Chapter Three


'What do you make of Nathaniel's memories so far?'

Scott opened a notebook full of notes, diagrams, and X-rays. 'I don't know. His account of the murder of Nigel Mathers, his butler, is still a gray area, I believe…He was aware that he had murdered someone, but he seemed to believe it was self-defense…Like he had been attacked. Still enough to convict him…But we'll have to see.'

'What about how his name was covered with blood?'

Scott shrugged. 'Again, I don't know. Nathaniel's blood pressure increased noticeably when he mentioned the moaning and the blood. He doesn't seem to remember who he is. Or, was.'

Samuel nodded slowly, and got up from his chair. He walked over to a surveillance television, which was displaying Nathaniel, asleep and strapped down in a chair. 'He's been silent for close to two hours now. Don't you think he'd be waking up soon?'

'You'd think so. As soon as he "wakes up," though, our sensors will alert us, and we'll go in to talk to him again.'

'All we have to go by is Nathaniel's broken, halting narrative. I wish I could actually see what he was seeing.'

Scott let out a small shudder. 'I don't. He must be going through hell.'

I woke up with a start. It took me a minute to find me bearings, and remember where I was. Then I remembered that I had been pulled into a mirror.

Into a mirror. By who? Or what? Most importantly, was I safe?

First, I tried to sit up. I was lying, crumpled, on the floor of what appeared to be my hallway. I pushed myself to my knees, leaned up against a wall, and inspected myself. I had a bruise on my left upper arm, but otherwise unharmed. Feeling more secure, I began to look around my surroundings, when something caught my eye.

The mirror. It had been on the left side of the hall. Now it was on the right side. In fact, I realized that everything was reversed. It was a mirrored image of my hall.

So I was in the mirror. In a mirror-world of my house. How could I get out, though?

Did I want to get out? Was I safe from them?

Oh, God. I had killed my butler. But he wasn't my butler…He was one of them. Wasn't he? Who were they; who was it that I was so afraid of? Did they even exist?

I had to come to terms with myself. I was in my mirror! This wasn't ordinary, or even possible. I had seen myself in that mirror…A gaunt, crazed version of myself. The reflection had hollow, dark-rimmed eyes…He had patches of white, stringy hair, on an otherwise bald scalp. The reflection had flashed me a horrible grin, and just…grabbed me.

I decided to explore this house, first. The hallway led to a staircase downstairs, with the door on my right instead of the left. I descended down the stairs, and felt instant disorientation. At the base of the stairs, I turned left, right into a wall. It was easy to forget that my house was mirrored here.

My phone was reversed. The digits were backwards, and were in reversed order. However, I couldn't pick the receiver up, nor could I push the buttons. They were frozen in place. I attempted to pick up several other items in the house, or move a chair. Nothing moved. The door wouldn't open, either. I was trapped in a house that was completely unusable.

Or was I? There was a mirror across the room I was in. Maybe I could enter it, and go back to my real house.

I jogged across the room, and took a deep breath.

Just jump through.

I closed my eyes.

You'll do it. You'll get back through.

I readied myself to jump.

Do it. NOW!

I lunged for the mirror, and felt a sharp crack on the top of my skull. It was the mirror. I hadn't gone through. I had only hurt my head.

Staggering back, away from the mirror, I felt the area that I had hit. It was severely bruised, but there was no bleeding. I feared that I might be concussed.

Curiously enough, I noticed that the mirror was fine. There were no dents, scratches, or any damage done to the surface of the mirror, at all. This house literally seemed to be frozen in time.

But I had entered this house, this reflection, through a mirror. I should be able to leave through one, as well. What was I doing wrong? What was different this time?

Then I got an idea. The mirror. I had been pulsed into this reflection of my house through my hall mirror. Would I possibly be able to go back through that mirror? It was worth an attempt.

I worked my way back upstairs, and reached the hall mirror. Looking in, I saw myself. Besides looking tired, and slightly beaten up, it was me this time.

I tentatively reached forward, to touch the mirror, when a shadow in the mirror startled me. My hand instinctively recoiled from the mirror. I saw myself fade from the reflection, leaving the empty hallway, with an approaching shadow. The figure entered the reflection from the left.

Behind me. I looked to my left, looked behind me, looked for a shadow. There was nothing. Confused, I turned back to the mirror, and watched in a kind of frightened awe. The figure, which I could now identify as my maid, was walking down the hall, slowly, and appeared to be looking for something.

Or someone. Me? I saw her lips move, calling out a name. I couldn't make out what she was saying, though. I couldn't hear anything. I assumed she was calling my name. What was she calling me? Was she saying my last name? I couldn't understand it.

I was still straining to read her lips, to hopefully learn my name, when she turned around, and left out a silent scream of horror, at an unseen assailant. My maid began to back away, towards my right side, which was the read world's left side.

Then, she clutched at her face, and fell over backwards. I leapt towards the mirror, peering down to see what was happening to my maid. I felt a sick fascination at watching this. Was what I thought happening, really happening? Was my maid being attacked…by them?

My maid was rolling around on the floor, now reaching for her throat, when her body went rigid. I strained my eyes, looking for the slightest detail of motion, to detect if she was still alive or not, when her body let out a massive spasm, and jumped to her feet.

Surprised, I staggered backwards, and fell onto the floor. I looked up to see the maid knocking the mirror off the wall.

Only the mirror really did fall. In the hall I was in. What if it broke? I'd be trapped here!

But it didn't break. Both the real mirror, and the mirror in the reflection I was in fell, in synchronicity. It was almost like they were…attached.

Of course. This house was a reflection of my house. Nothing can move because nothing in a reflection moves…Until it moves in the real world. That was why I couldn't move anything. But that doesn't explain why there were no people in this reflection. Why couldn't I see my maid? Were people on a separate plane?

Where was my maid, anyway? She had walked off. But she wasn't my maid anymore. She was like my butler now. She was an imposter in my maid's body. She was possessed.

I got onto my knees, and leaned to the left of the mirror. In the reflection, I saw an empty hall, leading to a staircase downstairs. No maid. I checked the right side of the hallway, and didn't see the maid, either. The hall was empty.

It didn't explain where the imposter had gone, but I decided to try and climb through the mirror. Hopefully I could escape this reflection.

This time, I didn't jump straight for the mirror. I reached out, and cautiously pushed my hand up against the mirror. My hand slid through, as if the glass wasn't there. However, refraction of the mirror bent my wrist to a sickening angle. I didn't know when the imposter would be back, so I had to act quickly. Still low to the floor, I crawled all the way through the mirror, and stood up.

I was back in my hall. I was back in my house. I was back in the real world. But I was back in my house, whatever that entailed.

The hall appeared safe, but I didn't want to take the chance. Wanted to inspect the mirror, but I had to get to a safer location. Like a room with a lock. Like the master bedroom.

I bent over and picked the fallen mirror up off the floor. Then, I walked down the hall to my bedroom, making sure there was nobody in the rooms I passed. They were all empty, so I continued on to my bedroom.

Once in there, I was about to shut the door, when something in the mirror caught my eye. In the reflection, there was a small, dark shadow, moving down the hall. As the thing came closer, I realized that it wasn't a shadow, but was what appeared to be a human-like black animal, though it had no defined edges. It looked like a shadow, with a blurred outline. I looked away from the mirror, and down the hall. There was nothing. The hall was empty.

I felt a surge of fear rush through my body, and I tried to shut the door. But it wouldn't shut. My hands kept slipping off the handle, or the edges. It was slick, and I couldn't get a grip.

Was the figure still in the mirror? Was it still advancing on me? I glanced down at the mirror. The mirror showed that the hallway was, once again, empty. But I couldn't have imagined it. The reflection looked too real; the memory was still vivid. I'm sure that I had seen it.

Then where had it gone?

The room? I whirled around to check my room, but I couldn't see anything. I grabbed the mirror, and looked through it. Everywhere I looked, around the room, I didn't see anything, until I caught a glimpse of something on my bed. A small black figure.

Angling the mirror to face my bed, I saw it. I saw the black figure, poised on the edge of my bed, watching me. Like before, there were no distinguished edges of the thing, and light seemed to get trapped in it. It was pure, jet black, with no detail. It looked just like a walking shadow. In face, depth was near impossible to tell. It cast no shadow. In fact, it was just a black figure that was almost painted on to the reflection in the mirror.

In the second that I looked at the thing, I knew two things instantaneously, without any reasoning. It was like with my butler, when I knew it wasn't him. I just knew, like instinct. First, I knew that it was looking right at me, even though it had no eyes, or features at all. Second, I knew that this thing, or another one like it, was what had possessed my butler, and now my maid.

All of these things passed through my mind in the one second that I saw it in the mirror. They passed through simultaneously, as a single feeling or emotion. Then I turned and ran.

I didn't think to drop the mirror. The thing – It must be one of them – was obviously impossible to see normally, but it seemed I could see them through this mirror. Could I see them through other mirrors? Or just this one? Maybe it's related to the mirror being a portal.

I was halfway down the hall when I saw my maid, the imposter, step out into the hall, blocking me from the staircase downstairs.

Unlike my encounter with my butler, she didn't attempt to trick me by pretending to be my maid. She glared at me, with her black eyes, and let out a scream. Her jaws stretched an impossible amount, until her mouth was open at least five inches. Her mouth was devoid of teeth…It was just a vacant, black abyss.

Without pausing to think about the consequences, I swung the mirror around, causing the hard, wooden frame of the mirror to collide with the side of her head. She stumbled to the side, and collapsed through the doorway she had come from, and caught herself on the wall. Leaning against it, she stared up at me.

'Please…' It was a single word, pleasing, and I almost believed it. But just as I raised my foot to kick her, the maid let out a snarl, and lunged for my other leg.

From the surprise, and the force of the impact, I lost my balance, and toppled on top of her.

The woman, who had been my maid, tried to bite at my leg, and I caught a glimpse of new, sharp teeth in her mouth. I brought my other leg up, to collide with her jaw. She released my leg, and fell over. I stumbled to my feet. As I was pulling myself up, the maid summoned the strength to jump at me one last time. Her face, which was now bruised and bleeding, still looked as fierce and frightening as before. Her mouth, which had various cuts around the lips, still had the same sharp teeth.

I couldn't pull away this time, and the maid brought her teeth down, and sunk them into my left, just below my knee. After that, the maid let go, and fell to the floor. She didn't move.

Wincing at the pain in my leg, I checked to make sure she was dead. She was.

Finally, feeling safe again, I slumped against the wall, and shut my eyes. My leg had begun to hurt increasingly more. It wasn't just hurting; it was feeling a little stiff.

I tried to bend my leg. It flexed, but was harder than usual. My leg was searing red-hot, and bent like it was padded by a few layers of cloth. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to walk soon. But at that moment, I didn't care. I was safe. I just wanted to sleep.

Wait. Safe. But one of them had been in my room. Was it still here? Was I really safe?

Laboriously, I climbed to my feet. I tried to walk, but my leg wasn't responding properly. I needed something to help support my weight. Was there something around the room I could use?

I looked around. There was a fire poker, leaning up against the wall, across the room. That could help, but could I get across the room to it? I should at least try.

I stepped forward with my good leg, my right leg, and shifted my weight to it. Then, by leaning to the right, I was able to swing my left leg around in front of me, and limp forward onto my right leg again. It hurt worse after each step, and by the time I was halfway across the room, sweat was pouring down my face.

Finally, I made it across, and I grabbed the fire poker. I used it to support my left leg, and breathed a sigh from the immediate relief I felt. Although my leg still hurt, taking weight off it was feeling immensely better.

Satisfied, I tried using the fire poker as a cane, to walk. I had to hobble, but it worked. Going down the stairs would be difficult, though. But I'd worry about that later. I still had one of those things to worry about.

As I passed through the doorway to the hall, I bent over to pick up the mirror. It wasn't broken. I tried to push my hand through the glass, and it slid through without resistance. I didn't know if I'd need to go back into the mirror, but I wanted to know that I could, just in case.

Now that I felt more or less prepared, I was ready to venture back out into the hall again. Would that thing still be there, or would it have left? I wasn't even sure that I could kill it. Maybe I could only fight them if they'd possessed a person. I hoped not.

I stepped out into the hallway, and inspected the area with my mirror. I saw nothing. It was gone. So, I was safe right now. Or so I hoped. After these last few hours, I wasn't sure if I was ever safe. One of them could be hiding in any shadow, or behind any object.

Suddenly, I heard a crashing sound, coming from downstairs. It sounded like metal pots clattering to the floor. The kitchen. A shout for help followed the crash, and it sounded like a man's voice. My chef? He was the only other person left in my house that was still alive.

Except for my reflection. Who was he? Was he still here? Did he have anything to do with them? He was probably downstairs. The floor I was in was empty.

I had to worry about that later. I wanted to find out if my chef was okay, first. I knew he wasn't, but would I have to kill him?

Before I got to the staircase, I saw something move in the mirror, out of the corner of my eye. A small, black something. One of them. It had gone into the room on the right side of the hall, near my bedroom. Should I go after it, or go downstairs? I hadn't actually faced one of these things…I had only killed two people who worked for me. They had been my maid and butler for years, and thinking that I had killed them made me feel sick to my stomach.

I couldn't go after it. I didn't know what I'd do. For all I knew, they were impossible to kill. Maybe I couldn't even touch them. I couldn't see them, and that would make it difficult enough to catch it.

So, I'd go downstairs. If I went down the stairs slow enough, I could probably ease my way down.

Sixty steps. I'd take them one at a time. I should be able to make my way down in about five minutes. I took a deep breath, and stepped on to the top step, with my good leg. I brought the fire poker down and, gritting my teeth, bent my left leg and dragged it down, too. Fifty-nine to go.

I continued down the stairs in this fashion, each step bringing agonizing pain. I was over halfway down, when the mirror slipped out of my hands, from all the sweat. It fell a few steps down before stopping.

I tried to support my weight on the fire poker, to lean over and reach for the mirror. As I was leaning over, my body weight caused the fire poker to lose its grip on the stairs, and I lost my balance.

I fell over, and began to careen down the stairs. I hit my head on the wall, along the way down. The last thing I saw the mirror falling on top of me, before I lost consciousness.