The Mirror
by Chris Carlucci

It gave off a broken image of what was not

     When I was eight going on nine, I found in the attic of my parents’ house something so mystifying that the image it left in my mind still haunts my dreams even now as I write this some twenty-five years later.

     I lived in an old two-story Victorian house, like something out of a horror movie, weather-beaten, dilapidated, isolated from town on a hill, a barren land with withered wicked-looking oaks in the front yard and a dense spooky forest encumbering the huge stretch of land behind our house.

     While alone one day I ventured for the first time into our attic, hidden above a trap door in the hallway. I had been told never to go up there alone, which simple command aroused my curiosity. It was old and seemed unkept for the duration of its existence. The cobwebs were so thick and numerous, visible probably because of the dust that caked them, that it made you wonder what size spider might have made them. There was no carpet or insulation, just wood and more wood. The dust tickled my nose. As dark as it was I noticed numerous boxes and trunks which hadn’t been touched in who knows how long. I noticed in the center of the room cloaked in a tarp of some kind and standing upright was some type of large figure. I removed the tarp and waited for the dust to clear before I realized it was a very old antique mirror, probably worth quite a bit of money if it had been kept up. It was very old smooth wood, perhaps cedar; it showed signs of age and ill-care. The glass was too dusty to see anything, and a small upper-corner piece was missing, but I searched around for a rag and began to strip away the years of dust which it had accumulated like steel shavings to a magnet.

     As I drew nearer completion, I was blinded by the pale azure glow which the glass had attained. I jumped back, aghast and stared at the wondrous object I had discovered. Slowly I approached it with the apprehensiveness of a child and proceeded to touch it. With one finger I slowly inched my way toward it until I hit upon its surface and quickly drew away. Reaching foreward again I touched it, this time with less fear than before. The mirror where I had touched it seemed to soften as though it was turning from a solid into a liquid putty-like substance. My hand slipped through the glass and a surge of power and energy  swept through my soul and I fell back with vertigo. When my hand had retracted, the feeling was no longer there. I touched my hand to the mirror again, this time a lot less fearfully. In fact, I felt comfortable touching it, like the feeling which passed through me was a feeling of confidence in approaching the object before me. I experienced the same feeling as I reached inward, but, looking on the other side of the mirror, I could not see my hand or arm pass through. It seemed the more I pushed into the mirror the more disappeared, but I could still feel my arm, so I knew it was there.

     I retracted my arm, quite confused, and sat before the glowing, horrifying wonder for about a half hour or what seemed as if it was, just staring in amazement and horror, trying to figure out why it was there and how it got into my parents’ attic.

     I heard their car pulling up on the gravel driveway and I quickly recovered the mirror and descended downstairs, trying not to show any signs that I was where I was told not to go. Never did I say a word about this to them, for fear I would be punished, but over the next few weeks the object consumed my every thought and dream. The next time I went upstairs I brought a friend with me, to show him my puzzling object. I knew my parents wouldn’t be home for quite some time, so we ventured into the attic and I proceeded to show him what I knew. We sat discussing the object, letting our eight-year-old imaginations fly, wondering if it might be a gateway to another world, or some time machine or something. My eager friend, not wanting to wonder any more, slowly put his hand into the soft, gelatin-like glass…then his arm….then his leg….then...

     He stepped through.

     I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. Another person like myself just walked right into this glowing object and, well…

     What I saw wasn’t quite a disappearance as stated…for within the mirror was a trapped little boy staring back at me with horrifying eyes and no way of escape. His body was frozen against the glass.

     From the inside.