23 Dec Spectrophobia
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Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
Mirrors surround us, human beings, through all our history. Even before the first mirror was invented, one could see his reflection in some body of water. Whatever happened in the world, the mirrors would reflect everything and everyone. They have retained the millions of faces including the ones that belonged to madmen, miscreants and murderers.
In the middle of the night, I woke up in cold sweat – for the third time in a week. I couldn’t sleep anymore thinking about the creature who wanted to hurt me and my children. I lived in a constant fear, and noone could help me, neither police, nor a psychoanalist. The most terrible thing was that I couldn’t tell anyone the whole truth, and if I did, I would end up in a lunatic asylum. They would take away my kids and find them another family, which would be obviously better than living with a schizophreniac mother.
It started about a year ago when my husband was found dead in a hotel where he stayed while going on a business trip to another town. He would go in such journeys quite often, and I never thought that something terrible could happen. I still remember that morning when I got a phone call, and that voice told me that gruesome news. They found him before a broken mirror with a shard of glass in his hand. His throat was slit, and there were some other cuts on his body. The police thought that he did it himself because the door was closed from inside. However, I knew he would never do this, would never leave us alone, and even if he wanted to commit suicide, why would he choose such a horrible way?
First months after his death I didn’t imagine that someone could threaten me. Of course, I was depressed, and my life turned much harder, but it was not untill that night when an unspeakable fear took over my mind. I woke up and went to the bathroom when I saw something strange while passing by a mirror in the hallway. There was something wrong with my reflection. It could be just some kind of optical illusion what is not unusual when you look at things in the dark. However, when I went closer to the mirror, I saw something that made me jump in my skin.
It was not me in the mirror – in fact, it looked like some grotesque version of me. The back was crooked a bit, and the neck was unnaturally elongated. Its ashen face looked like a mask copying some of my features, but distorting them in some eerie way. The thing in the mirror moved, and its movements didn’t seem human. Scared out of my wits, I still tried to think rationally, and I turned on the light.
The thing disappeared. In the mirror, I could see only my usual doppelganger, although it looked really frightened. I told myself that it had been an illusion, a weird play of light and darkness. But in the morning I remembered that I had seen, and I could no more approach any mirror. At least, I’d never allow myself to get in a dark room where would be anything where you can see your reflection.
Now imagine yourself having a job where you have to meet a lot of people, where you have to worry about the way you look, and the sheer idea of looking into a mirror makes hair on your neck stand up. The worst thing was that I was afraid not only for myself, but for my children too. I told them not to look in the mirror when nobody’s around. Of course, they laughed at me telling that I was crazy. What could I do? I didn’t know anything about that creature, and I wasn’t even sure that it was real. My rational self tried to persuade that it didn’t exist, that it couldn’t exist from any reasonable point of view. But I still couldn’t chase away an idea that behind this cold glass surface hid someone or something that expected me to make some fatal mistake.
One night my daughter went to her friend for a slumber party. There, they played some stupid old game, summoning Bloody Mary or some other boogeyman. My daughter had to go in a dark room and stand before a mirror. She remembered that I had forbidden this, and although she had never believed me, that time she hesitated for some reason. The other kids laughed at her saying that her mother was away, and she could do whatever she wanted. She agreed.
I still don’t know the exact details of what happened. Different people would tell me different things. At some point, they had heard her scream, so they came in and found her on the floor with several burns on her arms and shoulders. She was taken to a hospital where she would recover her consciousness only in the morning. Medics couldn’t give me any answers, just like the cops who investigated my husband’s death. With tears in my eyes, I took her home with no idea what had happened to her. All I knew, was that my daughter had changed. First, I thought that it was a consequence of a shock that she had survived, and her doctors told me the same. Then I started to understand that something indeed was wrong.
My daughter had never been too talkative, but after that accident she completely retired into herself. I would try to talk to her, but I would hear only insults. Later, I learned that she started to skip her classes, and at some point, one of our neighbors spotted her torturing animals. I didn’t understand what was going on with her. Some people proposed me to get her to a doctor, the others, probably inseriously, advised to call a priest who would exorcise an evil spirit from her. But I already suspected that this thing had nothing to do with an illness or religion. I started to think that something had killed my daughter, taken her form and replaced her.
This idea was absurd, and I knew that. At the same time, my fear kept growing worse. One night I caught her near my son’s room with a pair of scissors. I asked her what she wanted to do, but she only laughed. I took the scissors away and told her to go to sleep, but she attacked me and hit me. Her punch was strong and painful, especially for a girl of her age. Then, I left all my doubts, and a single thought started gnawing my mind.
My son was three years younger than her, and I was afraid for him. I decided that if this thing had taked one of my kids, I couldn’t allow it to hurt the other one. Only a terrible mother would leave her daughter alone, and only an even more terrible mother would let her son live under the same roof with a bloodthirsty creature. So, one day I took my son, and we drove to my mother. I’ve told him that we were only going to visit her for some days, and that his sister couldn’t join us only because she had to prepare for her exams. I shamelessly lied, but it was a white lie. So I thought.
We’ve spent some days in safety. I still couldn’t overcome my fear who got himself a new powerful ally – the guilt. Again and again, I would think that my daughter needed my help. That I was wrong, and there was no monster in the mirror, and that leaving my daughter was an unexcusable mistake. I needed to be sure that all that I had done was right.
One day, I walked to a mirror in the living room and looked at it. I’ve seen myself, yes, I’ve seen myself. I didn’t do it for nearly a year. My skin was creeping, and my hands were shaking – I felt something strange, something unusual. “I have nothing to fear, I have nothing to fear”, I whispered to myself.
I was about to be moved in tears. My daughter could be a victim of some nervous breakdown, maybe, it was my fault, as I didn’t pay enough attention to her. She was in such a difficult age! I hated that stupid irrational fear, and I hated myself for giving up to it. All I wanted was to go back, to find her wherever she was, and whatever she had gone through because of me, just to give her a hug, to tell her that no word can make her forgive me.
Suddenly, I remembered that the creature could appear only in the dark. This thought struck me. I needed to be sure. I needed to see myself in the night.
At night, I took a candle and lit it before the same mirror. I made sure that nobody could hear me and looked into the mirror. I looked myself into the eyes. My face was covered by shadows, my eyes were pitch black, but it was me. Always me. I stared upon my double, and I didn’t notice myself that I couldn’t move my sight away. I seemed to be hypnotized.
My reflection started to get more and more disfigured. Its neck stretched out, its back bent, and its teeth grew up so much that hey were sticking out of its mouth. I wanted to run, but I felt like I was paralyzed. I wanted to scream, but only a yelp could break out of my throat. The creature stretched out its arms, and I saw that the candle’s flame swayed.
Its fingers touched my arms, and a burn brought me back from that mezmerized state. I screamed and waved my arms, but its grip was too tight. Something pulled me forward, and I felt myself sinking in some large and empty space. I had no power over my body being carried into some distant light which I first took for my candle’s reflection. I faced the light, and it consumed me whole.
I was no more. Nothing was left of me. Now I can only think. Think about my destroyed life. Think about the horrible things that this creature wearing my face and speaking with my voice can do to my boy. But I have a hope, a hope that one day you’ll enter a dark room and look yourself into the eyes.
And then you’ll look into my eyes.
Credit To – CandleClock