The Second Side – Hope Walborn ★

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Painting by Olivia Smith

They all thought I was insane.

I’d been hearing the noises for a while, and I was beginning to question my sanity as well.

They started one day when I was in my bedroom. Suddenly I heard three taps coming from the mirror bolted to my wall. Several clicking noises followed them, leaving an uneasy feeling tugging at my insides. Despite the anxious fear creeping in, I disregarded the sounds.

I continued to hear them over the next few weeks. They were sporadic: a click here, a few taps there, and an occasional hiss. I tried my best to ignore them.

But one night, I suddenly awoke, anxious fear coursing through my veins.

A light was shining from my mirror, dim and glowing as if someone held a flashlight against the opposite side. It didn’t look supernatural, but more like an old flashlight with nearly dead batteries.

I sat up so quickly in bed that I got dizzy, blood rushing to my brain, the springs of my mattress creaking beneath my sudden movement. As soon as I was sitting up, the light went out in an instant, and I blinked as my eyes adjusted to the darkness.

The next day, I stood in front of the mirror, afternoon sun beams streaming through my window.

I read once that you can tell a real mirror from a double sided one by touching your fingernail against the glass. If there’s a gap between your finger and its reflection, then it’s a real mirror. If there isn’t a gap, then it’s double sided, and there could be someone watching you from the other side.

My breath shaky, I brought my finger up to the mirror’s surface, touching it. My reflection did the same, our fingers meeting without a space between them.

I yanked my finger away, breathing heavier as panic rose in my chest, threatening to suffocate me.

I needed a hammer.

Once I found one, I faced the mirror, eyes wide as I wielded the hammer.

I closed my eyes and struck the glass, shattering my reflection into a million sharp-edged pieces. Cracks ran through the mirror, revealing a baseball sized hole where I expected to see my bedroom wall showing through. Instead, I saw an eye staring back at me. With its hazel iris and dark brown eyelashes, I recognized it as a twin to my own eye.

It blinked at me.

I reeled backwards, knocking my monogrammed Cara pillow off of my bed in the process. I watched with fear as the eye disappeared in a downward motion, as if the person went somewhere below the house.

Frenetically, I grabbed the hammer off the floor and started smashing away the rest of the mirror, shards falling away until a neat, circular hole in the floor was revealed, presumably leading underground.

I bent down, peering into it. It was nearly pitch dark, and a ladder seemed to run down the side of it.

I was scared, of course, but I needed answers desperately, and I’d come too far now to turn back, so I swung my legs into the hole and gripped onto the ladder, slowly making my way down into the darkness.

Eventually, I reached the bottom rung, stepping down into what looked to be an exact replica of my bedroom, but the purple walls were covered in glossy photos. Upon further inspection, I noticed that all of the photos were of me in my bedroom, and they covered my entire life up until then, including baby pictures and recent ones of me staring into the mirror.

I found old things that I thought I had lost, too, like my childhood stuffed goat, shoved in a corner and collecting dust.

The whole room sent shivers down my spine as I realized that someone had been watching me my entire life. They’d recreated my bedroom and collected personal belongings, stole pictures of me while I thought I was alone.

“Hello?” I called out, realizing that the person I saw through the hole disappeared. I wandered around the chilly room, goosebumps playing on the surface of my skin. There was a sudden noise behind me, and I whirled around, coming face to face with the person I’d been looking for.

It was me.

Or it wasn’t.

She looked just like me, right down to the same exact t-shirt and jeans that I was wearing.

“Are you…me?” I asked, taking a tentative step towards her.

“Your reflection, actually,” she responded, her voice grating to my ears. She stepped closer to me, maintaining eye contact until there were only inches between us.

“And I’m always watching you,” she hissed, smirking as she stabbed a needle into my neck.

● ● ●

I awoke in my bedroom, my mind foggy and my eyes blurry as my memory came rushing back to me. I bolted upright in bed, hurrying over to the mirror.

It hung on my wall, fully in tact without a single crack, as if I’d dreamt up meeting my identical stalker in an underground room.

But a single drop of blood that rolled down my neck convinced me otherwise. I reached up, the puncture in my skin stinging in the same place the needle would have went in.

I grabbed the hammer and used the sharp end to pry the mirror off of my wall, certain that I’d find the entrance again.

All I found was the other side of the wall.

To this day, I am deathly afraid of mirrors. There is not a single mirror in my home, and I try to avoid them whenever possible. I hide from reflective surfaces and walk in the other direction of dressing rooms.

Sometimes, when I accidentally look into a mirror in passing, my reflection will give me a taunting smirk or wink.

People think I’m insane, but I’m not.

I suppose that’s how sanity works.

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