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Locked Inside

By E.N. GusslerPublished about a year ago 3 min read

The mirror showed a reflection that wasn’t my own. Which was nothing new, to be honest. I’d been seeing this funhouse version of myself in the heirloom ever since Matthew’s death. The first time that twisted face stared back at me, my heart raced, breath went ragged and I nearly wet myself. But 3 years later, I meet that blank gaze every morning with an emotionless one of my own. I don’t know what that says about me, but it has become a weirdly comforting ritual…her blank face staring into mine.

Today, she smirked.

The corner of her mouth, pulled up like that, unsettled me. Until then, there had never been any real acknowledgement between us. Yet this time, she saw me, just as I saw her. Her eyes bore into mine as the chill ran the length of my spine. As the room faded around us, I found that I stood in a murky vision of reality. Her eyes were a little too large, rimmed in a dark hollowness that seeped into the irises, swallowing them into nothingness.

Her face twisted.

The smirk morphed into a carnivalesque grin, stretching her face unnaturally. I searched the room around me, seeking the sharp edges of the world to ground myself back into reality. But the soft watery edges of the reversed, seeped around me as it leaked from the edges of the heavy mirror. My eyes settled on the inky stain where Matthew’s body had laid which seemed to undulate in the reflection. A stain that was now a slightly lighter patch on the antique hardwood floor where I stood. My heinous replication crouched towards the turbid puddle and stretched out sinewy hands, submerging them.

The room began to quake.

The ornate frame banged against the plaster wall, setting little particles of dust into flight that lodged in my lungs. I gasped for clean air as the preternatural doppelganger gleefully looked on. She rose, the raven coagulant snaking down her palms, dropping into slimy dots on the floor.

She approached.

With labored, uneven steps she shuffled towards the dusty armature. Sludge dripped from her dark hair which hung lankly to her waist. Her emaciated frame hugged by a singed and threadbare nightgown creaked and rattled. The sound grew louder with every step, and the suffocating breath of smoke seeped into my parched throat. Her face contorted and jaw unhinged as a silent scream ripped through her, twisting her neck.

The hazy looking-glass trembled.

Fissures spidered from the corners, extending their jagged fingers across the surface. My heart raced, and knees wobbled, though my feet were rooted in place. An icy chill burned through my bones. Viscus smog wormed its way between the fractures, out onto the floor. Miasma snaked across my bare feet, encasing my ankles in ghoulish dread, and strangled the cacophonous reticence closing in around me as the world within, became the world without.

The ticking clock silenced.

In a blink she was before me, nose nearly brushing mine. Endless onyx pooled where her eyes should be, yet they seemed to see into the depth of my soul. The air stilled around and within me. The thrum of the living world fell distant, as shadows caressed my cheek, obscuring the light streaming in the windows.

A door creaked open.

Footfalls resonated through the glass, reverberating off the walls of the mirrored room. I stared as the silhouette crouched beside the crumpled form. The figures were familiar, but my jumbled memory couldn’t recall the faces. The inky sludge climbed up to my ankles as I watched the chaos unfurl before me. Wasn’t there a stain on the floor? I grasped the faint recollection and felt the hazy room shift into certainty. The hair across the face of the collapsed form fell away and my own eyes stared lifelessly back at me, ripping a soundless scream from my chest.

And a carnivalesque grin stretched her face.

Short StoryHorror

About the Creator

E.N. Gussler

Writer. Photographer. World-traveler. Adventurer. Ohio State Alum.

A California native living in Ohio, I pull inspiration from my travels & life around me.


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