I finally made it under the wire. This is an entry for Ken Broad’s Fictional Campfire blog. His challenge was to write a story about an antique object that was fit for Halloween. He requested that we try to keep it under 500 words. I’m sorry that I didn’t accomplish that, but Priscilla told me she’d bite me if I wrote such a few words. I’m not ready to be … well, vampirized. Warning: At least three people have reported being “creeped out” by this story. Caveat lector (Let the reader beware)!
Once Upon A Mirror Dreary
© 2011 by Sandra Bell Kirchman
“You’ll scare her half to death, Jack,” Priscilla declared.
“Honestly, look at yourself…with all those little bits of flesh still on the bones, hollow eyes, drooling head.
Jack Porter grimaced, as he looked down at himself. He hadn’t thought of how he looked; he was just responding to the pull from…from her. He struggled to stay where he was; without a real body it wasn’t easy.
“What can I do?” he asked in a hoarse voice.
As Priscilla thought, he admired how the moon shone on her head, making it look like silver.
“How about getting a mask and covering the rest of you up with a blanket of some kind,” she said after a minute. “You could look like an Indian or something. After all, Halloween’s in a couple of days.”
Jack groaned. “I can’t wait that long.”
Priscilla eyed him curiously. “Why not? It’s just 48 hours.”
The concept of time was fading from Jack’s memory, but the urgency of the pull was real.
“I don’t know why. I just know I have to go now.”
“Well, go ahead and scare her then, for all I care.”
“Nooo,” Jack cried. “I can’t hurt her. I…love her… I think.”
“Well, it’s murder staying on this plane so you better make up your mind pretty quick.” Priscilla stomped off down the street, her black outfit bristling with indignation.
Jack stood in the shade of the big cedar bushes and thought. Not having brains was proving bothersome, but finally he had an idea. Flicking a worm out of one eyehole he walked slowly after Priscilla.
“What about if we make her think today is Halloween?” he said to Priscilla, who was hungrily eyeing a drunk staggering down the street after a late night of partying.
“Nope,” Priscilla replied, licking her lips. “With radio and TV, she won’t believe anything you tell her. Better come up with something, Jack. You know I have to leave before sunrise. Say, can I drink your wife’s blood after you’re finished with her?”
Jack stared at her, his dried eyeballs nearly falling out of his head. He rescued one and let the other go. He couldn’t see out of them anyhow, so no use being sentimental.
“No, you certainly can’t. I won’t let anything happen to her.”
“Well, it wouldn’t be so bad,” the vampire coaxed. “She would be undead then and could join you.”
Jack just shook his head so vigorously that the lobe of his left ear flapped off.
Priscilla got sulky. “I wish I’d never agreed to help you, even if I did eat your brains. They were still fresh and you didn’t need them anymore.
Jack silently started walking towards Norma’s house. He wasn’t sure how long after the funeral it was, but he just had to see her one more time and let her know…what? He had forgotten what he was going for. Then he dimly thought perhaps it wasn’t really her he had to see. He wanted to, of course. After all she had been his loving wife for…well, a lot of years anyhow. But being dead…or rather, undead, changed things, changed priorities.
“Wait,” Priscilla called.
“I have an idea,” Jack replied. “The mirror will help. All we have to do is get into the house without being spotted.
Jack’s frail memory still managed to get them into the house quietly enough that the sleeping Norma didn’t hear them. Jack led the way to the little room that he and Norma had laughingly called his office. It had actually been an ironing room and had only been big enough for an ironing board, a shelf, and a laundry basket.
“What kind of a mirror?” Priscilla asked in a whisper.
“You’ll see. It was a present from Norma’s great-grandfather, who got it from some weird antique shop called Sahara…no…Shannara…um…Sayonara. Well, something like that. They say it’s over 200 years old and has…uh…certain qualities. Ah, here it is!”
Jack held up a mirror. About the size of a tall picture, it had a frame, beautifully carved and scrolled out of wood, which had then been artfully gilded. Sceptically, Priscilla peered into the mirror; then uttered a little shriek, sticking her fist into her mouth to try to muffle it.
“Ha ha, I told you it would do the trick.”
Priscilla looked pale. ”I haven’t seen myself like that for nearly a hundred years.” Cautiously, Jack peered around the mirror and laughed again. It was hard to recognize the sophisticated vampire not sporting her Gap black gown and strappy Gucci shoes. Instead, the mirror showed her as a teenager, complete with bobby socks, saddle shoes, poodle skirt and sweater set. Her white blond hair was tied back in a pony tail, and she laughed with delight as she danced with friends.
Priscilla smiled fondly at the image. “We drank the blood of small children back then. Why does it show me at this time of my life?”
“It shows the best you ever looked in life or death,” he replied. “Don’t know why, unless that antique shop sold enchanted stuff. Or maybe Norma’s great granddad was some kind of wizard or…that kind of stuff runs in the family.”
“It does?” Priscilla gazed nervously around her. “That mirror what you came for? Let’s get out of here.”
“No, no,” Jack replied. “I want to see that Norma’s all right. After all, it’s a full moon tonight.”
Jack wandered down the hall towards where he fuzzily remembered the master bedroom to be.
Priscilla trotted after him. “Full moon? What’s that got to do with any–?”
A full-throated snarl from the bedroom cut her off.
“Ah!” Jack exclaimed as a silver-grey wolf the size of a Bengal tiger erupted through the doorway. “That’s what I had forgotten.” He cackled gleefully as the wolf dived at the fleeing Priscilla. It growled at the terrified vampire, then efficiently slashed her throat. Its hungry tongue lapped greedily, as blood poured from the sliced arteries in Priscilla’s neck. The vampire’s eyes were dull and unresponsive.
“To think I used to believe you couldn’t kill a vampire,” Jack exclaimed happily.
“We are the Werefolk,” Norma replied. “It comes with practice.” She smiled a toothy smile. “The mirror’s done its job, as usual. Put it back, love, so I can properly thank you for bringing me another delicious meal.”