Some of my loyal readers may recall the image of the ghost coming out of the mirror and indeed the story I wrote along with it. It left us chilled to the bone and wondering just what happened to Clair Yates.
Now thanks to the inspiration of the talented Gloria L Geiger author of the fantastic Loud Music, the answers have revealed themselves.
We begin with the original story to remind us all and then beyond the image the secrets of the mirror will unfold. Happy reading my friends.
Nightmare Reflection – The Full Story
It’s bedtime. I hate bedtime – it means going upstairs. Something unnatural lives up there; every night, I have to face it to reach the sanctuary of my bedroom. With my cocoa in hand, there’s no more delaying. The mantel clock chimes midnight, and I creak open the hall door. The movement sets the hanging coats a-flutter. I make the turn onto the stairs and ascend to the right. From there, the orange glow from the street-lamp outside illuminates the treacherous flight. Leaving the light off, I creep higher into the ominous dullness. Gulping back my fear and breathing in some courage, I make it around the bend. It’s already there, waiting at the top of the eleven steps. I can’t see it – I never can – but I smell its ancient flowery perfume. I feel it too – those powerful cold eyes boring into me. It’s there, watching … haunting me like it always does. Nobody ever feels it but me, I know it’s there, yearning for me. My footsteps and breathing break the eerie silence. Feeling sweat beading my brow, I force myself to climb the stairs. With every step, my fear threatens to overwhelm me.
There are four dark rooms off the landing: two back bedrooms, two front bedrooms. I always close the doors. The presence prefers them open so they’re yawning wide and ominous. I sense it – there, in the small bedroom directly in front of me. Its piercing energy causes the hairs on my arms to prickle. It won’t beat me – my feet take me to the door. Lightning flashes at the window, thunder reverberates in my chest. Struggling to breathe through my fear, I look around the little playroom. My eyes travel to the creepy doll on the sideboard… it’s rocking in a violent way; her shaking head taking on a demented appearance. I can feel the presence gliding around me. It rushes me, and I flinch as the cold energy passes through my body, leaving me in shivers. I see a woman in my mind – skeletal, dark, angry eyes, screaming at me. I know the front bedroom is its lair, as it seems to be more powerful there. With my hand over my heart, I suck in a breath, realising I have to go inside and confront it. With adrenaline coursing through my panic-ridden veins, I continue along the hall and anxiously approach the deathly silent bedroom.
“Enough stalking me! Who are you?” a knot of fear in my throat leaves my words a weak whisper. The thunder crackles, further lightning splitting the darkness like a welding torch. My eyes go straight past the flowered bedspread to the creepy Victorian wardrobes. It’s connected to the bloody mirror, I know it is. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have smashed it years ago. The Victorian patterned-brass framework seems to glow. The arched glass wavers like the dark, rippling waters of a deserted lake at midnight.
“I said, ‘Whothe Hell are you?!’” This time, I manage to be more forceful. My leg touches the bedspread, and I freeze with icy fingers of dread running down my spine. The curtain flutters as the storm continues to rage outside. It has little effect – I can’t tear my eyes from the mirror. The glass is not rigid anymore. It’s moving, like plasma. Something’s happening with the reflective surface. Cold sweat bathes my face. I try to see myself in the mirror; my reflection isn’t there. It’s not because of the wicked, cruel darkness in the room. The angle isn’t wrong. To my horror, my vision’s blocked – by her. Her angelic face twists and contorts until it resembles that of demon’s. It warps the glass, and her withered hand reaches out, stretching… clawing, toward me. I whimper and try to run but my legs are paralised. The second hand appears – her ghostly visage returns, leering at me. She jerks frightfully, forcing herself out of the mirror, always reaching for me. The air freezes my ragged breaths to icy clouds.
The spirits’ intangible form held the appearance of gelatinous water. Her translucent skin was draped in a ragged, strapless dress. She emits a debilitating banshee’s scream. The sound tears through me like a shockwave, fraying my last nerves. I scream and try to back away, tears flowing down my face, my blood pounding cold in my veins. My feet wouldn’t budge. No matter how I tried to move them backward, they forcibly dragged me toward her. She grabs me with her claw-like hands. Her grip feels frigid, as if she’s made of solid ice.
“No! Let me go!”
“Your turn,” she breathes, her voice evil, like the most demonic witch. I writhe in her grasp. Wrenching a hand free, I throw a punch, which goes right through her head. My thoughts spiral in intense panic as shock grips me. With a deafening shriek and sudden strength, she yanks me off my feet. My hands desperately grasp the gilded framework, but I can’t stop her as she pulls me right through the mirror. She steps out, a fully-formed girl. With a slight turn, she lifts a hand and offers me a little wave and a coy smile highlighted by malevolent, black eyes. Then, she walks out of view and into the world … my world. My silver necklace lays on the floor just below the mirror. It’s a lasting remnant of the terrifying events which unfolded on my last night in the world of the living. Moonlight glints off the chain as a single tear falls down my face. This is … The End ?
As the door to my grandmother’s Victorian style bedroom closed in my world, I sank to my knees within the mirror dimension. I cried for the loss of my life, knowing I’d never be free of the curse which now held me in this hellish purgatory. I’d read stories of this happening but never believed it, until it happened to me. I’d shared my last kiss with Rikki, my boyfriend. My mother and father could never hug me anymore – I’d never eat her shepherds pie in front of the TV again either. Everything I had and all that I was, gone in an instant. All because I’d challenged whatever haunted my home. At some point, hours after the horrifying event, the effort of producing tears and the grief I felt at my now moribund existence lulled me to sleep.
I awoke with a start and felt numb to the bone. I had no aches and pains from lying on the hard surface. No residue of sleep leaving me dazed and pulling me back to comfort … nothing. Sitting, I looked down at myself hoping to find the soft duvet of my bed. Instead, I saw my apparitional state. My whole nightdress was translucent and I could see right through my trembling hands. It was all true, I was no longer a human. I was a ghost, trapped within a mirror – my mirror.
Climbing to my feet I found myself in a beam of light coming through the mirror. I looked back into my home and saw nothing had changed for now – except it was morning there. My tears flowed fell like individual ghosts through my face. I realised I couldn’t open the curtains and feel the sun on my skin anymore. Wiping my eyes, I turned my back on my old life and peered into the gloom. The world behind the mirror was a vacuous, desolate space measuring a few feet wide. The floor and ceiling as black and fathomless as crude oil. The walls an eerie, smooth grey which seemed to lighten and darken as if unseen shadows moved across them. Yet I felt so very alone.
There was light in the mysterious corridor-like space. It beamed in through windows along the walls – no those were not windows at all! If I had a heart, I imagined it’d be racing with adrenaline as I realised the the light was emanating from further mirrors, just like the one I was pulled through.
I ran to the nearest and peered inside. The room beyond was a lounge. I smiled as I recognised a kids TV show on the LCD screen. A girl and boy, no more than five, sat in pyjamas. They were building houses with Lego and enjoying the cartoon. Their mother came in with bowls in hand and smiled. She crouched, put the bowls in her children’s laps and watched them begin eating breakfast for a while.
My tears flowed spectrally through my face again, I remembered eating breakfast on the lounge mat like that, when I was little. Back in the room, the lady rose to her feet. Her green eyes falling on the mirror – looking right at me. I grinned a waved but she didn’t return my gesture. My spirits sank lower than the floor. Of course she was seeing her reflection in the mirror, never realising I was imprisoned behind it.
As much as it pained me, I watched until the happy family had left the room to begin their day. Only then did I gather myself and approach the next mirror. I peered through and took in the sight of a conservatory gym. Through its windows, a beautiful garden of bright summer flowers bloomed. A young gentleman wearing only a pair of gym shorts entered and stretched his arms. He sat on his weight bench and began bicep curls, showing me his rippling muscles. For a long few moments, I forgot my predicament. I imagined spending a night in bed with such a hulking figure of masculinity. If only I could escape through this mirror and be with him. Then his session ended and he left me alone in my solitary confinement once more.
Moving on again, I found the next mirror was pretty dark. Looking through, I could tell wherever this one resided, it was night time. It was dark beyond the window I could see in the room. This was a bedroom, lit by a single bedside lamp. A lady’s room judging by the toiletries on the dressing table and the underwear on the pink bedspread. Nothing seemed to be happening, I made to move on and flinched away as the bedroom door flew open. My eyes flew back to the dully lit bedroom beyond the mirror. I was in time to see the owner of the room stagger inside. She was lady with long blonde hair and judging by her form fitting evening dress, she’d been out for the night. A tall man entered behind her, he seized her by the neck and hurled her across the bed. Not stopping there, he grabbed her shoulder and slapped her face. She recoiled back on to the bed and cowered from him.
“NO! Leave her alone!” I screamed. My words never made it into that room of course. There was nothing I could do but watch him attack her until he grew tired. The last I saw, the woman laying motionless on the bed as he turned out the light, cutting off my view into the room. Full of emotion, I turned away and slumped against the wall. I couldn’t spend eternity watching horrible things like that every time I peered through a mirror into one of these places. I knew I had to either get out of the world behind the mirrors or properly kill myself.
Not wanting to or knowing how to accomplish the latter – being a ghost. I approached the mirror I was dragged through once more. Peering through, I smiled as I remembered my grandmother living in that room with the victorian wardrobes and bedstead. She died a few years ago, yet my parents hadn’t the heart or energy to remove her old furniture or decorate the room. I placed a hand on what I knew to be the back of the mirror and found it solid. I banged on, punched and kicked at it but I couldn’t get through. I felt no pain being devoid of flesh and yet the wall felt as hard as stone. ‘How odd,’ I thought. ‘I’m a ghost and yet I can’t get through the wall. Ghosts can pass through anything, right?’ I knew that was right and it pissed me off because I couldn’t get out!
“Damn you! I demand you get back here and free me!” my scream echoed around my prison and almost deafened me. “Let me out!”
“Screaming won’t do you any good,” answered an old, dry voice from some distance away.
I heard echoic footsteps drawing closer. They were coming from out of nowhere – no that was silly, they had to be coming from somewhere. Moving toward them, I realised my corridor curved around to somewhere unseen. An old man in an old fashioned grey suit came into view. He was bent below the neck and was in need of a barber. His white beard reached the black belt at his waist, his tangled hair tumbled below his shoulder. What skin of his face I could see, was full of wrinkles like the valleys of a fleshy mountain range. Despite his age, his hazel eyes seemed bright and young although filled with hopelessness.
“You’re – you aren’t dead!” I realised I couldn’t see through him. He still had his corporeal body.
“Astute, aren’t you,” he said, still walking toward me.
“Don’t patronise me. I’m having a very bad day!” I returned to my mirror and peered through, wondering if I was being missed yet. “What the hell is this place? Who are you?”
“When I lived out there, I was Alfred. In here, I’m a nobody just like you’ve become.” The man reached out a bony hand, gave a flourish and to my astonishment produced two silver, chintz chairs out of nothing. “Here, sit a while,” he gestured.
“I refuse to be nobody, I’m Claire Yates and I always will be.” I told him while sitting down. My ghostly body fell right through the chair and I ended thumped on to the apparently impenetrable floor. “Err! This could get seriously annoying!”
“Very well. You keep being Claire, then. She obviously liked you. I see she took your body after all,” Alfred went on.
“I do wish you’d stop bveing so cryptic.” I climbed out of and glared at the useless chair. Returning to the wall, I slumped down under my mirror again.
“Sorry, been alone a long time. Difficult to articulate properly.” Alfred yawned and his head lulled.
“Don’t you dare go to sleep! What is this place?”
“Sorry, erm what year was it when you came in?” Alfred shook himself and looked hopeful for an answer.
“It’s April 2019.”
“No wonder I’m tired. I was thirty four when I came in here in 1899. That’s one-hundred-and-twenty years ago now.” Alfred rubbed his face and became saddened.
“So, you’re telling me, you’re one-hundred-and-fifty-four years old?” I couldn’t believe my ears, yet my eyes told me this man wasn’t lying by his appearance alone.
“Indeed, I am. What a pity. Poor Mable must have been terribly lonely in the shop without me.” Alfred shook his head. “I used to sell all kinds of furniture you know. I especially enjoyed selling mirrors. Always knew they had a mystery about them. Never intended to become part of that mystery though, of course.”
“Very nice story, I’m sure.” I sighed, feeling more frustrated at my situation by the minute. “What is this place and how do we get out?”
“This is a mirror infinity dimension.”
“Not very infinite is it?” I felt myself scoff at the suggestion, this place was tiny not infinite like a galaxy.
“Get up and start walking that way.” Alfred pointed a bony hand back the way he came. “If you keep going and don’t deviate you’ll come back here from that direction.” Alfred pointed the other way.
“Really? So this is a circular room?”
“No, Claire. It’s shaped like a figure eight, a lemniscate, or infinity symbol. A dimension of that shape goes on forever along with those unfortunate to live within.”
I got up and ran down the curving corridor. I flashed passed mirror window after window. Then I noticed a crossroads in the corridor but swept by keeping in one direction as I was told to. Around another sweeping bend, I found myself at the crossroads once more. Finally after passing what must have been the fiftieth window I came back to my own mirror and the old man.
“See?” he said with a wan smile.
“Yes, I bloody see!” I felt so mad. Not with him specifically but with my situation. It was so bloody unfair to be trapped in here. “How do the mirrors fit in?” I asked, wanting to know everything, To see if I could find a way out.
“A single mirror can never be connected to an infinity dimension. Only when several identical mirrors are cast does the dimension appear – connecting them all together. This one had one hundred and fifty such mirrors. Only forty three remain, I counted them myself dozens of times.”
“What happened to the others?” I asked although I felt sure I knew.
“All mirrors break or get broken over time. Once the mirror no longer exists, its portal to the dimension is lost as well.
“When they’re all broken?”
“A glorious time. Only then can we finally leave this eternal nightmare and pass on to heaven or the next life. So long as mirrors exist, we live here for infinity, never dying, never truly alive.”
“Speak for yourself. I’m a ghost.” I pointed out my translucent hands.
“I had noticed.” Alfred chuckled. “Feisty aren’t you?”
I didn’t answer.
“Anyway. You see, a mirror dimension is nothing without souls. Some witches and warlocks over time possessed the ability to open mirror dimensions and banish demons and even human souls within. When that happens the infinity dimension forms a space such as this one.”
“Right, so that thing which came out of my mirror and dragged me in – was the demon of this dimension?”
“Her name is Peggy. She was a the daughter of a witch when our mirrors were being made in the Victorian times. Her mother’s coven did terrible things to Peggy, torturing and performing curses upon her to practise their powers. At some point as she grew up they acquired their mirror to this dimension. During one of their horrendous rituals, Peggy took on a demonic presence and began to kill the coven of witches. Her own mother used a banishing spell and locked her in the mirror. For many years she lived here alone as a wraith, growing further insane the whole time. Yet she was still very powerful. As the years passed she learned to manipulate the mirrors. One day she came out and pulled me inside. She didn’t wish to be a man and so left me with my body. I asked daily to be released, she ignored and left me trapped here.” Alfred wiped his eyes. “I don’t know why but she’d been unable to leave again since she got me. That was how it was until she found her way into your home and grabbed you. As I say, she seemed to love the way you look. You see, she is now Claire in your world and you are nobody in here with me.”
I was shocked by the revelations as to what was happening to me. If I had a body, I was sure I’d be spinning and nauseous. Without one, I was still stunned but I felt empty. “So, will Peggy return?”
“Would you, my dear?” Alfred rose and caused the chairs to disappear.
“No. I guess not.” I felt ghost tears falling through my face and failed to wipe them away.
“Cheer up, we’re going to be here for a long while yet. I’ll be sleeping by my mirror if you need me.” Alfred nodded his head causing his beard to flutter and walked away.
I laid myself out on the floor for uncountable minutes, trying desperately to cling on to the memories of my life. My job at the hair salon and my love of gossiping with the clients. Those romantic dinner dates with Rikki, I felt sure he was on the cusp of proposing to me. That thought alone made me smile, if only for a second. Of course, he’d never be able to propose to me now. We were going on holiday to Costa Rica in September. I wouldn’t be on that plane either. In this mirror dimension, I felt time would be immeasurable and my memories would cease to exist. I certainly wouldn’t be making any new ones.
It was a flash of light which brought me to the current again. Rising to my translucent feet, I realised the light was coming from the mirror. I peered into my grandmother’s Victorian bedroom again and gasped. There was Rikki with his handsome bob of blonde hair, dimpled cheeks and tight fitting jeans and T-shirt. He looked scared and concenred as he entered the room. I watched him pass the bed and stop before the mirror.
“Rikki! I’m in here!” I banged on the glass, tears flowing through my face again. I knew I would have been breathless if I had lungs. I felt breathless without them. “Rikki!”
He could neither hear nor see me. His eyes roamed the room and fell on my silver necklace upon the floor. With intrigue written on his features, he bent to retrieve it. Then I walked into the room – at least Peggy did in my body. Seeing her being me was the most horrible thing I’d ever known. What she’d done to me made me feel sick to my non-existant stomach. She had me dressed in an horrendous green miniskirt and vest and way too much makeup. She was making me look like a right tart in front of Rikki. He turned and flinched away from her, I could tell he knew something was wrong with the ‘me’ he was seeing.
I turned and pressed my ear to the glass but could hear nothing. Rikki was yelling something, he held up my necklace and looked terrified.
Peggy replied with a swinging fist and advanced on him. She forced herself on and kissed him in the most vile and mouthy way I’ve ever seen. It went deeper than tonsil tennis and was almost a full on lung lock.
“Ugh! Get off my damned boyfriend!” I screamed banging on the mirror again.
I was pleased to see Rikki push her off. He was not happy and seemed reviled by her. Peggy was lucky I couldn’t get out. I’d have murdered her myself even if it would mean killing my own body. “Leave him alone!” I screamed uselessly as she shoved him down on the bed and mounted him.
Peggy tore at his T-shirt and belt buckle as she thrust her lips on his again.
Rikki wrestled with her like his life depended on it. Somehow he got his feet beneath her and thrust her off him. She stumbled off the bed straight at the mirror. Hitting the wall, her head came right through into the dimension I was in.
Momentarily stunned at seeing my own head come through the glass and disappear into my ghost face, I gasped. Regaining myself like lightning, I grabbed my body and hauled it and Peggy back inside the mirror. Everything flashed silver and Peggy screamed like a banshee. She began swinging at me but couldn’t hit a ghost. I on the otherhand could touch her for some unknown but fortuitous reason.
I slammed her into the wall and stared into my own eyes, demented by the demon wraith occupying them. “I demand you return my body and let me out of here!”
Peggy let out a terrifying scream. It hurt my ghost ears and forced me to back away. I hit the wall where my mirror was and felt my arm pass through. I could get out now. Hiding a smile I realised Peggy wouldn’t let me leave. Looking back at her I gasped. I could see eerie green light pulsing within her fingers – my hands. I ran at her shouldered her into the wall and knocked her flat. Spinning around I took a run and leapt at my mirror.
Rikki was stood staring at the mirror in disbelief. I reappeared out of nowhere like an Olympic highjumper. I slammed into his chest and knocked him flat on the bed. “Oof, what in the hell is going on in here?” he gasped, his sexy deep voice shaking with shock.
I rolled off him and the bed, landing on the floor with a thud. I smiled at my hands. I realised, I had my body back and I was wearing my nightie from last night. I climbed to my feet and ran, laughing, from the room. Entering my own bedroom, I grabbed my old hockey stick and returned to my grandmothers old room.
“Claire? What the hell —” Rikki covered his head and ducked.
I swung the hockey stick before me. “This time seven years bad luck will be well-bloody-worth it!” I slammed the stick into the mirror. Hitting it again and again, glass flew across the room. Showing us both. I didn’t stop my assault until the mirror was lying on the carpet in a million shards of glass and wood. I thought I heard peggy scream as I first hit it but I’d never know for sure now the portal was gone.
“Claire, what happened?” Rikki asked again having taken the stick from my shaking hands. He looked into my eyes and smiled. “At least you’re you again now.”
I found myself laughing, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, sweetheart.” I looked at the debris around my toes. “My reflection really was a nightmare though.”
Now we’ve reached …
Thank you for reading as always my friends. I do appreciate your time spent on my stories and your support.
The original story featured as part of my book the Compendium of Characters. That’s available here on Amazon.
There are plenty more stories to enjoy with your tea and scones here on the Short Stories tab as well.
Thanks again for reading and have a lovely day!