18 Nov Reflections
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Estimated reading time — 7 minutes
A few years ago I lived in a small college town in the mountains. I and a few friends had this nice set up where we all lived in the same house, not like a rental or anything, but a house one of us had in our family. It was a new house, built around 2004 or so, but I think I remember hearing that there were some tenants renting out the place before we moved in, a fraternity or something. In random places throughout the house, you could still find their Greek letters drawn into the rafters or in some small obscure place under the sink. In a way, I appreciated that they had left those small letters around. A kind of a way to mark that they had been there, that the house held importance to them as well as it would to us.
When we moved in in the summer of 2009, it was barren. No furniture to speak of, no food or shampoo bottles, the little things that over time make a house a home. We were able to wrangle together a small couch, beds for each of us, and stocked the place with some summer provisions to hold us over until our financial aid refund dispersed in the fall.
As we explored the house, we found that one of the previous tenants had left a light bulb in one of the upstairs bedrooms. We flicked the light switch and the room was flooded with this red light. My friend, I’ll call her Olivia, made a grimace at the light and I followed in suit, then we both started to laugh. It was creepy and unsettling, but nothing horrifying. It was kind of funny, actually, that the only thing left there for us was this red light bulb in the bedroom. We joked, and for a few months, we called it the Murder Room.
My room was directly next to the Murder Room. After some time, the other roommates, I’ll call them Elaina and Lewis, came in to help set things up. However, Lewis and Olivia both had summer jobs back home, so Elaina and I settled in for the next three months of relative isolation. She had the room directly down the hall from me, with the bathroom between us in the hall.
One weekend, Elaina went down to see Lewis and left me to the house by myself. If you’ve ever stayed in a new house or apartment by yourself for a few days, you can understand how creepy it is on your own. But I made it work. I turned on all the lights and watched some Monty Python, Shin Chan, any sort of ridiculous comedy I could think of to lighten the mood.
As I sat on the couch downstairs, I figured that I was up for a little scare. I mean, sometimes scaring yourself is a ton of fun, and hey, I didn’t need to be up in the morning for anything. So I gathered my courage and popped in a copy of Paranormal Activity. After maybe the second act, I decided that, no, I was in fact not up for a little scare. I switched it off and went back to Monty Python.
About halfway through the second episode of the night, a piercing noise began to screech through the empty house. I jumped up from my seat and looked around in a mild panic. For no reason whatsoever, all of the fire alarms in the house started going off at once. They were in perfect sync, alarms in stereo, and I ran into the kitchen to see if I had forgotten some food I had started cooking earlier that night. The stove was bare.
I looked around, trying to find the source of the alarm, but there was no smoke anywhere in the house. Then, just as they had started, they stopped. Jarred, but with apparently nothing else to investigate, I went back to the living room and resumed watching my shows.
About a half hour later, the alarms rounded again, this time not quite as in sync as before. Fueled by paranoia and thoroughly impressed by what I had seen in Paranormal Activity, I ran over and grabbed a pool stick from the corner of the room. You know. To fight demons. Then, the alarms stopped again.
Deciding that I was done with the nonsense, I switched off the TV and went upstairs to bed. I brought the pool stick with me. You know. To fight demons. I slept with it in my bed that night. The alarms never went off again.
When Elaina came home, I had told her about what had happened, and she laughed it off. She said that the batteries were probably all dying, and the alarms were going off to alert us to that fact. I smiled and agreed that that was probably what had happened. But it was odd. All of the alarms going off at the same time would mean that the batteries had to have been put into all of the alarms at the exact same time as well. And wouldn’t they continue to alarm throughout the night? I don’t know. Honestly, I haven’t been around smoke detectors so intimately, so I wouldn’t know if that was the case. Still, it was creepy.
That house had a creepy air in it for a while, until we managed to paint the rooms and make it our own. But we were fools, and watched horror movies all night and so whether through psychology or actuality, the house retained its creepy aura.
It didn’t help that that was also the summer that I had discovered what a creepypasta was. That was also when the first season of Marble Hornets was in full swing. You know, when it was good. I watched a few episodes and ran down the hall, yelling, “Elaina! Slenderman is coming to get you!” She would yell back, “Fuck you! I hate you!” and it was all good fun.
About a month later, maybe around the end of July, I started reading things about mirrors. It was also around this time that I had read the Tulpa, a really good creepypasta, if you haven’t read it I recommend it. Anyway, I decided, on a whim, to try to scare myself again. I got a full body mirror, set it up against the wall (the wall I shared with the Murder Room mind you) and I stared at the reflection. The mirror seemed to be steady enough, so I decided that it was time to experiment.
I had read people daring others on /x/ to do this. You set up a mirror, turn off all the lights and close the door, and just stare at your reflection. Seemed harmless enough. No bogus bloody Mary chant, no flicking the lights on and off, just sit and stare. So I did. I turned off the lights, sat down, and stared.
It was weird at first, just sitting and looking at yourself. But I sat steadily, and stared at my own reflection with a blank face. I moved slightly to one side, and of course my reflection followed me. But then I just sat there. Still as a stone. And I stared.
I looked directly into my reflection’s eyes. The pupils widened, as my own did to adjust to the darkness. I mean, everyone had always said I had beautiful eyes, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. But I sat there. Silently and still.
About 15 minutes passed. We were still. And it was then that I thought my mind had started to play tricks on me. My arm would twitch, and I would see the reflection move before I had registered that I had twitched. I knew that I was in control, but it didn’t stop my mind from wandering.
I was a little uncomfortable the way I was sitting, so I adjusted myself, and the reflection followed my lead. But, after I had stopped moving, it was a little like he kept moving his feet, just a little, barely perceivable. I stayed there and stared. A few times, I broke eye contact to examine the reflection, to see if anything was off, and I could have sworn that it never took its eyes off of me. I couldn’t be sure though, because when I looked back at the face, it was staring at me, just as it should have been.
My attention shifted to the mouth. I knew I wasn’t making an expression, but it almost seemed like the reflection had the slightest frown, the kind of frown you make when you’re forced to be around people you don’t like. As I watched, the reflection’s head tilted, just a little, and my eyes darted back to meet its eyes. Nothing. No movement other than my own again.
I was growing uncomfortable. Animals will sometimes stare down their foes, making eye contact as a sort of challenge. They wait for the other to make the first move. I thought about what might happen if I moved. Would the reflection lash out against the glass, ready to strike? I knew it wouldn’t but I still didn’t want to move. My mind wandered to the other possibility. What if it moved first?
There are some very old superstitions about mirrors. Some say that it is bad luck to catch sight of your reflection while sitting by candlelight. Some traditions hold that any mirrors in a room where someone has recently died must be covered so that their soul would not become trapped behind the glass. One of the most common beliefs, though, is that to see one’s reflection, you see your own soul.
I couldn’t shake the notion that whatever this was I was seeing could not be my soul. It just seemed too foreign, and it seemed to be growing more hostile. Something about it was wrong. I decided that I had had enough of it, and I stood up to turn on the lights and rejoin my friend down the hall. As I stood, I dared not break eye contact. As I got to my feet, I thought, who is really moving, who is reacting.
I turned on the light, and I sighed in relief. I slowly turned the mirror around to face the wall, and there it stayed. In the back of my mind, I wondered if the reflection ever came back, looking for me again only to see the blank wall it was now facing.
School came back into session not too long after that. Friends came back and life resumed as normal. A few years later, it came time for me to move out. As I packed up my belongings, I intentionally left the mirror for last. While I was downstairs, Elaina called to me from the window, and asked if I was going to take it. I came back upstairs to grab the last object, and as I turned it around, I froze. The mirror was cracked. A long, thin crack, across the lower half of the mirror, right where I had been sitting those years ago.
I smiled and told her she could keep it.
Credit To – Delta Thrace