Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Story #1: Shadow in the Mirror

I decided I'd revisit eight of my former Friday Flash stories for Halloween this year. Since it is for Halloween, I'm going to choose horror stories to republish - one a day until Halloween. If you've already read these, I hope you enjoy revisiting them; if you haven't seen 'em before, I hope you enjoy them. This first one comes from way back in October of 2009. It's called Shadow in the Mirror. Enjoy the read!

Shadow in the Mirror
by Eric J. Krause

Brianna ran her brush through her long blond hair, counting each stroke, a ritual she'd kept up since high school. She sometimes felt silly, but it really did make her hair that much silkier. Since she and Tim had found this old-fashioned vanity, complete with its fancy mirror, at a garage sale, brushing her hair at it felt right. She didn't know if it was real or faux antique, but she could picture an old-timey, high society lady from years past doing the same.

She set down her brush and did a double-take. Her reflection brushed its hair an extra time. They stared at each other, neither moving. Brianna let out her breath and giggled at her overactive imagination. She stood up to head for the kitchen when a shadow flashed in the mirror.

"What the hell?" She whirled around but didn't see anything. Tim was working late, so it couldn't have been him. Besides, she'd have heard the bedroom door open. It creaked even if moved an inch.

She turned back to the mirror and gasped. Not only was her reflection gone, but there were bright crimson splotches all over the surface. She hesitated for a second before runner her finger over one of the spots. It came back dry and didn't distort the crimson. It was on the other side of the mirror. Impossible. She ran her hand along the braided wood pattern of the frame and felt the back. Just wood-paneled backing, as she expected.

Before she turned her attention to the puzzle of the crimson splotches (blood?) and no reflection, the shadow again crawled across the mirror. It moved slow and seemed to focus on her. It glowed black, as if it not only blocked the light, but ate it as well.

In the mirror, the shadow lightened. Behind Brianna, in her room, in her world, the lights dimmed. The proportion of light lost from the lamps matched the loss of dark in the shadow's mirror world. Whatever it was that murdered her reflection (that's what it did, right?) was coming for her.

Brianna did the only thing she could think of: she picked up her hairbrush and smashed it into the glass. The vanity and mirror, being bolted together, rocked back, but the glass didn't have a mark. The light continued to seep out of her room.

She smacked the brush into the mirror again, this time leaving a dimple in the glass. The light flickered back to full brightness behind her. The shadow in the mirror world remained, but it looked halfway between solid and gone.

She swung again, this time breaking the impact zone into a spider-webbed crack. The shadow disappeared. Another smack brought a second large crack and got rid of the crimson goop. Her reflection flickered back--her true reflection from an ordinary mirror.

Brianna took a deep breath and stared at herself through the ruined glass. Whatever magic that had lived in the mirror was gone. Would it come back? She didn't know, but had no interest in keeping the vanity set to find out. She wasn't sure what she'd tell Tim. A lie would have a much clearer ring of truth than this mess.

She stood up and walked out of the room. All of that could wait. Right now she needed a stiff drink.


I hope you enjoyed the story. Check back tomorrow for another tale of horror. Happy Halloween!