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Mirror of A Murdered Soul

Seeing isn't the same as believing...

By Donna ReneePublished 9 days ago 14 min read
Image Generated in DALL-E 2

***Author's Warning***

This warning is for all readers but especially any of my friends and family who just like to read whatever I write. Love ya!

This is not my usual style of story. This is a horror story written for a Vocal Challenge. Don't read it if you don't like reading horror stories...or blood, violence, death, bad language, kidnapping, trauma, nightmares, and all that horrible stuff!


I'm serious...


Here we go...



The mirror showed a reflection that wasn't my own. Again.

"I can't remember anything."

At first I am frightened but after only a few seconds of shock I am able to calm myself down. This isn't the first time that this has happened to me (unfortunately) so, rather than panic, I just take a moment to evaluate as I wash and dry my hands at the sink with the frigid water that never quite warms up.

She resembles me, yes. That is undeniable but not exactly specific. She is female, she is of average height, she has blondish hair and white skin, she might be in her late 30s or early 40s. Older than me by at least a decade but we look enough alike that we could be cousins, or she could be an aunt maybe?

But she isn't. I've never seen her before.


The woman staring at me has no soul.

She is a wraith. A ghost. A tortured spirit.

I can tell because of how vacant and bloodshot her eyes are and how she doesn't blink or breathe. I can tell because of how hollow she seems.

I've tried to talk to the spirits I see in mirrors before. Sometimes they are a bit terrifying and I have to quickly look away...but sometimes they just look lonely or confused. Regardless, I talk to them if they stick around long enough. Why not?

Everyone deserves someone to talk to... don't you think?

Usually I just chat awhile, listen, allow them to release their confessions or whatever is holding them here, and then the spirits fade away and are replaced with my own bright, blue eyed reflection. When that happens, I feel a sense of calm and peace...like I have eased their passing into wherever it is that they go, somehow, I guess? Silly. I know...

This one though? Holy shit. She has seen something horrific. There is something about her that just whispers "I am on the edge of the edge and I am about to go over forever..."

Whispers always hold more weight than screams.

I study her body.

She is naked.

Now, I know that I have been called pale before but this woman? She is an absolute ghost. She looks even more colorless against the starkness of the bruises.


She is covered in fresh ones...all the way from her neck, down her torso and arms, and even past her hips. Even more disturbing, there are streaks of dried blood on her arms and her stomach. My eyes catch when they fully register that there is a knife wound across her stomach as if she has been disemboweled. At this point, I'm thinking this isn't a spirit that I quite have enough emotional space for at the moment but then I immediately feel horribly guilty for feeling that way. Obviously she came to me for a reason. I close my eyes and secretly hope she vanishes on her own but...no such luck when I open my eyes again.

She cocks her head to the side slightly. Her hair is disheveled and looks like she hasn't washed it in a week. Why does that stand out to me? Just being silly again. Clearly something more important than a little lapse in personal hygiene has happened in this poor woman's life.

After counting to ten and stabilizing my breathing a bit, I lean closer to the mirror and realize with continuing horror that her eyes aren't bloodshot...there are just no whites left. Her irises are literally drowning in blood from ruptured vessels, like the eyes of someone who has been strangled to death. Disemboweled and strangled??? One or the other wasn't enough?

Oh my god, what happened to her?

My next thought...is she a serial killer's victim?

I've absolutely never seen anyone remotely like this in the mirror before...

Thanks, genetics, but I'm not sure I want this level of psychic ability!

It does run in the family though...seeing people from other dimensions, I mean. My aunt has this "talent" too. It is weird though since the people we see don't actually exist in our realm. It's not like we can actually find missing kids or help solve murders like those TV psychics. We just have a human duty to those interdimensional souls to help them find enough peace to pass on to...wherever.

I am about to ask this one what she needs from me when...


I jump.

"Just me..."

I relax again.

It's just my husband at the door.

I guess I've been hogging the bathroom. I should get back to the office and back to work. I turn to open the door and when I look back, oh thank god, it's just me again in the mirror. I've never been so glad to see my own smiling face in the Jackson Pollack toothpaste canvas!

"Hey babe! Everything ok? You've been in here awhile..."

"Yeah, everything is fine!" I lie smoothly and smile....he doesn't know about the spirits.

"...Um...Okay..." he looks like he doesn't quite believe me but he lets it go, "well, a few people have stopped by now and I tried to deal with it but they need you for something so I think you should talk to them."

"Sure!" I smile, and hurriedly leave the bathroom heading back to my office.

Duty calls and the spirit will return.

They always do if they aren't finished with me yet.


Hours after I've gotten back to my desk in our home office and answered the same mundane questions from my clients as always, I still can't get that poor woman out of my head.

The way her arms were covered in streaks of blood. My own arms start to ache just thinking about it.

Wait...My own arms are starting to ache. For real.

What the hell?

I quickly rub my hands over my arms and feel the flaky blood peeling away from my skin. I quickly turn on the brighter light by the desk. I don't see anything. Must just be my overactive, psychic-ability-enhanced imagination. I mean, come on! Who wouldn't start imagining things after seeing something like I did earlier in the mirror?

I run my hand across my midsection and, fortunately, my skin is intact and my intestines appear to be in the expected area. Jeeeeeeez that spirit really must have gotten to me! I should go back to the bathroom and check on her. Help her remember whatever it is that's haunting her... if I can...

I don't want to see her again though. This one felt more real than any I've encountered before. Am I getting better at this psychic thing? I'm not sure I want that...

Eventually my bladder forces me to confront the bathroom though and sure enough, when I go to the sink to wash my hands, there she is again. I'm not as shocked as I was the first time but her appearance is definitely still just as disturbing. She turns to the side slightly and reaches out toward me like she is trying to hold my hand.

I didn't notice the back, or underside of her arm the first time. Why would someone have that many bruises on the back of their arm? Unbidden, my mind conjures an image of this woman being gripped tightly up near the shoulders by someone big and strong while she was murdered. Christ, now my own arms are aching again. Is my stomach hurting too???

I shake it off and lean closer to the mirror. I need to get this over with before I go crazy.

"What happened to you? Do you know?"

I'm surprised. My voice sounds strong and calm. Not like my heartbeat which flutters chaotically against my ribs.

She doesn't answer...but a single tear trickles down her left cheek and settles into the crease of her chapped and sunken lips.

She licks it away and swallows hard.

"I don't..." she falters, "I can't...remember."

"It's ok," I say reassuringly, "Just breathe. I'll help you."

God, why did I say something so dumb? She can't breathe and how could anyone help her? She's dead.

"I can't remember how I got here...and I can't find him."

Ok. She's lost someone. I've seen a few searching people in the mirror before. Maybe this is something I can deal with after all.

"Ok," I say in as calm and confident a manner as I can muster, "Who are you looking for and when did they go missing?"

Her blood-filled eyes fill with tears now, spilling down across her cheeks like cresting floodwaters.

"My baby."

I shut my eyes tightly. For fuck's sake, not a baby.

I'm pregnant myself so anything to do with missing babies hits a spot way too close to home for me!

Is this one of those messed up situations where someone murders someone and steals their baby? Why did I get stuck with psychic abilities again? I cannot deal with this right now.

But I must.

She needs help.

I wrap my arms around myself, feel the reassuring curve of my protruding stomach, and open my eyes to face her again.

She's gone.

I'm relieved. Maybe she just needed to tell someone that her baby was missing. Sometimes, most times, (ok, all times) there isn't anything that I can actually do for a tortured spirit. I can only listen and offer words of peace. Nothing I do in my dimension can reach across into theirs and change anything and vice versa.

At least...that's how it has always been before.

But...my arms hurt so badly now. And so does my stomach. I don't like this at all.

I need a good night's sleep.


I don't get a good night's sleep.

I am haunted by dreams of missing children, endless torture, and violent murders. The screaming and crying is so loud in my mind that it wakes me up nearly every hour throughout the night.

I stumble into the bathroom in the morning, splash icy water on my face, and am greeted by the woman again.

"I can't remember anything," she whispers.

"I know," I say to her, "I'm so sorry for what happened to you...and your baby. I wish I cou--"

"I don't know where I am," she interrupts, quietly though, "and I can't find my baby."

I feel so badly for her. As I am about to be a mother myself, I can almost imagine the horror she is facing. But I don't want to.

"Is there anything I can do to help you?" I say, sounding again more assured than I feel.

But why do my arms and stomach hurt so much and why is my head pounding?

"Can you...can you find out what happened to us?" she asks meekly, "I can't remember... 4/27/2019..."

"I'll...try..." I say, with absolutely no idea how I'm going to do that. That was a few days ago. I'm barely even a psychic, let alone an interdimensional time traveler!

She fades away and this time I see it happen. Slowly her image in the mirror ripples away leaving only a much younger, much less murdered, and heavily pregnant me.

An hour later in my office, I notice a large, sealed file on my desk that wasn't there before. It has my name on it. Curious, I open it, slide out the contents, and start to read the first page of the stack of papers.



And then....blank.

Next page, blank.

I keep flipping through.

There has to be something here!




What is this???

"Hey, babe, you found it?"

I jump and the stack of paper falls to the floor, pages scattering.

"Geez, you scared me!" I say as I try to bend down to gather the blank pages back into the file, "Ouch!"

Why does my stomach hurt so much? Oh my god, am I in labor???

For just a minute, I am totally stressing out, but then remember that it isn't time for that yet. This is just me imagining things because of...whatever happened to that poor woman in the mirror.

"Are you ok? Here let me get those."

He gathers the pages and carefully arranges them in the file.

"Did it help?"


"Reading the file...did it help?"

"That file?" I say, "Where did that come from?"

"It’s the one you asked for…A social worker dropped it off early this morning, I think you were asleep. Did you read it?"

"Read what? It's blank..."

He stares at me, sadly.

"No, it isn't blank. Do you want me to read it to you?"

"I'm not illiterate. I have my doctorate, remember?" I snap.

"I know...I just thought...well...nevermind. It's ok."

I sigh. I shouldn't have snapped at him, he doesn't have a clue why I'm so on edge. He doesn't see murder victims with missing babies when he goes to pee.

"You should try to rest..."

"Yeah, ok. Whatever. I will. Later though. I need to figure something out first."

My stomach is hurting so badly now.


Another hour passes and I'm just getting increasingly annoyed. Why would the universe deliver me a file that might help me figure out what happened to that woman and her baby and then not give me the ability to read the damn thing?

I cannot pretend anymore, though, and I don't have enough time left to help that woman right now.

I am not imagining it, the pain I've been feeling is growing more real by the minute. I call for my husband.

"Hey babe, I think...I think I might be in labor. We should probably head to the hospital."

Why does he look so sad? I know how excited he is to be a dad!


"No?" I laugh, "Excuse me?"

"No, you aren't in labor. We're already at the hospital. We haven't left the hospital..."

I hear him but he is making no sense to me.

"This," I say, "is our office."

"Look around again... it's ok. Just look around..."

He's treating me like a toddler who just had a nightmare.

I roll my eyes and look around the office, gesturing grandly at the desk and the lamp, and then I freeze.

He's right. This...this isn't our office...it's a hospital room.


I feel my heart climbing my chest and thudding in my throat, stale pain washes over me, my arms, my stomach, my head. I sit back down at the desk, no, it's not a desk...it's a hospital bed. Why are there tubes stuck in my arms?

Instinctively, I cradle my stomach and in rising horror I realize that I'm not pregnant anymore.

"My baby! MY BABY!" I scream but with no sound, no air, no life.

"It's ok! Shh it's ok! He's ok now. He's right here..."

He lifts our sleeping, swaddled baby from the bassinet.

From the bassinet that is literally right beside the bed...right beside me... how...how did I not see that there before?

"He's....he's ok?" I whisper.

I look down at my abdomen and then back to the baby in his arms. The baby flickers in and out of my vision. I swallow hard.

I am so lost.

"Yeah, babe. He's ok now. You're ok now."

"But...what happened?"

"We can talk about it later, you need to rest."

"I...I have to go to the bathroom."

"Ok, hold on, I'll help you."

He puts the still-flickering, sleeping bundle back into the very real bassinet in the hospital room where I apparently am now, and he helps me to my feet. We walk to the bathroom together, painfully, agonizingly slowly.

We enter the bathroom and I look into the mirror.

The woman staring at me has no soul.

She is a wraith. A ghost. A tortured spirit.

Realities flicker again then merge together as my brain connects dimensions.

"I can't remember anything," we whisper.

***Author's Note***

This is a fictional horror story written for a Vocal Challenge but it is based on real experiences with postpartum PTSD and/or psychosis.

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are stigmatized and underreported.

They are also terrifying.

Please visit Postpartum Support International at https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/ or call 1-800-944-4773 if you need help or if someone you know is struggling... or even if they say they are fine and you are worried about them. We are conditioned to say we're "fine" because feeling anything less than fine after having a baby must be "wrong."

If you are in the US, for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline - call 988, or go to https://988lifeline.org/

There is also a free and confidential National Maternal Mental Health Hotline in the US to call or text 24/7 at 1-833-943-5746


About the Creator

Donna Renee

Hi! Thanks for reading! My hobbies include making coffee, drinking coffee, and starting to write a story and then rage-deleting it when I get the slightest bit frustrated.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  4. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  5. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (47)

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  • HandsomelouiiThePoet (Lonzo ward)about 11 hours ago

    Congratulations on your TopStory✨🎉🎉🎉🎉

  • J. R. Lowea day ago

    Ohhh my gosh. Amazing!! I missed this when you first published it but so glad I came back to read it. You tell the story so well, the mystery that slowly unravels is so engaging. Wonderfully written, can’t wait to see this on the list of winning entries 😎

  • Loryne Andawey3 days ago

    Holy cow! I'm so late in congratulating you on your Top Story, but I'm glad I came back to find this. Absolutely unsettling. You are a raw talent! Well done and I can't wait to see this place in the Challenge 😄

  • Shadow James3 days ago

    This is great. Such talent!!!

  • Madison Newton4 days ago

    Almost reminds of the bent woman from It (2017). Very scary and very well-written. Keep it up!

  • Incredible story. You balanced a dreamlike quality with horror in an amazing way- Pernoste

  • Harmony Kent4 days ago

    Wow! Amazing. Moving. Compelling! “ Whispers always hold more weight than screams.” … This line smacked me in the face (in a good way!). Donna, you’ve blown me away. Huge congratulations on a well deserved Top Story 💕🙂

  • The narrative captivates with its enigmatic puzzle, masterfully portraying the protagonist's bewilderment and apprehension. The reader is drawn into her internal turmoil as she grapples with her circumstances. The dialogue unfolds organically, enhancing the complexity of the characters and lending credibility to their interactions. Congratulations on the Top Story :)

  • Gina C.4 days ago

    Wow!! This is such a great story for so many reasons. I was hooked from the beginning! Super engaging and there is such important information in this. Thank you so much for this fantastic story, Donna!! 😍❤️❤️ And congrats on Top Story!!

  • Lamar Wiggins4 days ago

    Excellent story, Donna! It drew me in right away and didn't disappoint. I never really knew much about this condition. It was the perfect topic to write a horror story about. Thanks again. 💖

  • Iris Harris5 days ago

    Well done, my fellow writer. I should have mine done by Friday. I look forward to reading more of your work.

  • This one is really good. Congrats.

  • Fantastic Donna. This is one of the best stories I've read so far this year and is very well written. Congratulations on your Top Story.

  • Paul Stewart5 days ago

    Wow. Just. Wow. Donna. Just. Wow. Okay. Words are not coming to me easily. which is kinda weird for me. This totally deserves to be Top Story, and if it's not placing in the challenge results, I'll eat my hat. Or a donut, at least. Well done, Donna. This is incredible. I thought I knew where it was heading, but then BOOM, pulled the rug from under me, I hit my head and then bang. Exceptional stuff, Donna. Also as a funny aside in quite a intense story, this made me laugh "I've never been so glad to see my own smiling face in the Jackson Pollack toothpaste canvas!"

  • Marsha Singh5 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story! Well deserved, this is excellent!

  • Roy Stevens5 days ago

    Yeah, another top story Donna! It's good to see that the really great writers here can get recognition too!

  • Congratulations on top story and on generating more awareness about an important condition that affects so many women. Stigma is its own kind of horror.

  • Bruce Curle `5 days ago

    Well written, and interesting. Bravo!

  • Nauniie Eubanks5 days ago

    Amazing writing girl! I could not put it down 🤟🏽✨🤍

  • Great characters and beautifully written! I love the way you tie this together at the end. I was completely confused with the office to hospital transition (which is how it is supposed to be - I had to read it again!) PERFECT for your story. Amazing work :)

  • Ilkin Gasimli6 days ago

    Here we goo!!

  • This line had me thinking a lot: "Whispers always hold more weight than screams." On another note, tell me why midway through my story I'm working on I have a knock at the door of my protagonist by her husband who complains because she's been in there for 3 days...sound a little familiar...LOL. Congratulations on your Top Story!

  • Lori Melton6 days ago

    This is amazing Donna - very gripping - reeled me in and kept me riveted. Congrats on the Top Story! <3

  • JBaz6 days ago

    Well done Congratulations, Donna

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