A Fictional Story
The mirror showed a reflection that wasn't my own. The pure white, cloudy, gossamer outline appeared to be a human. Was it a ghost? Was it a spirit?
Suddenly, it was totally dark. There was a musty smell. Water was dripping. It was a cave.
Following the yellow light, the path led to a dimly lit room with one computer.
The gray computer announced, "Time to do your taxes! You are running out of time! You must complete and submit your taxes. NOW!"
Taking torches time, completion seemed close at hand. The computer screen advanced to the page that asked for a pin number. Good grief! What?
Daylight shimmers through the blinds, slowly tossing and turning in my bed. My mouth had a dry feeling as if it were stuffed with cotton. The smell of bacon caused me to be nauseated. Slumped over. Wondering, if it was a dream or a nightmare.
Rationalizing. It was March. With sunny days and mild temperatures, Spring had arrived early for a change. Perhaps, it was a reminder, it was that time of the year. It was tax time. The taxation dreaded duty knowing that the tax deadline was quickly approaching.
Procrastination? No! The reality was cash flow. Waiting for the best time to charge the tax preparation service, was time management, strategic planning, and budgeting all rolled into one.
Two nights later, I had the same nightmare.
A few more days later, the mirror nightmare returned. Yet, it was different. While my image never appeared, this time the mirror was broken. With the mirror in large and small pieces, multiple images of a white chalk outline of a body and wet bloody puddles appeared on what looked like my kitchen floor. The ghastly sight was frightening.
Instantly, opened my eyes and sat straight up in bed. Pulled the covers close and tight with my sweaty hands, shaking uncontrollably, I awakened from the nightmare.
After sitting in bed and meditating for approximately an hour, I was ready to face the day. I reviewed my day planner and prioritized the work and errands.
Over the next few days, I almost forgot about the recurring nightmare.
By the beginning of the weekend, I was ready and prepared to take on my taxes. The manila file folders were placed on the black antique desk. On top of last year's tax file. which contained my electronic signature code, was the current year's tax file with all the necessary documentation.
Confidently seated at my desk, I began the task of answering and responding to the tax questions. Clicked the appropriate button and slowly proceeded through the lengthy tax questions.
With all the tax questions answered, I instinctively knew that I was close to the end. But, there was a surprise.
Reading, I re-read the words on the computer screen, "What is your pin number." Slumped over. Stunned. My left leg started to bounce and drops of sweat dripped down my face.
In the next line, it stated, "If you don't have an IRS pin number you can click below and receive it in a matter of minutes."
Following the on-screen instructions, the first step was to set up an account. Then with the cell phone number given, they would send a code to verify the account. Setting up the account, was straightforward, simple, and easy.
The next step was the identification and verification of my identity. A primary document was required. A driver's license photo was acceptable. Placing my state driver's license on a dark background, the front and back sides were photographed and accepted.
The face scan prompts flashed on the cellphone screen. "Get closer!" "Ready!" Quickly removed my glasses, and the cell phone scanned my face.
Within. seconds, a message was displayed on the cell phone. The driver's license and face scan weren't a match. What?
Uneasyness enveloped me. My stomach felt like it was tied into knots along with a queasy sick feeling. As if my heart was going to explode, my chest received a pounding.
Overwhelmed. It was maddening. I needed the pin number. Because I needed a pin number, I had to be identified and verified.
For each attempt, a verification code was required and sent to my cell phone.
Again, I attempted to go through the identification and verification process. Retaking photos, face scanning, and answering the questions were exasperating.
Seconds later, "Your information doesn't match."
WHAT? On the state driver's license, they have my maiden name instead of my given middle name.
Infuriating! Anxiety built up like a boiling teakettle ready to whistle. Trying desperately to control the uncontrollable, again, snapped photos. Face scanned! Information keyed. This time, I included both my middle name and maiden name.
Within a few seconds, the message read "CANNOT be identified."
While in a full-blown panic, I started the identification and verification process again, but a spirit tried to take my cell phone away from me. Struggling with the spirit to remain in control of my cell phone, I reached for the office door. Slammed the door behind me. Moved my weak body towards the kitchen.
My heart was racing. feeling dizzy, and couldn't breathe. If I can't be identified and verified, who am I? Is this the end of me?
Writer's notes: According to Vocal media, "Write a horror fiction story where a haunted mirror reveals an alternate reality that slowly starts to bleed into the protagonist's world.
Start with the following sentence:
The mirror showed a reflection that wasn't my own."
TAXING is submitted into the Broken Mirror Challenge.
Thank you for reading. Love your hearts and comments. You are appreciated.
About the Creator
Barbara J Iversen, also known as Babs Iverson, lives in Texas and loves her grandkids to the moon and back. After writing one story, she found that writing has many benefits especially during a pandemic and a Texas-size Arctic Blast.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme
Very nice! https://vocal.media/journal/what-global-issues-we-are-facing-today
Outstanding Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more
Great words !!! Truely impressive Read my story too if anyone is interested in horror stories : https://vocal.media/horror/the-old-mansion-on-the-hill-73b50glm
Somebody Trying this love story https://vocal.media/marriage/the-fiery-spirit-and-the-poet-a-unique-love-story
The story idea is interesting. Appropriate words and sentences are used and it is somewhat scary. The fact that the identity of the character is unknown and he doesn't know the reason can be attractive to the reader. I liked your story. Well done. Please read my story and tell me what you think.
What a fun take on the prompt! An existential crisis over not being externally verified. A modern day dig that makes you think…
Horror of taxes, very interesting. congrats.
You had me at ' The smell of bacon caused me to be nauseated.' Taxes now that is a Horror story. I liked your final line. Congratulations
Well done, and timely!
Great writing; great topic! Well done Babs!
nice if someone is interested to learn about materialism https://vocal.media/humans/materialism-4kak00tt
Oh God, I think nothing is more terrifying than this! Congratulations Babs!
Nice... Art of writing 👌🏻
This narrative represents a highly anxious and emotional force in the person’s perspective, very well done! Congratulations on your top story!!!
Nice story✨💖🎉Congrats 🎉🎉🎉😉
Congratulations on your Top Story. I loved the use of alliteration towards the beginning of your story.
Enjoy the story is really good
Congratulations on your Top Story
Well done Babs! Congrats on top story 🎉🎉
Dude tax season is a total nightmare! I definitely loved this! Great story! Congrats on this being a top story!
LOL! Great story and great spin - taxes ARE a horror story! Very creative, Babs and Congratulations on Top Story! 💕
That's a nightmare indeed. Great job. Congrats on the TS
Horrific, Indeed, Babs! On a side note, if "...where a haunted mirror reveals an alternate reality that slowly starts to bleed into the protagonist's world," I'm going to have to write another one or forget about placing in this one. I think I need to take a break!