Horror logo

Reflections on a life

A Horror Story for the Broken Mirror Challenge

By Shane DobbiePublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 7 min read

Reader Alert: This story contains themes of abuse that some people may find disturbing or difficult. I've added this warning in response to Donna's article here.

The mirror showed a reflection that wasn’t my own. She looks like me but tired and worn down by the pressures of existence. Her hair was blonde like mine, but dull and lifeless. Every cut and bruise life had thrown at her was there to see on her face. I could only imagine what lay under the silk night dress we both wore. Her arm which had been broken multiple times through the years was now twisted out of shape and bent at wrong angles. Worse than that though was that she never looked back at me, never met my gaze. She couldn’t bare to look at me.

I feel sorry for her sometimes. I wonder what happened to her life to make her like this. She must envy my perfect looks and perfect life. She is spoiling the ambience of the gleaming bathroom we share. I ignore her and finish cleaning my teeth. I spit blood-inflected toothpaste into the sink and rinse, being sure to clean up afterward, making sure everything is spick and span. I arrange the toothbrushes in the holder so they are perfectly aligned, fold over the toilet paper, and leave the en-suite bathroom humming a happy little tune as I go.

The bedroom is a mess! That’s no good. His pillow is out of place, so I straighten it. Tighten the duvet just so. A hairbrush is out of place on the dresser so I fix it. An ornate full-length mirror hangs on the wall by the dresser. She's in it, still looking away. I stick my tongue out at her. Maybe she’ll cheer up after breakfast.

“Hi, honey,” I say as I enter the kitchen. My handsome husband looks up from his phone and gazes at me in the way I love, the way that makes me tingle a little. After all these years I still love him so.

His phone clangs against the glass table as he put it down. Our kitchen is as clean, shiny, and organised as the bathroom, just as he likes it. He motions to the empty plate and mug in front of him and looks at his watch.

One of the things I love about him is his sense of humour. He often plays this game in the morning and calls me all sorts of funny things like ‘useless bitch’ and ‘whore’. Sometimes it’s so funny I can’t breathe and find myself doubled over with tears of laughter streaming down my face. My laughter seems to turn him on, and it often leads to him making love to me.

I laugh at his antics, take his mug, and fill it from our shiny chrome coffee pot. I see her again in the reflection, with her bruised face and bleeding nose, still refusing to look at me. God, she’s horrible.

To take my mind off her, I pass over my husband's coffee and ask about his forthcoming day. He’s obviously distracted this morning as he just ignores me and grabs the mug. It leaves a ring of coffee behind on the table.

He takes a deep breath when he sees it.

Oops. A tickle starts in my stomach. I just know he’s going to have something funny to say about this.

“Are you fucking useless at everything? How hard can it be to pour coffee without fucking it up? And sort yourself out. Look at the state of you, you look like a whore. If I wanted to fuck a whore I’d go and pick one up. At least she’d put some effort in.”

Hee, hee. Told you he was funny. He should have been a stand-up comedian. I’ve told him this but he just shakes his head. Looks at me like I’m crazy.

He tells me he doesn’t have time for this today as he’s already late. “Clean up this mess,” he says and gives me one of his special goodbye kisses.

When I come back around, I’m lying on the kitchen floor and my face is burning. I must have fallen asleep. His broken mug is next to me on the floor and there’s coffee splashed everywhere. I must have knocked it over. I’m such a klutz. Better clean it up. He’ll no doubt see the funny side but I like to make sure everything is clean and tidy for him. “A place for everything and everything in its place,” he always says. “Especially you.” Then he laughs. I never understood that one but I like that he likes it.

I pick up the bits of broken mug and throw them in the bin. I glance at my reflection in the coffee pot as I do so. MY reflection. My mind races. I can’t recall the last time I looked in a mirror and didn’t see her! There seems to be something on my face. I touch it and wince. Pain! When did I last feel pain? I run through to the bedroom to check myself in the full-length mirror.

It’s off the wall, smashed, lying askew against the dresser. Shards of broken mirror are lying in a pile nearby. I walk carefully over and crouch down to look at them. It’s Me! Dozens of versions of me smiling back from a shattered world. My face is bruised and bleeding; my eye starting to swell. I don’t care. I don’t even feel any great desire to rush and clean up the mess. With her gone I feel like a weight has been lifted from my life, like my heart is free to beat again.

No! Not her!


My hands are sticky. I thought it was just coffee from the spill, and the pieces of broken mug, but it’s more than that. Blood? It was right in front of me but I couldn’t see it…didn’t want to see it. Blood! Splashed across the kitchen walls.

I stand up and look towards the kitchen. My newly freed heart hammers in my chest. Adrenalin screams through me like a live wire. If she is no longer in the mirror, is she in there? Is he in there?

My legs feel heavy, like in a dream. I stumble towards the kitchen door, and though all my better angels tell me otherwise, I pull it open.

My beautiful, loving husband -Who beat you- is lying there like a marionette with its strings cut. The man - who physically and emotionally abused you for years - that I gave my heart to. He is broken beyond belief. Still less than he deserved. I struggle to get my mind around the angles he’s been twisted into, like he’s been crushed into a box and then emptied back onto the floor. All the blood is strikingly beautiful against the clean white walls.

I sit down opposite him. Long suppressed memories open up within me like a magician unleashing doves from a hat. Years of abuse at his hands pour from me in tears. I lose track of time.

When my sobs finally reside the kitchen is lit only by moonlight. The blood appears black now in this light, like coffee again.

Cold reality descends. I’m staring at the body of my dead husband. My hands are covered in his blood. Did I do this to him? Could I do this to him?

I'll take care of it!

A shiver runs through my soul.

I know who it is before I turn.

She’s there. Even in the moonlight I see every beating I took over the years upon her. I want to apologise but nothing comes out.

I will take him back with me. I am not done with him yet. He will reside beyond and learn what it is to suffer abuse at another’s hand.

She grabs one of his twisted legs, and with a strength beyond her broken, bruised frame, drags him off towards the bathroom, there, I presume, to go back into the mirror where she resides.

I sit there staring at the blood trail through the bedroom to the en-suite for so long that my legs are numb when I try to stand. I need to know what’s in there. Need answers. It’s these unsteady legs that get me to that bathroom.

Under the bright lights the blood returns to full colour. It runs across the floor, up the walls, and splashes around the mirror.

My heart is racing.

I move into the room with some trepidation.

I keep my eyes on the floor, following the blood trail, unsure who, or what, I might see in my reflection.

I reach the mirror

I take a deep steadying breath.

And look up.


About the Creator

Shane Dobbie

If writing is a performance art then I’m tap dancing in wellies.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

Add your insights

Comments (6)

Sign in to comment
  • Phil Flanneryabout a month ago

    Yeah, tricky subject. Done well though.

  • You did a great job with this story Shane. It seemed so real. I could feel the pain and confusion. You did a fine job putting the pieces together.

  • Leslie Writes2 months ago

    This is so well done. Abuse is such a difficult topic. People love to victim blame. Why did you stay, etc. It's not so simple. She's fighting with herself...And then her alternate self to do the deed. So interesting.

  • Azharul Islam2 months ago

    Loved the deepness of the story! Reminded me of the film #Provoked starring Aishwarya Rai for a brief second. I have a question though, did you think of any reason behind her husband's abusive behavior? Is it patriarchy or something else?

  • Donna Renee2 months ago

    Wow, Shane! This was deep. I had chills throughout and I absolutely loved your ending!! It was so satisfying! Fantastic job on this one.

  • Michele Hardy2 months ago

    Oh I LOVED the payoff at the end of this story! That was a fantastic set-up: living in denial and having to actively find a way to ignore the abuse and pain....and then going into sweet, sweet revenge. Excellent job. Such a great tale!

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.