This is for Paul Stewart's Unnerve, Unsettle, and Scare Me Challenge
I walked by the mirror and noticed something freaky about it. I became intimidated by it. I had to step back from it. Something just wasn't right. My stomach grew shaky, so I hid behind the room divider in my bedroom. That way the mirror was not able to see me, but I could keep an eye on it.
It didn't last very long. The mirror managed to find me. A young girl, maybe 5 or 6 years old, had her arm outstretched with her index finger motioning for me to "come here."
What would a young girl like her want with a washed up twice divorced 72-year-old man like me? She looks vaguely familiar, but I can't place her.
"Come here," said the soft little voice. But I didn't budge, I stayed behind the room divider. This was all just a bit too strange for me.
"Come here daddy," the little girl spoke in a commanding voice.
What? She called me daddy. I took a better look at her. She's my daughter! What a shock. I'm not sure what to do.
"Daddy, daddy, please come here," as tears streamed from her eyes. She killed herself in 1997 at the age of twenty-four. She put a shotgun in her mouth, pulled the trigger, and left her brains splattered on the wall of our home.
She came to live with me when her mom and I divorced when she was six. Her mom was much worse than I was.
At first I was reluctant, but I stepped closer to the mirror. I had to see my daughter. I hadn't seen her in twenty-six years.
She outstretched her arm but this time her hand came out of the mirror. This was a frightening experience. It was an aggressive move. Her hand almost slapped my arm as it came toward me.
"Come on daddy. Come and visit with me." She said with her hand still reaching for me.
I stood there and began to back up, but something compelled me, and I took hold of her hand.
She tugged on me but she couldn’t pull my 192-pound body toward her.
I stepped closer. She said, "Step in and join me for tea." I wanted to step in, but I was afraid of breaking the mirror. She could tell I was hesitating.
"You won't break the mirror. Just step in."
So, I stepped toward the mirror with my left foot, and it slipped through like it was water.
It was the most amazing feeling. I felt youthful and vibrant like I was twenty-nine again. I had this extreme happiness take over me.
"Hi daddy," Lily said. She grabbed my hand and took me walking. The world inside this mirror was fascinating.
There were flowers everywhere: pink flowers, yellow flowers, green flowers, tiny flowers, huge flowers, flowers dancing in the wind.
The sound of drums, guitars, and handclapping filled the air. The flowers grew tall and began swaying to the happy music. Lily began dancing with the flowers. She motioned for me to join her.
My body involuntarily propelled toward her, and I skipped over to her with a springy bounce I hadn't had in 40 years. It felt good. I held my head up tall and enjoyed the dancing.
Suddenly the flowers came to life, and they began singing the words: "Shiny happy people laughing ... Meet me in the crowd, people people...Throw your love around, love me, love me. Take it into town, happy, happy…"
Everything was so happy. The flowers were dancing, the sun was shining, and best of all I was dancing with my beautiful daughter. We were together again.
Lily grabbed my hand, "Come on daddy. I want to take you to see the ocean." She had always loved the ocean.
Somehow her clothes changed and she was wearing her favorite Minnie Mouse sweater. I was taken back. My six-year-old Lily was now thirteen in a flash.
She led me through the suburbs of central Orange County, California. We lived there in the mid-1980s with my second wife and her son Joel. Joel was five years younger than Lily.
Soon the suburbs turned into dusky skies and barren roads. I had an eerie feeling here. It was a big change from the dancing flowers to the deserted city. Lily was now 24, the age she was when she took her life. My heart broke and it never healed. I know I wasn't the perfect dad but I sure loved my Lily.
She took me inside an old, abandoned office building. It was dark as we entered. It felt as if we were walking into a dark tunnel. The passageway was narrow. As we walked in, I noticed small, shiny particles on the ground. As we walked further in, the particles were on the ceiling, and finally, surrounding us on the walls.
We sat in a large echoing room. There was one cushiony chair in which Lily sat. I found an old wooden crate and sat on it. It was very uncomfortable, but I made it work.
"We've got a lot to talk about daddy. "
"Yes, a lot of unsaid things that needed to be said."
"Oh, I agree daddy. Why don't I go first and then we'll see what you have to say after I'm done," she said in a chilling voice.
Something in her tone of voice did not sit well with me. I became unsettled by this. My stomach began to quiver, and my hands started to shake.
"Are you okay daddy?"
"Yes, I'm fine," I lied.
"I don't know daddy. I don't think you're fine."
I felt as if I was being interrogated.
I despondently said, "I'm fine." I rubbed my hand against my pant leg and a tiny piece of shiny matter lodged into my fingertip. I pulled it out of my finger, and it began to bleed. The tiny matter was a piece of mirror. It was very small, but I could see my face in it. My face was covered with horror. Seeing this shook me and I threw the little piece of mirror on the floor. It blended in with all the other tiny fragments of what I assumed were mirrors.
"No sweetie, no."
"Well let's get this conversation going." Lily said.
She presented me with a small photo, "Do you know who this is?"
"Yes, that is your stepbrother Joel.
"Ding! Ding!," Motioning her hand like she was ringing a bell, "You're correct daddy. Let's talk about my little stepbrother Joel."
My stomach sank. I tried burying this long ago. I thought this was part of my past.
"You thought this was part of your past daddy?" She knew what I was thinking. "Yes, daddy I know what you're thinking."
I stood up, "Well sweetie I've got to go now."
"Where do you think you're going daddy? You won't find your way out of here. You'll die trying. Now sit down daddy. We have stuff to talk about."
My body shook as I sat back down.
"Joel was only eight years old when you married his mom. He was a good little boy and you broke him. You broke his spirit. I saw you when he was only nine and you took his head and banged it against the wall. His ear started bleeding. You banged his head a second time and a third time. Then he fell to the ground. He did nothing wrong; you just beat him for the sake of beating him. When his mom came back from the grocery store you told her he fell when you guys were outside tossing the football. He was too afraid to say anything to his mom. For that matter I was too afraid to say anything."
"Well, he tried…"
Lily cut me off quickly, "No well daddy. He did nothing wrong," she growled her words, "He did nothing wrong."
"I remember when he was eleven years old, and you touched him inappropriately. He was growing and he was a good-looking boy. You fondled him and grabbed him and when he pulled away you whirled him to the ground and spit on him. You told him to never walk away from you. I saw that. I was sixteen and so frightened. I cried for him.
"But Lily, I found God. I've faced my sins."
"Don't but me dad. You don't know what facing your sins means."
"When he was thirteen you chased him around the house with a two by four. Joel was crying and screaming for help, and I couldn't do anything. I was paralyzed with fear. You beat him on his back. You hit him twice.
"Oh sweetie, that was a long…"
"No, it wasn't dad. To me it isn't."
"I had to watch you for six years as you beat, belittled, and sexually assaulted Joel. It only ended because his mom divorced you and took Joel away when he was 14."
"I've been forgiven."
"No dad, you have not been forgiven. You do not know what forgiveness is or what it looks like."
"Okay well we're done. Take me back so I can go home."
"Oh no dad we're not done there's more to talk about."
I sat there in fear. I didn't want to hear anymore. I was emotionally distraught.
"The story doesn't end here. After Joel left the memories of him festered in my mind. I became tormented by guilt. I never told anybody. I should have told somebody. I couldn't handle the guilt anymore and because of your dirty deeds I killed myself. Dad, I killed myself because of you. Let that sink in."
I had tears rolling from my eyes. I was defeated. My baby killed herself because of me. What a nightmare. How can I live with myself?
Then a whirlwind picked up in the room and the pieces of mirror started swirling all around me. The mirror recomposed itself in front of me. It was the mirror I walked through. I felt a sense of relief. I could step out of this world and go back home. I stood up and stepped my foot forward.
"No dad. You're not getting out of here. You can't step through that mirror. Its purpose has changed. It's going to stay here with you in this room so you can watch yourself wither away as you slowly die from starvation.
In the blink of an eye, Lily disappeared, and I was left alone to face the cutting fragments of my sins.
About the Creator
Writing is a distraction for me. It takes me to places unknown that fulfill my need for intellectual stimulus, emotional release, and a soothing of the breaks and bruises of the day.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Original narrative & well developed characters