Short Story
                                               Cursed Mirror
                                                                      By M.J. Sutton


      No one is truly ready for the death of a parent. You can prepare yourself and say that it is their time, but
when that moment finally happens, it still floors you. My wife was no different when her mother died. We
knew it was coming. She would visit her every day on her death bed, making sure she ate, helping her to
the bathroom, brushing her hair and the like.

      She died the night of our anniversary, the one night that my wife was not with her and I think she
blamed herself for not being there during those final moments. I didn’t help with the funeral planning. Not to
say that I wasn’t willing, but men are just a different creatures when it comes to the preparation of events. I’
m glad I didn’t, the ceremony was lovely. My wife and her siblings sat in the front pew, all doing what most
people do during the remembrance of a loved one, except my wife. I hadn’t seen her drop a tear since we
received the news, and I had barely heard her talk. Her attention was focused on nothing, eyes fixed on the
invisible. So while her siblings blew into tissues and wiped their eyes, my wife stared emotionless at the
casket. The same at the precession, and the same on the ride home.

      Her father had died years ago, so as it would go, estate affairs were handled. My wife’s brother and I
were tasked with the dirty work. The shed, the attic, the heavy lifting, and anything else the girl’s didn’t want
to do. I was helping her brother move boxes across the yard when I saw my wife walk out of the house with
a large object wrapped in a torn black linen cloth and place it in our trunk. I thought nothing of it at the time
and continued with my work.

      When we got back to our home, she immediately opened the trunk and removed the covered object,
holding it close to her chest and walked it into the study. She sat it down against the wall and stared at it
for a moment.

      "What’s under the cloth babe?"

      "A mirror." she said as she walked off.

      After dinner that night, she sat in the study, wearing the same soulless expression while staring into the
mirror. Her soft delicate hands ran along its black wooden frame, following each curve and dip in its
design. I watched her lips mouthing inaudible words at her reflection as she tilted the mirror back and forth.

      "You alright hun?" I asked.

      She quickly placed it back down, throwing the black cloth over it before walking out of the room. "I’m
fine."

      That night I woke to an empty bed. Her side of the bed was cold as if she had never been there. I
slipped into my house shoes and wandered downstairs. The small lamp in the study illuminated the bottom
of the door. I turned the knob slowly and pushed it open to see my wife sitting on the couch, stroking the
mirror, staring into the glass.

      "What are you doing up honey?" I asked.

      Her gaze didn’t break, and her hand didn’t stop moving. Her fingers trailed the wooden frame, softly
scratching the length of the grain. "I'll be back to bed shortly." she said

      "Want me to sit with you?"

      She shook her head no.

      I went to the kitchen and poured a night cap then went back to bed, missing the body that usually slept
next to me. I assumed the mirror was something of her mothers and drifted back to sleep.

      The loud banging of a hammer jolted me awake the next morning and I made my way downstairs. I
turned the corner into the study as my wife was nailing the last nail into the wall where she then hung up the
mirror in the far corner. She placed both hands on her hips looking over at me smiling and shook her head
in satisfaction. It was the first time I had seen her smile in weeks and it relieved me.

      "Everything ok?" I ask smiling back.

      Swinging her arms, she skipped over to me and kissed my cheek. "Never been better." and she left
the room heading to the kitchen. I went back upstairs and got ready for work. When I came back down, she
handed me my thermos of coffee and a sack lunch, giving me another kiss as I walked out the door and
headed to work.

      The weeks that followed where nothing less than very strange. My wife was unordinary happy during
the day, and we would always go to sleep at the same time. But every morning I would wake up to her
gone out of bed, finding her in the study looking into the mirror brushing her hair.

      One night I awoke close to midnight to her gone and I ventured downstairs. The study door was closed
and the small light crept under the door. I could hear my wife sobbing silently. I opened the door slowly and
saw her, crying into the mirror. A smile catching every tear.

      "...Babe?" I asked softly.

      Her crying stopped abruptly and she turned her head toward me. When we made eye contact, her
smile slowly faded and her eyes went wild.

      "GET OUT!" she screamed, her voice bellowing through the house. I was so startled that I slammed
the door shut and took three steps back into the hallway wall. The crying continued. I reached my hand for
the knob again but pulled back, shaking my head.

      The next morning I found her in the kitchen making a huge breakfast humming to herself.
"Morning babe!" she said as I walked into the kitchen, her back turned to me. I sat in silence not sure of
what to say. The night prior had rattled me.

      "Babe... what’s going on?" I finally asked.

      My wife turned around smiling and I almost fell out of my chair. There she stood, holding a pan of
bacon in one hand, that brush in the other, a large chunk of hair missing from the right side of her scalp.
"What do you mean?"

      I stood staring for a moment before I stood up and walked over to her, putting the pan of bacon back
on the stove. I held her head in my hands and looked at her astonished, all the while she smiled madly
back at me. "Babe, your... your hair." I stammered.

      "I know... pretty isn’t it?" she said giggling. She tried to turn away to get back to the stove but I firmed
my grip. "Babe what the hell is going on?"

      "Do you not like it?" she asked still smiling, as if she had no idea that almost half her scalp was bald.

      "I...I..." Her eyes where blank, and her smile now started to scare me. "I love it." I finally said and
stepped away slowly.

      Giggling again, she turned back to the stove. I went to work that day scared to leave my wife alone, but
I had to call somebody. I ended up calling her brother and he agreed to come over that evening and see
for himself.

      My wife was very excited to hear her brother was coming for dinner and started making a grand meal. I
couldn’t even look at her. This was not my wife. The way she talked, moved and laughed was different. Her
brother said the same after dinner. I talked to him outside by his car before he left. We both peered back
towards the house where we could see through the window into the study, where my wife stood, staring
into that damned mirror brushing hair that was no longer there.

      "I think we should seek professional help." he said. "This looks all too familiar."

      "All too familiar?"

      He lit another cigarette. "Almost the same thing that happened to mom. I never saw her do this, but
Kathy did.

      We agreed we would call first thing in the morning.

      She came to bed with me that night, kissed my cheek and rolled over breathing slowly. I was terrified
of what was happening to my wife. I lay there thinking of all the possible things that could be causing her
behavior and couldn’t find one that suited my satisfaction.

      I didn’t sleep that night; I couldn’t. My eyes just fixated on the rotating ceiling fan. After hours of
restlessness, my wife started to stir. She stood up and stared out the window for a few minutes before she
made her way out of the room. I crawled out of bed carefully and followed her. She ended up back in the
study flipping the light on and staring into the mirror again. Brushing her bald side of her scalp.

      "I am pretty." she said as if reassuring herself, stroking her scalp with the brush.

      I couldn’t take it anymore. "Babe come back to bed." I said sternly.  She didn’t move.

      "Come back to bed." I said louder taking two steps into the room. She turned her head toward me and
smiled walking towards me handing out the brush. "Do you want to brush my pretty hair?" she asked
putting the brush in my hand wrapping her arms around my head. Her scalp was bleeding. "Babe, no, let’s
go back to bed, you need help." I put my arm around her waist and tried to guide her out of the room.

      "NO!" she screamed and pushed me away snatching the brush from my hand, running back to the
mirror. The brush dug into her skin as she raked it across her head, the sound was more than I could take.
I ran back to her and grabbed her waist. "Stop it, damn it!" I yelled and tried to pull her away. "NO!" she
screamed again and tried to wiggle out of my grasp, I lost my footing and we both fell. She let out an ear
piercing scream and continued brushing her scalp even harder.

      I grabbed the brush from her hand and threw it as hard as I could against the wall holding both of her
hands down. She kicked her legs and flung her head from side to side trying to escape my grasp,
screaming into my face. I put all my body weight on top of her and wrapped my arms around her head.
"What are you doing?" I cried softly in her ear. She violently jerked her body and screamed louder. She
finally bit my neck drawing blood and I released my grasp. She crawled over to the corner picking up the
brush again.

      I stood up and went to the phone. This had to stop. I called the police.

      When they arrived, she was still at the mirror, brushing her hairless head. I explained what happened
as we stood there in the doorway; she didn’t even acknowledge our presence. They subdued her; I couldn’
t watch.

      I followed them to the hospital where she was admitted; they wouldn’t let me see her that night. I ended
up sleeping in the waiting room.

      The next morning the doctor told me they were not sure what was wrong with her. They had her
restrained on a bed and she wouldn’t communicate with anyone. I begged to see her and he finally allowed
it.

      When I walked into the room she didn’t seem to notice. Her eyes frozen to the ceiling as she
murmured under her breath. I sat beside her and cried softly taking her hand, she gripped it hard. I sat
there for some time my head laid on her bedside, my tears slowly soaking her blanket.

      Her murmurs started to get louder, I thought she may have been trying to get my attention. I stood up
and brought my face closer to hers. "What is it babe?" I asked between tears. She suddenly got quiet and
turned her head to look at me. I didn’t recognize the eyes staring at me.

      "I said... IM... PRETTY!" she screamed shaking the bed.

      The doctors ran in and escorted me out, my wife’s screams filled the hallway.

      I lived in that waiting room for the next week. They allowed me to see her every so often, every time
she would never look at me, just stare at the ceiling always murmuring something about that mirror or how
she was pretty. The doctor told me she may have broke over the death of her mother.

      I drove home so I could shower and get some new clothes. When I walked into the front door, the study
door was still open and the lamp was still on. I walked in and saw that damned mirror hanging at the corner
of the room. I walked over to it and gazed at the mirror, but I didn’t see myself. I saw the couch, the book
shelf, the window, and all the background but my reflection was nowhere to be seen in the glass. I stood
there for a moment speechless. I shook my head and walked away, chalking it up to lack of sleep or
stress. When I got out of the shower, it had just turned dark. I put on a new set of clothes and headed back
downstairs ready to go back to the hospital. I was almost out of the door when the phone rang. I walked
into the study and picked up.

      "Mr. Stearling... I’m terribly sorry" the voice on the other end started.

      After I hung up the phone, I dropped to me knees, tears streaming down my face. I loved my wife, she
was my everything. I had known her for almost my entire life and she was my best friend. The thought of
never seeing her again blistered my heart.

      I lifted my head and looked at the mirror. It was a pretty mirror. I stood up and walked back over to it.
When I looked into the glass this time, I saw her. I saw my wife. She was looking right back at me. When I
moved, she moved, I raised my arm, so did she. She was mimicking my every move. I held my hand up to
the glass and she did the same. Her long black hair flowed down her shoulders to her breasts. I stood
there gazing into her eyes, she stared back smiling that gorgeous smile that I fell in love with. Her eyes
slowly moved downward towards the floor and she nodded her head. I looked down, and there was the
brush. I kneeled down and picked it up, staring back at the mirror. Looking at my wife, my beautiful wife,
looking back at me.

      I brought the brush up to my head, she did the same, and we simultaneously started to brush our hair.

      "You are pretty." I said.
About M.J. Sutton

M.J.Sutton is a horror/
fantasy writer from Texas.
When not writing he is
either on the phone with
his kids or slaving away in
the oilfields of North
Dakota.
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