its forehead much like I did, but I didn't see any sweat. That’s all right, that stuff can be hard to see sometimes. I froze in my motion, and the sweat continued its casual glide. I was scared to be here even though I had never been scared to be here before. Maybe there was no reason to be afraid; maybe I was still asleep, it was just a bathroom, just a mirror.
The orange glow of the bathroom light flickered, as it did in this dingy apartment complex. The light, when it was on, showed the features of the bathroom well: a shower with an off-white curtain directly behind the sink the mirror stood broadly over, the ceiling was the same shade of white as the curtain except with splotches of dirty orange and brown from water damage, and the floor was of white tile, grimy and faltering in its appearance. The toilet sat cautiously next to the sink and mirror and appeared to want to move towards the window affixed to the wall directly to my right.
I leaned closer to the mirror to inspect the suspicious sweat. My mind forgot what it came here to accomplish. My hands rested on the cold porcelain of the sink. The fogged mirror cleared up from my breath as I kept getting closer and closer to the mirror. The closer I got, the more the clear mirror became. I thought this odd, but my mind dared not to dwell at this moment. The weight of my upper body rested solely on my hands as they rested on the no longer cold porcelain. A great thumping in my chest preceded each breath with weary freedom. The mirror cleared up enough for me to see it: the sweat.
I laid my head against the mirror and chuckled at my senseless paranoia. Of course the sweat was there, why wouldn't it be? It is just a mirror, and I'm just an idiot for thinking something was wrong. I smiled at my idiocy and let my hands rest on the sink and my head on the mirror. I loosened my grip on the sink and thought of lifting my head and going back to bed. My bed, my warm and cozy haven away from this crazy illusion I thought I was living in. My neck followed my head's thinking, and I lifted my head, as did my reflection.
No smile rested on my reflection's face, and I wondered if I had stopped smiling. Something else wasn't quite right here either. Was it – it was, it was my eyes. They were receding into my face, into the sockets, leaving black holes where my deep blue eyes once were. Reaction time was never my strong suit, and it failed me again here as my reflection's head whipped back and then forward, colliding with my head. I felt a dizzying pain, but the pain was short-lived and replaced with the feeling of a hand gripping the once hurt part of my head. The hand palmed my head and began to recede into the mirror. I opened my mouth to scream, but nothing came out.
My grip on the sink tensed up again, and it would not ease. The freedom of my heartbeat quickened to become a frightened, repetitive thunder. My head hit that glass that I was just leaning against, but this time the glass was not solid and gave way like water. The water sensation continued down my forward, and my grip on the sink completely alleviated as my shoulders hit the mirror. With my hands free, I could finally fight back. I tried to grab at the edge of the mirror as my reflection attempted to pull me in. The side was no help as it felt no more solid than this mirror I was slowly passing through. I reached up with my hands to grab the hand pulling me in. The arm I grabbed had a slimy feel, like fish without scales. The other had of the reflection reached up and, with one action, grabbed both of my wrists and pulled them up off of its arm. The hand had the same slimy texture, but I could feel the power course through its veins.
At this point, I felt hopeless aside from kicking my legs around and hoping to hit something on the walls and wake my roommate up. As my waist started to pass through the mirror, I felt two different sensations: the first was the slimy feeling on my skin that had passed through, and second was the feeling that something was crawling down my back. It felt like a leg pushing its way down my back. I could feel the toes wiggling down my spine, and the knee dragged down as well. As quick as the sensation ended, another leg followed suit, and it wasn't until that leg finished crawling down my back that I realized my reflection was crawling out of the mirror.
The hand released me with a final shove, and I hit the ground inside the mirror hard. It was cold and had its fair share of the same slimy substance now covering my body. I pressed my hands to the smooth surface and pushed myself up. The bottom of my feet rested harshly on the unforgiving concrete as I turned to look into my bathroom. The black eye sockets began to fill with my deep blue eyes, and a smirk crossed its face. My cheeks and lips formed into the same smile without my consent. My reflection raised its hand, and I did the same against my will.
My reflection turned toward the door, and I followed suit. It started walking, and I couldn't help but do the same. It walked until it was no longer visible. I was out the frame of the mirror, and I couldn't stand in front of it anymore. I guess I have to wait until my reflection comes back into view and I can try to escape.
I see my friends’ and roommates’ reflections cross into the mirror from time to time and I have stopped trying to get the reflection's attention. I tried the first several times, but once I realized they vanished after the actual person walked away, I ceased trying. What’s the use? I’m trapped here anyway. I’ll probably never get out so I might as well just – my body, what’s happening? It’s pulling me towards the mirror. My reflection! It’s back! I am going to ruin that bitch’s life. Wait, is it even living? How does it conduct itself? It is literally the spitting image of me but does it also act like me? Whatever now is not the time to be guessing. I get my chance to escape!
I work with my body now to stand in front of the mirror, in front of my reflection, or whatever this thing is. It looks like – is that – it has to be – blood? All over its body and face and clothes. What did it do? It holds its hand out, but I can't tell what it is holding until it looks down at the hand, forcing me to do the same. I see my arm, its arm, whoever's arm, covered in blood. The blood looks fresh. My reflection forces me to look at my hand, and it's holding a knife, masked in the same blood from my arm. I'm forced to look at it in the eyes. It smiles that sickening smile. Our lips curl into the same smirk as it holds my glance firm. I watch as it brings the knife-wielding hand up above its shoulder, and I do the same — the cold steel of the knife presses against my throat. My reflection pushes hard against its skin, and I can see drops of my start to seep from the new wound. I can feel the warm liquid come from my neck and start to flow down my chest.
That unrelenting smile persists through the pain I feel. I’m unsure if the reflection feels anything at all besides joy, in all likelihood, for what it’s causing me to do. I feel tears start to well up in my eyes and wonder if the reflection is also beginning to cry. It leans forward as if knowing what I'm thinking. What I see as it gets closer to the mirror breaks my heart: my reflection has no tears in its eyes.