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A broken mirror tale

By C Jyl ParkerPublished about a year ago 6 min read
Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash


By C Jyl Parker

The mirror showed a reflection that wasn’t my own. In fact, at first there was no one in the mirror, only shadows of a different room. How could that be? And where was my face, my yellow hair pulled back in a ponytail, my nightshirt? How did I get here? Was I dreaming? I stood in front of the large, oval mirror, my hands gripping either side of the carved wooden frame. I wanted to step back, to release the death-grip of my hands, but I couldn’t move. I thought back to what I last remembered.

I had been poring over some old letters that my cousin Quincey had sent to help with our genealogy research. They were splayed out, fan style on the only table in my apartment, when the package arrived. There was scant room in my studio apartment, and I had no idea where to put it. I also had no idea who had sent it, as there was no name on the return address, merely the town, Whitby Abbey, in England.

After slitting open the box tape with a paring knife and removing the packing material, I discovered an oval mirror, three feet high, that looked like it could have come from a museum. Carved figures of lilies and foxes ringed the wooden frame. As I ran my fingers over what appeared to be smooth carvings, a sliver of wood caught my hand. A single drop of blood fell onto the wood, as I jerked my hand away. Not wanting to discolor the old frame, I tended my wound at the kitchen sink, then wetted a rag. When I returned to the mirror, I found no trace of the blood.

I turned my attention to the surface of the mirror. It had that weathered glass feel, as if the heaviness of the years had caused the glass to sag. Indeed, it was heavy to lift, but I managed to hang it on the wall, where previously an old family portrait had resided. I would have to find another home for the portrait later. Once in position, the mirror reflected myself, the living room and the sole window to the east.

I scanned the shipping box again for any clue of the sender, but I found none, only the aforementioned address in Whitby, and my name, Mina Drake, and my address here in Connecticut. Another mystery to consider tomorrow, along with why I had been sent the mirror.

My stomach rumbled for the microwaved ramen noodles, which was my dinner, so I turned my attention to that. Bringing the hot bowl to the table, I noticed that one of the letters also had a return address in England. It was from my great-great-grandmother, Mina Harker, for whom I was named.

It read in part:

My dearest Lucille,

It has come to my attention that there are certain forces in play that may become a danger to my descendents. Since you are my only grandchild, I pray that you never succumb to these unworldly influences. To be brief: never accept any packages from Romania.

All my love,

Grandmother M.

Could this mirror be a part of her warning? It certainly felt “unworldly” and sinister. Even now, I could see the shadows of the mirror shift. There, under an arch of the mirror world, sat an oblong box. As the moonlight from the window behind me shone into the reflection, the light landed on the box, and the lid began to open. I tried again to release my grip from the mirror frame, but to no avail. Slender fingers slid through the opening and gripped the side of the box. No, not a box. A coffin. I felt my heartbeat in my throat, and an involuntary whimper escaped. Why was this happening?

Quincey and I often joked about the “vampires” in the family. He said that Bram Stoker was a neighbor to our ancestor Mina, and used her name in his famous story. What if it wasn’t just a story? But vampires–how could that be true? The coffin lid lifted further, and I could see the other hand of the ghoul pushing the lid fully open. She began to rise. I could distinctly see gossamer gray lace dangling from her arms as her skeletal head cleared the rim. I knew she would turn her gaze to me, and I very forcefully closed my eyes, then turned my head to the left, where my hand covered the splinter of wood. If vampires were real, then perhaps I could use something wooden to dispatch them. I stared at my hand, willing it to move. Nothing. I glanced back at the coffin to see the woman’s progress. It was as I feared; she sat up and turned her shrouded head towards me.

Just then, the moonlight shining on the coffin dimmed. I jerked my head back to see that a cloud had covered the moon. The paralysis on my hands dropped, and I practically leaped backward to escape the horror of the mirror world. I knew the clouds wouldn’t last, so I scanned my apartment for a weapon. The broom handle was made of plastic tube. That was useless. The clouds dissipated, and in desperation I grabbed at the wooden pencils on the table. Just in time. The moonlight gleamed fully into the mirror and onto the coffin beyond. My feet slid unbidden toward the mirror wall, but this time I clutched my pencils in my right hand and pointed them toward the evil woman, now rising fully and stepping a leg over the coffin’s edge. My other hand stubbornly clung to the left side of the mirror frame, as the paralyzing fear set in.

I could no longer look away from the vampiress approaching. Thin as a rail, she seemed to float along the stone floor inside the mirror. Her gray gown was in tatters, and a sort of veil covered her flowing black hair. Her eyes were also black, but the pupils were blood red. She grinned enough that I could see her uneven teeth beneath her thin lips. And yes, there were fangs. She hissed my name in an eastern European accent. “Meeeeennnaaa.”

My blood turned to ice and I shivered, right hand still clutching with a death grip on the pencils. Now she was so close to the mirror, I could smell her fetid breath. In the distance, a wolf howled. The woman raised her clawed fingers toward the glass and opened her mouth wider. Couldn’t she see me holding my weapon on my side? Perhaps the moonshine blinded her and she was moving on instinct. Regardless, I could see now that she was just taller than me, so that the pencils should be pointed at her heart.

The moment arrived. The ghastly woman reached her hands through the mirror glass, as if it wasn’t there. She walked directly into the pencil points as she embraced me. And then her upper body was through to my side of the mirror. Her mouth descended onto my neck, and I screamed in pain as one of her fangs sank into my jugular. The pencils also struck their mark–the woman’s heart. She released me, grabbed at the makeshift wooden stake and tottered backwards into her side of the mirror. I clutched my neck and felt blood oozing but not gushing out. Now free of my tie to the mirror, I grabbed a kitchen towel and pressed it on my wound. There was no sound from the other world, and I feared getting too close to it, so I stayed by the table.

The moon, on its nightly course across the sky, had moved past the corner of the window, and its light dimmed. I dared to take a step toward the mirror. It appeared solid once more, and I could detect no sign of the awful nightmare world. In fact, the mirror now reflected my meager apartment and my own visage by the edge of the frame.

I flipped the kitchen switch, and the apartment was bathed in fluorescent light. Emboldened, I gazed fully at the mirror and removed the bloodied towel. Apparently the damage was not fatal; a scab was already forming on my neck. Not the jugular then. Picking up the packing box, I noticed a detail overlooked earlier: across the top was printed Renfield and Sons Shipping.

I could only guess as to how the mirror arrived at my apartment. Someone was obviously looking for a Harker descendent. I wanted to make sure no one else in my family ended up in the mirror trap, so I removed the hated object from the wall and placed it back in the box for safety. Then I took a heavy, cast-iron pan from the stove and dropped in on the dreaded mirror.


About the Creator

C Jyl Parker

Starting from the fairy stories and poems of childhood, I've always had an interest in the fantasy, adventure and science fiction worlds. Although I've done a lot of writing over the years, I've published only a few short stories and poems.

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    C Jyl ParkerWritten by C Jyl Parker

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