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Light

Reading time: 2 min

woman reaching toward mirror

The light is at the other end of the room. Every time I go into the living room at night, I curse the landlord who thought it was a great idea to have only one light switch. I look around and walk forward, hoping I remember where everything is. I imagine myself flying face forward over a chair and walk even slower. At first, I only see it as a dim light. I approach quickly, thinking I’ve left my phone on the mantlepiece. I bump into the couch as I rush forward and at my yelp a whisper comes from the light.

“Caroline.”

I jump.

“Er, what, erm, hi.”

As I move closer, I see that there is an outline of a mouth on the mirror. A low light comes from it.

“Caroline.”

The mouth glows brighter.

“How do you, what are you?”

“Caroline, you must let me in.” Its voice is sweet and high.

“Let you in?”

“Yes, come closer to the mirror.”

“Hell no.”

I see a fingerprint appear on the mirror and I move to the light switch. Seeing this thing in the dark is bad enough.

“Stop!” Its voice becomes a low rumble.

Two handprints appear on the mirror. A face, long and translucent stares at me. Its white eyes do not blink. Skin hangs off it like ill-fitting clothes.

I keep moving.

“Let me in.”

Two hands, palms forward, hit the mirror. A thin crack appears.

“I only want to be your friend.” Its thin lips curl.

I run to turn on the light switch. The living room basks in a warm glow. I look at the mirror. The handprints remain, but the face is gone. I decide to remove it, I never liked that mirror anyway. It looks way too fancy for the room it’s in. Plus, even if it was my imagination and the darkness tricking me, looking at it makes me feel nervous. I move the mirror up and off the wall.

Something wet and cold touches me. So sharp is the cold on my skin that I almost drop the mirror. Long fingers are wrapped around my arm, stretching to resist my pulling away. The face moves out of the mirror. I see its long thin neck as it curves its torso. I realise that it can only be seen when light refracts against its skin. Skin which, I now realise, is made of minute water droplets.

“I only wanted to be your friend,” it says as it swings its body forward and throws mine back. It pushes me into the mirror and though I expect to hit something solid, I don’t. The mirror swallows me.

I watch the creature move. Its wet body shuffles and drips as it leaves the living room. Once it’s out of sight I find myself falling through its world of light. I look below me, but below doesn’t make sense anymore. There are no directions here. Only the occasional flicker of the other side of a mirror. I see other creatures as I fall, their long damp bodies transformed into swirls of mist. Each one looks like it’s assigned to a particular mirror. Some slide through. Others bounce back. They don’t notice me at all.

Copyright 2022 Rachel Handley

“Light” first appeared on rachelhandleywriting.wordpress.com.

Photo by Михаил Секацкий on Unsplash

Rachel Handley

Rachel Handley is a fiction writer, poet, and Philosophy academic based in Dublin, Ireland. Their work has been published by The Liminal Review, 365 Tomorrows, Ellipsis Zine, The Madrigal, Dreich, Arlen House, and Full House Literary. They have work forthcoming in Martian Magazine, Ink Drinkers, Bear Creek Gazette, and Sonder Magazine. Their debut collection of short stories, Possible Worlds and Other Stories, will be published by Ellipsis Imprints in September 2022. Twitter: @_RachelHandley IG: @_RachelHandley Website: https://rachelhandleywriting.wordpress.com/

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