The Mirror

It starts when it’s quiet. When you’re alone. When it’s dark and cool outside and branches scratch against the side of the house.

Maybe it’s upstairs. Maybe it’s downstairs. It doesn’t matter. The room has a mirror. A bathroom, a bedroom. A forgotten closet or storage room. You’re watching TV, or you’re reading, or just sitting at the computer and you hear it. Just loud enough that it can be heard. A soft tapping. It doesn’t last for long – you hear it, you look up and a frown creases your brow. What is that? Where did it come from? But it’s gone and you think it’s all in your head, so you go back to what you doing.

Then you hear a different sound. An impossible sound, like glass straining. Not breaking – straining, like something is pushing on it from the other side and it’s being stretched. It stops, then starts again. A little longer, a little louder each time as if whatever is on the other side is pushing harder and harder to get out. You’re looking at the door to the room, trying to decide if an animal has gotten in and is messing about. That’s what it is? An animal. Maybe one of your pets. The doors are all locked, so no one’s gotten in…

You hear the first crack. Soft, almost gentle as the glass splits, giving into the strain. Then another. And another. And then, like rain, you hear the shards fall to the floor, pattering gently as they bounce and skitter just past the closed door. Someone, something moans softly. Liquid and roiling, it’s the sound of something heavy pulling itself out of the broken mirror. You hear the wet sounds of flesh being cut as the glass shards slash into skin, the squishing, blood-slick footsteps that slide and tromp towards the door and the sound of metal scraping, as something heavy and old is dragged behind.

Wet, ragged breaths that have come from no throat you can imagine rasp just a few feet away and then your eyes are drawn to the doorknob…

It starts to turn.

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