Friday, April 21, 2017


Here's tale of terror #4 in my bizarre little collection of macabre short stories.  Enjoy.

The Girl With The Jealous Reflection 

Darren Webb

Gwendolyn was the most popular girl in the seaside town of, Shallow Shoals. She regularly spent her mornings at the beach ensuring that the newborn sea turtles found their way safely into the ocean, despite the seagulls diving down to devour them. In the afternoons, she read stories of daring adventure and romance to the forgotten inhabitants of the retirement home that overlooked the ocean, providing them with an escape while awaiting the inevitable. Her favorite activity though, was taking groups of children from the orphanage on outings to enjoy the amusements on her beloved pier, riding the ornate animals on the gilded carousel, watching the candy concessioner create towering spires of cotton candy to devour, but mostly she enjoyed running through the fun house and it’s mirror maze.
The distorted glass reflections twisted her beautiful visage into bizarre and hilarious configurations. Gwendolyn would laugh hysterically at how the mirrors would inflate her head with its radiant sun soaked blonde hair, how her teeth, white as pearls would swell to more than 4 times the size and how her starry blue eyes would shrink to tiny pinpricks, enveloped by her distorted features. For one as lovely as Gwendolyn to be so unconcerned by how she looked was just one more of her many charms. She was a reflection of the best in humanity; the best people hoped that they could be. Everyone in town adored her, supported her and just hoped to be able to find a way to be a part of her wondrous life. Everyone except, Gwendolyn’s own reflection.
Where other people’s reflections were simply that, a mirrored and lifeless mimic of their own likeness that was not, in and of itself alive, Gwendolyn’s was very much alive and very, very jealous. Watching Gwendolyn her entire life, the jealousy and anger that her reflection felt, grew with each passing year, for she was only able to watch as Gwendolyn’s life went on joyously, yet she, her reflection could never actively participate.
Every so often, while Gwendolyn would sit brushing her shimmering blonde hair, before she was to set out to save turtles or play with orphans, she could swear that she’d caught something odd just beyond the corner of her eye, that her refection stuck out its tongue at her, something she clearly was not doing herself. But like all people do, Gwendolyn just dismissed this as nonsense, which turned out to be most unfortunate for her. Her assumption was that her perfect life would continue as it had, but it was not to be.
One night, when Gwendolyn’s mother was drawing her a bath as Gwendolyn sat in front of the mirror, pinning up her hair, she watched in shock as her reflection stopped mimicking what she was doing and instead, silently moved, in the mirrored
reflection, to the bathtub and shoved mother’s head down under the water. Gwendolyn shrieked in horror and wheeled around to find mother, perfectly fine, with not a drop of water on her. Gwendolyn turned back to the mirror to once again find her reflection had resumed its rightful position.
That night as Gwendolyn lay in bed, stroking her beloved cat, Mr. Midlothian while he purred soundly asleep next to her, she studied her reflection in her bedroom vanity, it once again broke from mimicking her own actions. Her reflection sat bolt upright, grabbed Mr. Midlothian’s reflection by the scruff of his back and with a twist, snapped the cat’s neck.
Gwendolyn screamed out, her parents rushed in to find her inconsolable, muttering about her reflection killing her beloved Mr. Midlothian, despite the fact that the cat was in reality, perfectly fine and unharmed, even though he was a little shaken by Gwendolyn’s sudden shrieking waking him from his sound sleep.
Gwendolyn managed no sleep for the rest of the night. Her parents covered the mirror in her room and all the mirrors in the house with blankets, as their nervous daughter refused to even look in a mirror when getting ready for the day.
Gwendolyn raced out of the house and headed to the beach to start her day helping the baby turtles find their newborn selves into the sea wanting to put these bizarre incidents with her reflection behind her. As each day before, she kept the predatory seagulls away from the delicate baby turtles as they scuttled their way into the water. The sun shining down onto the water created a mirror-like surface and on that was cast Gwendolyn’s reflection, who was not shielding the turtles like Gwendolyn was doing, but picking them up and tossing their fragile soft shelled bodies high into the sky to be picked apart by the diving seagulls. Gwendolyn ran from the beach and her tormenting reflection, leaving the actual baby turtles to the mercy of the ravenous gulls.
Growing more and more nervous yet convinced that she was indeed being stalked by her own reflection, Gwendolyn arrived at the retirement home to read that day’s adventure story to the residents, who very much looked forward to hearing her readings. Gwendolyn looked around anxiously for any reflective surfaces, but she spotted none. As she began to read a story of high seas adventure, one of the elderly residents whose particular impairment was his poor vision, wheeled himself closer and closer to Gwendolyn as she read of a rousing pirate raid. Gwendolyn looked up to see the elderly man coming closer and in the reflection of his enormous glasses, Gwendolyn was once again confronted by her villainous mirror image.
She stopped reading abruptly as she became transfixed by the sight of her own living reflection in the man’s glasses, setting the old age home ablaze, leaving the elderly residents to their doom. Of course this wasn’t truly happening, but for Gwendolyn to see herself, her reflection perform such acts of cruelty, she jumped up from her chair and ran from the parlor in such a hurry that she accidently knocked over a gas lamp that started the drapes nearby to burn rapidly. Luckily a nurse heard the commotion and extinguished the fire before much physical damage had been done but, to say that the elderly residents would not be looking forward to another story time with Gwendolyn was an understatement.
Now, wracked with fear and doubt, Gwendolyn was debating whether she was fit to take the orphans on their outing to the amusement pier, but when she arrived at the orphanage, and saw the children all dressed and ready to go, she couldn’t disappoint them. How could she explain why she didn’t want to take them, for even she could scarcely believe what she’d been experiencing that day. So off to the pier they went.
Skeptical and nervous, Gwendolyn brought the orphans to the carousel making sure she rode on the horse that was the most scuffed up and dull so as not to see her own reflection on the ride. Then she took them to the candy concessioner for his towering spires of cotton candy, but she made sure to stay far away from his silver, shinny candy spinning machine, again to avoid her reflection. Finally they arrived at the fun house with its distorted mirror maze. Gwendolyn hesitated and told the orphans she would wait for them on the pier, but they said they were afraid to go without her and began to cry that she refused to go on their adventure together. Gwendolyn would not allow herself to be a prisoner of her fear, and so off into the fun house mirror maze they all ran.
At first Gwendolyn refused to look at her funny, distorted image in the mirrors, fearing that her living reflection would once again torment her with violent daydreams, but the laughing orphans finally coaxed her into opening one eye, then the other to see her silly reflection. But the minute Gwendolyn gazed upon her reflection; it began laughing maniacally, and then proceeded to decapitate the reflections of the orphans. The actual orphans were totally unharmed as they saw nothing unusual, but poor Gwendolyn had finally broken. Screaming out with all her might, she smashed her bare fists into the mirrors, shattering them one by one. The orphans ran from their beloved guardian as blood poured from her shredded hands, and glass shards fell like raindrops. When Gwendolyn brought her fist down to shatter the final mirror, her hand met that of her jealous reflection but the mirror did not break. Gwendolyn collapsed in pain as everything went blindingly white and she passed out.
When she awoke, she found herself in her own bedroom, but something felt off, things seemed slightly out of place, almost the opposite of where she’d left things that morning. Her nightstand now sat on her left-hand side, the door to her room was on the east side of the house, not the west and her vanity mirror was opposite of where it had always been. Suddenly, Gwendolyn sat upright and walked to the mirror, totally against her will, almost as if in a trance and it was then that Gwendolyn realized that SHE was now the reflection! Staring back at her, as she stood trapped and helpless in the mirror was her jealous reflection now moving through the physical world. Her cat, Mr. Midlothian hissed as the jealous reflection moved toward him and snatched him up by the scruff of his neck. Trapped in the mirror, Gwendolyn had no choice but to do the same and all she could do was watch and cry.

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