The Reflection

By Tiffany Shull Peterson

Emla was sweating and shaking as she sat at her mother’s dressing table. Instinctively, Emla’s eyes darted away from the smooth mirrored glass to the open window. Clammy night air kissed goosebumps on her skin and the familiar glow of starlight comforted her. With a roll of her shoulders she straightened, breathed deeply, and looked into the mirror. 

The familiarity of her reflection did nothing to stop the mound of anxiety forming in her stomach. Taking shallow breaths, she watched as the color of her irises began to deepen and fade. They grew darker until she could no longer discern the pupil. She gripped the ornate edge of the table, her fingernails denting the carved wood as images began to appear.

Deep in the darkness at the center of her eyes, she could see the unmistakable shapes of people. Their limbs bent at unnatural angles. Within the tangled mass of bodies she saw her family and friends. They clutched desperately at one another as she watched, her mouth agape in terror. Suddenly, every pair of eyes was on her and she arched back in surprise. With all of her strength, she grabbed the mirror and shoved it to the floor. It shattered into a mass of glittering shards and she sank to her knees in among them. 

Sobbing, Emla began to collect the larger pieces of glass from the floor. Cautiously, she peeked into one or two of them. No images appeared and her hazel eyes remained unchanged. Whatever curse the mirror possessed, the power that had driven her mother mad, seemed to be gone. With the shards cleared, she leaned out the open window and into the cool night to release a cleansing breath. As she turned back to the room, she shrieked. The dressing table stood, its pristine mirror reflecting her pale visage. 

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