The Haunting Mirrors

She first caught sight of them in the middle of a block, in the middle of her town, in the middle of the state. Maybe it was because she lived in the Midwest part of the country, but that would remain unknown in any case.

It was a random glance across the street, into the store front windows, and co-incidentally, into the bright sun that was being reflected back at her from overhead. It was this intense light that was a mere reflection, yet strong enough for her to feel it’s heat from across the street’s distance. It wasn’t like that of the moon, bright enough to illuminate, but no actual heat could be felt from it’s reflections.

This heat caught her attention first. She thought that maybe it was the exhaust from a passing bus, or even one of those super-sized trucks with the massive tailpipes that announced to everyone that it was passing, and more importantly, that everyone should look at what the male driver was operating. She could almost see the phrases coming from their thoughts: “See me. Look how far in the air I am. Look up to me!” “What an ego boost.” She thought to herself.

She was reluctant to acknowledge their existence, but then it was the intense light that literally caught her eye. Even their super male egos couldn’t produce such a light in the middle of the day. Her eyes narrowed as she prepared to see what was producing this bright distraction. “Perhaps a mirror on the truck?” she guessed as her eyes were distracted.

As she swept the sidewalk on the other side of the street, she had to carefully avoid looking directly into a rectangular reflection rising up from the sidewalk about the height of a person, and approximately three feet wide. The sun was bouncing directly at her and was more than her eyes could withstand. Her gaze moved to one side of it just as though she was looking into the sky and had caught the sun itself in the middle of her vision. It left a shadow on her retina that moved even a she avoided the sunlit reflection. Walking while averting her gaze, she happened to see the large windows of the store directly behind the blinding image. Her footsteps stopped suddenly.

Her eyes still narrowed, she surprisingly could see right into the store itself, or so she thought at first. But somehow it didn’t make any sense since what she saw seemed to be in front of the window display just inside the giant sheet of glass. It seemed to be some sort of illusion, or perhaps the trick of the eyes, trying to make sense of something that it didn’t understand. She giggled while realizing that she had described an illusion while mentally trying to describe itself, the same thing her eyes were trying to do at their visual level.

As the visual persistence began to disappear in her eyes, she could see more clearly the reflected backside of the figure that seemed to be outside of the window. At the very edge of the intense reflection she could see that it was clothed in a robe, flowing with the breeze of anyone that walked by it, some sort of light, almost a mint green, but lighter.

She kept the image in her view as she stopped walking. She also kept the edge of the reflection just out of her sight as well, trying to look just past the edge of it. That was where she could see the strange image hiding along the edge of the mirror.

People passed her as she remained in place, others passed by the image across the street. She kept her vision trained on the figure that shifted back and forth as though it was having trouble standing in one place. It also moved the mirror slightly as it’s arms, stretching towards that edges of the mirror, seemed to be getting exhausted because of their extension to hold the mirror in place.

Her intensely focused vision became like a scope that became more and more focused like that of the eyes of a bird of prey, until she could see tiny fingers grasping a handle on the backside of the mirror. She could only assume that there was another on the other edge of the mirror, but it’s reflection on the glass of the store window was blocked by the blinding light of the sun coming from the mirror.

But her mind wasn’t quite intense enough to continue the stare down of the alien across the street. A slight movement along her visual range caught her eye and pulled her at her to discover what it was. She fought for an instant, but her mind was stronger than her eyes and she couldn’t help letting her eyes wander along a very short distance from the alien image.

She was horrified as she quickly recognized her own skirt blowing in the wind, reflected by the store window across the street. Something so mundane had distracted her from something as shattering as the alien with the mirror. In an instant she feared that she would never recover that image and her mind quickly began ostracizing herself at her inability to focus on what was important.

But in the middle of her self-chastisement, she also viewed something quite unexpected, and quite alarming, even more than the alien across the street, as impossible as that might have seemed. Intensifying her vision once more, she focused on the floating edge of her skirt, then on the arm that was somewhat still extended due to her sudden stop in the middle of her stride as she had caught sight of the alien across the street.

The edge of the skirt seemed to disappear as it blew away from her hips, hiding behind something as it far away from the front of her legs. It was somewhat easy to tell that it was a vertical line, the edge of an object right in the street next to her. It quickly became apparent to her that it was a mirror, the double of that across the street. But it hadn’t the intense sun reflecting in it, and she could easily see it’s exact edges as it rested on the sidewalk right at her feet.

She pulled her arm back suddenly, reeling at the revulsion and realization that she was almost touching it, even though it had been invisible except by the reflections all the way across the street. She watched the lime green arm of her dress flail suddenly in the mirror of the window across the way. But it was more of a panicked swing, not a straight recoil away from the mirror. She felt something strike the back of her hand as it moved.

It was like a wobble in the light coming across the street, the reflection bouncing in waves and distorting everything that had been clear only an instant ago. She became lines and blobs of green as she was also distorted by the errant reflections. She forced her vision to move back towards the mirror image of the alien as the ripples calmed down.

At the end of the visual rippling, the mirror that had been next to her had disappeared. She could clearly see the storefront just behind her, as it had always been before. She could even see her own reflection of that window in that of the mirrored window across the way. But she shifted her eyes back to the area of the first startling view.

The intense sunlight was directed slightly off this time. She could see that the mirror had been moved just a tiny angle, enough that it no longer blinded her. It also helped her to see along the edge of the mirror, not only into the mirror of the storefront window, but also directly along and around the edge of the handheld mirror as the alien still held it.

The eyes were bright and wide, the mouth dropped open as she looked at it as clearly as if she was seeing it in the bright light of day, but it was a darkened image, as though it was standing in shadows. Then it occurred to her that it was indeed in the shadow of the mirror that it held. But it was the only thing shadowed, everyone passing by, the brick of the storefront, and the light poles at the edge of the street were all fully illuminated by the unobstructed sunlight.

Then it was gone. Everything hidden by shadows and reflection disappeared instantly. All that she could see was her own bright dress standing in place as everyone moved along on either sidewalk, on either side of the street. Cars moved on either side of the lanes in either direction, momentarily hiding her image just as the alien images had disappeared.

“Perhaps it was green that was the solution of the aliens, maybe they couldn’t see green easily, allowing her to stop in place unnoticed by them.” she tried hard to rationalize what she had seen. The look of horror in the face of the alien across the street was clearly evident to her. “It could also be from it’s awareness that it had been observed, or even that the mirror on this side had been physically bumped by the back of her hand.” She fumbled for answers while rubbing the same hand absently.

She attempted a slight rediscovery of what she saw, but was sure that the aberration would no longer appear again. Not even in the corner of her eye could she recapture anything. But it was also unfortunate that she had seen it at all. She couldn’t reasonably tell anyone about it. It would be hard enough to explain with all the reflections, deflections, the blinding sunlight, and the mirrors creating more angles and partial sightings than anyone could decipher within a single brain. And sadly she knew that she had seen it, and would continue to make attempts to see such unbelievable things in the corner of her vision for a long time, no matter how unlikely that it would ever occur again.


Barbara Blackcinder


About Barbara Blackcinder

I am a poet/writer with a need for words. There are so many out there that I haven't used yet. They define all reality and mine when you read those from me.
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