Lost Reflection

It’s been happening for about a month now. Whenever I stand in front of a reflective surface I see it behind me briefly before it disappears from view. I have no idea what it is, but it always manages to evade me whenever I look for it.

When I first noticed it I didn’t pay much attention, figuring that it was probably just a trick of the light. But then I began seeing it more frequently, and every time I turn around it’s gone. After several days and nights of glimpsing, turning, and wondering, I began to get more than a bit freaked out. Now I know it’s no trick of the light or my imagination. Something is there in every reflective surface I look into.

I once even feared going into the bathroom or looking out a window lest I see the bright eyes and slinking form peering at me again from its dark corner. Even when I close the bathroom door or move something in between myself and a window, I can still feel it there watching me. No matter how much I try to avoid or ignore it, I always know it is there, seemingly waiting in the shadows for the perfect moment to strike. I don’t dare tell anyone; I’m not going to risk making a fool of myself.

For the first couple of weeks I live like this, with constant paranoia and an almost irrational fear of my reflection. But eventually I realize that whatever it was, if it wants to harm me it would have already done so. After a few days of relaying this reassuring fact in my head each time I stepped up to the bathroom mirror, I begin to treat the sightings as though it is as mundane as a pigeon. Now I’m at the point where I sometimes talk to it.

“Hey there, buddy. Have a good night’s sleep?” or “I’m going out for a smoothie do you want one?”

Of course, it never responds. Although every once in a while it stays around for a few seconds longer than usual before hiding again. It’s been a strange few weeks or so; I know the being is there, but I don’t care at all. It is a part of my every day routine.

I come home from work late and begin readying up for bed. I step into the bathroom, not even bothering to glance into the mirror as I get my toothbrush and toothpaste out. I am just raising the brush to my mouth when I look up at the mirror and freeze.

There it is.

It isn’t hiding behind the door in the edges of the shadows as it usually does; no, it is right there standing in the doorway. This is the first time I have ever had a full view of it, and if I had known what it truly looked like, I would have never been so casual about it before.

It is tall, gaunt, and humanoid in shape, with a head like a snake’s. Coarse brown fur covers its body, broken by scaly spines along its arms, legs, and neck. Its eyes burn out a piercing yellow, with sleek wolf-like ears placed on the side of its head. Worst of all is its mouth: a skeletal, fanged grin that stretches across its hideous face.

Going on my first instinct, I whirl around, expecting its vicious jaws to be the last thing I see. But to my surprise, there is nothing there. I even scramble to the door to look around, but my house is as normal and quiet as usual. It couldn’t have hidden that quickly, could it? I turn back around and give a short scream as I see it now standing directly behind me, its long, black claws raised up above my shoulders. I spin around, punching out and hitting nothing but air. My heart pounding and my mind in a panic, I look back at the mirror again, not knowing what to expect.

Then it happens. As if in a dream, I stand transfixed as the monster latches its claws onto my reflection’s neck, yanking it back. I reach up and feel my own neck, but there is nothing. No pain, no grip. It’s as if I am watching a horror movie in my mirror. My reflection kicks and flails about frantically, its face a mask of pure fear and agony as the claws dig deeper into its shoulders and the beast begins pulling it out the bathroom door.

In a sudden burst of uncanny protectiveness for my own reflection, I whirl around and slam the bathroom door shut, hoping that it will halt the creature. But when I turn back, the door in the mirror is still open, and my reflection is now desperately clinging to the doorframe as blood spills down its body.

I can never describe the sheer horror of seeing yourself –even just a reflection of yourself- being brutally attacked and not being able to do anything about it. Then for the first time since the attack had begun, my reflection looks at up me, right into my eyes with its terror-stricken gaze. It mouths one word, “Help…” before going limp and being dragged off into the blackness beyond the doorframe.

I stand there for what seems like hours, my whole body quaking, and tears flowing freely down my face. My mind is totally numb as I gaze into the empty mirror.

I have no reflection.

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