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House of the Murmuring Mirrors

A.H. Mittelman

By Alex H Mittelman Published 5 months ago 8 min read
House of the Murmuring Mirrors
Photo by Stephanie Klepacki on Unsplash

I got a deal on a mansion, and I couldn’t wait to move in. My name is Don Sturgis, and I deserved this.

Apparently, the previous owners, a sweet old couple named Rob and Delilah Freemason, had been poisoned and the police never found the poisoner, so the house remained on the market for just over thirty years because prospective buyers were worried the poisoner would come back. But after three decades on the market, I wasn’t worried.

I parked my hot pink Lincoln Nautilus in the front. The car was supposed to be a gift for my ex wife, but she served me papers before I gave her the keys. I hated the color of the thing, but since it was my ex’s favorite color and her favorite car, I liked driving it past her house two to three times a week and blasting my horn at five in the morning, waking her up, to make her look out the window and remind her of what she could have had. Then I flip her the bird and drive away laughing. She tried to get a restraining order against me, but her house just so happens to be on the route I have to take to get to work. When I explained this to the judge he understood, and said as long as I don’t drive on to her property I’m fine. I had to laugh at this, though, because I was the one who paid off the thirty year mortgage on ‘her’ house, so it should have been mine. But since the deed was in both our names, I agreed to sell her my half of the house for thirty percent more then it was worth. That’s what I used as a down payment on my new mansion.

Jack, the agent that sold me my new mansion, was standing out front smiling. I got out of the car and walked over to him.

“Nice color, Don. Did you steal that thing from Barbie’s garage?” Jack asked and chuckled. I had to smile at this.

“No. It was going to be my ex wife’s. I decided to keep it,” I replied.

“Uh-huh, right. I’m going to need to check the pink slip and make sure,” Jack jested. There was a few seconds of awkward silence, then we broke out laughing.

“Alright, here’s your keys. Enjoy your new house,” Jack said. I smiled, my hands tremulous with excitement as I grabbed the shiny brass keys from him.

“You want to come in for dinner? The movers should have dropped off my fridge already, and it was packed with food,” I asked Jack.

“Naw, I’m good. I promised my wife I’d take her to sushi tonight. She’s obsessed with sushi,” he replied.

“Well, enjoy,” I said and smiled. Jack smiled back, got in his car and sped off.

I barley managed to open the door, my hands were still trembling, and slowly walked inside while admiring the size and scale of my new home. The smell of must was prevalent, though, and cob webs and dust covered the mirrors in the house, and there were a lot of mirrors.

“Well, I’ve got some cleaning to do,” I mumbled.

I looked at the boxes the moving company brought over, and decided all I felt like unpacking was a book, a reclining chair and a lamp. The rest could wait until later. I sat down, turned on the lamp, and started reading Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights for the second time. Maybe I’d have a relationship like Catherine and Heathcliff one day, but without the drama.

After a few hours of reading, it was getting dark and I needed a break. I started to get up and I heard an odd creaking. It was just the house settling, I thought. But I still hadn’t gone up to the second story, so maybe it was time to explore.

I walked up to the second story and the stairs beneath me creaked. This was definitely an old mansion. When I got to the top of the stairs and took my hand off the banister, I noticed I left a handprint in the dust. I looked at my hand and all the dust had transferred to my skin.

“Gross,” I mumbled and wiped the dust on my pants. I looked left, then right. Both directions had long, seemingly endless hallways. Both hallways were lined with mirrors just like downstairs. I decided to go left.

As I was walking down the long hallway, I swear I heard a creaking behind me. I knew it was just the old house settling, but it left me feeling unsettled. I decided to go back downstairs and make dinner. Food always made me feel better. I turned around and was heading towards the stairs when I caught a glimpse of my own reflection. For a second, it looked like it was moving without me.

I turned my head and stared into the mirror. I waved at my reflection, it waved back. I scratched my chin, he scratched his. I had a strange feeling, despite the reflection doing exactly as I did, that this reflection wasn’t my own.

“I just need to settle in. And eat,” I mumbled.

I took a long, deep breath, then started walking, then running down the stairs to the kitchen. I opened up the fridge, which was the only thing the movers were kind enough to set up before they left, sorted through the food, picked out my meal, plugged in my microwave and made some fried rice. Normally I pan fry everything but I needed something fast, and didn’t feel like checking the stove to see if it was working.

I finished eating and decided it was a good time to set up the television. I took it out of the box, plugged everything in, and turned it on. All I got was the fuzzy blizzard. It was time to call the cable company. I gave them my address and credit card number and they said the cable and streaming services should be available soon.

I sat in my reclining chair watching the blizzard on the screen waiting for it to work. Ten minutes passed, and with a loud pop and crackle, the news finally came on.

I was watching television for a few minutes, then turned my head slightly to the right to adjust my neck. Out of the corner of my eye I could see another mirror next to me, and again it appeared my reflection moved without me. I lowered the sound and walked up to the mirror. Again, I waved and moved around and even mimicked an orangutan and my reflection did exactly what I did. It must be my imagination. I have to get used to being alone in such a large, old house.

As I turned and started to walk away, it felt like I was being watched. Then I heard a noise that sounded like someone’s throat clearing.

“What the hell?” I mumbled. I turned and looked at my reflection.

“Was that you,” I asked jokingly. I started to giggle. Then my reflection smiled, but I wasn’t smiling. My heart started to pound and my body was now frozen.

“What the hell? What… the… hell…” I shouted.

My reflection stopped smiling, and again started doing what I was doing.

“I’m just paranoid. I’m not used to being alone. Time to find a roommate,” I mumbled.

“How about a female roommate…” I heard a voice whisper.

“Oh, come on. Seriously? What the hell,” I shouted.

I ran to the door and tried to open it. I wanted to spend the night in my truck, maybe drive somewhere rent a hotel room.

I got to the front door and jiggled the knob. The door was stuck. Damn. I ran to my room to hide under my covers in my bed, I felt like a child. And I was scared as a child too.

The covers flew off me and I jumped out of bed.

“What the hell’s going on?” I shouted. I heard laughter echoing throughout the house.

I ran back to the front door and it still wouldn’t open. I grabbed a chair from the kitchen and threw it out the window. The window shattered as the chair smashed through it. I was about to jump out the window but the chair flew back in the house and the pieces of glass reassembled themselves into a fully formed window.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said out loud.

“Nobody’s joking here,” I heard a voice say.

I turned around and saw my reflection walk out of the mirror. Slowly it turned into an old man. The walls behind the reflection looked like they were bleeding. The old man slowly walked closer and closer to me. I got dizzy, and the last thing I remember was hearing my reflection say, “Sorry, Don,” before my head smashed against the floor.

*******

I woke up several minutes later. I felt refreshed, energized, and unusually happy. I stood up, stretched and made myself my first cup of coffee in a long time.

Then I walked over to the mirror to examine my new face. Don was a handsome man. I made the right choice possessing his body. I could use it to investigate the material world and find out who poisoned me and my wife Delilah. Then I’ll use this body to live out the rest of my life like I should have been able to do, if only I hadn’t poisoned. If only I could find another body for my wife, Delilah, to inhabit.

“Sorry, Mr. Sturgis, but your body is mine now,” I said outloud to myself as I touched my new face while looking in the mirror. I could hear Don’s voice screaming inside my skull, where his personality was now permanently stored away. It was giving me a headache, so I pounded the side of my head with my fist. That shut him up.

There was a knocking at my door. I knew the visitor wasn’t for me, all my old friends were either dead or thought I was dead.

I opened the door.

“Who might you be, my dear?” I asked the lady standing outside and chewing gum.

“Very funny, Don,” she said.

I stared at her blankly.

“Oh, your serious. Have you lost your mind? I’m the woman you’ve been honking at and flipping off every day for the last month,” she said.

“Oh, you must be Don’s… I mean, my ex wife Emily. How can I help you?” I asked.

“Well, for starters, stop acting weird. Then I’d like to talk to you. I was actually hoping we could work things out. Like, not get remarried or nothing, but just become friends again. Then we can make our relationship more amicable for the both of us,” Emily said.

“Sure, that sounds great. Why don’t you come inside for some libations,” I said and smiled.

“Sure, why not,” Emily said and spat, sending her gum flying across the lawn.

“Before I fetch us drinks, let me show you this antique mirror I found. It’s really nifty,” I said.

“Nifty? What is this, the fifties?” Emily asked. My language might have been outdated, I haven’t spoken to the living in over thirty years.

“Just come take a look,” I said and smiled. She followed me to one of the houses many mirrors.

“You know, there seems to be mirrors all over this place. What’s so special about this one?” Emily asked.

I knocked on the mirror.

“Delilah, we have company. Could you come out please?” I asked.

“Huh? Are you nuts?” Emily said. Emily’s reflection took the form of my sweet Delilah. She was here. We would be reunited at last. She stepped out of the mirror and Emily fainted, just like her ex Don. I caught Emily’s body before it fell. I couldn’t let anything happen to my sweet, wonderful Delilah’s new human suit.

Delilah stepped into Emily’s body. I smiled. Delilah opened Emily’s eyes and smiled back.

HumorthrillerShort StorySci FiPsychologicalMysteryLoveHorrorFantasyfamilyFableAdventure

About the Creator

Alex H Mittelman

I love writing and just finished my first novel. Writing since I was nine. I’m on the autism spectrum but that doesn’t stop me! If you like my stories, click the heart, leave a comment. Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CQZVM6WJ

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Comments (13)

  • Farhat Naseem4 months ago

    Loved it

  • L.C. Schäfer5 months ago

    I love it, especially this bit: I knew it was just the old house settling, but it left me feeling unsettled. I love how the sentence is like a mirror, the house is settling and he is unsettling. Very nifty!

  • Kaneene Pineda5 months ago

    Awesome! Loved this one.

  • Hannah Moore5 months ago

    Very good, poor Don, trapped in there forever.

  • Very very interesting! 😊

  • Oooo, now that Rob and Delilah have possessed Don and Emily, would there be a part 2 where they find out who poisoned them and why?

  • Nice work Alex! This has a lot of potential to go in many different directions in the future!

  • Stella Yan PhD5 months ago

    Very well written!

  • Oh, this is so good! I'm kind of hoping for a second part to see if Rob and Delilah find out who poisoned them, and to see what happens to Don and Emily.

  • Whoa, Alex, what a terrifying and captivating tale! I got chills from the twist with the mirrors, and I was always on the edge of my seat because of the way you generated tension!

  • Mariann Carroll5 months ago

    This was such a great humorous story. Very entertaining at the same time. You outdid yourself on this story!!!! I can see this being a series. Will you make part two????

  • ema5 months ago

    The old mansion is a classic, but the mirror trick is disturbing, amazing story!

Alex H Mittelman Written by Alex H Mittelman

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