Late again! I promise to do better tomorrow, but for now, here’s my effort for this prompt.
Kathy walked through the front door, dropped the keys on the hall table and stopped abruptly, staring around in complete confusion. When Caitlin had asked Kathy to house sit for a couple of days she’d been only too happy to help. Caitlin was a good friend and they’d been on life’s rollercoaster for a few years now, but this beggared belief. Caitlin’s house was an exact duplicate of Kathy’s.
Walking from the hall to the lounge, Kathy felt dislocated, moments of déjà vu jostling against open-mouthed shock. Everything, down to the coffee cup which announced ‘Geek girl’ stuck to the morning’s newspaper on the sofa arm, echoed Kathy’s home perfectly. She paused by the fireplace, staring absently into the large mirror above, trying to get her head together. Some kind of joke? An elaborate prank? A trick? It sure as hell wasn’t April Fool’s, but the increasing discomfort Kathy was experiencing certainly leant itself to the date, All Hallow’s Eve.
She gazed at the reflected room, feeling a random urge to reach out, to touch the glass. Maybe it would waver and blur, proving she was still at home, in bed, asleep and dreaming. Actually, it was the perfect spot for some of that one way glass they always used in cop shows. Suddenly convinced that was exactly what she was seeing, Kathy reached up and hammered against the glass.
“I hope that’s screwing your viewing!” she yelled, overcome with anger, but the glass didn’t waver, did not blur or shatter; it held her hands. Kathy tried to pull them away but she was stuck fast and worse, her hands were visibly sinking through the surface of the mirror. She screamed for help, all the while yanking and twisting her arms, but they were now wrist deep in the mirror room. Abruptly she felt her feet leave the floor, a sharp solid pull dragging her through to her shoulders. It brought her face to face with herself; Kathy screamed louder and Kathy smiled, winked and pulled. Kathy heard a hollow, rasping whisper as their heads passed through each other;
“Demons love Halloween, mortal. I chose a trick.’
Kathy gazed out from the mirror into her home. No, Caitlin’s home, now itself, no more a replica. The other Kathy had waved brightly, shed her Kathy guise, turning into a creature of dark aspect with flaming eyes and tattered black wings, then risen gently up and through the ceiling as readily as smoke. What it had been Kathy could not know and she did not care. What occupied her every thought was how to get out of the mirror. The other Kathy had done it, surely she could too? She sank against the far wall, nursing sore, bleeding hands, battered from her failed attempts to break free, and considered.
She lost track of time for the mirror world showed no sign of day or night and the room beyond remained static, unchanging. No-one came, Caitlin did not return, and Kathy spent most of her time in a semi-sleep, planning, scheming and dreaming impossibly complex ideas for freedom. At some point she rose, crossed to the mirror and peered out becoming instantly animated, hammering on the glass once more. The room beyond was being packed up, boxes and removal men were everywhere. What was going on? Why was Caitlin moving out? Why hadn’t anybody looked for her, missed her? How long had passed?
A figure moved into view and came to study the mirror with one of the movers. Caitlin! Her friend stood, hands hard into the small of her back, belly swollen hugely with late pregnancy. Caitlin hadn’t even been seeing anyone when Kathy had entered the house! She fought to read their lips, managed to make out the words ‘…too big’ and ‘…charity shop’ and then she was lifted from the wall, wrapped in a blanket and bundled into the back of a moving van. Some time later – in the absolute dark, with no reference points, it could have been hours or years – the mirror was bumped around, unwrapped and studied by a man Kathy knew! He owned the curios shop on the high street. Kathy tried to get his attention, but he didn’t seem to see, handing over some cash to the moving man and then dumping the mirror in the back of the store.
Kathy watched helplessly, knowing time was passing, never knowing how much, her world fading as dust and grime covered the mirror, forgotten. The shop changed hands; that much she knew from her brief glimpses of a new face occasionally passing by the tiny space she had left to view her shrinking world. Stuck behind a piled of unwanted watercolours and a large pile of mouldering books, she had no way to tell day from night. She was alone, drifting, untethered from the world. When the last light faded under a cloud of grey dust, Kathy’s world went dark and she curled up in the emptiness and closed her eyes.
When the mirror was moved she took no notice, comatose in her tormented mind, filled with visions of demons laughing at her. Only when a cloth wiped back and forth, flooding her world with light which made her shrink back against the receding shadows, did she realise the mirror was no longer in the shop. Shortly after the cleaning job, the mirror was hung on a wall. To Kathy’s mingled horror and joy, it hung opposite a wall clock with a digital calendar counting away in the dial. October 31st 2034. Twenty years since she’d been hauled into the mirror! She had to get out.
That evening, when the young couple threw a Halloween party to celebrate their new home Kathy watched and waited. Her mind roiled, no longer a lucid thing, but something of flame and madness, dark of aspect. Escape, that was her only purpose. She shrieked with delight when a foolish mortal by the name of Annie decided to test that old chestnut about Bloody Mary. Annie faced the mirror and the mirror echoed her perfectly. With a trace of fear in her eyes, Annie spoke the charm, touching her face in the mirror with a chuckle when nothing happened.
Her hand was grasped hard, encased in flame, pulled and yanked and drawn, through and through, her screams alerting the guests, but it was too late. The demon rocketed into the room, screamed at such a pitch it burst the young husband’s ear drum, shot looks of seething hatred at the guests with flaming red eyes and sped out of the open window into the night. Of Annie there was no sign.
Later, when the police had gone, the guests dispersed, a dark shadow detached itself from the corner of the room. The demon smiled, stroking the ornate mirror frame fondly. It had been one of his better jests, a real Halloween trick, and it still continued to create fresh demons for him, a thousand years on.