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That Night In The Mirror

Estimated reading time — 4 minutes

I’ll tell you right now that my story doesn’t have any dramatic climax or any cathartic resolution. Don’t bother reading it if that’s what you’re looking for. My story is of one very specific moment in my life. One which, try as I might, I cannot negate as a trick my exhausted brain played on me, or a momentary lapse of reason and subsequent plunge into childish fears.

I think a fear of mirrors must be fairly common, in this day and age. I remember when I was young I saw one of those compilation TV horror shows. The ones where there’d be a different short scary story between commercial breaks. In retrospect it wasn’t the scariest thing in the world, and if I saw it again today I would probably invite friends over and we could quash our collective fear by mocking the bad acting or ridiculous storyline.

All I remember of it is that in the story a man was being constantly tormented by a disfigured, murderous psychopath, but he only saw him when he looked in the mirror. The whole story was a typical song-and-dance of the man catching his stalker in the mirror behind him, turning to face him and finding nothing there.

Maybe the reason I remember it so well is because it was so shortly after I heard my mom die. I say heard because I never saw her body. I was watching TV (a different show) when I heard what sounded like porcelain breaking, followed by a loud thud, coming from the kitchen two rooms away. The sudden noise was oddly unsurprising, but I remember craning my head to see my mom’s legs sprawled on the tiled floor. I couldn’t see any more of her, the doorframe was in the way. Luckily (I suppose), my father ran in first, calling her name somewhat frantically. As I stood up, but did not advance out of what I imagine was fear, I remember him telling me to stay where I was.

The doctors told us a virus had gotten into her heart. I remember my father protesting that he hadn’t even heard of that before. Neither had I, but the concept of death itself was fairly new to me, and I remember being filled with an overwhelming sense of existential fear. As if I or anyone I knew could suddenly crumble into a pile of lifeless dust at any moment.

I don’t think I was a very fearful child, though. Not moreso than most. And even my uneasiness around mirrors didn’t exactly trump my other fears of spiders, or being in cramped spaces. I guess it makes sense that mirrors are a source of fear for people. One of the defining signs of self-awareness is whether or not an animal recognizes itself in the mirror. Maybe we still retain some primal belief that what we’re seeing really isn’t us, but some sinister shadow-self. Not to mention all the scenes in horror movies that use them. A character bends down to splash water in their face, and when they lift their head back up their face is distorted in some gruesome way.

I had just gotten home from a party at a nearby frat house. I lived in an old Victorian house that four of my friends from school and I rented. I was the only one home, having left the party early (if you can call 2:00 in the morning early) and my roommates were all still out. I ran upstairs to my room, exhausted and wanting nothing more than to lay in my bed and feel the rest of the world leave me behind. But I didn’t. In rare form I decided to take a few more steps down the hall to the old, poorly-design bathroom two of my roommates shared with me. It was lit by a single, fluorescent bulb, casting the black and white tile in a sickly, near-green color. I ran a thin strip of toothpaste on my brush and gave my teeth a once-over before spitting the slightly brown spit and foam down the sink. When I looked up I saw her.


Standing behind me in the bathtub with the curtain drawn wide open, my mother’s mouth hung down as if screaming, but without any sound. I could tell it was my mother, but she was a grotesque shadow of how I remember her. Her eyes were either completely gone, or simply black in color. The sockets were vacuums within which nothing reflected. Her skin was so pale it was almost blue, and her dark hair looked drenched in water, hugging her scalp tight and falling in front of her shoulders in thin strips. Her mouth wasn’t exactly screaming, so much as hanging open. Impossibly open, much further than a person’s jaw can extend. She seemed to be wearing a thin white nightgown, drenched, like her hair, and clinging to her emaciated body. Her stick-legs looked like they were going to buckle under her weight, while her arms reached back against the walls.

I must have only seen her for seconds before turning, screaming and falling backwards, slamming hard against the tiled floor. The tub was empty. There had been no sound, and now as the echoes of my cry dissipated I could only hear my heavy breathing. I don’t know how long I lay on the floor of the bathroom. The fluorescent bulb dully buzzing as I became too frightened to even move. Eventually I heard the downstairs door swing open, as a parade of drunk college boys and their floozies poured in for the night. They found me only the floor, and thought it was hilarious that I was so drunk I had almost passed out in the bathroom.


I never saw her again. I never want to see her again, and every day I wish I hadn’t. There are myths of people being scared to death, or being haunted by dreams of a single event for their whole lives. I’ve had dreams too, but they aren’t what haunts me to this very day.


When someone you love dies, you tend to forget everything bad about them, and eventually your fond memories of them just coalesce into a fondness you share with everyone else that knew them. But that’s not how I feel about my mother. I was too young to have endless loving stories about her. Instead all I can remember is her face that night in the mirror.

My story doesn’t end with me taking my own life, or anything dramatic like that. I have thought about it, though. I tried putting a length of rope across my neck one day and squeezing, just to see what it would feel like. But I would never go through with it. It isn’t so much that I want to live. What bothers me the most is that I don’t know for sure what happens when we die. Nobody knows. But what I saw that night in the mirror makes me think I do.

Credited to Matt Chatham.

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118 thoughts on “That Night In The Mirror”

  1. Hey. Remember how the description of the mother in the mirror is exactly what the girl from The Grudge looks like?

  2. It isn’t terribly long but you added so many useless details to the story that it seemed like it was. It was like you finished the story and proofread it and decided it was to short so you just added useless details. You mocked horror segments that had nothing to do with your story which I didn’t get why you even mentioned them. You also acted as if the mother’s death was a minor detail because the child had no emotion towards the mother, just what killed her. I get the child was young but they would at least feel something and I don’t count fear. Because of this it is hard for me to believe this real, which is why I refer to you as the child. This story, I believe, is fake. If this is real than I think what you saw was a trick of the mind or a drunk hallucination.

  3. Bravo, bravo. A new twist on mirror pastas. I must say, the ending didn’t need the warning. It actually made the pasta better. That was due to its believable situation……Hold on.
    “What do you want, Mai?”
    “We found something down the hall. It looks like an effigy doll.”
    “I’ll be right there.”
    Sorry about that. We’re starting to get busy.

  4. has anyone seen the movie mirrors? In one of the scenes, the woman is in the bathtub and her reflection rips her jaw open impossibly wide and kills her. It doesnt pan the camera to the wall or anything though. It shows ALL of it.
    Later, the main character sees her in the rearview mirror of his car. Her bloody jaw hanging down, with stringy guts the only thing that still attached it to her face. I was freaked out by the image.(It was too gross to actually watch her rip her jaw off before so it was freaky to see it in this scene). The scene in this pasta where the character sees the lady behind him totally reminded me of this movie. If you havent seen mirrors you really should. Many disgusting scenes in it.

  5. I think the show you talked about in the first paragraph is Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. The main thing I had a problem with is why was the mother soaking wet if she died of a virus? It sounded like she drowned.

  6. Not very original. At all. It would be better, if the description of the mother wasn’t almost EXACTLY like the grudge, or that “demon” from that GIF of a little girl looking in a mirror then looking away to smile and the camera and the reflect stays and changes into the “demon”

  7. I seriously wish I could mental image things like I do. I will forever be haunted by the image of your mother. GAH.

  8. JulietStarling

    Loved this. Your style of writing appeals to me, as well as the way it’s more psychological than gory. 8.5/10. Awesome.

  9. This is the best one I’ve read on the site exactly because it is so ordinary and uneventful. Makes it all the more real.

    I’ve been scared of mirrors and reflections for years, so this one hit home for me. Expecially because my fear started at seeing, what I believe, was the exact same show the protaganist saw. Creepy stuff.

  10. Awesome! I loved the realness of it. You really made me want to know what the heck was up with the ghost mom! Did it have to do with the strange “heart virus” no one had ever heard of? Was it a conspiracy she was angry about? Did he have to do with her death? I NEED TO KNOW!

  11. I was at home when I read this pasta, and now I don’t want to go down the hallway to my bathroom, because there’s a mirror right there, and I don’t want to see my dead ANYTHING. 9/10

  12. Not exactly my favorite creepypasta ever, but I found the style refreshing. It was more anecdotal than ambitious, and creepy enough for the chill-down-the-spine factor but not attempting to be downright terrifying. Warm, microwavable pasta. I’ll definitely remember this one.

  13. Well written pasta. Pacing is good and the backstory is revealed sufficiently for effect. My only gripe is the mirror-shock cliche is ridiculed throughout the tale…only to be the primary feature in the story’s climax.

  14. This pasta was throughly enjoyable and delicious.
    The last sentence especially sent chills down my spine.

    The filler content however, seemed disconnected with the story and a little too meta.


  15. The description of the morhter was overwhelmingly scary, but what made it even more terrifying was that she didn\’t die some tragic way. She just passed on naturally, yet there she was silently screaming at her child through a reflection in glass. Then, in addition to that, said child deduces that this must be what happens to all of us when we die?

    Truly a chilling story, and a true representation of the unknown.

  16. The only thing that bugged me was the overly long description of his mother. It got into minute details that we really don\’t need to see in order for it to be scary. It just sort of sapped the scary from it.
    It was pretty good, though. I enjoyed reading it.

  17. I think the references to other horror movies actually HELPS this pasta. It makes it more real, because we’ve all seen those movies/moments. Plus, I love the fact that he was watching a horror with a man having problems with the mirror at the time his mother died — it made the moment when he saw her in the mirror all the more terrifyingly meaningful. I also like how he believes that there is possibly nothing good awaiting us after death — something horrible, actually. This is different. Normally these types of stories would have the protagonist see their mother smiling with light surrounding their being and crap like that, and because of that they no longer fear death or the afterlife and shit — but it’s different and I think awesome that he saw his mother in such a horrifying manner. Also love that he was more traumatized by the image he saw rather than the fact that his mother died, seeing as he was too young to form memories with her.

    Overall, great job.

  18. I like the writing, but for all the time you spend mocking cliches, the image of the mom is pretty Gore Verbinski. White nightgown is practically uniform for tortured lady-ghosts.

  19. This story is really scary. The only problem is that I got bored reading the parts explaining that this is just “a simple story with no suicides or anything”.


  20. Well, very interesting. reminds meh of the night i woke up from my bed with my mirror doors on my sliding closet was shaking, first time i hurd it I was thinking it was my cat so i threw my stuffed animal at it, the second time, thinking it was the cat i got up and opened both doors and searced keeping an eye to see if she runs out. I finly give up and close both doorsa and look in the mirror. i see my cat just waking up from a spot she hasn’t moved from in a while and yawning, like she been sleeping…

  21. stephaniemcdaysom

    incredible pasta !

    I loved this one, so descriptive and I was literally scared the shit out of :)

  22. Fish and chips guvnah


    Why on Earth would she kill/disfigure/eat him? Ghost or not, she’s still his mother.

  23. 10/10, even though OH GOD ITS IN THE MIRROR/IT HAS NO EYES is a cliche (and one I’m guilty of!).

    I want to read more of your stuff!

  24. It could just be my own personal fear of mirrors and reflections talking, but I like this one. It’s not too dramatic and it’s pretty direct. I like the idea of what may await in the afterlife causing one to think twice about taking their own life. It could do without the references to movies and other stories, I admit, but it’s not too bad. I give it about 8-9/10.

  25. Amazing pasta. I haven’t been reading stories here very long, but I suppose I’ve been wanting something so realistic and believable. Excellent description of the sight of your mother. 9/10.

  26. yeah well, I stopped looking into mirrors a long time ago, and this fine dish certainly didn’t make me want to look into them anytime soon.

  27. This is possibly the best creepypasta story that I have ever read. The problem with most stories on this site, as well as in other places, is that they are so fantastic that they are hard to be believable. In my opinion, the truly good horror stories are the ones that inspire fear after the story has ended. Because this story was just enough out there to inspire fear, but not so out there that it is unbelievable, it is able to really leave a lasting opinion.
    Another way of thinking about it is like watching a really good magician. Let’s say that a magician is going to levitate a chair. If he simply waves his hand and it floats, people are going to expect a trick because it was accomplished so simply. If, however, he really focuses and seems to make a significant effort, it makes the illusion that much more real.
    Because this story is so simple, yet so terrifying, it functions as a perfect example of what a good short horror story should be.
    10/10, and I hope that whoever wrote this continues to do so.

  28. Way to not be mainstream there broski.

    It was alright, like what most people said the only creepy thing was the mother image.

  29. This stupid story has stuck with me and now when it’s dark out my brain conjures up that crazy dead thing to freak me out. >:|

  30. The description of the mom was sort of Japanese horror movie-esque but I do not care at all. This was awesome.

  31. this is actually a very creepy one for me, as i have those same horror movie worries of seeing someone behind me in the mirror when i go to the bathroom late at night

  32. I have to agree with The Listener’s assessment. I really liked this. It wasn’t exactly creepy but definitely a story that you’d expect to hear one night from a close friend during a dramatic moment. A point where they just break down and tell you why they’ve never liked mirrors.

  33. Well written, somewhat creepy…

    …but weak ending. The whole “I’m scared to die because I don’t know what happens” gag has been done (plus, while it might scare the crap out of an atheist, any intelligent person who is secure in their choice of religion would shrug this off). It might have been better just to stop at the part where he sees something creepy and his dumbass roomates just think hes drunk. But that would be sort of a weak ending too…

  34. Great! Interesting, well-written, pretty creepy.

    The only problem I have is the description of the mother… It made the scene somehow less scary. I think that it would have been better with less description, so that the reader imagines how she looks themselves. She ended up seeming too much like the grudge/ring girls.

    All in all, though, 8/10.

  35. Interesting and believable. Though it came close to pretentious at times, it just managed to avoid becoming dislikable. Understated but creepy.

  36. Very well done story.

    The characters, mostly mundane with the exception of this one paranormal event in thier lives makes the protagonist very relatable, and the ending, while not coming to any dramatic conclusion, is actually better for it.

    The highlighting of mystery and small glimpses of the truth in this story truly make for an unsettling experience.

    Nicely done 8.5/10

  37. I feel like you were trying to tell us that you had an encounter with that b from the Ring. The story was pretty decent.. I liked that it was down to earth and easy to relate with, but, you know, same argument about the cliches and what not. I’d more than likely read more by you. 7.5/10

  38. OHSHIT
    I get your name now.

    Heheh… Char Mander…

    Also, the man who say a psychopath in the mirror shared the gender.

    I’m assuming that means you’re female?

  39. I don’t see how people could see this as a good pasta. It had okay righting, a not-so-good plot, and it didn’t build up, climax, or anything of the like.


  40. @Pastalover,
    It bothers me when people say that a character wouldn’t have time to think/take in all these details, but the character takes it in when he looks at it. It just takes longer to translate into text. Really, the character took in all that description just by looking at it.

  41. Well, I think that the metaphor or at least the mentioning of the ghosts killing people in the horror shows is quite necessary, because then as I understood it – with the ghost haunting you, the thing that you do after your death IS actually haunting other people?
    Well, that’s just the way I understood it, if it’s incorrect, then I don’t really know the meaning of the last sentence (although it’s quite deep).
    Nice pasta, nonetheless!

  42. At the first paragraph, I was expecting some of the trolly comments to say something along the lines of “No climax, no twist!” line, but I read on.

    Pasta gets decent.

    Then pasta gets amazing.


  43. Charlotte Mander

    To those complaining about the horror movie and story references, it’s called being genre savvy.

    Google it.

    –Char Mander

  44. The reason I kept reading was because of the first paragraph. I thought that this pasta was interesting because most of them say “OMG THIS HAPPENED! AND THIS! AND YOU ALL HAVE TO BELIEVE MY OVERLLY DRAMATIC STORY THAT IS TERRIBLE!!!!” Where as this one simply says that it’s not dramatic, and if you don’t like that, you don’t have to read it. However, I don’t think the writer explained what his mother did (I assume she would try to do something i.e walk toward/kill/disfigure/eat(?) ect. Or what happened with him after the insodent. So… I say 7.5/10

  45. Not bad, I think it meanders a little between the recounting of the mother’s death and the main event. The tone’s a little too formal in a few places.

    In short: Good concept, decent execution, just needs a little more editing.

  46. This is alright. Very down to earth, very simple, and to the point. My only problem is the description of the mother. I immediately reconciled the mirror reflection scene with the aforementioned horror movies, and imagined that if your protagonist had seen his dead mother’s reflection he would’ve turned fairly quickly to see her only to find her not there. Therefore he wouldn’t have had time to take in all these details.

    Also, it is my belief that brief descriptions or even lack of description is creepier. I quote Stephen King in Danse Macabre when I say “Oh, the monster’s 10 feet tall? Well that’s not so bad at least he’s not 100 feet tall.” or “Oh the monster is 100 feet tall? Well that’s good, at least he’s not 1000 feet tall!”

    In other words, whatever the reader can dream up in his/her own mind will always be more frightening than what the storyteller can dream up. That’s not to say that you should never describe your monster…but let that thought govern how much you should tell about your monster.

    Shit, I didn’t mean to make such a long critique. :\

  47. Eh, stereotypical ‘dead girl with black hair in white dress’ cliche. I didn’t find anything particularly creepy about this pasta, but if a bit more time had went into the description of the dead mother, such as rotting flesh or hair falling out, I would’ve been more intrigued, but that’s just my opinion. 6/10.

  48. The English language is in its death throes, Phone, about to be replaced by what the semi-illiterate children of this generation use instead of proper English. The new dawn is coming… the day of 1337 is nearly upon us. I hope we’re ready…

  49. Pretty sweet story. I like how everything was exactly like IRL, except for the sudden supernatural occurrence and then thats it. I think it makes it easy to identify with..I mean I’m sure we’ve all had a quick, really fucked up moment in our lives that only we experienced and that makes us question whether or not it was real. And if we decided it was real, then what would that mean for our perception of reality?

    10/10 story, would nom nom again

  50. Jazzy the Man (who is a woman)

    I liked this pasta. I didn’t find it too long, and I didn’t really see anything as useless. My only issue is your mother seemed more like a Yurei from Japanese mythology (but hey, those things are creepy)

  51. Overall, not bad. The only real complaint I have is that the last paragraph seemed a bit tacked on. Leaving this pasta at “Instead all I can remember is her face that night in the mirror.” would have been a much more effective ending, in my opinion. Still, pretty good. 8/10

  52. Good, well done, 7/10. What it lacked in an amazing twist ending it more than made up for in being readable, eloquent while not being verbose. Pastas should always be written in this style.

  53. Rabid Tissuebox

    Description of the mother sounds like every single creepy gif I’ve seen, but the story was alright, 6-7/10 maybe

  54. So when we die we get trapped into a mirror and suddenly get desfigured?

    Has too many useless fillers for my taste, paragraphs 1 and 3 and many other short fillers. Regardless, it was ok. I give it a 7/10.

  55. The brown stain on the wall

    7/10 for an extremely well written pasta.

    I can’t believe there wasn’t a single “but who was” comment.
    Thank the moderators for that !

  56. DeadSkye13(CallmeRace)

    This reminds me of last night when I went to the bathroom. Everyone else in the house was asleep and when I walked into the bathroom, I automatically looked at my reflection. Something seemed off. Like my eyes were really wide. I just laughed it off and went to pee. Then when I was walking to my sink to wash my hands I got really freaked out by my reflection so I washed my hands really fast and walked down the hall laughing so that the house wasn’t as quiet. Now I’m terrified of my bathroom. :(

  57. This is an overall mediocre pasta brought up by interesting psychological underpinnings. Was it actually a ghost or was it a manifestation of his guilt? Who knows? But I didn’t feel sure about which I was supposed to believe and that made the story better. Also, I liked how as a child he never actually saw his mother, but then he did in the mirror. Adds an extra dimension to it, I feel. 8/10

  58. Erase the first and third paragraph, and cut down all the horror movies cliches mock ups.

    The concept of the last paragraph is really good, give it a 7/10 just for it. It could all be much more interestingly explored than just random horror movies cliches jokes.

  59. Reasonably good. A bit too “meta” with all the discusions of what happens in other horror stories which also happens in this one (mirror ghost) or doesn’t happen (character kills self/gets killed/story has a more definative ending).

    Overall I’d call it pretty good. I like the idea a lot of just dealing with “what if you saw a ghost one time and otherwise your life was normal” but I think a lot more could have been done to explain how it affected his life after the incident.

  60. Charlotte Mander

    This pasta is valid to my interests.

    Mostly I read a pasta for the intrigue. This semi-essay style I found was highly effective for a believable pasta.

    Thank you for posting, I look forward to mor of your work in the future.

    –Char Mander

  61. Eh, the image of the mother gave me chills, but it seems like every ounce of scare factor was based on that alone… An okay pasta though. 6/10

  62. This is really effective.The fact there’s basically nothing supernatural going on actually adds to the scare factor.

  63. One of the worst pastas I’ve ever read. Why mock horror movies in which characters see mirror ghosts if that’s the only remotely interesting thing that happens in yours? This is long and unwieldy, and the writing is flowery and overdone.

  64. epic story… since it reads as if it wasn’t one… also use of the word existential makes you awesome in my book 9/10

  65. SkepticPastaReader

    i’d say it was a 9/10 albeit you mentioned cliches again, and again, and again. we get that the war against cliches is alive and well.

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