Through A Mirror Darkly
Mary tugged at her shirt sleeves, keeping her gaze on her lap so she wouldn’t have to look at her reflection but just because she wasn’t looking at it, didn’t mean she couldn’t hear it.
“Are you going to sit there and cry all day or are you going to do something about him?”
Mary’s fingers curled into fists.
“He’s only trying to help,” she whispered, talking over the scoff her explanation got her. “He thinks I’m sick, he’s trying to make me better.”
“We’re not sick!”
The words were a snarl that had Mary’s shoulders hunching.
Silence settled over the room and Mary took the moment to breathe through the tension that had curled in her chest like fingers squeezing her lungs.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have shouted.”
Mary shook her head, sniffling to prevent the flood of tears that burned her eyes. It was always like this, she was always doing something wrong but she couldn’t make herself into what she needed to be. She wasn’t strong enough.
“We aren’t sick, Mary. You know that we’re not sick…it’s the rest of the world that’s the problem. They don’t understand us and people are always scared of what they don’t understand.”
Mary licked her dry lips, swiping at the tears that tickled her cheeks.
“They want us to be normal,” she offered up.
“Normal is overrated. If all of humanity had settled for normal, we’d still be chasing our food with sticks and hooting over fire. We don’t need to be normal, we’re perfect as we are. Your husband just doesn’t understand that.”
“Our husband,” Mary corrected but her only response was a snort.
“He’s your husband because I’d never have chosen someone like that. Someone who wanted to change us.”
Mary glanced up, meeting her own eyes in the mirror but the twist of her reflection’s lips wasn’t mirrored on her own face.
“He doesn’t like that I talk to you.”
“He’s an idiot and that little floozy who gave him those pills is an idiot too. There’s nothing wrong with us. Maybe if they were a little smarter, they’d have the same relationship with themselves that we do.”
“He just wants his wife back,” Mary offered up and her reflection rolled its eyes.
“He wants someone he can control but he can’t control us, can he?”
Mary shook her head because Josh couldn’t.
“Exactly and there’s nothing wrong with that but if those pills are here, he might start getting ideas.”
“What should I do?” she asked and her reflection grinned, the expression sharper than any Mary had ever managed to produce.
“You know exactly what to do,” it coaxed and Mary did.
She needed to get rid of the pills.
Pushing to her feet, she hurried from the room, never once glancing back at the old dresser that was the only thing of her deceased mother’s that she still owned. It was an heirloom of sorts that had been passed down from generation to generation.
Mary didn’t look back so she didn’t see the way her reflection watched her as she left the room, and she didn’t see the way its features morphed, skin and bone melting away and reshaping until her own face was replaced by the face of her mother, then her grandmother.
The mirror bulged, creaking as something pressed against it, forcing it outwards as the faces changed again and again.
It lasted forever and was over in a minute as the sound of the toilet flushing echoed through the room.
Mary washed her hands and shuffled back in front of the dresser. The smile on her reflection’s face made her heart feel light.
“Good girl,” it praised. “Nothings ever going to take us away from each other. We won’t let it, will we?”
“No, we won’t,” Mary agreed and her reflection grinned, teeth glinting in the low light.
© Delta B. McKenzie 2020