The Dancing in the Mirror

By: J.J. Cheesman

 

This story begins with my childhood. When I was very young, maybe three or four, I remember I would often play on my bed. There was a very tall mirror in my room that my parents had sectioned off with a very secure gate so I wouldn’t fiddle with it. The mirror wouldn’t fall on my head as it was built into the wall, but I imagine they were afraid I’d break the glass. Since I was so young, the memory is very vague, but I recall jumping up and down on my bed so that I could get a better look at the mirror and see my reflection. I would begin dancing this way and that, letting my imagination run wild, as I suppose it always does at a young age.

 I would imagine that the reflection was another child, trapped just within the mirror, trying to get out. I would do this for an hour or two until my parents would finally wake up and yell at me to quit. But I was always; and still am to this day, an early riser. So a lot of the hazy memories I have from those days was spent waking up early to play in front of the mirror. But I distinctly remember a nightmare I had that made me fear that mirror, and after I had it I avoided it all-together. In the nightmare, there was another person behind the mirror, the child from my imagination. He was pounding on the glass and screaming at me to let him in. I hid under the covers, and hoped he would just go away. However, he persisted, pounding on the mirror and screaming,

“LET ME IN!” Over and over. After that nightmare, I remember sleeping in my parent’s room until we moved out of that house which was shortly after I had that dream. My parents dealt with it, but once we moved out of that house they forced me to sleep in my own room again. After the first couple nights in a new house, I didn’t have any more problems sleeping alone. To tell you the truth, even though my last memories of that house were ones of fear, I still missed it from time to time.

We didn’t move far away from my childhood home, just a couple miles down the road. Yet, my life I’d never been back there. I have just recently been accepted to the University of Illinois, and I’ll be leaving home soon. So the other day I figured ‘what the hell’ and I drove to my old neighborhood and found my childhood home. It was an old, blue, two-story house that looked exactly how I remembered. On a whim, I got out of my car, and rang the doorbell. An old, sweet looking woman answered the door.

“How can I help you?” She asked, looking me up and down. I didn’t really know what to say, I didn’t even know what I was doing there. I more than stumbled over my words.

“I…um… I’m sorry ma’am this is strange, but I used to live here a very long time ago, I just… I’m sorry, I used to have a room upstairs, and it’s stupid but… I just wanted to see what it looked like… I’m sorry, I’ll leave you alone.” I gave her a short wave, and began to walk back to my car. When I was halfway to my vehicle, the woman called after me. I turned and saw her face warm and smiling.

“It won’t hurt if you come in for a moment dear, I rarely get company these days anyway.” She said, and I smiled back at her as I walked back to the house. We exchanged introductions, then she let me into the home and closed the door behind us. We made small talk while she led me upstairs to my old room.

“It’s is funny dear, a bit of a coincidence, but your old room used to be my granddaughter’s room”. The woman explained,

“She disappeared when she was six years old though, gone without a trace, abducted from her room in the night.” The old woman sounded solemn, but she didn’t shed a tear, instead she looked stone-faced. ‘Years of telling the story must have made her hard’ I thought.

“I’m very sorry to hear that.” I told her, and she simply turned and patted my shoulder as we walked.

“It’s alright, I just hope my sweet Holly is in a better place now.”

We reached my old room, and indeed, it was decorated as if it were a little girl’s room. The room seemed to have been untouched for years, the various stuffed animals, and even the bed clothes were covered in a thick layer of dust. My eyes were drawn immediately however, to where the old mirror that used to entertain me should have been, except in its place was a grand floor to ceiling window, blocked off by an iron gate.

“When did you replace that mirror in the wall with the window?” I asked the old woman. She seemed confused but thought for a moment, then said,

“There was never a mirror there my dear, I’m sure of it. When we moved in nearly fourteen years ago, there was always that window.”

I grew speechless as my blood turned cold. I thought back all those years ago, but only three words rang in my head.

“LET ME IN!”

The Dancing in the Mirror

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