Marie Landry knew the Mirror would kill her tonight. She looked up from her journal, stealing a frightened glance at her nemesis. It leaned against the wall next to the fireplace, mere feet from where she lay propped against her pillows in bed. The glass reflected the room in perfect clarity, but beneath its shining surface lurked an unimaginable evil.
She shivered, drawing the cover tighter around her emaciated form. Had the room grown colder, or was her mind playing tricks on her? She looked back down at her journal, pen poised to continue, when she heard the terrible, familiar noise of sharpened claws scraping on glass as the demon emerged from whatever hell it called home. Maybe she was crazy. Maybe she’d always been crazy- a psychotic serial killer. The Mirror laughed, a sound that reminded Marie of tinkling glass, chilling and devoid of humor.
“Stop it,” she begged. “I can’t do it again.” A slick film of sweat covered Marie’s skin, fear warming her despite the drop in the room’s temperature.
“You can, and you will. You know what will happen if you don’t.” Soft and purring, the voice of the Mirror is full of sharp teeth, a whisper only she can hear.
“How do you expect me to go out and find someone? I can’t leave this room. I can’t even get out of bed.”
“No-one said you have to go out, Marie. There are plenty of servants here in the house with you. Call one of them up here and I will take care of the rest. You know the terms of the agreement between us. If you refuse to carry out your part of that agreement, your life is forfeit.”
“I never made an agreement with you,” she said, her gnarled hands rising to pull at the thin wisps of hair that remained on her head. Tears dropped down the leathery creases of her cheeks to spatter on the open pages of her journal. “I gave you my husband, my Philip. My own son has refused to speak to me since that night. I never wanted any of this…”
“What you want doesn’t matter,” the mirror interrupted. “You have until midnight.”
Warmth returned to the room, but Marie sat frozen in stillness. The sound of the clock ticking on her nightstand was an accusation, reminding her of how little time she had left to do the impossible. She clenched her fingers tight against her scalp, crying out with anger and frustration. The sudden pain brought her back to reality. She released her hair, wiping the strands she’d pulled out onto the coverlet, scrubbing the tears from her cheeks with angry swipes.
Sighing with resignation, she forced herself to calm down and think. Picking up her discarded pen and journal, lips tight with determination, she began writing. Her pen flew across page after page until it ran out of ink, skipping and skittering across the paper. She tossed it across the room, letting the journal tumble off her lap as she shoved her cover aside.
Her nightgown, twisted up around her hips, exposed the pasty flesh of her thighs with their ropes of varicose veins. Using both hands, she lifted first her right leg, then her left, swinging each over the side of the bed. Breathing heavily with exertion, she pushed against the mattress, stumbling as her feet touched the floor. She grabbed the wooden post at the foot of the bed to keep from falling, grunting with effort. She shuffled across the carpet, steadying herself against the wall while keeping her eyes averted from the mirror. It was a huge, hungry eye watching her as she lifted the poking stick from the set of tools sitting on the hearth by the fireplace.
“Ah, Marie,” the Mirror’s voice breathed into her brain, impossible to ignore. “I know what you’re thinking, and it won’t work. You still have eight minutes. All you need do is ring that bell sitting on your nightstand, and call your evening maid. That’s all it will take for you to continue living.”
“I’ve spent fifty years as your slave. I haven’t had a single moment of peace since my bitch of a mother gave you to me. You have warped and twisted my soul until there is nothing left of me that is good or decent. The briefest second of joy or happiness I’ve experienced has been tainted with the knowledge of you hanging here, waiting for me.”
Marie raised the poker up to her shoulder, using the last of her strength to swing it against the mirror. The reverberation of the blow knocked her to the floor, but when she raised herself up onto her forearms to survey the destruction, the glass was as perfect as ever.
She lowered her forehead to the floor and sobbed.
“You stupid old bitch,” the Mirror hissed. “I’ve been imprisoned inside this mirror for two hundred years, but I’m as old as time. My name is the sound of the sun meeting the earth as it sets in the west. No mortal can speak my name, let alone destroy me.”
Above her head, the chandelier began to tinkle. She tried to crawl away, but a powerful vacuum dragged her across the carpet, pulling her inexorably toward the Mirror. Her feet rapped a staccato beat upon the wooden frame as her body levitated off the floor. A feeling of immense pressure built within her head, her nose beginning to bleed as the force manipulating her spun her around. The cry of every soul trapped within the vast, black hole hidden beneath the veneer of flawless glass became audible to her when her hands touched its icy surface. The blood spattered and disappeared into her reflection, a sight she’d seen many times before in her service to the devil. Her mouth gaped open, but she couldn’t make a sound. The building pressure made it impossible. There was a loud crack, like the snapping of a number two pencil, and the need to scream perished with Marie Landry. She hung suspended in space for several seconds, her head resembling the bloom of a flower dangling on a broken stem, and then she collapsed, a rag doll, landing in a heap on the floor.
The being within the mirror, whose name was the sound of the sun setting on the horizon, sighed with satisfaction. Soon it would be free of the room where she’d confined it, jealously guarding her secrets. It waited, pleased Marie rested within its depths where she belonged, and comforted by the certainty it would have a new servant soon. Someone young, someone who could offer tribute more fulfilling than Marie’s ruined soul.