It took a few days to see it. Flitting just outside my eyesight, but there and very definitely following me.
I opened my mouth wide, stretching my cheek muscles, making a kind of “waah waah” sound as I did. My reflection did the same as always, mimicking every move. And why not? As stupid as I looked, it was still an exact duplicate me, ethereal and formless but forced to do as I did.
Except what was that over there? The shifting, rising dark silhouette vanished as soon as I jerked my eyes to catch it in action. All that remained was the bookshelf and half my desk behind me, silvery white walls, and a calendar three months behind because I was too lazy to flip it. But it had been there for sure.
I grabbed a brush and stroked my hair until the black waves crackled, strands floating into the air with static electricity. I kept my eyes focused on the task as if I couldn’t possibly function without watching every movement. It worked, too. Within seconds the darkness slid down the frame of the mirror, curling like a nearly invisible ferret, pooling until it coalesced into a larger, solid figure in black.
My triumph replaced any fear I may have felt about a looming presence following me in a mirror. Honestly, I was probably seeing things. Maybe too tired after a long day at work. Or really, a long week. Tracking the projection of an exhausted imagination wasn’t really all that frightening.
I rocked back on my heels, shifting my bodyweight until I was farther from my reflection than before. My imagination didn’t like that – the looming figure backed off, and I almost lost sight of it completely. Tossing my brush onto the desk, I slid the elastic hair tie off my wrist and gathered my hair into my hands, taking two steps forward as I pulled it into a ponytail.
As I suspected, the closer I got, the nearer the figure drew. Either the figment of my imagination thought I was nearly blind, or it was growing bolder. With a final spin, I left the tie in my hair and fluffed the top and sides, relieving some of the pressure and softening the look. A few strands too many slipped out near my ears and I leaned even closer, my nose almost touching the smooth surface in front of me as I tucked them away.
The silhouette was right there. There was no more pretending my vision was maybe playing tricks or catching shadows. There was a figure in black standing there, looming behind my reflection, watching me.
“Ha!” I cried, crowing in victory, my gaze now fully on the blackness. “I knew you were there.”
To my surprise, the figure seemed to nod in response, admitting I had tricked it into moving into the open. Closer to me than before and unable to hide. A grin lit my face a split second before the darkness reached out and yanked me through the mirror.
My screams were silent, trapped with me behind the reflective glass wall separating me from reality.