I am trying to get back into the swing of writing regularly on my novel, so bear with me as you read this chapter, it is just an EXTREMELY rough draft of what it should be. I need more elements of creepy, of that feeling of general unsettledness you get on a late, particularly dark night alone at home. There is too much going on here, or actually, not quite enough. Opinions and suggestions welcome (be brutal with me, this isn’t where it needs to be yet!)
Getting trapped inside was her worst experience thus far, even worse than her current experience of not having her fiance there with her while the world crumbled around her (she still wouldn’t think that he was dead, that seemed silly and unreasonable).
It was a normal day, a rather nice day, really, when it happened to her.
For a bit of background, this was the time in her life where she was single and had just graduated, her time spent enjoying her small home and her small life to herself, for the most part.
This particular day she woke up to her dog pawing his way up the edge of her bed, his awkwardly long body too big for anything subtle, a clear sign she had slept too long and that he needed to be taken out immediately. She stretched herself into an upright position and watched as the excited dog’s tail made several conductor circles in the air, a not so gentle push for her to hurry up.
She slipped on some pants and ran her fingers through her hair quickly, rubbed the corner of her eyes and stretched out her back, beginning her day with a rather positive pep in her step as she walked from her comfortably carpeted bedroom to the cold hardwood floors of her living room.
Cold hardwood meant cold mornings, which meant a new season was making itself announced in her house this morning.
The windows were all open, and she smelled immediately the intrusion of Fall in the room, the curtains lightly blowing around and the smell of leaves and pumpkin patches and oversized sweaters holding oversized coffee mugs in the air. She curled her toes in pleasure before continuing to the door, a quick motion sending the dog outside and to his post for the morning.
She herself went back inside for a moment to start some coffee and to grab a cigarette from the back of her hidden pack above the stove. She wasn’t quite sure why she hid them, it was only herself in the house and it’s not like she didn’t know she was smoking them.
She used to smoke quite a bit, during the time when she began college and was trying hard to be less stressed and more social. Now she only smoked every now and then, in specific situations that called for it such as after a great meal, a great book, or a great, well, you know.
But Fall coming into her home was a celebration all in itself as well, one that deserved a big cup of coffee and a big puff off of a cigarette, like a special tradition of welcoming one’s old friend into your home, with smiles and refreshments.
Instead of taking her coffee black, as usual, she dressed it up for her guest with some hazelnut, as well as some pumpkin spice and cinnamon sprinkles, filling her cup and her morning with all the happiness she could possibly need.
Positive mornings like this were rare for her, she really wasn’t an early bird and she typically thought anything that happened before 9 am was probably entirely unnecessary and idiotic.
Fall, though, Fall was so different. She felt the same about rainy days as well, as well as still, snow fallen mornings.
When she finally forced herself to go inside and start her day, to leave her guest to continue on his way, she glanced at the clock and realized that she was about 45 minutes behind her normal routine, and that she would have to skip the shower and work in what she was already wearing, an excellent perk of working from home. Sometimes she didn’t even bother with pants, she just rolled out of bed and over to her computer desk, clocking in and working through the day without another glance at herself or her attire (or lack thereof).
More recently she liked at least going through with the routine of getting ready for a busy work day at ‘the office’, though, it made her schedule seem more regular and she liked regular more and more as time went on, she noticed.
So to keep the routine going she went to the bathroom, washed her face, brushed her teeth, and started to put on her basic makeup routine: eyeliner, mascara, lipstick.
When she was halfway through her awkward squinty eyed mascara application she heard such a loud boom from the next room that she couldn’t help but make a small scream, clasping her mouth in shock and dropping her mascara.
Her dog was barking, out of protection or out of fear she did not know yet, and her heart was racing so fast, her face glowing red with embarrassment at how scared she got so quickly.
I mean, it wasn’t even a scary time of the day, you know like say, 1:23 am when any bump in the night is unarguably a ghost or a demon or an intruder ready to kill you. No, it was 8:55 am, her windows and doors were all wide open, and she could still see outside where the leaves were falling and a group of giggling children were slowly walking to their bus stop at the end of the road.
She looked around and noticed that the boom had caused a picture frame to fall from her bathroom wall, and the mirror in front of her to crack only in the slightest, at the very corner of the furthest section from her.
She slowly peaked her head out of the room and to the room directly behind the bathroom, her very well-lit and open office that she should not have been scared to enter at all.
Of course, she saw nothing once she was in there, and no signs of anything disturbed or knocked over. Her window panes were all open, but the screen storm windows were all still latched shut, her dog was steady at her heels, and her back door was still dead bolt locked.
So she could only think of her front door, where she quickly glanced, her house small enough to see it from almost any room in the house.
Again, nothing out of the ordinary.
She considered calling her father, only for a quick chat to calm her nerves as there was clearly nothing wrong with her house and she very well may be crazy, but decided against it with a quick glance at the unforgiving clock again.
She went back to the bathroom and fixed herself in the mirror again, quickly trying to apply her lipstick without getting it on her teeth in her rush.
Again, louder, closer, more mirror cracking.
Even more unsettling, however, was the fact that there was no dog barking.
She looked around the bathroom quickly, out the door to the bright front door, tried to calm herself down again.
Something was different, though.
The crack on the mirror was on the opposite side, larger than before, and though she had sworn she was done with her lipstick before the second boom, as she looked up into the mirror her face was blank again, unmarked at all, just as it was when she first woke up.
Her body was shaking she was so incredibly disturbed. She was not necessarily scared, being scared was a different feeling entirely. She was unsettled, her stomach hurt, she felt like she was going to puke, but not like she was in danger or was going to die.
As she turned around to leave the room and find her dog and take him outside where it was bright and there were people, she ran into a wall where the door should be, hard.
Only she didn’t see a wall, she saw outside, to her living room, just as you should in a doorway.
Again she tried to walk where it clearly looked like she could walk, and bam, she was stopped. It physically felt like she was walking into a wall, her nose smashing against something hard, and something invisible. She felt the blood rush to her face.
Her stomach was doing somersaults now.
She tried the opposite direction, the bathtub, the window above the shower head.
Wall. Yet, nothing.
She started trying both directions over and over again, eventually going so quickly and getting so frustrated that she was just banging herself against the walls, her arms bruising and her knuckles pounding as she went.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, unsettlingly silent and still hours, she stopped.
She stood in front of the mirror, huffing, and puffing, and she stared.
Her dog was there then, she noticed as she calmed down, only he was across the mirror, not by her side. He was sitting at the doorway of the bathroom, where the wall was. He was whimpering and crying, not like he was hurt, like he was alone. She tried to reach down for him, but she hit her fist against the wall again.
When she did this, however, he looked up at her expectantly, in the mirror, of course.
She looked forward at the reflection and studied the living room from the mirror, seeing that it was all as it was before, only situated on the opposite side of the room as she remembered.
She suddenly got very calm, stopped her heart from racing so much, and got such a sense of understanding that even her dog stopped whimpering, seemingly sensing the newly found calm in the room.
She was in the mirror.