Written by Margarita Morgan
September 4, 2014
Julian tossed the letter onto his desk. He had been rattled by a simple refusal from one of his students. The letter described an irrational fear about looking at mirrors in the dark for which Sienna could not possibly complete the current class assignment. With all of his education and a tendency to be a skeptic, he was still processing the surreal and frightening experience he had at the Whitmore Manor last week during the school’s annual picnic. It had prompted him to try and find out if other people had had similar experiences.
Without being too obvious about it, he thought of starting with his students by asking them to write a descriptive essay on the scene they saw through the reflection of a mirror placed in a darkened area. It was an English exercise that seemed innocent enough. After all, how was he supposed to investigate this phenomenon if his objectivity, or worse, his sanity were being questioned? However, he himself was questioning his sanity by validating Sienna’s fears and now that he had conformation, he was sure they were not irrational at all.
As a matter of defiance, he stood towards the wall staring intently at the reflection of the glass on his framed diplomas. He could see that behind him, the open window faced the garden on which several blooms adorned exquisitely the flower beds his wife was so proud of. “No trees there, thank God . . . God!” He thought with annoyance. He was even bringing a god he didn’t believe in into this mess.
Julian couldn’t help being drawn back into the memory of that afternoon when after carrying the last of the foldable tables into the storage shed, he turn to see the beautiful stand alone mirror that leaned against the wall opposite to the rear door that stood wide open. The reflection showed, in full splendor, the trunk of Victory Tree, named so because it was the point that marked the end or the turn around for the afternoon races and games of that day. The darkened atmosphere inside the room framed the door to highlight Victory Tree in a proud, regal and formidable way.
Just as he began to turn away, he caught a slight yet disturbing image reflected off of the dark edges around the door. He turned swiftly to assure himself that there were no moving shadows reaching out to him from the door frame, but his skeptic mind made him misjudge the direction of the shadows. His first instincts were correct; too late he realized there was no time to step away from the mirror as its shadows reached out to penetrate his skull with brutal density.
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