include_once("common_lab_header.php");
Excerpt for Mirror Mirror by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



A mirror of questionable origins appears out of nowhere in a shipment of furniture. It calls to those it finds compatible. The owners soon find out why, and wish they hadn’t. Can a mirror actually be possessed? What happens to the people it encounters?



This chilling story takes place over several decades as the mirror becomes the possession of many different people. Who is immune from the call of the mirror, and what is it in the mirror that beckons? Pray you don’t find out...




KUDOS FOR MIRROR, MIRROR



In Mirror, Mirror by Leonardus G. Rougoor, everyone who comes into close contact with an ebony-framed mirror is in danger of disappearing forever. Over the decades, the mirror calls to certain people, who have no idea of the danger they are in. Buying the mirror comes with a price far more than any money paid for it--a price no one would willingly pay if they knew the true cost. Well written, fast paced, and chilling, this is, in my opinion, one of the best books the author has released so far. A really great read. ~ Taylor Jones, The Review Team of Taylor Jones & Regan Murphy



Mirror, Mirror by Leonardus G. Rougoor is an excellent example of how very talented and versatile this author really is. The story follows the ownership of an unusual mirror, which is made of smoked glass framed in ebony. What the buyers of the mirror don’t realize, until it’s too late, is that the mirror is evil and means them harm. Can they resist it? And what happens to them if they can’t? Is the mirror possessed, or is there something evil inside it? Beautiful and unique, the mirror ensnares many innocent victims, who thought only of how beautiful and exotic it was, and what a great deal they got on it, not knowing the real price was yet to be paid. I was very impressed with Mirror, Mirror. Chilling, intense, and compelling, the story grabs you by the throat and holds on from beginning to end. You won’t be able to put it down. ~ Regan Murphy, The Review Team of Taylor Jones & Regan Murphy







OTHER BOOKS

BY

LEONARDUS G. ROUGOOR

AND

BLACK OPAL BOOKS



Waiting in the Shadows



The Clock



The Chase



The Murderer and the Lost Treasurer



The Revelation




MIRROR, MIRROR



Leonardus G. Rougoor



A Black Opal Books Publication

Smashwords Edition



Copyright © 2019 by Leonardus G. Rougoor

Cover Design by Jackson Cover Designs

All cover art copyright © 2019

All Rights Reserved

EBOOK ISBN: 9781644370643



This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.




Dedicated to my dear friends,

Marita, Maureen, Bill, Karlina, Elli, and Richard.




Mirror, Mirror, on the wall,

Old and young, it does call.

Pray the Lord your soul to keep,

For it beckons while you sleep.





PREFACE



James parked the car on the side of the road. Getting out, he walked unsteadily toward the garden outside what he knew to be Margaret’s bedroom. Slowly, being careful not to make any noise, he snuck toward the French doors. When he felt safe he leaned close to the glass. Looking through the window pane with anticipation, he saw the sleeping form of the girl he wanted.

Off to the side, he noticed a slight glow in the mirror on the wall above the dresser. There seemed to be some movement reflected in it. Suddenly, he saw something unholy in the glass of the mirror, and immediately there was a sensation of extreme pain in his head.

As fear took over, he screamed in agony, running away from the house. The swing in the garden wasn’t even seen, and he hit the protruding upper support beam with his head. Falling to the ground, he cursed and tried to regain his footing. The fear in him was so great that he didn’t even feel the gash on his forehead.

Stumbling off the farmer’s property, James ran to the car. The lights had come on in the house, and the front door was opened. James didn’t even see the man holding a shotgun in his hands as he sped away.

The only thing in James’s mind was that he had to get away from there. He knew, without a doubt, that he would never return to that place. His hands were trembling uncontrollably, and he almost drove off the road into the ditch several times.






CHAPTER 1



New York, New York, 1912:



“Come on, Bobby, we have to go. Mom and Dad are leaving,” Jenny yelled. “Hurry, they’re getting me a new dresser.”

“Awright, awright, I’m coming. Gee whiz, what’s the big rush? It’s just a place to put your stuff,” Bobby returned with a sigh.

Out the front door they went, with Jenny, thirteen years old, bouncing up and down with excitement. Bobby brought up the rear at a much slower pace. They got into a shiny two-year-old Packard. This vehicle was their father’s pride and joy. He owned several stores that sold ladies clothes and was fairly successful so he could afford this kind of luxury.

All the neighbors were so envious when Father drove it home for the first time, Jenny thought as she got into the back seat with her younger brother. Because of the success of the ladies stores, Mother always dressed quite stylishly. Others had to pay full price for clothes, but Father acquired them wholesale and sometimes for even less if he could find a defect. Father, of course, didn’t let Mother know there was a defect.

Father drove slowly making sure everyone around could see him in the black 1910 Packard. It was 1912, and very few people could afford an automobile such as this. It was wonderful living in New York City. Now and then when he had time, he would drive the family to Central Park to spend the day and sometimes they even ended up at Coney Island, if the day started early enough.

That day they were going to visit a friend of their father’s who sold furniture. The two men bartered back and forth, giving each other far better deals than regular customers got. The streets were a little rough, but it was far nicer in the automobile than it was riding in a horse-drawn carriage like they used to do. It was also far quicker getting to their destinations.

After half an hour of navigating the streets to the store, they finally arrived, parking in front of the sign, Benson’s Furniture. The usual people stopped to admire the car, but Father walked right past them without a word.

“Come, come, children, we don’t have all day you know. I have a business to run,” he said as he opened the door leading into the large store.

“Good morning, Marcus. How do you do, Abigail?” the store owner said as the Weatherbys entered.

“Good morning, Franklin. We’re here to look at a dresser for Jenny. Can you show us what you have?” Marcus asked.

Leading the family to the section reserved for bedroom furniture, Franklin chatted with Marcus about business. Bobby, ten years old, got distracted, as usual. He stopped in front of a bunk bed set. He wondered if he had a brother, who would get the top bunk.

Jenny was shown the inventory of dressers available. She inspected each with a critical eye. She knew what she liked and what she wanted. As Jenny checked one after the other, she dismissed most and reserved judgment on only two.

Coming back and opening drawers in each she finally decided on one, except there was a slight problem, as far as this young lady was concerned.

“Mother, may I speak with you please?”

“Yes, dear, what is it?” Abigail asked her daughter.

“I like these two,” she said, pointing her finger at the ones that were her favorites. “The problem is that the one I really want doesn’t have a mirror. A mirror is such an important thing as you well know, Mother.”

“I’ll speak with Mr. Benson. He may be able to help you.” Turning to face the proprietor, she asked, “Oh, Mr. Benson, may I have a moment of your time?”

“Why, certainly,” he replied as he walked over. “Have you made a choice already, Jenny?”

“I have, sort of. I like these two here,” she said, pointing again to her favorites. “But I really, really like this one. The only thing wrong with it is that there’s no mirror.”

Oh, I see. That does present a problem, doesn’t it? I have a few in the back that might do. Why don’t you come with me and you can decide if any will suit your needs,” he said as he led the way to the storeroom.

Abigail and Marcus followed the pair as they went to inspect the much-needed mirror. Marcus thought, Gosh, twelve years old and she is already so much like her mother.

Franklin made his way past the crated items that would soon be put into the showroom. At the side, off to the right, were several mirrors that he proceeded to show Jenny.

“The dresser you have chosen is made of a rather dark wood, so in my opinion, a dark mirror would be the best choice. Do you agree, Jenny?”

“I do, Mr. Benson, sir.”

“I have two here that may be suitable. Do you like either of them?” he asked the well-mannered young lady.

Oh, they are beautiful, but do you have any others?”

“I’m sorry to say that--” He stopped in mid-sentence and thought, as an idea came to mind. “There is one that was sent here by mistake. It is a rather odd mirror, and I wasn’t sure you would like it. Here let me show it to you.”

With this, he moved a crate out of the way and pulled a mirror from behind a piece of packing. Holding it in two hands, he grunted with effort as he lifted a truly unique mirror.

“This one is made from a wood imported from Africa. It’s called Ebony and is a very strong exotic wood. As you can see it has a very different style to it and almost looks a trifle lopsided. I checked it over, and it really is uniform. It’s the texture and coloring of the wood that makes it look odd. The glass is also unique as it has a smoked effect in it. Kind of spooky, don’t you think, Jenny?”

A warm feeling came over Jenny. “I absolutely love it. Can we get this one, Father, please?” she asked as she gave him that special pleading look, the same one that worked so well when Abigail used it.

Gosh, Jenny, it is a trifle different. Do you really think it will look good with the dresser for your room?”

“Oh, yes, indeed it will, dear Father,” she said with a smile.

Turning to Franklin, Marcus asked, “Do you know anything about it?”

“I’ve checked it over and there are no markings indicating who made it or where it was produced. It is of very good quality. The piece came here by mistake, and even the shipper doesn’t recall anything about it. It’s almost as if it appeared in the shipment out of thin air. I can let you have for a very reasonable price,” he said.

The two men bartered back and forth and came to an agreement. The mirror was brought out and placed on the dresser, just to make sure it looked all right. Jenny squealed with delight as she visualized it in her room. Delivery preparations were made, and Jenny was one happy young lady.

It took several long days for the dresser and mirror to arrive and be carried by two workmen up into Jenny’s bedroom. The men had been instructed to mount the mirror on the wall above where the dresser was to be placed. Jenny had decided ahead of time the best spot for the dresser and so it took very little time for the mirror to be hung in its proper place.

When it was all finished and the packing materials were removed, Jenny sat on her bed. Looking at her new treasures. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a slight movement in the mirror. She was actually looking at the dresser when it happened. Stunned for a moment, she approached it and gazed at her reflection in the smoky glass. Taking a hard look at this beautiful mirror, she realized that the open window off to the side must have had a light breeze come through it and rustled something in the room. This must have been what she saw in the glass. Funny thing was, she never felt the breeze.

Her friends would be so envious of her. None of them had anything quite this exotic. “I love my mother and father,” she said softly to herself.

The door opened and Bobby entered the room.

Jenny scowled. “You’re supposed to knock before you come into my room. You know that, Bobby.”

“Ah, geez, I forgot. What’s the big deal anyway?”

“You’re just supposed to, so please do it from now on,” she retorted.

He looked at the new dresser and then the mirror. “Why did you pick this one, it’s so dark? How can you see anything in it?” His head reached just high enough to see his face and that was about all.

He saw nothing special there so he left. Jenny walked over to her doll house and played make-believe with her favorites. In the mirror, a shadow moved, but Jenny was unaware of it.

“Jenny dear,” her mother called. “It’s time to come down for supper.”

Off she went, closing the door behind her. Bobby was already at the table, but his mother had a word to say.

“Bobby, your hands are filthy, please wash them, and use soap this time.”

“Awh, Mom, I washed them a little while ago.” Receiving a look, he said, “Okay, okay. I’ll do it again, geez.”

Supper consisted of roast beef with potatoes and carrots. Marcus and Abigail chatted as the children were silent and ate. Desert was a slice of apple pie and a glass of milk, accompanying the evening meal. Marcus had a business acquaintance coming over shortly, so the children were asked to go upstairs.

“For heaven’s sake, please be quiet.”

School was out for the summer, which made Bobby happy, although Jenny missed her friends. As the two ran up the stairs, Jenny announced that she was going to have a bath, and Bobby occupied himself in the temporary tent made from a bed sheet in his room.

Once the water was drawn, she got in and relaxed in the fragrant bubbles. Now and then she scooped up a handful and blew them into the air to land at the other end of the tub. After half an hour, she was eager to cast her eyes on her new dresser and possibly rearrange her clothes in the drawers.

Drying off and putting her nightgown on, she entered her bedroom. There it was, the beautiful new piece of furniture and the wonderful mirror hanging on the wall directly above it. She studied the looking glass, inspecting every detail. She could see that it was a very-well-made item and wondered how it came to be included in the shipment to Benson’s Furniture. There must have been a mix up when the workers loaded the other things to be shipped.

As she walked toward the closet, there was the movement of a shadow in the mirror. Looking back quickly, she studied it intensely. She was sure she had seen something move. Looking around the room to make certain Bobby wasn’t in there trying to frighten her, she saw that she was alone. Again as she turned to look at the glass, she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. By the time she was actually looking at it, there was nothing out of the ordinary to be seen.

“I think my imagination is getting the better of me. I’m sure that the light hitting the glass is making me see things that aren’t there,” she said to herself.

The door opened and Bobby stuck his head in asking, “Who are you talking to?”

“Oh, nobody, I’m just playing.”

The door closed again, and she was alone once more. “It had to be Bobby that made the movement in the mirror,” she mumbled.

Picking up a book, she lay on the bed and read Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. This book was almost as entertaining as Anne of Green Gables, which she read a short time ago.

Getting lost in the book, she read till her eyes started to close. She put the book down and cleaned her teeth before retiring for the night.

Hearing her daughter upstairs, Abigail came into her room and tucked her in, saying, “Goodnight, dear.”

“Goodnight, Mother, thank you so much for the dresser and mirror.”

“You’re welcome, dear.”

With the lights out, Jenny closed her eyes. Just as she drifted off to sleep, she thought she heard a soft whispering, but couldn’t be certain. Falling into a deep sleep, she woke in the middle of the night having to make a trip to the bathroom. As she was about to get out of bed, half awake, there was a faint whisper again.

She couldn’t make out what it was and wasn’t even sure that she actually heard anything at all. It might just have been the sheets rustling as she was about to get out of bed. This, however, was doubtful as the soft voice seemed to speak just before she moved.

Wow, this has been a strange day. First shadows moving in the mirror and then sounds in my room coming from nowhere. What is going on?





CHAPTER 2



In the morning, Jenny woke to the birds chirping outside her slightly open window. There was a large maple tree outside her room, whose branches were only ten feet away. Sometimes a sparrow would land on the sill with a tiny click of its claws and look in, but this only happened occasionally. Maybe a bug or some other morsel enticed it to come this close to the glass.

It was seven-thirty, and her father was already up and sitting at the kitchen table. Mother had prepared the coffee and a light breakfast for him. He’d always been an early riser and claimed this was one of the reasons he had succeeded in business.

“Good morning, dear,” her mother said.

Her father just smiled in her direction as he continued to read the newspaper. Watching the stock markets had paid off for him. There was always money to be made if you were aware of the opportunities. Marcus Weatherby had done well in life and was a pillar of the community. He served on numerous committees and was respected by all.

Abigail was an avid churchgoer and did what she could to help those who were in need. There was a women’s movement starting to gather momentum. There was, of course, much resistance to this, and tempers of the male population flared out of control at times. Abigail didn’t see what the fuss was all about, but then again, she had a husband who looked after her needs quite well.

Bobby made his appearance at this time, and his mother asked what he would prefer for breakfast. The choices were few, but he liked the idea of having porridge that morning. He had awakened with a slight chill and felt that warm porridge would hit the spot.

At eight-ten, Marcus got up, hugged his wife, and patted his children on top of their heads as he headed for the front door.

Their mother had a church meeting later in the morning and asked, “Do you want to come with me? You can keep yourself occupied in the Sunday school for an hour if you like. Or you can stay at home, and I’ll ask our neighbor, Mrs. Richards to check in with you periodically.”

Jenny had plans other than sitting in a room with Bobby for an hour or more, so she said, “I think that I would prefer to arrange things in my new dresser, if you don’t mind, Mother. Bobby and I will keep ourselves busy, and with Mrs. Richards next door, I’m sure we will be just fine, right, Bobby?”

“Yeah, we’ll be okay, Mom.”

Plans made, Abigail set out to wash the dishes and clean all the items that had gotten dirty. Half an hour later, she was getting ready to go to the church meeting. Colleen Williams was picking her up, and she found that she was actually looking forward to the short ride in the horse-drawn buggy. She and Colleen had had a close bond for years. The two had gotten together on many occasions when each needed someone to talk to. In this modern new world, the second decade of the nineteen hundreds, things had changed far more quickly than some had been able to adapt to.

Looking out the parlor window, she saw the buggy approaching and called out to her children. “I’m going now. If you need anything, just ask Mrs. Richards.”

Both kids said goodbye with Bobby running down the stairs to give his mother a hug. Jenny, however, was far too mature to do this and just answered from the top landing. After she left, Bobby locked the door as instructed. Having heard the sound, Abigail felt safer, as far as her children were concerned, knowing that the lock was of a superior type.

Waving to her friend as she walked down the front path beside the gravel driveway, she felt happy. She had had to persuade Marcus to install the pathway because he saw no need for two ways to get to the front door. Abigail told him that the gravel would damage her good shoes and they would then have to be replaced. Unless he wanted his wife to go out in public with shoes that looked old and worn.

Since appearances meant a lot to Marcus and the fact that he hated to spend more than necessary, he had the path put in rather quickly. Over the years, she had learned how to approach these kinds of situations. It had paid off more than once.





CHAPTER 3



The two children played together for a short time till Jenny asked, “Bobby, do you want to help me straighten out the clothes in my new dresser?” She already knew the answer, but this would make it seem like the choice to play by himself was his idea.

“Yuck, I don’t want to touch your stuff. I’ll play in my tent. You take care of it yourself,” he said, pulling a face as he ran off preparing to fight the Injuns that had surrounded his wagon train camp.

Jenny entered her room in order to find some answers. She wanted to see the back side of the mirror, but that was impossible since it had been mounted to the wall with hooks and wire. The only thing she could do was open the curtains on both windows and turn on the lights.

Picking up her magnifying glass, she studied the wood holding the glass in place. The joints in the frame were flawless. The craftsmanship was truly remarkable, and she was pleased that she picked this one over the others. Climbing on the dresser she looked at the top and then down the side.

When she had her head close to the dresser in order to inspect the bottom of the frame, something in the mirror drew her attention. A slight movement in the darkened glass startled her. Looking around the room, she tried to see if Bobby had come in unannounced. No one was there with her, and so she quickly looked back at the mirror. Again, there was something that just managed to evade her attempts to catch a good look at it.

She no longer had any doubts that there was an odd quality about this new addition to her room. If she couldn’t find out what it was, she might have to enlist Bobby’s help, a thought that was unappealing to her.

In an attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery herself, she stepped out of the room, leaving the door partially open. Walking down the hall loudly, she stopped, turned around, and snuck back on tiptoe. When she got to the door, she looked through the gap between the door and the frame where the hinges were.

Once again, she was just quick enough to see something move, but not fast enough to actually see what it was. It was almost as if whatever was making the reflection knew what she was trying to do. Jenny loved a good mystery, and this was proving to be a very formidable one.

She wondered if it was possible that there could be someone hiding in her room. If so, how could she find out without endangering herself or Bobby? She hadn’t seen anything or anyone, and there really were no good places to hide. With this in mind, she re-entered her room, staying in the doorway.

Looking slowly around the room, she felt a slight tingling in her fingers. There was an eerie feeling going through her as she carefully scanned all around her, trying to discover a prankster. Nothing was found, and so she walked over to the closest window and looked to see if anyone was outside. Seeing nothing but the tree, and no one in it, she went to the second window. Again, there was nothing to be found.

With the search done, there was only the mirror itself that could be the source of this mystery. She looked at her reflection and asked, “What is going on here? What do you want from me?”

Of course, there was no answer. She really hadn’t expected one, and when there was only silence, she hadn’t been surprised.

Thinking it might be a good idea to check on her younger brother, she exited the room. At the last instant, she turned her head quickly. There was no faint flash of movement in the glass this time. Either that or she had been just a bit too late to see it. Maybe she had been imagining it. She couldn’t be sure. Either way, this was becoming frustrating.





CHAPTER 4



The front door closed with a slight thump, and Mother called out, “I’m home, where are you?”

“We’re up here, Mother,” Jenny said as she arrived at the top of the landing. “How was your meeting?”

“It was just fine, dear. Do you and your brother want to come down for lunch?”

“I’ll go get him, Mother, and be right down,” she said, walking to his room. “Bobby, Mom’s home, and it’s time for lunch.”

“I’ll be right there. I’m being attacked and have to shoot them Injuns before I go.”

“I’m sure they’ll still be here when you get back,” she said.

At this, they both went downstairs for a fried bologna sandwich and a glass of milk. A cookie topped things off and, as Abigail watched her children eat, she asked, “Do you want to go to the park? We can drop by the butcher on our way back.”

Both wanted to go, and once they were cleaned up, they headed to the green space. The park had the usual swings and sandboxes, but what made things interesting for them were the large ponds with their assortment of wildlife. A few pieces of stale bread had been brought along. The ducks just loved this treat.

All three had a wonderful time at the park, and by the time they had had their fill, it was time to go to the butcher and then home. Abigail took the items from the butcher to the kitchen and, once they were put away, she began preparations for the evening meal. Marcus would be home in one and a half hours, and he liked to eat right after he had his evening cocktail. Sometimes, they each had one, but quite often Abigail would not.

Today, the two sat down together in the study and chatted while they had their drink. The children were in their rooms with Bobby playing and Jenny reading more of Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm. At least she was trying to read. Her eyes kept shifting to look at the mirror, hoping to see something.

So far, the mirror was just that, a mirror. Nothing unusual was going on, so she decided that she might as well enjoy the book. Another half hour and she heard the voice of her mother asking her and Bobby to get washed up for supper. After this was done, the two ran down the stairs to give their father a hug.

“So do you still like the mirror?” Marcus asked.

“Oh, yes Father, I really do.”

“That’s good. I would hate to have paid a tidy sum for it and you not have been happy with it,” he stated with a smile.





CHAPTER 5



Life had been good to this family, and both Marcus and Abigail knew it. At church on Sunday, they gave their tithes quite willingly. They knew that New Life Baptist Church needed their help. Not everyone in the congregation could afford to contribute enough to keep the church functioning as it should.

At one point in his life, Marcus had considered going to seminary to become a pastor. He soon realized that he was more cut out to be a businessman and could help the church in what he considered a more practical way. He had strayed for a time after that decision had been made, but when he met Abigail, she soon showed him the error of his ways.

When the children came, he knew he had made the right choice. Life got better and better with the woman he loved. It took years to develop the ladies fashion stores. There were a few moments when things got a little precarious, and he was on the verge of losing it all. What saved him was having made a few contacts in the supply end of things who gave him some real breaks in cost for favors to be repaid in the future.

This he did, and the playing field had been leveled with all debts paid and favors repaid. Ladies fashions changed quickly, and he had to stay on top of procurements constantly. Luckily, he had an arrangement with his suppliers that allowed him to sell things off at a reduced rate when the items were just not moving. The supplier then took a cut, but this was better than having items returned and not sold at all.

Yes, life was good. Jenny was growing up quickly and seemed to have inherited many of the good qualities her mother possessed. Bobby was still very young and not as mature as his sister but did show promise. In the next few years, as the boy became a teenager, he would be gently brought into the business.

Boys were the lifeline of a family. Girls grew up to marry and the family name ended there, but boys retained the name their entire lives, and through them, the name lived on. There was a change, called the Suffragette Movement, building momentum. What on earth did the troublemakers think they would accomplish? Good grief, where would it end? The next thing you knew, they’d be asking for equal rights, maybe even asking to vote. Strange times were ahead for this world.

Marcus had seen things come that he would never have dreamed possible. The automobile was a perfect example. It had been almost ten years since those crazy Wright brothers actually flew that contraption through the air. Imagine being so reckless as to risk your life sailing through the air, twenty feet above the ground. If a man was meant to fly, the good lord would have given him wings. What on earth did these people think would come of this foolhardiness?

Marcus let his mind wander for a time and then came back to reality. It was time for bed, and he had to get to work early to supervise a shipment that was due to arrive.





CHAPTER 6



Abigail lounged for a time in the evening after the children were in bed and her husband was in his study. Her friend Colleen had been going to meetings where the wives of prominent men were having a speaker come shortly. Through the grapevine, it was said that the lady was part of the Suffragette Movement and looking for recruits.

Colleen had always been somewhat radical in her views. She had even gone so far as to say women banding together could accomplish much in the way of change. What kind of change these women thought would come about was beyond her.

Abigail had serious reservations about the motives of the women leading this charge. If Marcus found out she was contemplating attending a meeting, he would be so upset with her. He would say, “A woman’s place is in the home. Are you lacking in anything? I provide for you and the children very adequately, and you should be more than satisfied. What do you actually think will be accomplished by this act of rebellion? I’m certain this whole fiasco will end in disaster. Can you imagine what the people at church will think of this?”

These thoughts and others went through her mind and bothered her greatly.





CHAPTER 7



Jenny lay in bed in a shallow slumber. There were whispers in the air that were preventing her from falling into a deep sleep. The soft, barely audible voice came from the mirror on the wall and was ever so faint, it almost seemed to be only in her head. Jenny was unaware that it was even happening or of what was being said, as it only entered her mind subconsciously. If she knew this was happening, she would have been frightened, very frightened indeed.

Because of the whispers, she had dreams of being pulled into a pool of quicksand. It was almost as if the soft voice was telling her what to dream of. It started with Jenny being pursued by an unknown person. She ran through the woods in an attempt to get away. No matter what she did or where she ran, she wasn’t fast enough to get away. In the end, she broke into a clearing and ran right into the sticky muck.

There seemed to be no end to the depth of the quicksand, and she had no way to get out of it. As she sank, deeper and deeper, she screamed more and more. When she was up to her neck in the sticky mess, the person chasing her came into the clearing. Her back was to her would be captor, and she couldn’t see the face. Jenny heard the heavy breathing behind her as she slipped under the mud. A scream escaped her lips, and she found herself awake in her own bed.





CHAPTER 8



There was the sound of a door opening and the voice of her mother softly spoke to her. “Are you all right, dear? Were you having a bad dream?”

Jenny shook all over. “Gosh, Mother, I was running through the woods being chased by someone and fell into a pool of quicksand. It was so frightening. I couldn’t do anything.”

“It was just a dream, sweetheart. There’s nothing to be afraid of, dear,” she said as she hugged her little girl and tucked her in for the night. “Just put it out of your mind. Everything is all right, these things are normal and, in the morning, you will laugh about it. Goodnight, dear.”

In the dark, with only a little light shining through the window, Jenny lay in her bed. She wondered why she had this nightmare. This was highly unusual for her. She had always had such pleasant dreams in the past.

Hanging on the wall was the mirror. Looking at it, she saw a slight illumination in the glass. It must be as a result of the light coming in through the window. She looked at it and didn’t remember any light on the wall where the mirror was before it hung there. The light must have been hitting the glass because of a reflection from something that had been moved lately. This was all very strange. She fell asleep and the soft whispers were no longer there, allowing her to rest.

The morning sun shone through the window, illuminating the room. Jenny woke to the sound of birds chirping in the tree outside. The dream she had during the night was but a distant memory and hardly seemed real anymore.

Downstairs at the breakfast table, Mother asked, “How did you sleep, dear? Were there any more dreams to wake you?”

“I slept very well, Mother. I don’t know why I had the dream, because I normally don’t have scary ones like that.”

“That’s good. What would you like for breakfast, dear?” Mother asked.

Marcus sat at the table, reading the morning paper, oblivious to the conversation going on around him. If there was anything important to talk about, he would be told. With his breakfast done, he said goodbye to his family and went to work.





CHAPTER 9



In her room, Jenny thought back on the previous night. Sitting on the bed, she tried to discover where the light coming through the window would be reflected back into the mirror. Walking to the open window, she looked at where the street light came from. Moving to the wall behind her, she tried to locate something that would reflect it back to the mirror.

The dresser and mirror were placed on the same wall as the window, so whatever reflected the light should be very near where she was standing. Knitting her brow in concentration, she delved into the problem. There was nothing in the immediate area that had a reflective surface. So where the light came from that illuminated the glass was a mystery.

Unable to resolve the problem, she walked to the dresser and attacked the problem in reverse. Looking around the room, she tried to ascertain how the light could have hit the spot where she was standing. There was nothing she could see that indicated a solution to her dilemma.

As far as she could determine, there was only one solution to this mystery. That evening when it got dark, she would have to sit on the bed with the lights out. When she saw the light in the mirror, she would walk to it and see where the reflection came from. A smile crossed her face at the thought of being able to come up with a method to resolve the problem.

As she left the room and glanced back, she saw yet again a slight movement. This was now being looked at as a challenge. Jenny thought that some kind of game was being played and that she was smart enough to figure out who was behind it. With that in mind, she waited eagerly for the day to pass.

“Do you two want to go to the park this afternoon? I have some stale bread that we can feed the ducks with,” Mother called up.

At the top of the stairs, the two answered together, “That would be great.” Bobby continued, saying, “Can we bring a snack with us?”

“I don’t see why not. Let’s go at one-thirty. That will give me time to tidy the house and prepare lunch.”

“I thought that was the housekeeper’s job,” Bobby said, slightly perplexed.

“It is, but I like to do the little things myself. What would I do with my day if I let someone do everything for me?”

In the afternoon, the three walked to the park nearby and, as they approached the pond, Bobby made a run for it. Because there was a downhill slope leading to the water, he misjudged the stopping distance and with the grass being slightly wet, he slid feet first into the pond. The water had the murky look it always got during the hot weather.

A few duck feathers floated on the surface. The warm water had soaked the boy’s clothes. As he got to his feet, he stood knee deep in the water with a stunned look on his face.

“Bobby, what on earth are you doing? You could have been drowned,” his mother shouted.

“Aw shucks, Mom, it was an accident. How was I to know that the grass was wet? I’m only a little wet, and it will dry up in no time,” he said.

“I can’t have you running around soaked to the bone. What would people think?”

As he walked on the grass, the squishing sound coming from the wet socks and shoes filled the air. Off they went back home to change the boy’s clothes and wash him up.

“God only knows what you could have picked up in that dirty water. I don’t know what to make of you sometimes, Bobby.” Abigail said to her boy.

Aw, gee whiz, Mom, it really wasn’t nothing, you know.”

“Wasn’t anything, not, nothing. Learn to speak properly, please.”

Sorry, Mom. Can we go back to the park now? We still have the bread and snacks. It would be a shame to let it all go to waste.”

“What do you think Jenny, should we go back?”

Looking at her younger brother, she saw a pleading look on his face. She was tempted to say no but realized that she may need him to help solve the mirror mystery. Smiling at her brother, she said, “It seems to mean a lot to Bobby, so yes, I’d like to go back too.”

Bobby gave a sigh of relief and was already putting his shoes on by the time his sister and mother got to the front door. He gave his sister a smile as he opened the door, and they all left together. Back at the park, Bobby made sure he didn’t make the same mistake again.

Supper was finished and Marcus asked the children to play in their rooms while he and their mother talked about adult things. When they were gone he said, “I hear that your friend Colleen is involved in that movement that is causing such a ruckus. I certainly hope you steer clear of it. There are going to be very big ramifications for those who try to push this issue.”

“Why do you say that? Don’t you believe that women should have a few more rights? We aren’t all simple you know.”

“I know you aren’t, but not everyone is as forward thinking as I am. One day women may even be allowed to vote, but I can’t see that happening in the near future. What I’m saying is, be careful, I hear things,” Marcus said seriously.

“I’m not involved with anything at this point, and I’ll discuss it with you before I do. Does that make you feel better?”

“Yes, it does, thank you. I have a reputation to maintain and something of this nature could adversely affect my interests,” he said with a concerned look on his face.

The discussion drifted to other topics and the mood became lighter. The children occupied themselves for a while. Soon it was bedtime, and each brushed their teeth. This was something many of their friends didn’t do, but their mother insisted on this ritual.

Abigail tucked them in, saying their prayers with them. Marcus was busy in the office and shouted his goodnights from there.





CHAPTER 10



The door to Jenny’s room was closed, and she waited for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. As they did, there appeared a soft glow in the mirror again. It was so faint that she had to stare at it in order to know it was really there.

“Maybe it’s not dark enough in here to see the reflection,” she mumbled.

Waiting for fifteen minutes, she got out of bed and carefully walked close to the mirror. The very faint light was still there and so she placed herself in a position where she could see where the light was being reflected from.

No matter where she stood, there wasn’t a light that she could see. She turned to look at the mirror. There it was again, that ever so slight movement. By the time she was looking directly at it, there had been nothing to see. Maybe it’s just an imperfection in the glass, she thought, trying to look at every possibility.

The soft glow was there and, when she moved sideways, from one side to the other, the glow could always be seen.

“How can this be? If I’m right, there is no reflection, which can only mean that the light is coming from the mirror itself. No, this cannot be. There is no light in or behind the glass. I was here when they put it on the wall. I looked at the back of it when they unpacked it too. What’s going on?” she asked herself in a mild state of disbelief.

Studying the glass, she attempted to come up with a viable reason for the glow. Try as she might, she could not fathom any reasonable answers, no matter how she studied the problem. There was only one thing to do, unpleasant as it may be, she’d have to ask Bobby to help her.

Going to his room as quietly as she could, she snuck in to see if he was still awake. “Bobby, Bobby, are you asleep?” she whispered.

There was a soft groan before he answered saying, “What do you want?”

“I need your help. Can you come to my room and look at the mirror for me. I think there’s something funny happening.”

“Can’t it wait until morning?”

“No, it has to be dark to see what I want to show you. Don’t say anything. I don’t want Mother or Father to hear us,” she said, almost pleading.

Reluctantly, he got out of bed and followed his sister into her room. They closed the door and slowly, not wanting to bump anything, they moved to the dresser. As their eyes adjusted to the darkness, Bobby asked what he was supposed to be looking for.

“Wait a minute. I don’t think our eyes have adjusted enough yet.” They waited a while longer, but nothing happened. It was dark and there was nothing to see. “I don’t know what’s going on. There was a light coming from the mirror earlier. I don’t see it now,” Jenny said, perplexed.

“Aw, how can that be? I don’t see nothing. I’m going back to bed.”

He left the room with Jenny looking at the mirror. The door was closed, and she looked around the room. When her gaze returned to the mirror, there it was again, the soft glow, ever so faint in the glass.

“My goodness, what on earth is going on?” she said softly to herself.

Unable to come up with a reason for the phenomenon, Jenny crawled under the covers and tried to go to sleep. Every so often, she took a peek at the mirror. Nothing unusual happened and soon she fell asleep. As she drifted off, the whisperings started once more.

The sound of the voice almost roused Jenny, but not quite. The whisperings were only heard by the sleeping girl, and then only in her head. It was almost as if there was a direct communication between the voice and Jenny. Things said entered Jenny’s subconscious mind and seemed like a dream. The voice appeared to be telling her of impending events, things that upset the young girl in her sleep.

Jenny woke with a gasp. A dream so vivid had frightened her terribly. In her dream, Jenny saw herself as if she were someone else. There was an unrecognizable figure attempting to pull her into a dark hole in the wall. The misty form was unknown to her, and she felt deathly afraid of it. She was sure that it meant her harm in some fashion.

Sleep for the rest of the night was not particularly restful. The voice continued throughout the night, and it became obvious that something was attempting to communicate with her subconsciously.

As the nights went by, the voice started to seem friendlier. She still could only faintly hear the voice whispering just as she was drifting off to sleep, and she wasn’t sure of this at all. The soft glow was still there, but only she could see it.

At bedtime, she asked, “Bobby, come into my room and see if there is anything out of order here.”

He walked in and when the door was closed with no lights on, he said, “Yeah, there is something odd here.”

In anticipation of hearing that he actually saw something, she felt a bit of excitement come over her. “What do you see Bobby?”

“I see that it’s dark in here and I’ll trip on something if I move. What is it that you think I’m supposed to see?”

“Nothing, Bobby, I was just wondering is all.” The disappointment was evident in her voice. “Thanks for coming in. You can go back to your own room now.”

That night the voice in her sleep became a little more forceful. There was something that it wanted to communicate to Jenny. Her dreams became more upsetting and she woke in the middle of the night with a scream.





CHAPTER 11



Her mother entered the room. “Jenny, what is it? I heard you scream in your sleep. Are you having a nightmare?”

“Yes, I dreamt that there was a thing trying to drag me into the darkness. I don’t know who or what it was. I’m frightened, Mother.”

“Do you have any idea what is causing you to have these awful dreams?” Abigail asked.

“I have no idea.” She wanted to say it started when she got the mirror but hadn’t wanted to take the chance of having it removed from her room. It was a most unusual piece, and she wanted to keep it, despite the disturbing events that she suspected were being caused by it.

“Try not to worry about it anymore. Whatever it is that may be causing the dreams. I’m sure it is nothing that need concern you, so try to sleep, dear,” Abigail said gently.

Jenny fell asleep again and didn’t wake until morning. She got up and recalled the strange dream she had. In the light of day, it didn’t seem as bad as it did in the middle of the night. At the breakfast table, Marcus read the morning paper. Studying the financial section, he wondered what the market would do in the near future.

Abigail poured him his morning coffee, to which he mumbled a cursory response. The children were given freshly cooked waffles and corn syrup. “Thanks, Mom, these smell so good. Can we go to the zoo today? School starts in two weeks, and we won’t have the time to go after that,” Bobby said.

“Yes that would be great, Mom,” Jenny piped in.

“All right, but it will have to wait till this afternoon. I have a meeting at the church this morning. Marcus, do you have some money with you to pay our way in? I’ll see if Colleen wants to go with us.”

At the mention of Colleen’s name, Marcus’s attention was gotten. “What is this about Colleen?”

“I was asking if you have the money to pay our way into the zoo this afternoon. Colleen may be able to drive us.”

“Oh, yes, I have extra money in my wallet. Here it is,” he said, handing her a few bills.

A short time later, Marcus had gone to his office. Abigail got ready and asked, “Jenny, come to my room while I get ready, dear.”

“What is it that you want, Mother?”

“Last night you had a bad dream. Is everything all right?”

“Yes, Mother, why do you ask?” Jenny queried in return.

“This is something that you haven’t done before, and I find it a trifle concerning. Is there a problem, is something upsetting you?”

“I’m fine, Mother, no need to worry.”

“Bobby said that you asked him if he saw anything in the mirror. What is that about?”

Thinking quickly, Jenny said, “Oh that, there was a reflection in the glass, and I wondered if he saw it too.”

“All right, dear, but if there is anything bothering you, be sure to let me know.”

“I will, Mother.”

With this, she left her mother’s room to go to the kitchen.





CHAPTER 12



Shortly after lunch, there was a ring of the doorbell, and Abigail answered it. “Come in Colleen. Would you like a cup of tea before we go to the zoo?”

“Yes, that would be lovely,” the soft-spoken, perky, reddish-blonde-haired lady said.

In no time at all, the group parked the horse and buggy at the gated area outside the city zoo. Even outside the walls, there were sounds of large animals and the smells one would expect. The two ladies walked close together, arms linked, and chatted as the youngsters went from cage to cage looking, at the wild animals.

The monkeys swung around their cages, using the branches of trees to hang from. The elephants used the water in pools to douse themselves, so they could keep cool. There were zebras with their striped bodies and giraffes with those impossibly long necks and beautiful colors.

When Bobby and Jenny approached the leopard cage, the fierce cats acted very aggressively. The felines paced back and forth in the cage, obviously agitated. The same thing happened at all the big cat pens.

“Geez, what’s the matter with them? They never acted like that when we came here before,” Bobby said as he headed to the next area.

Jenny stayed by the tiger pen as the cat paced back and forth, growling. Then, suddenly, it lunged toward the front of the cage as if attacking. With a shriek, Jenny jumped back and ran away. Only when she left did the huge feline finally settle down.

This is so curious, she thought as she looked back at the then-calm tiger. “The same thing happened whenever I approached the other cages with cats in them. Why would they act up when I’m close and then calm down when I leave?”

“Jenny, did you do something to make the tiger jump at you?” Abigail asked.

“No, Mother, I was just standing there, and it started acting crazy. I have no idea why.”

The rest of the day was spent away from the big cat pens. None of the other animals reacted strangely to her presence. When they were on their way home, Jenny decided to go to the library to borrow a book on feline behavior. There was a city library a few streets away from her home. If they could get home early enough, she would try to go that day. Unfortunately, as it turned out, it had to wait until the following day, because Mrs. Williams had had to make a stop before driving back to their home.

After another disturbing night, Jenny asked her mother, “I need to go to the library this morning. I have my card ready and will use my bicycle to get there. Is that all right with you, Mother?”

“It will be fine as long as that is the only place you go and that you come straight home afterward.” Looking closely at her, Abigail asked, “Is everything all right, dear? You look very tired lately.”

Waiting a moment before she answered, Jenny said, “I am a little tired, but I am sleeping enough. I’m not sure why this is, but I’m sure it will correct itself in due course, Mother.” At the library, Jenny asked the attendant, “Could you tell me what row the books on feline behavior are placed?”

“Follow me please,” the librarian said as she walked ahead of the polite young lady.

There were several to choose from. The librarian, whose name tag read, Alice Truman, helped Jenny choose two of the more informative ones and checked them out for her. Placing the rather large books in the basket hooked onto the front of the handlebars, Jenny rode home.

The rest of the morning was spent studying the information. Much of it was of little value to her. Halfway through the second book, Jenny found something of interest. As she worked her way through the paragraphs, she started to read aloud.

“‘It has long been thought that cats have a sense humans don’t have. In the days of the pharaohs, cats were thought to be able to see or connect with the spiritual realm. In the occult, cats are used as a medium, in order to contact the dead. Felines have been known to become very agitated when in the presence of a person thought to be in contact with an evil spirit. This has been difficult to prove, although there have been documented cases where many people were convinced of the validity of the accusations.’”

My goodness, can this possibly be true? I’m sure this is just fanciful and printed in the book in order to make things more interesting, she thought. There were, however, doubts running through her mind.

Bobby called from the hallway, “Mom says that you have to come down for lunch.”

“I’ll be there in a minute.”


Continue reading this ebook at Smashwords.
Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-34 show above.)