This week, the Flash Fiction challenge at Mr. Chuck Wendig’s blog Terribleminds is a Random Title challenge. There are two sets of 20 words and we are supposed to randomly select a word from each of the lists. That will become the story title. Then there is the simple task of writing a 1,000-word story that fits the random title.
My words this week are “Mirror” and “Curse”. So here is my flash fiction for the week:
The Mirror’s Curse
“Bloody Mary… Bloody Mary… Bloody Mary…”
I was relieved and disappointed in equal parts when the mirror remained resolutely blank. I never really believed in the stories anyway. No. Never.
“You have to say the second line. Y’know, about her child?” K whispered.
I sighed and looked at the mirror again. The candle light reflected from the mirror and created weird overlapping shadows on the bathroom walls. K remained behind the door with her head inside. She looked like a floating head in the half light.
It did not work last time and there was no reason for it to work this time. I felt much more confident and my voice did not quiver. Not even a little.
“Bloody Mary… Bloody Mary… Bloody Mary… I killed your baby!”
(OK, it quivered just a little. Also, the last two words came out quite high and strange.)
The person who arrived in the mirror was definitely a man – the beard and the moustache does not go with the name “Mary” very well. His clothes were red but definitely not bloody. He did not try to pull me inside. Instead, he used a stern and admonishing voice: “Don’t you guys have anything better to do with your time?”
K screamed and tried to run back into the bedroom. The man’s voice was like thunder. “Come back here this instant, young lady!”
K almost skidded to a stop. She either felt ashamed leaving her twin sister alone with the terrible man in the mirror or (more likely, I thought uncharitably) was such a coward that she couldn’t even run away.
“That’s better. Now I happen to know that this is your first infraction and you did not really understand the implications. The new policy is much more lenient than the earlier one. We are allowed to give one verbal warning, but we’ll involve your parents if it happens again and…”
K has always been a smart aleck and could not let this go. The man was speaking to us as if we were kindergarteners caught trying to eat papier-mâché. Now that the initial shock was over, she must have been feeling humiliated with this whole ordeal. “I think you mean oral, not verbal.”
I have seen one of K’s quips stop our mom in the middle of one of her favourite rants about having to live with two teenaged girls. This man had no chance.
“… and it is really for your own safety and … what?”
“Verbal just means using words. You are going to use words, right?”
I was quite worried that the man in the mirror was going to explode. He literally expanded (OK, not literally literally) and seemed to have lost his voice as well as his train of thoughts. “Right… OK.”
I unglued my tongue from the roof of my mouth and said “Ignore her, please! She is a loudmouth and does not think before she says anything and…”
The man ignored me completely and looked at K with what can only be described as a malevolent glare. “No, no. You two are too dangerous to be left alone with an oral warning. You need to get this form signed from your parents. Keep the signed form in front of this mirror and leave it here. We’ll collect it from here. You are banned from using mirrors till then.” He slid two sheets of paper towards us. Somehow the sheets penetrated the surface of the mirror and fell down on the floor.
K was the first to speak again. “Banned from using mirrors? Really? And how exactly are you going to ban us? Send people to guard us day and night?”
The man in the mirror almost cackled with glee. “You’ll see. Oh, you’ll see all right!”
He moved off mirror. The candle went out. I reached and flicked the light switch on. The bathroom filled with familiar white fluorescent light.
It could have been a nightmare, except for two facts. One, I could clearly see the two sheets of paper on the floor. Two, K was leaning down next to them, thereby proving that she could also see them. I have never heard of a shared nightmare with that left physical evidence. I knelt down beside K and took one of the papers from her.
Dear Parent / Guardian of ________________________ [ward’s name],
Your ward, Mr / Ms [please strike out whatever is not applicable] ________________________ [ward’s name], age ____, has been caught playing the game of “Bloody Mary” on the date __/__/____ [put date in format dd/mm/yyyy]. As you know, this is a very dangerous activity. It can potentially open a hidden door between your world and ours. We don’t need to impress upon you the inadvisability of this action. There are quite a few things in our world that can be dangerous to the inhabitants of your world and vice versa. While it is quite difficult to successfully open a door between two worlds, it is certain that some individuals will accomplish this by sheer chance. Therefore we strongly discourage your wards from trying this activity again. As your wards are still minors, we require you to sign at the bottom of this form to indicate that you have read and understood the above.
Yours truly, Mary of Aragon Steward of the Mirror Kingdom
Signature of the Parent / Guardian: ______________________________ Name of the Parent / Guardian: ______________________________ Date:__/__/____
“We are screwed.” K hissed. “How the hell can we ask dad or mom to sign this?
“I don’t know. Let me think, K.” I was feeling completely bewildered. I was still not sure if all this was real or not.
We stood up and looked at the mirror instinctively. The mirror ended at waist height and we could not see it from the floor.
Now it was clear how they were going to prevent us from using mirrors.
We could not see ourselves in the mirror. We could see everything else reflected in them, but I could not see K or myself. It was as if we did not even exist.
Being twin sisters has its advantages. We did not have to tell each other anything. K looked at me. I looked at her. Both of us knew.
It has been five days. K and I are helping each other dress.
We have not discussed the forms with our parents. We are not sure where to start.