When Jeremy and Carl find an old antique mirror in the attic of their new home, Jeremy is excited to restore it back to it's original state. But there's always a reason old antique things are left in the attic to collect dust. Written for an anthology for Halloween 2014.
It stood in front of me, it’s huge ornate wood panellings chipped away and dusty from years of sitting in the attic of the house. It hadn’t been used in several hundred years, left over by some of the first home owners. I don’t think anyone went into the attic, because I found some priceless artwork as well as some jewelry from the early 1800’s. It was full of dust and the boxes that were stacked away had started to slowly mould. Clearing a space in my bedroom had been the easy part, getting down from the stairs without shattering it into a million pieces had taken the wind out of both my husband and myself.
“Why do you even need this thing in here, Jeremy? It’s big and bulky and I’m sure we could find a much more modern mirror at the store.” His voice was husky, he had been sitting on the bed drinking his latte, staring at me with confusion in his eyes. “It’s really dusty and broken down anyways, why don’t we just chuck it and start a new.”
I had thought about throwing it into the dumpster outside, but when I looked into it, I couldn’t help but want to keep it. Something inside of me stirred and I really just wanted to put it as close to the room as possible. With a little bit of paint and some sanding, it would be like new. Plus, it was free; so why would I want to spend hundreds of dollars on a new one?
“You just don’t see the beauty in these things like I do, Carl. It’s old and rustic and a little TLC and we’ll be laughing at how much we saved. I would really like it if you would just agree with me and let me have my fun. This is a gorgeous piece of furniture that we shouldn’t just throw away. There’s nothing wrong with it anyways.”
He just huffed and got up from the bed, walking towards the door, “You’re way too sentimental about things from the past. Maybe it was left up there for a reason, mainly because it is actually hideous and the previous owners of this house refused to let it dirty up their bedroom. It’s going to take a few hours to even make it look presentable when we could go to the store in fifteen minutes and have a new one here in only forty-five minutes.”
I turned around, rolling my eyes in the process, “It’s not hideous. We’re keeping it, I know we promised to do things together, but this is important to me. I want this in here, why can’t you just let me do my thing and stop pestering me. This would probably sell for a couple thousand dollars if we were to buy it at an antique store.”
Throwing his hands up in defeat, Carl just stepped out of the room, yelling from the kitchen, “Alright, you do whatever you want. I’m going to go to the store and get us some groceries. Did you put the list on the fridge like I asked.”
I cursed myself, forgot the most important thing about a new house, what food we could stuff into the cupboards. I walked out of the room, leaving the mirror sitting on the side of the room. I needed to go get paint and everything anyways, so I might as well just go with him.
“I have to stop at the home depot, we can get some paint for the bedrooms and for that mirror. It won’t be nearly as expensive as buying a whole new one anyways.”
He was ignoring me now, he didn’t want to hear anymore about the mirror. Grabbing his keys from the chair by the door, he walked out the front door, the cold fall air flowing into the house. I grabbed my jacket from the hook and closed the door, pulling out the new house key from my pocket and locking the door. It was a beautiful feeling to own something as grand at this. Plus, the realtor got it for an absolute steal, it was appraised around a million dollars, but the owner wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible, so he dropped the price down to 450 thousand for us.
As we walked down the driveway, I noticed someone in the house beside us, staring out there window. I waved as I walked closer to the car, but they just shut the curtains. Well, I guess they didn’t want new neighbours. I opened the passenger door and sat inside, touching the dashboard as I got in. With the recent promotion at work, Carl had been bought a luxury model car, something we never would have been able to afford even with the new amount of money we were both bringing in.
Pulling out of the driveway, I noticed an older man standing by his lawn, a rake in hand as he started to pick up some of the leaves that had fallen from the tree in our hard. I felt bad for this already, seeing his evergreen trees were not losing any leaves. Carl pulled away, driving down the winding road to the nearest town, which was only a quick ten minute drive.
We had wanted seclusion from the rest of the city, but still wanted to be close enough to be able to see our parents at regular intervals. We decided on a nice little suburb called “McGrath”, which was named after the person who had owned our old house, they had been the mayor of the small town, but the realtor did not specify where they went and why the family had not owned the house after their death.
“I’m so excited we finally have our own place, Carl. Do you feel like a grownup yet?” I chuckled as he just rolled his eyes, Carl had been living on his own for the better part of a decade, moving from his parents loft when he was sixteen. I had still lived at home, going to school and trying to figure out exactly which direction my life was going to go in. I met Carl shortly after getting a job at the accounting firm I had done my practicum with. They loved me and hired me as soon as I had that graduation slip.
“I’m just glad we didn’t spend all the inheritance from my family on a house, we really have some left over to actually make ends meet for a while, plus buy everything we need. It’s going to be expensive to fill that house. Are you going to put some of your artwork up? I know you’ll probably want some of that horrible work from the attic up as well.”
I just rolled my eyes, he hated everything old. He was for the now, wanting everything to be cutting edge. I had allowed him to buy all stainless steel applianced for the house, so the best he could do was let me put up some artwork from a better era. I could have corrected him, but I just kept my mouth shut, I knew for a fact that some of the art work in the attic was worth a couple hundred thousand dollars. If we were short on money, he would be thanking the previous owner for leaving it around.
“I wonder what happened to the previous owners and why the house was being sold by a realtor.” I hadn’t really questioned anything about the house as soon as the other reator said he would let the house go for such a low price, “Where is all this person’s family? Maybe they didn’t have family, do you think it was some old man that never married or anything? That’s kind of sad” I trailed off, wondering whether or not I would have the same fate. Carl never talked about marriage, I think he was scared of it.
The store came into view from the corner of my eyes, I got excited. Right now, all I wanted to do was get home and make that mirror look amazing. I quickly jumped out of the car, my adventure just starting.
A few hours later and many grocery aisles, we were putting everything away in the cupboards and fridge of our house. It was early in afternoon and I wanted to get started on fixing up the mirror, obviously Carl noticed I wasn’t really paying attention to everything, he just waved his hand and dismissed me.
“Go fix up your precious mirror, you geek.” The small smile on his lips made me giggle, I kissed him lightly and headed to the bedroom.
I started scraping the old paint from the wood, cleaning as I went. It was starting to look like this was going to work out much better than I had thought. Humming to myself, I heard the door to my bedroom open, turning my head slightly I saw Carl standing with a pumpkin in his hands, I had been so excited about this house and this mirror, I nearly forgot about my favourite holiday.
“You bought a pumpkin for Halloween! I almost forgot, are we going to carve that together or are you going to pull what you did last year and finish it before I get a chance.” I glared at him, half smiling to myself.
“You were too busy deciding what spice to put on the pumpkin seeds to notice we were even carving it in the first place.” He put the pumpkin on the bed, walking over to me and wrapping his long, slender arms around my waist, “As soon as you're done here, we can do this together. I’ll just empty the pumpkin before you get there so you can’t stall the progress.”
I just blushed, realizing that is exactly what happened. I turned back to the mirror, “Okay. I’ll do this and then we can start. I’ll be there soon, I’m almost ready to stain this thing.” I grabbed the paintbrush and opened the stain, putting the brush into the blood red oil. It looked like someone killed someone with this can, but it was just the cherry red stain I had bought, I thought it would brighten up the place.
I was really getting into my work when I heard someone calling my name, I looked around the room and heard it more clearly the closer to the mirror I got. I looked into it, seeing my reflection. Before I could blink, the image changed to someone else. Blood dripping from every part of their body, he was screaming out of the mirror, his hands holding onto the glass and looking at me.
I backed up, slamming into the bed. I couldn’t find my voice, I just stood there in absolute horror, watching the deformed figure scream and claw at the mirror glass. I finally was able to scream, yelling for Carl to come here as soon as possible. I just kept screaming as the bedroom door flung open, Carl standing at the foot of the bed.
“What the hell is going on here? Why are you screaming?”
I turned to him, tears rolling down my eyes, “There is someone in the mirror, Carl. There is someone trying to get out. He was full of blood, his clothes were soaked. What the hell was it?”
Carl sighed, bringing his arms out to me and wrapping them around me, staring at the mirror, which now looked like a normal mirror, “I know what happened to the previous owner. I didn’t want to say anything, I thought you might freak out.”
I stuttered, trying to find the words I wanted to say, “W-what do you m-mean, you know?” I looked him in the eyes, tears blurring my vision slightly, “W-what happened to him?”
He looked around the room, “He was accused of being a warlock. They came to the house to murder him, hacking at him with an axe and sword. He was dying there on the floor when he said some chant. It ended up putting him into the mirror, so he wouldn’t die. He’s waiting for someone to take the mirror out of the attic so he can steal their soul and come back to life, locking the person into the mirror forever.”
I gave him a horrified look, “And you let me put this thing in our BEDROOM? What the hell is wrong with you? We need to get rid of it before something really happens. Help me break it, we’ll keep him in there forever.”
I turned to Carl, he was quiet, sitting on the bed, a sadistic smile on his face. Within seconds, his face contorted into another man, a laugh coming from his lips that seemed inhuman, I started to scream but he just got up and pushed me towards the mirror. “Look at the mirror, you’re already too late.”
I turned to the mirror to see Carl inside, screaming as he banged on the surface, crying for me to help him. The last thing I remember is seeing him scream as the ghost of the previous owner slashed my throat open.
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