Mastering the Mirror

Reflecting the Present by Debbie Aruta

She looked around the house and noticed instantly that the walls were devoid of any homey touches. No artwork, no mirrors, and no photos or any kind. She began to wonder why he would choose to live this way. The only somewhat homey touch was a large metal black vase that was on the table behind the couch.

He stepped back into the room from the kitchen and asked her if she cared for a drink. He said he had white and red wine and which would she prefer. She was startled by his sudden appearance back into the living room and was jolted back into a table where the large black metal container wobbled now on that table. She tried to catch it mid air as it began to fall. It was the only decoration in the room and she was going to break it.

He zoomed across the room and caught it. She hadn’t even seen him move, but there he was now, walking to the kitchen to put the sleek black container away. What was in it? What was he hiding? She had to know, so she said yes to wine and sat on the couch. She was curious about this man. He appeared out of no where at her favorite pub and now she was back in his apartment. She couldn’t remember the trip to get here. Did they take a cab? Walk? She did not think she drank that much and got a little scared at her memory lapses.

This whole evening mirrored another date, another time, many centuries ago she remembered a man who tried to kill her mother. He knew what her mother was. Knew her darkest secrets. He was a shadow walker. Stalking her in the night, chasing her in her dreams, making her scream out from a dead sleep over and over. He haunted her without every being seen. He fed off her dark secret. She was scared for her life and one night she ran into the back woods in her gossamer nightgown screaming, arms flailing, hair a blaze in the moonlight, and I was only a child, but I saw a large dark shadow chase after her. That was the last time anyone had ever seen my mother. I never told anyone because they would know my secret, but this guy, this night, all seemed a little to familiar. A night that was mirrored before perhaps for my mother.

We sat and drank some wine. No one talking. The room dimly lit. He moved closer to me on the couch. I had an uneasy feeling and wanted to leave, but I needed to know if this man was a shadow walker. How could I do something to get him to reveal himself to me? I had to get him outside at night. I knew shadow walkers could not see their reflection, so that explained no mirrors, or maybe he was just a man who hated mirrors. I also knew that if he went out after dark he had immense powers and I was just learning to control mine. Outside though were store windows we could walk by and if I did not see his reflection then I knew what he was.

“How about a walk?” I said.

“A walk? We just got into the apartment”, he said.

We sat down on the couch, he offered me the glass of wine he poured for me. I reluctantly took it from him. He toasted us meeting. I took a tiny sip. The wine barely touching my lips before I put the glass down. The glass!! It would show a reflection. I pretending to pick up the glass, take another sip, and placed my glass closer to him when I placed it back on the table. He got up at that exact moment as if he knew what I was doing and said, “Cheese, I’ll get us some cheese and grapes to go with our wine”.

I asked for directions to the powder room. He said, “Down the hall and last door on your left”. I thought surely there would be a mirror in the bathroom.

I walked into the bathroom and there was a mirror, but it was covered by a black cloth. I lifted the cloth and the mirror appeared to be like any other regular mirror. It showed my reflection clearly. It felt though like someone was watching me through it, so I dropped the cloth in a hurry and headed back to the living room with nothing answered.

He asked if everything was OK. I said yes, but I knew it wasn’t and I said I was not feeling so well and asked if it would be OK that I took a rain check on wine, grapes, and cheese. He hesitantly said, “Yes”.

He walked me down and hailed me a cab. As we walked up to the cab he walked behind me and reached across me to open the cab. He did not want to be near the glass. Peculiar. As I was climbing into the cab I could swear I heard him mutter, “ Pleasant nights dreams”, and suddenly chills shot up my spine. A chill that could freeze ice through my whole body.