Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
The sounds of sirens slowly faded in the background, I still couldn’t believe it. Dave was….gone. I made my way to my now empty and currently trashed apartment, the police tape now taken down from the entrance of my bedroom. I held the white envelope that was addressed to me, it was from….. Dave. One of the police officers had handed it to me earlier. I let my fingers roam softly on the flap that opened the letter, debating on whether or not to open it now. Opening the plain door to my bedroom, I placed the envelope on my nightstand before taking a seat on the edge of my bed and burying my face in my palms. Dave…. My best friend and roommate. The person I could trust with anything for over 10 years. How could something like this happen to him of all people? I felt warm tears begin to glide down my face and onto the shabby grey-ish purple carpet that the apartment came with. I glanced over to the wall opposite of me, where a clean silhouette of where my mirror used to be presided. As the tears continued flowing silently, I let my mind fade back to the events of the previous couple of hours.
Dave was sprawled out on the couch reading one of his cheesy romance novels, looking very focused and intrigued. Typical Dave. I thought to myself.
“Hey Dave, I’m gonna go to the bookstore; d’you need anything?” I asked as I put on my jacket, ready to go out. Dave only lifted his nose out of his book when he heard me take my apartment key out of my jacket pocket.
“The Outsiders, if you can.” He responded, finally putting his book down to hand me a twenty.
“You’re gonna run out of space in your head after reading all these books, Dave.”
Dave chuckled before retorting,
“I wouldn’t read so much if you didn’t get me a Barnes and Noble gift card every year for my birthday.” I raised an eyebrow.
“Would you rather me get something else for your birthday?”
Dave paused for a moment, his light blonde hair falling over his eyes before he quickly blew the hairs away.
“No, I like Barnes and Noble.”
“Then don’t complain.” I shot him a smile, and he chuckled while walking into the kitchen for what I assumed was a drink. I then proceeded to walk outside our flat and to the bookstore.
When I got home…. Dave was nowhere to be found, and the apartment I had grown accustomed to calling home was in shambles. There was shattered glass all over the ratty carpet and several things were knocked over and broken.
“Dave? Dave, are you here? Are you okay?”
Once again there was no response, not even the faint hum of the old refrigerator in the kitchen.
When I reached my room, I found the unspeakable. The mirror on my wall had been broken, the reflective shards all over the floor. The shards and carpet were covered in what I would later discover from the police to be Dave’s blood, as well as long red grooves in the carpet; grooves that could only be made by someone or something that was being dragged and attempting to prevent themselves from being taken away by digging their nails into the floor. I called the police soon after.
There was a thorough investigation of my apartment, and I was happy to find out that nothing had been stolen. Although, the police weren’t able to find Dave’s body. They said that it was likely whoever broke into the apartment stabbed Dave with the broken shards of the mirror. That was also when one of the officers handed me a letter that was on the kitchen floor when they were investigating. It was addressed to me. I could tell by the handwriting on the envelope that it was from Dave. After several hours of further investigation, the police finally let me into my home.
Which brought me to my current situation. I found it a bit sad actually, that Dave would be stabbed with mirror shards. He hated mirrors, was scared to death by them in fact; my mirror was the only one in the flat. Dave usually relied on looking at his reflection in the window, or in the toaster, pots, pans, anything that was reflective; with the exception of mirrors. A few of our friends and I always thought that was… exceptionally weird. So one day, when we were kids in high school, I got around to asking him what his deal with mirrors was.
“H-hey Dave,” I began somewhat awkwardly.
“Yeah, Nate?” He chirped, his head popping up its fixated stare on the paper he was doodling on.
“Can I ask you a personal question?” I twiddled my thumbs, and stared down at the wooden desk in front of me.
“Yeah, sure what is it?” Dave replied nonchalantly with his award winning smile plastered on his face.
“Why are you so afraid of mirrors? I mean they can’t do anything to you, man.”
Dave’s smile instantly fell, and his face held a grim expression, his lips were slightly parted as if he wanted to say something, but he remained silent. He turned his gaze away from me and ran his fingers through his stick-straight blonde hair, his dark brown eyes appearing cloudy and distant. The small interval of silence felt like hours, but was really only a few minutes. I felt bad for asking Dave about this, knowing it was probably something personal, and I was probably more than a little insensitive.
“Dave I— I’m sorry, you don’t have to—“ He cut me off promptly.
“When I look into the mirror, I don’t see myself staring back.”
I wasn’t really sure what he meant by that. I assumed it might be some sort of mental disorder he had, considering Dave was really pale and skinny; and was lacking in the strength department. Even though Dave ate a lot, he could never gain weight or muscle, despite his efforts. Leaving him to have a vampire’s complexion and the body of a twig. Which, as you can imagine, did’t make him the heartthrob or M.V.P. of the school. In fact, people would occasionally pick on him for it. He made up for all of that with though; with smarts, charm, humor, and just all around being a good guy. He wasn’t unattractive…. Just…. Wimpy, for lack of a better word. I thought maybe he was just beating on himself too much, but when I asked him what he meant he just stared at me with his big brown eyes. He inhaled deeply, and let out a shuddering breath.
“When I look into the mirror, I don’t see me. I see some sort of twisted version of me staring back. It’s got the same basic appearance of me, but the whites of it’s eyes are obsidian black, and the irises are a blinding shade of glowing bright yellow, it’s got twisted black ram’s horns coming from it’s head, and it’s ears are pointed and flare out to the side like some sort of demented elf. And every time I look in the mirror, it smiles back at me! Sometimes it’ll reach out it’s hand, hoping that I’ll take it so it can pull me in. But I won’t. Not ever. So I never look in the mirror, because, the hand looks more inviting every time I do.”
Never had Dave looked more serious than in that moment, and I could tell from his ragged breaths and watery eyes that he wasn’t lying. I decided to not bring up the subject again, realizing it was a sensitive subject, and I really didn’t want to know about whatever twisted hallucinations Dave had when he looked in the mirror. So years later, when college came around and Dave and I wanted to share a flat, I understood that if there was going to be a mirror in the small apartment, it would be in the confines of my bedroom.
I glanced to the letter on my nightstand once more. I lethargically picked up the envelope with shaking hands. I bit my quivering lip, and wiped my wet eyes forcing myself to stop crying.
“Nathan Reynolds” was written on the back of it in small blocky handwriting. I tore the flap open and pulled out the piece of paper that were Dave’s last words.
I looked in the mirror. I couldn’t stop myself. It’s coming to take me now. There’s no avoiding it. Nate, you’ve always been my best friend; no one else would talk to me until you came along in seventh grade. It’s broken the mirror, Nate. I can hear it’s footsteps becoming nearer. Tell my family I love them. And please, don’t’
The letter stopped there. He couldn’t even finish his last words. But, surely that thing Dave always talked about couldn’t be real. He was hallucinating, right? But where is Dave? What happened to him?
I put the letter back onto my nightstand, and sighed. Today was a long day. I got up and meandered into the kitchen, looking through the cabinets for some NyQuil to help me sleep. When I found said item, a pale hand similar to Dave’s rested on my shoulder. I froze. Every joint in my body became paralyzed.
I managed to squeak out. I slowly turned around only to be met with a pair of black eyes, a ring of glowing yellow standing out in each of them. The creature looked strikingly similar to Dave and sported a pair of jet black spiral horns and big pointed ears. The thing’s straight blonde hair fell in front of it’s eyes much like it did with Dave, and it’s pale bony figure was adorned with the same hoodie and jeans Dave was wearing before I went to pick up his book. It smiled at me with glistening white teeth, a smile filled with pure malice and hatred. It was covered in several cuts and scratches, blood pouring from the wounds, but it was also covered in the blood of my best friend since seventh grade. A couple of sharp mirror shards were protruding from it’s shoulders, forearms, and back; and I noticed that the beast’s hand resting on my shoulder had turned into a vice grip. It pulled me closer, the same putrid smile plastered on the demon’s face. As our faces were mere inches apart, the creature cackled: