Day 101 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Make a reflection a strong focus of your story.
Erin: The day I looked in the mirror and my reflection stopped mimicking me I was inspired. To be honest at first I was scared, but in the end I was inspired. When my reflection no longer had a hold on me, why should society? It couldn’t nor should it. I was done following the rules, I was going to make them.
Shannon: “The mirrors in this shop do not reflect the image you expect to see. They’ve each been enchanted with a blessing or curse, but how it is perceived is, as most things, dependent on the eye of the beholder. Some prefer to explore alone as a friend’s wondering eyes may see a reflection you despise. Good luck dearies. I hope you like what you see, but even if you don’t that doesn’t necessarily mean the mirror still wouldn’t be of good use to you. Everything on this floor is for sale and if you have any questions I’ll know, and I’ll be around. After all, your reflection is everywhere,” the older women gestured to the walls with a wink. It was our first time in her shop, so she had to give us the whole spiel.
Sam led me to a table of mirrors that caught her attention. “They’re probably all just a bunch of carnival mirrors,” she whispered. “They had to find some ploy to attract some business,” she speculated as she picked up a compact mirror from the table and struggled to open it.
“Well I guess we’ll see,” I joked, pointing to mirror behind my head, and then I turned around pretending to sneak up on it. Nothing out of the ordinary appeared and I was starting to think Sam was right. Maybe the store really was a bunch of self-built hype. Then I saw some green movement behind me. I peaked over my shoulder, but nothing was there. When I looked back at my reflection weeds were engulfing my body. They looked like they were trying to strangle every inch of me, but I didn’t feel anything. I held out my arm. “What does it mean,” I whispered.
“I come believe this mirror knows about secrets,” the shop owner was suddenly standing beside me, and I some how managed not to jump. “Every time I saw my reflection it had a shadow behind me, and I knew something was lurking in my life. I told my most treasured secret and that same day the shadow in the mirror disappeared. Now maybe I did something else that I don’t remember, but that’s my theory,” she shrugged.
“You might be right,” I nodded, pretty certain it wasn’t just a gut feeling that made her prediction resonate with me.
“Ugh,” Sam interrupted with a loud moan, clearly not overhearing our conversation. “I know I’m not perfect, but I am not that ugly,” she shoved compact back down and quickly inspected herself in another wall mirror. She sighed in relief, “Thank goodness.”
“Do I want to know your theory on that one,” I questioned the woman.
She let out a quiet laugh. “Truth is you probably already know.”
What’s does your story reflect?
Alice always enjoyed visiting her maternal Aunt Stacey’s house on the island; it was the highlight of every summer vacation since she could remember. When her parents, world-renowned photographers who specialized in war zone documentaries, took their annual trips to decimated countries torn apart by the most heinous human rights crimes, Alive was plopped on Stacey’s doorstep with a wave goodbye and three solid bricks of fruitcake. Fortunately for Alice’s parents, her aunt never married, nor had children of her own, though she desperately longed for more children than you could count. She also had a soft spot for the sticky, sweet confection.
One summer in particular, after the customary exchange of formalities and giving of cake, the parents disappeared for a few harrowing minutes with Stacey in tow. When they emerged from the humid sitting room, faces streaming with sweat and Stacey’s thick mascara a ragged mess, Alice attempted to question them. Without another word, the two vanished into the brilliant sunset in the family convertible, the woman’s wide-brimmed hat fluttering in the rush of air.
After a few uncomfortable moments, where Stacey stood stuttering in her cotton clothes while Alice listened intently to the random rambling of her shell-shocked aunt, the two shared in a brief, sticky hug and wandered into the ancient home. Through the squeaky hallway to drop Alice’s suitcases off at the bottom of the rickety stairs they went, and into the kitchen to shove the bricks into the pastel fridge. Alice noticed, for the first time, a floor-length mirror that appeared to hover on the pantry door, but it had likely been there forever without having any real importance.
The kitchen backed onto a full wall of windows overlooking the roiling clouds that rushed the cliffs at any chance they could get; each window was perpetually open, creating a permanently muggy atmosphere in the entire building. It was a wonder to behold when Alice sat at the bar with her tea and watched as the storms would crash against the house, shaking it to the rotting footings and grey bones. But, stretching out between the house and the bluffs was a field of grass that grew to your knees and tickled the bare legs of anyone who dared to traverse it. Alice often wandering into the middle and spun in the pale stalks, pretending she was on a whole other planet where her parents didn’t have dangerous, controversial careers, or at least weren’t as spectacular at them.
Cutting a few thin slices of the dark cake, Aunt Stacey tiptoed carefully around the stool Alice had taken up residence upon and hummed nervously. There was an odd tremble to her voice as she cooed, “Well, this is sure to be a fascinating summer, don’t you agree, dear?” Something about the way her naturally rosy lips were tensed to the point of quivering while her free fingers picked at a minute thread tucking out of her pocket made Alice concerned for the direction the summer may, or may not, be headed. But after a few bites of the sickeningly sweet cake, she nearly forgot all about the day’s strange events and her aunt’s unwillingness to share whatever secrets she was attempting to hide.
That night Alice dreamt she was bounding through the expansive field behind Stacey’s house without a care in the world, with a brilliant emerald sky and pale blue sun beating down coolly. Stumbling on the rough dirt, she pondered the fuchsia grasses as they waved benignly before turning back to the house. Off in the distance, it stood like a great, looming prison in drab greys and harsh blues without any of the comforting warmth Alice associated with it. As she got closer, there was an odd heat the emanated from the kitchen; it was such a sharp contrast to the remainder of the dream-world that the temperature seeped right into the colours it was painted. A stark scarlet wave was wrapping her in homey thoughts as she stared into the mirror’s familiar reflection.
Alice nearly screamed as she awoke, very early in the morning, covered in freezing sweat, shivering under several heavy comforters. After calming herself in the wee hours of the morning, she did something she hadn’t done since she was eight; Alice stepped through her guardian’s bedroom door and attempted to arouse her from whatever sleep she was in. Unfortunately, Stacey wasn’t in bed at all. Instead, the sheets were neatly made and a crisp note sat on top the pastel green bedding like a bird in the grass. When she took the page gently, Alice read through the short note several times before fully understanding it.
“Alice,” she read aloud, mimicking her aunt’s tones, “I won’t be back until dinner. Please don’t touch the mirror. Aunt Stacey.” It was a few, stifling moments before she let the roughly-cut paper slip through her quivering fingers and nestle itself back on the covers. Taking a deep breath, Alice turned around and took the steps in stride, letting the horrible, ear-splitting creaking calm her down. In the otherwise silent house, the natural noises of the warped wood were comforting and reminded her she was safe, even if they couldn’t hold a candle to Stacey’s normal early-rising racket.
Once in the kitchen, with the perky orange sun just beginning to wake up and peek above the watery horizon line, Alice studiously ignored the reflective glass as she busily popped some toast in the unstable toaster, water on the temperamental stove, which fizzled out twice before holding onto a flame, and scrounging up a mug. After what seemed like hours of searching for the jar of coffee grounds, she peered out the windows at the fully-risen, though not entirely awake, sun that cast eerie shadows on the back wall; it was a spectacular view, even with no eccentric aunt to share it with.
With toast made, chunky marmalade smeared on the dry wholegrain bread and coffee brewing in the glass French press, Alice settled into a stood at the bar to entertain herself. While the bread was a tinge stale and the coffee was definitely no less than a year old, it was a passible breakfast for a vacationing teen. It went down easily and she spent the next few hours reading a hauntingly confusing book about a boy who drowned, became a ghost and attempted to make contact with his parents before giving up and, instead, hanging out with his doleful friend. After that became far too depressing, she gave up and blasted the crackly radio through the house while dancing in the least-attractive fashion she could muster.
It wasn’t until three that the call of the mirror drew her in; it was all because of those stupid words, “Please don’t touch the mirror.” Without that note, Alice never would have felt the need to know why she mustn’t touch it and what would happen if she did. For twenty minutes she stalked the looking glass like a feral huntress circling her prey on raised heels and with a snarling whine. Suddenly, the urge was too much and her bare feet danced too close and the shiny surface swallowed her whole.
For a moment, Alice had no breath and no weight, but also not sanity or clear train of thought. There was a whooshing of air and dust was all around her and there was an odd, high-pitched wheeze as her delicate feet slammed back into the floorboards and she felt herself fall back into physical being. The whole thing was akin to waking up from a particularly horrible nightmare and falling back into reality with a sudden jolt.
Around her was Stacey’s kitchen, sort of, and beyond the window was the shivering grass of the field. But nothing was quite right; the kitchen didn’t have its customary pops of pink and emerald, or the wafting, overwhelming heat of mid-summer. It was freezing in the naturally boiling house, beyond the sheer windows, the field was the same brilliant pink from her dream with the sky painted the same deep, forest green that made you want to fall right into it. Seated comfortably on the swiveling bar stool was Stacey, sipping a large glass of what appeared to be blue wine, from the half-empty bottle resting on the counter.
“That took you long enough but I knew you’d have to touch the mirror as long as you were told not to,” she called without turning to glance at her niece. Sighing deeply, she took a long swallow of the shimmering, transparent liquid before setting it down and spinning the chair. Her chipper voice was strained as she explained, “Your folks didn’t want you to come here until you had to; this is the mirror world where nothing is what it appears. They wanted me to show you around now that-” when her voice broke, Stacey looked away from Alice, blinking rapidly to avoid the inevitable waterworks. After a moment of pure silence, she continued, “-now that they won’t be coming back. This was the world they disappeared to every summer; those pictures were from this world, not ours.” A subtle smile lingered on her lips, somewhere between pride and discontent.
Alice’s interest was lost by her aunt as she considered all this ground-breaking information, shivering slightly in the frosty air. Through the window, her eyes fixated on the blinding blue sun that was dying behind the boiling scarlet sea. “I’ll explain everything, Alice, just come sit with me until the sun sets,” Stacey’s voice was tinged with guilt. But that’s exactly what they did; the two women sat as the alien sun’s rays vanished from the mirror.
Created to Write:
Jacey walks into the mirror room, almost in a trance. Heather follows, slowly. “What is this place?” She asks.
“…Where the Kaplite Bonders… trained me,” Jacey admits, “Where I learned the most of my powers.”
“And you think Bryce has an ore?” Heather asks.
Jacey stops walking, standing in front of the mirror. She’s in full Animalia gear, mask over her face and armor updated courtesy of both her uncle and Tony Stark. But looking at her reflection, she sees the scared girl with kaplite weaved into her training clothes, bruises on her arms, blood on her chin from a split lip, and a hollowness in her eyes that didn’t leave until a week after her family saved her.
“So much happened here,” Jacey says, “…so much I want to forget.”
Heather walks over, putting a hand on Jacey’s shoulder.
“I was so naive.”
“And you are stronger, and wiser, now because of it,” Heather assures.
Jacey looks to Heather and throws her arms around the older girl. She pulls back, then says, “We have to find him.”
Heather nods, then the girls leave to find Bryce.