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  • Writer's pictureKatya De Luisa

Old Woman in the Mirror

Just another sleepless night. Marie tossed and turned battling the never-ending barrage of thoughts in her head. She tried counting her breaths but couldn’t get past ten before her mind began to once again roll the mental tapes.

Feeling thirsty she threw off the covers, sat up, and noticed the clock showed midnight. The light of the full moon was shining through her window creating eerie moving shadows on the wall. Something about this night felt strange and she had sense of foreboding she couldn’t shake.

Marie put on her slippers and headed to the bathroom to get a drink. The door was open and the nightlight dimly illuminated the room enough for her to find the glass and turn on the water. When she glanced in the mirror, she heard the sound of the glass shattering. Her open hand was frozen in fear above where it had fallen in the sink.

The sound of her rapidly beating heart pounded in her ears as she looked into the dark circled eyes of an old woman. There was a grey mist enveloping the woman and it was spilling out of the mirror, filling the room. The old woman cocked her head to one side like a bird scrutinizing a worm and slowly began to smile. Marie didn’t know what was more terrifying the glassy stare or the sinister toothless smile.

Time froze as they continued the staring standoff. The bathroom filled with mist making the air heavy with chilly cold. Marie was transfixed as the woman rested her gnarly fingers on the mirror frame. Her skin was covered in brown age spots, the fingers were boney and twisted from arthritis and the nails discolored and broken. There was a loose wedding ring dangling on her fourth finger.

The old woman spoke in a raspy voice that seemed ancient. “Hello Marie.” She wondered how the woman knew her name but she couldn’t run away as she was paralyzed with fear, unable to move.

The mist enveloped the old hag and she disappeared as the mirror became a window. Marie could see a child playing with her puppy, at the edge of a thick woods in the distance. The rains had recently ended, and the forest was covered in thick fog that began at the tree line. Her puppy playfully ran off disappearing into the heavily misted trees, his barking fading off into the distance. Everything was obscured in a ghostly whiteness as the child went running after the puppy into the forest. The pale shadows of the trees seemed ominous, watching; waiting.

Somehow it all felt familiar, something she’d seen before.

The bathroom mirror began to fade and Marie found herself in the forest, calling for her puppy. The cold mist enveloped her as she moved deeper into the forest and the whiteness covered everything even the ground. She continually stumbled on roots and rocks as she slowly made her way towards the barking which seemed to be getting closer.

Suddenly a large animal leaped out of the mist and knocked her over. Marie was terrified until she noticed it was a dog who had the same markings as her puppy. The dog licked her face and jumped in circles playfully barking.

It was getting dark as they hurriedly made their way out of the forest. At her home she saw a light coming from her father’s study. She opened the door and saw a strange grey-haired man sitting in her father’s chair by the fireplace. His eyes widened with disbelief as he said, “But how is this possible?” Confused and frightened she closed her eyes rubbing them. She slowly opened one eye then the other to find the man was gone and it was her father was sitting in the chair with her puppy sitting in his lap. He scolded her for having gone into the forest and sent her to bed without supper.

The scene shifted as the old hag reappeared and began to laugh wickedly. Marie was terrified and like the child shut her eyes tightly. The sound of that awful cackling began to fade away to a dead silence that was broken by the soft rhythmic ticking of a clock; it was gradually getting louder.

Marie opened her eyes to find herself safely in her bed under the warm covers; it was just a nightmare. But it felt so real. The moon was still shining through the window making the shadows move on the wall but the clock now showed 12: 01 am.

She noticed her wedding ring was on the nightstand. It was always falling off her thin fingers and when she looked towards the bathroom. her heart again began to pound. The door was now shut, and Marie swore she could hear the low muffled sound of muffled giggling coming from inside.

She suddenly heard a scream, then realized it was her own.

The bedroom door opened and her daughter rushed in. “Mom, you were just having a nightmare, everything is alright.” A man appeared at the door asking, “Will she be, ok?” Marie didn’t recognize him, but her daughter seemed to. “Yes, John, its just another one of her night terrors. The doctor said this is common with dementia and the sleep medication he prescribed should start working in a couple days.” John shook his head and turned around to leave while mumbling, “I certainly hope so.”

After her daughter left, Marie watched the shadows on the wall until finally she drifted off to sleep.

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