Looking Out Looking In
After several years of looking for just the right house, we finally found one. Well maybe it was not the right one, now that I got a closer look, but it was ours. It was paid for, and now we were moving in.
A fixer-upper. What a joke. I could not believe this was the same house we looked at last week. I do not remember the back door hanging so far off its hinges, nor the small window in the building scant feet away, being broken.
It was a beautiful day, with the sun shining, and no breeze, so why was the tire swing swaying? It hung from a huge limb of the massive oak in the backyard. There were no leaves stirring, no other branches swaying, just the tire swing.
I walked back to the front yard and looked at the gloomy house. Why had I given in so easily? I should have held out for a different house, one in better shape, but it was too late now. The deal had gone through, and we had already given up our apartment. Jeffrey stood on the porch daydreaming about the remodeling he was going to do or perhaps thinking the same thing I was. What had we gotten ourselves in to?
I took a deep breath and stepped upon the porch, and of course, fell through. How come I am the one that got the bad board? Jeffrey had walked all over the porch, and though the boards creaked, they did not fall through. I take one step, bam, my leg goes through and I landed hard on my butt.
Oh, that handsome smile. Jeffrey reached down to pull me up and held me tightly. “Let’s go check out your leg babe.” We had been married three years and still, the flame was afire. Well at least with him leading me...Let me rephrase that. With him carrying me, I did not think I would fall again.
Walking with a limp, I tried to unload as much as I could. Jeffrey would only let me unload small, light stuff. We decided to only unload what we needed for the night and finish the rest tomorrow.
The power should have been turned on, in fact, it was supposed to have been turned on last week, but of course, our first night in our new, old house had been cursed so far. At least we had candles, and flashlights, and a couple of lanterns.
There would be candlelight dinner tonight, but not the kind I wished, since we could not use the stove. There was a stove already here, so we did not know if it worked or not, but ours was still in the U-Haul just in case.
The house was furnished, so we decided to make the most of it. We would put our furniture and appliances in the big building, and our winter stuff in the smaller building with the broken window.
We beat off the furniture as best we could, and believe it or not, there was not a lot of dust on it. Jeffrey spread a blanket on the sofa. “Lay down, and prop that leg up for a while. I am going to scrounge up something for us to eat.”
He looked as excited as an eager schoolboy on his first date. I just had to smile. Yes, I guess I should try to like this place. He seemed so at home, so peaceful. It would be worth staying here just to see that stress that he had been under melt away.
I heard the floorboards creak upstairs and almost smiled. Wait a minute. He did not go upstairs. He went into the kitchen. I could hear him in there whistling.
It was probably nothing. It was an old house and boards creaked all the time. So many noises coming from old deserted houses.
I shivered. I could hear things in the basement. The heck with laying on the couch. I wanted to be with Jeffrey, at least until I got used to this place. I stood and only made it a few feet before the candle blew out.
Great. Jeffrey had the lighter. Slow, baby steps, back to the couch so I would not stumble and fall over anything. Actually, I knew nothing was there to trip over, but the way my luck was running I would find something.
I did make it back to the couch all right, and I lay back down. I no longer heard Jeffrey whistling, no longer heard, the noises upstairs, but I could hear a thump, thump, thump as if something was being drug across the floor in the basement.
What if something had gotten Jeffrey? What if it had killed him? What if...... I jumped. The stereo came on playing full blast.
We had power.
I could hear Jeffrey in the basement. It sounded as if he was tripping over things, kicking things around. I grinned as I heard him yelp. "Oh man what a huge rat. We are going to get some traps for these.” I could barely hear him, but I heard enough to know what he was talking about.
Finally, he made it back up the stairs. My fear had eased some when the power had come back on, now that Jeffrey was back up here I felt even more at ease. In fact, I was beginning to like this place. "Oh, I really love that song, thanks, babe." I did not bother to tell him I was not the one that put it on, it was already on. “I am glad it works. We can put ours in the shed.”
He walked over to the couch and pulled me into his arms. I rested my head on his shoulder, eyes closed as we danced to 'Feel Like Making Love,' by Bad Company.
He had a musty smell coming from his clothes. I guess that had come from the basement. It did not matter at the moment. It just felt so right being in his arms.
I opened my eyes for a moment and saw a flash of movement in the mirror. It was so quick. Did I imagine it? I looked back, and the image was gone.
It was just a flash. Maybe I did imagine it. Maybe it did not happen at all, but I felt a chill run through my body.
"Are you cold babe? Jeffrey held me tighter and I enjoyed every minute of it. I was no longer cold. His body gave me the warmth I needed.
Forgotten was the flash of the image in the mirror, forgotten was the music playing on its own. All I needed, all I wanted was to be in my husband’s arms.
Later that night as I lay in his arms, the image returned in my mind. Who was she? I was being skittish. New state, a new house, it was probably just my imagination.
So why did I feel as if we were being watched?
I walked past the mirror. I gasped in surprise. I kept going, but my image had not. It stopped, hands pushing against the glass. Watching in horror the image tried desperately to break through.
It was not me, yet it looked so much like me. Fingernails ran the length of the mirror and the sound was eerie. I wanted to walk away, yet I could not. Reaching out my hand I almost touched the mirror, but something stopped me.
The hands were no longer palms against the glass but held as if to grab hold and pull me in. Could it? Would it? I really do not think it could pull me in, but why chance it?
Jeffery pulled in the driveway and I felt a sense of relief. I always felt safe when he was near.
“Baby what is wrong with you? You are shaking.” I looked at my hands and realized they were indeed shaking. I was more terrified than I thought.
“Jeffery, I think we need to remove the mirror. It just does not look right here.” I did not go near the mirror, but I knew the image was gone.
“Cindy, I think it is perfect where it is.” He put his finger to his chin. “Maybe you are right. The guest bedroom has a hole in the wall. We can use that to cover it till we can repair the wall. I will move it tomorrow.”
In a way, I felt a sense of relief, but in another way, I wondered over the image and why it disappeared when Jeffery came in. As he left the room the image returned. She was in pain. Her face twisted in agony and I felt her soul drowning.
I covered my ears as her screams reached for me; touched me. Then she was gone.
Jeffery was watching me. “Are you alright Cindy?” What had he seen? How much had he seen? I felt like laughing insanely. Why? Very simple. I was beginning to think I was crazy, and Jeffery wondered as well.
Everything would change when the mirror was moved. Everything would be back to normal. Who was I trying to fool?
He must have forgotten the mirror. It remained downstairs for another week, and each time I passed it I could hear her cries. Each time it became more and more painful to hear her torment. I wanted to release her, free her soul, but I did not know how.
Jeffery had left this morning on an overnight trip. I was afraid, but I could not stop him from going. Our future depended on the outcome of this trip.
After he left I had thrown a blanket over the mirror, but I could hear moans, and scratching noises. I could not escape them. They were loud and once sad, but now they had become angry.
Upstairs I could not hear them. It was getting late and being tired anyway I decided to lay down and read awhile. Did I sleep? I must have.
He was beautiful. Soft blue eyes, and hair the color of raven wings. His smile floated before my face, but then it changed. His mouth no longer smiled but was marred by a frown of concern. “You cannot release her. She must remain where she is. I beg of you stay away from the mirror.” He disappeared in a whirlwind and was replaced by a young girl.
How old was she? Seventeen, maybe eighteen? Such a sweet innocent smile. How could she be evil? I watched her run across the meadow. She was running from something. No, she was running towards something.
I watched in horror as she ran down the little rabbit and slaughtered it. There was no reason for it. No reason at all. I could hear her laughter as I watched the blood pour.
She had aged some. What a beautiful lady she had become, but her smile did not reach her eyes. It was an evil smile, with devil’s eyes, and a wicked heart. She thrived on pain, loved the smell of blood, and enjoyed power.
I heard the whisper upon the wind. “Release me, free my soul. I will not hurt you if you let me go.” Then the scream that tortured my soul. I had never heard a sound like that before.
Jumping up I looked around. A dream. It was only a dream. Well more like a nightmare. I was visibly shaken. The scary thing was that I was no longer upstairs in bed, but downstairs on the couch looking at the girl in the mirror.
I had been unable to go back to sleep for fear of where my dreams led me. I found myself pacing the floor till I saw the sky lighten.
The sun was rising. It really did not make a difference. The mirror terrified me in the light as well as darkness.
Many times, I wondered why Jeffrey had not moved it as he said he would. He claimed to have forgotten, but that was not possible. He had a photogenic memory.
No: he wanted the mirror there for some reason. Well, I guess I would just have to move it myself, but how? Each time I neared it, she reached for me.
Was it possible that she really could pull me into it? I really did not want to take that chance.
So how was I to move it without making contact with her, and where could I move it.
Though it was not heavy it would be awkward to carry. It was taller than I was and wider also.
I could cover the mirror with a blanket, and then perhaps slide the frame, but still the problem of where to put it.
The shed of course. All of our other furniture was in there, but maybe there was room.
Pulling the blanket off the couch I quickly threw it over the mirror. It vibrated then started shaking. The screaming was enough to send chills down my spine, but I would not stop.
I found a rope and tied it tightly around the mirror. Silence. She had finally stopped her tantrum.
I headed for the door and heard her crying. Heartbreaking tears, yet I knew not to give in.
As I neared the shed I looked at the new days dawning. It was going to be a beautiful day.
So, I thought at the time.
Oh yes, there was plenty of room in the shed. Our furniture was not there. What had happened to it? Had he sold it?
That must be the reason he insisted we use the furniture already here. He sure felt comfortable with it. It really was not bad, but I had some of my furniture for a very long time. My chest of drawers had belonged to my great-grandmother.
There were many trunks in here, stacked nearly one on top of the other, and shelves with very old quilts.
I tried to pull one down, but it was stuck. I could not get it to budge at all.
Tugging and pulling on a stack of trunks I realized the edge of the quilt was trapped not under a trunk but something else.
I finally managed to move the trunks and found the object I searched for.
Gasping in surprise I uncovered a mirror so like the one in the house. I stood there