The Mirror in the Cabin
A short story by Anna LaFountaine.
Has something strange ever happen to you and it takes a while for you to internalize what happened? It still doesn’t make sense to me and I’m having trouble trying to understand the reason behind it. I just know I’ll probably never go camping again. A few days ago I went on a camping trip with my best friend Lumi. She’s not really the type of person who would want to go camping. I planned on bringing a tent and sleeping on the ground in a cozy sleeping bag. On the other hand, I found out that she had rented a cabin on the campgrounds we were staying at. “Don’t worry about it, Jess!” She persuaded. “You won’t regret it! It’s still camping.” I remembered scoffing. “It’s really not.”
I was upset. I would much rather pitch a tent than sleep in a cabin. What’s the point? Anyway, when we arrived at the cabin, things seemed normal at first. When we walked into the cabin, Lumi excitedly threw her bag down and admired the little kitchen and dining nook. I’ll admit that the cabin was adorable. There was a fire ring right outside so I was okay with that and the bathroom was clean. I would never have guessed what happened later that night.
Something strange caught my eye and that’s when I started to feel weird. “What is that?” I asked out loud. I pointed over to the bedroom door, which Lumi had closed after looking inside. There was a bedsheet draped over something that was hanging on the door. She pulled the sheet off to uncover a large mirror and I was met with the stare of my reflection. “It’s just a mirror, Jess,” Lumi said and walked over to the kitchen to unpack food we had brought.
For some reason I just couldn’t stop looking into the mirror. Something didn’t feel right as I stared into my own eyes. I didn’t look right and I couldn’t pull my gaze away. “Jess?” Lumi’s voice pulled me back. “Are you okay? You’re just standing there.” I shrugged my shoulders and laughed as my voice cracked. “Sorry, what? I’m fine. What are we going to make first? I’m hungry!” We cooked dinner, which consisted of lazily prepared tuna sandwiches and plastic cups of soda. After our filling dinner, we went outside and I showed Lumi how to build a campfire. We munched on snacks and talked about dumb stories and as we were lost in conversation the sun began to set and the fire began to die out.
As we watched the final embers flicker, something moved out of the corner of my eye. A shadow moved in the cabin window. “Lumi?” I gulped. “Hmm?” She responded with her eyes locked onto her phone. “There’s someone in the cabin,” I whispered. She laughed at me. “How would someone get in there? We’re like, right in front of the door.” I locked my view on the window where I saw the shadow move. “I saw something move.” Lumi just scoffed at me, got up from her seat, and hopped up the porch to the cabin door. She swung the door open, turned on the light, and scanned the inside of the cabin. “Nope! Nothing.” She scowled at me. “Are you just trying to scare me? Because that was dumb.”
She went inside and left me to put out the fire. After I went into the cabin to join her, my gaze immediately locked to the mirror. I noticed something that sent chills up my back. I saw Lumi’s reflection in the mirror, sitting at the dining nook. But when I turned my gaze towards the table, she wasn’t there. I blinked quickly and thought my eyes were just playing tricks on me but it wasn’t changing. I stepped up to the mirror and leaned forward to get a closer look at Lumi’s reflection. She was on her phone as usual and I turned back to look to see if she was there but she wasn’t.
A moment later my eyes shifted and I saw something had changed. There was a figure sitting at the dining nook with Lumi. I couldn’t make out any features but it was dark and it looked like it was talking to her. “Lumi? Lumi!” I yelled. There was no answer. It felt as if I couldn’t move my body. I felt locked in place and I could do nothing but stare at Lumi’s reflection. I struggled to move and as I was frozen in place I heard movement behind me. I felt sweaty and freezing as my heart dropped. The sound of something moved closer and closer as I watched Lumi sitting comfortably at the table. “Are you alright?” A voice startled me enough to make me jump and when I found the power to turn around, Lumi was standing right behind me.
“What are you doing? You were talking to me and just stopped and walked away. You’ve just been standing here.” She looked a bit freaked out at this point. “What do you mean?” I nervously asked. I was beginning to get scared. “Uhh, you sat down with me and you were telling me a story and you just got up, mid-sentence and walked over to the mirror. You didn’t hear me calling your name?” I shook my head. “I don’t remember sitting down with you. Lumi, I saw your reflection in the mirror but when I looked you weren’t actually there!” She scoffed. “It’s true!” I began to shake. “I only saw you in the mirror and there was something else.” I started to cry. “What do you mean something else?” She quietly asked. “There was something else in the mirror and it was sitting with you. It wasn’t me.” My voice was shaking. Lumi gasped and gained a fearful look in her eyes. “Lumi?” I placed my hand on her shoulder. She wasn’t moving and I realized she was staring at something in the mirror. “Lumi? What do you see?” I asked with tears dripping down my face as I shook in fear.
“Jess. I don’t see your reflection.” She said and those words caused me to jump forward in order to get away from the mirror which caused both of us to scream. In panic, we forced the bed sheet back over the mirror as fast as possible and quickly backed away. We grabbed our things, left the cabin, and took off in her car. We’ve never gone camping again and we try not to talk about the things we saw in that mirror.