A shrill cry of panic broke the silence of the night. Cole raced out of bed and into his daughter’s room. He flipped on the light and directed his attention to her. She was covered in a light sweat and her eyes had drops of tears falling from them.
“Daddy! They almost got me… They-they-” Her voice quivered as she spoke.
“It’s alright, Shannon, I’m here now. Who almost got you?”
“The mirror people.”
Cole turned to face the large dresser mirror in front of Shannon’s bed. He noticed nothing out of the ordinary. He managed to respond to her in a cool and collected tone, despite his daughter’s terrifying words.
“There’s nothing there now. It was probably just a nightmare. I’m sure it was nothing more.”
Shannon pulled her covers up to her chin, looking back and forth from her father to the mirror. She tried to let her father’s words guide her into comfort. Shannon was at the age where her parents’ words had more validity than her own vision.
Cole reassured her with a kiss atop her head. He got up to leave the room and shut off the light. Shannon would have forgotten the dream in the morning.
Cole left his daughter’s room, now faced with the dark hall before him. In his dash to Shannon’s room, he had forgotten to turn on the light. Now, he would have to gather the courage to make his way to his own bed.
Child-like innocence filled Cole’s mind. Faced with the unknown that the shadows could hold, Cole’s feet became heavy. He found himself unable to lift his foot. Fear froze him in place.
“Mirror people…” His voice faded slowly as he said these two words. Something about them sent a chill all throughout his body.
The hallway now seemed longer. Darker. Was that a whisper behind him?
Cole looked over his shoulder. Nothing. Or was there? Were mirror people visible in the darkness?
He gathered enough courage to set his feet into motion. A cool breeze blew by Cole’s side. Almost like someone was walking next to him.
“I’m losing my mind,” Cole whispered to himself, nobody would have been able to hear his words. He tried telling himself that he did that unintentionally. He wasn’t afraid.
In the next ten minutes or so, Cole finally made it back into his own room. He turned on the light immediately upon entering. He might not be able to fall asleep, but he would make sure that everything in this room was visible while trying.
The mirror in the bathroom across from his bed did nothing to ease his fear. Perhaps the bathroom light would have to remain on as well. Only because he was the man of the house, of course. He needed to make sure everything in his house was safe. He was not afraid. Yeah, he just wanted to be the protector. That was it.
And then the noises started.
The soft sound became louder and more obnoxious. He felt like this was what it sounded like to be a fish in an aquarium surrounded by children poking at the glass. The soft ‘trink’ turned into a loud resounding ‘thud.’ Something was trying to get in to this room. Cole wasn’t sure if the noise was coming from the window or the mirror. He also wasn’t sure if either of these answers would be better than the other.
Wait. That was it! Shannon must have been hearing something at her window and not her mirror! That would explain everything.
Cole sprang into action. He would go grab Shannon and they would spend the night together. He would go into her room, she would be there fast asleep and he would comfort her. Just like a father was supposed to do.
He laughed at himself for being so silly. They did live in a densely forested area. Of course! It must have been a tree branch tapping at the window. And the thud… Well, the thud was the tree branch too.
This time, Cole remembered to turn on the hallway light. He needed to see where he was walking after all.
“Shannon? You’re not going to believe this. The sound was just the tree branches! Hah. How silly we- you were.”
He turned on her light. The sight before him made his blood turn to ice. Shannon was gone. Her bed sheets were left rustled about, but nothing else seemed out of the ordinary.
Her room was left in place. No sign of a struggle. Cole decided that she must have gone to the bathroom. He would sit here and wait for her to get back. No since in bothering her while she was trying to do her business.
The stale air in the room set Cole’s mind off. It was quiet. Too quiet. He looked to the mirror. It was only then that he noticed something.
Cole thought about closing his eyes and pretending that what he saw wasn’t really there. However, the need to know became stronger. After all, he had no reason to freeze in fear yet. He got up from the bed and moved in closer to inspect the mirror.
Cole’s breathing stilled.
A hairline crack ran all the way from the top to the bottom of the mirror.
And then, the noises started.
CREDIT : Patricia Jones
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