Mirrors are scary things.
If you drank a bit too much the night before, you definitely don’t want to see the scary ass reflection that will be staring back at you the next day.
Then, there’s that whole Bloody Mary thing and do I even need to describe that game to anyone? Who didn’t play that in grade school? Well, actually, I never played it since I knew what I would find in the mirror.
You see, mirrors for me aren’t what they are for most people. Most people use mirrors to check their hair and makeup or to see if they have panty lines. For me, mirrors show me dead people who need help and once they know I’ve seen them, they won’t leave me alone.
I was around six when I first realized that I had this interesting and damn annoying “ability”.
It was late at night and I had gotten up to use the bathroom.
Instead of turning on the bathroom light like I normally did, I just trudged on toward the toilet and something must have caught my eye since I can remember turning to look into the dark mirror. My Aunt Martha was looking at me and she was all kinds of pissed.
I screeched a little girl squeal and jumped away from the mirror and that seemed to piss Aunt Martha off even more. She kept pointing at her wrist and hollering something but I couldn’t hear what she was saying. The next thing I remember is me sitting in a puddle on the bathroom floor and the sun coming in the window that lived in the shower. I guess I never made it to the toilet that night.
I found out a couple of days later that Aunt Martha – who lived a couple of states away with her four cats – had died recently. I say recently since Moe, Curly, Larry and Shemp – the cats – had done an impressive job on Aunt Martha. I guess they were hungry?
At the viewing, Aunt Martha’s daughter Cleo kept going on and on about Aunt Martha’s stupid watch and telling anyone who would listen that the cleaning lady who cleaned Aunt Martha’s house must have taken the watch. But Aunt Martha’s watch was an old Timex and it didn’t keep good time so why the cleaning lady would want to take it I couldn’t tell you. Even six year old me knew the only person who wanted that piece of crap was Aunt Martha.
And like a proverbial ton of bricks, I remembered seeing Aunt Martha in my bathroom mirror and her pointing her wrist and how pissed she had been and I knew she had been pissed because she was missing her watch.
What the heck was I supposed to do about my dead Aunt’s piece of crap watch?
So, I forgot about the watch. I went to school. I went to my Brownies meetings. Basically, I did all of the stuff that normal little girls did.
Then one night at dinner, I drank a bit too much tea and of course needed to go to the bathroom that night.
I took precautions this time.
I snaked my arm into the bathroom and ran my hand up and down the wall until I found the light switch. I kept my eyes squeezed shut to make sure that I couldn’t see even a corner of that mirror and once I heard the reassuring pop of the switch hitting home, I did my business and went back to bed.
But wouldn’t you know it? I glanced at my bedroom mirror right before crawling back under my covers and dammit if Aunt Martha wasn’t scowling at me from that mirror.
When that happens to me now, when I have a rude spirit, I refuse to even look at them. I treat them like rude kids or rude dogs – ignore their asses until they change their crappy attitude. But back then, I was so screwed up about seeing old Aunt Martha – who I had just seen laid out in her fake gold casket two days before – in my bedroom mirror that I burst into tears and begged her to tell me what she wanted.
Aunt Martha tapped at her wrist like an impatient person who’s trying to get you to hurry up. She tapped and I cried.
Tap, tap, tap.
Then she looked at me with her jaw set and if I could have seen her feet [did she even have feet?] then she was stomping them like a two year old.
I told her that I didn’t know what she wanted from me. Why couldn’t I hear her? Was I dreaming?
Eventually, Aunt Martha must have gotten pretty tired of our game a charades since the old hag flipped me off and kind of faded.
Seriously? What kind of old dead aunt flips off their six year old niece? That’s just rude.
I pulled my comforter over my head and cried myself to sleep.
The next day my mom took me with her when she went to clear out Aunt Martha’s house. Luckily, the four cats had been evicted. Cloe was in the family way and far too delicate to deal with all of her mother’s stuff, so my mom volunteered her services – and mine.
We boxed up breakables until my fingers were black from newsprint.
We boxed up linens. We threw out about a millennium’s worth of old magazines. Playboy? Really, Aunt Martha?
We went through each bedroom and cleaned out the closets.
All in all, we had a very productive day and were proud of ourselves.
I flopped down on the threadbare, cat hair covered couch with about all the force my little six year old body could muster and jumped right back up when something sharp stuck me in the butt.
I screamed and my mom dropped one of Aunt Martha’s prized candy dishes that Mom had been putting in the last box to be taped up. Of course the candy dish shattered into about a million pieces and Mom cursed a blue streak but my butt still hurt!
I glared at the couch fully expecting to see a spider or a dagger or a knitting needle – even though Aunt Martha didn’t knit so that was a weird thought – but guess what I saw?
You got it. That stupid fake silver Timex. And the damn thing was still working – though it was about five minutes off.
That night before I went to bed, I turned off all of my lights and stood in front of my bedroom mirror.
I can remember shaking a little bit since being in front of that mirror in the dark was just about the last place in the world I wanted to be.
“Aunt Martha?” I whispered it.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t want her to show up. I’m pretty sure I was just calling her so I could think, “Well, at least I tried”. But Aunt Martha showed up. Actually, she kind of appeared…materialize? Oh whatever. There was this smoky stuff like fog and then she was staring right back at me.
Aunt Martha had her hands on her hips and she was in just about the same mood that she had been in the last time I had seen her.
She started in with her mime hollering and I was more than just a bit happy that I couldn’t hear the old bitty since her screaming tirades were legendary in my family.
How I mustered up the courage to stare her down, I just don’t know but I let her get it all out of her system. When she finally shut up her whole silent bitch fest, I dangled her Timex in front of the mirror and smiled a sly smile.
Aunt Martha lunged toward me like she was going to come through the mirror and I jumped back so fast that I dropped the Timex. I picked it back up and I’ll be damned if I hadn’t cracked the stupid glass on that stupid watch and the stupid thing was still ticking away.
Aunt Martha gave me a stern look and then cracked a smile. She gave me a thumbs up – I never realized Aunt Martha had such expressive hands – and she just faded away.
I still have that stupid watch with its stupid cracked crystal that still keeps its stupid time. But, I haven’t seen Aunt Martha in twenty years and if I have to keep this stupid watch for the rest of my life so that I never have to see that crazy cat lady in my mirror again, well, I’m alright with that.
Now, if only I could get all of these other people in my mirror would leave me alone…
This is a work of fiction. It is MY work of fiction and my concept. Please don’t steal it. Not only would it hurt my feelings but stealing makes you a bad person. And, while I don’t see dead people in mirror, I still refuse to look in mirrors when the room is dark.