A mirror is the unwavering reflection of what is, true reality. Wishes, ideals, and self image never reflect, only the true picture of who is standing in front of it.
Prior to the experience I share with you ,I thought of myself as a very calm and easygoing man. If I were to become startled or anxious, it was due to an event sudden and unexpected, or an emotional fog which, during that time prevented logic or reason. On the topic of death, it did not unnerve me to think there will come a time when my light burns out. Nothing in this world had me so attached that I could not bear the thought of being mortally separated from it. In death I also found a sort of human comradery for, it is an experience all must face and nobody ever seems fully prepared for. It gives a great humbling to men, no matter what success they may have found or power acquired during life. As for pain,physical or emotional, I won’t say I didn’t flinch when it was clear I in harms way, but even in the worst circumstances a man can face regarding pain, it is a passing sense. A rather unpleasant feeling, but a temporary one. Not a fear to hold one from the triumphs of life.
I’ve also never been, what most would consider to be, a religious man. Born a catholic, I spent a fair amount of my sunday mornings at the local church down the street attending sermons and sunday school. As comforting as the feeling is to think there’s a karma to our actions, and theres a clear and rewarding path for the righteous ,I drifted away from any beliefs around the age of fourteen. I wouldn’t consider myself an atheist, for I can’t deny that existence itself is a rather strange phenomenon, but the church’s sense of order and structure didn’t match up to the world as I thought I knew it. Their ideals just didn’t seem to meet the laws of entropy and disorder our time so clearly runs on.
I believe my loss of faith came with my first experience of losing a loved one. I was thirteen when my grandmother died. She had been battling an aggressive bone cancer and was terminally ill. She was a very kind woman and as a child I loved spending time with her. She’d give me presents for my birthday and tell me funny stories of my parents when they were younger. A very religious woman, the walls of her house had many crosses and portraits of the virgin mary. The only piece of jewelry she wore was a necklace with a purple medallion in the shape of a cross. She told me her mother had given it to her when she passed away, and my grandmother wished to be buried with it. Our family went to visit her in the hospital, a very bleak environment for anyone to spend time in let ,alone spend their final days that way. We came into her room and tearfully said our goodbyes. She was weak and on many medications for the pain, but she was able to tell us she loved us and she would see us again. We held hands as the priest in the room said a final prayer, but she began convulsing during the prayer, and I remember seeing the pain she was in and the way her eyes stared openly after she had stopped shaking. I had always seen death portrayed much more gracefully, and was shocked by the confrontation. I think it was the blank stare and the direct confrontation with a death which I had a strong emotional attachment to, that lead me to question religion for myself.
The loss of belief is sad, but the lack of a higher power is not what causes my skin to crawl when nobody else is around. I was twenty-five when it happened and it’s something that has never left me. I was a plumber working in the city and had just purchased my first apartment. It was my first time living alone. It was furnished but missing a few essential items and I decided to go shop at small antique shop a few blocks from my house. I had been amazed at how the shop was still in business as I saw few go in or out and the furniture was very strange and dated. It intrigued me as i’ve always had a taste for the unconventional, and what some would say, visually appalling.
Inside the shop I poked around, and had found silverware and a lamp which caught my interest due to its age and visible wear. Things like that struck me as having character and maybe some story. I approached the counter and made a slight remark about the age of the cash register to the elderly man behind the counter. He didn’t reply. He himself looked like he well outdated most of the items for sale. A very slender small man with patches of white hair and sunken eyes. He looked as if a slight breeze could knock him over, and his movement was shaky and uneasy, looking like he was in constant peril just tending to his own shop.
“t-twenty-two fifty,” he stuttered waving his hand over my purchases.
As I pulled out my wallet, a mirror behind the man caught my eye. A round body sized mirror with a dark black frame. The frame had small eyes carved into the wood which circled the glass.Remembering I had been using a hand mirror at my apartment, the old and creepy aesthetic this one held would be perfect for my new bachelor pad.
“How much for that mirror behind you?” I said
“Really, for that one right there?” I asked.
“Yes, nobody buy. It frightens c-customers and I w-w-want it gone. I warn you, reflection you see is not always your own. See people who have since…passed on.”
“Oh, neat,” I said, at the time buying into none of what he was saying.
I should have taken the warning.I should have never asked about the object that would rob me of my sanity and well being.
I payed the man and had a friend from work help me move it into my new home. We placed it not far from the door, in the open area near the tv.I didn’t think much about what the man at the shop had told me, and talked to my friend about going out for drinks after work the next day. He obliged, left, and I went to bed.
That night I heard a loud scratching from outside my bedroom. Not a sound I was fully familiar with hearing, but an easy one to explain. My building had allowed pets and I played it off to one of my neighbors dogs wanting to go out, scratching on a door.I was able to ignore it and sleep fully through the night.
Waking up the following morning, everything seemed fine until I went into the kitchen, which was attached to my living room separated by a low bar. While making a bowl of cereal, I glanced at my new purchase and saw it was scratched and marked up.I hadn’t seen them the night before, but it was dark when I brought it home.
“explains why it was five dollars,” I mumbled to myself, smirking.
I walked over to see how deep the were with my fingernail but was confused when I touched it. It was as if the scratches were from the other side of the glass.I was puzzled by this, but didn’t have time to investigate further as I was running late.
At work, all I could think about was what the old man at the antique shop had said, and the strange piece of evidence which I had been noticed that morning.The combination left me a tad wary, although at the time I wasn’t too startled by it, however I became more interested and willing to make a closer examination.
After work me and my friend met up for drinks at a local bar, a few blocks from my home. After talking about sports and the job for a while, I decided to share the my knowledge of the mirror somewhat jokingly. We shared a laugh at the idea for a bit, however a few drinks later he then insisted we test it.I obliged as I didn’t feel completely comfortable going back to it alone, though I still didn’t believe it possessed any of the qualities the man had spoken of, so off we headed to my apartment.
After fumbling with my keys for some time, I found the one to my door and we stepped inside. He glanced over at the mirror.
“Man, that thing really is creepy,” he laughed as he said “who the hell makes a mirror surrounded with eyes?”
“I don’t know but for five bucks Its something I can overlook.” I said “Plus I think i’m the only person with such a thing, its a unique possession certainly.”
“See if that old dude was right. See if you can get anyone to show up, and maybe they’ll chill with us,” he said jokingly.
“Alright,” I turned and faced the mirror and said half-heartedly “If anyone in there wants to talk, i’m here. I am open for contact!”
Nothing happened. I had felt a bit relieved and disappointed at the same time, being just buzzed enough to entertain the possibilities of an otherworldly experience.
“Aw, no dead people.” he said “what a shame, still a badass mirror though.”
“yea, at least it looks cool.” I replied
We finished watching the game that was on tv and he decided he was going to head home.I got up and walked him out to the street, we said our goodnights and I walked back to the building.
I walked up to my floor thinking about work and how its good I found a nice drinking buddy, turned the knob and stepped inside. I put my keys on their hook and was ready to hit the hay. I turned around casually couldn’t believe what I was faced with. I opened my mouth as if to scream but no sound came out, I was in a terrified frozen shock.
What was in the mirror was in no reflection of anything on this earth. A black haired, naked figure, stood inside. Its eyes were deep inside its sockets, yet dark red and staring directly towards me as if staring through me. It resembled the anatomy of a human, except both hands severed at the wrists, and missing pieces of flesh on its chest and legs leaving visible bone and rotted dark looking innards. The rest of the skin was tight and gave the appearance of leather, but had a deep burgundy color.The hair was jet black and matted. All of this was enough to send a person over the edge of sanity, yet the characteristic I remember most was the mouth. Pieces of broken thread had been sewn through the lips and torn, and it was open impossibly wide like the jaw became unhinged. As if it couldn’t scream loud enough, even though a faint groan was the only audible sound.
It began to lift its arms, exposing jagged fragments of bone jutting from the wrist. At this point I came out of my panic enough to reach for the door. My hand searched for the knob for what seemed like minutes, unable to avert my stare. I finally found it and stumbled out into the hall, slamming the door closed behind me and running towards the exit stairs.
Once outside I lit a cigarette contemplating what I had seen. I had tried to explain it rationally as a skewed reflection of something in the room but I knew that wasn’t true. I began convincing myself that it was a product of too much ale.one thing seemed all too real to me though. Under the head of that abomination, was a necklace with a purple cross medallion.
After about thirty minutes I mustered up enough courage to revisit my apartment, as I had nowhere else to go. I grabbed a rock from outside, climbed back up the stairs slowly, doing everything I could to persuade myself that what I had seen wasn’t real. I got to my door, slid in the key and turned the knob cautiously, fearing that what I had seen before hadn’t left. As I peered in I was at first relieved to see the thing was no longer standing in the frame, but what replaced it led me to shatter the mirror upon sight. There, in a mix of etched glass and blood, were the words “NO GOD NO MERCY”.
I now understand what it means to live in fear, and in this case die in fear.Since that night I have been unable to enjoy any of the pleasures in life and cannot remember the last time I slept for more than a few minutes. That image of my grandmother haunts me in my nightmares as well as when I am awake. I have considered ending it all, a gun, or at the end of a rope in hopes that what I saw that night was some terrible hallucination, but I can’t. For I can’t imagine the horrors that change such a kind lady in life such as my grandmother into the unspeakable hag that stood before me. Those four words have never let me forget, and I shudder at their implications. That night’s visit was not an attack, it was a warning of fate from beyond.