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Prose

Into (Story)

A vibration. Activity in the house, the first in a while. Movement from place to place, prowling or maybe just inspecting. Yes, the remembered sound of footsteps, approaching.

“Hello, what’s this?” A human voice, so no animal. At least, not only an animal. “It’s a mirror. Marty didn’t mention this when he was pitching all the selling points of this place to the Bartons. What a beautiful frame,” fingertips brush lightly, “but so dusty! Okay, that’s what I’m here for, inspecting and cleaning.” A laugh. “Peggy Faraday, office assistant, gal Friday, and part-time cleaning lady. That’s me.” fingertips brush the surface again. “That’s the trouble with repossessed homes, no one living in them to keep them presentable.” A sigh. “Oh well, might as well get my box of supplies.”

Footsteps receding, returning after a short space of time. A thumping vibration of something set down. That box, of course. Rustling noises…

“Okay, here we go.” Another laugh. “Generic. Of course. Good old Marty, cheap as ever.”

A spray of chemicals! Wait. Ah, only glass cleaner. No harm. No danger. Touch again, a cloth this time, with wiping motions. Yes, cleaning, removing the coating of dust. A pause. More spray. More wiping. All good, all as it should be. Soon…

“There! All done,” footsteps back, “and you’re gorgeous! So much detail in that frame, and not a single flaw in the glass! You’ll sell this house all by yourself.”

A slight shifting, a small adjustment…

“Whoa, wait a minute! Where’s my reflection? And that’s not the hallway.” Footsteps come closer. “This is a solid wall, and I know the kitchen is on the other side from the diagram Marty gave me. What’s going on here?”

Fingertips touching the surface … relax tension; let them sink in a bit. They withdraw swiftly.

“Yow! What was that? I just … I think … okay, hang on.” Fingertips touch, press, sink in a little deeper, linger before withdrawing. “Okay, now, that’s weird. That was solid a moment ago.”

Silence. Then fingertips again, palm, wrist … fingers flex, testing, before the hand is withdrawn. More silence.

“That’s crazy. Or I’m crazy. Maybe both.” Laughter, nervous now, and tentative. “Maybe that’s what it felt like for Alice when she went through the looking-glass.” Another silence. “Are there cameras around here? Is this a setup?” Footsteps away into the rest of the house, then returning. A long silence. “Okay, fine. Cameras or not, setup or not, I’m game.” A laugh “But I am NOT changing my name to Alice!”

A foot this time, ankle, leg, then fingers, hand, arm. Shoulder and hip enter together, then the head and torso. The point of no return is passed just as forward movement ceases, as realization must be dawning that there is no through, only into…

Struggles, screams that will never be heard, resistance as the other arm and leg are engulfed and swallowed, fading … fading … still.

Smooth the surface, restore tension and hardness. Shift slightly to draw dust from the air back to the surface.

After all, a good trap mirrors its surroundings.

THE END

4 replies on “Into (Story)”

Hi Michael,

Eerie and suspenseful, this held me on edge throughout the narrative. I believe in haunted houses and this certainly sounds like one of them. I love the power of the mirror. For me, it is often a portal to the other world or another place. Thank you for sharing this gem, I really enjoyed reading it.

My Best,
Wendy

Liked by 1 person

Thank you Wendy. In the game Dungeons and Dragons, there was a creature called a Gelatinous Cube. It was more-or-less transparent, usually as wide as the dungeon corridor and of the same depth. It had no intelligence, thus was only able to trap anyone blundering into it. My little creature here is an upgraded Gelatinous Cube with a couple of extra tricks and the intelligence to use them.

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