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Reflection [ACF 2016]

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posted on May, 17 2016 @ 10:18 AM
Elias had been a Scoutmaster up until a few years ago but had been invited to vacate his post due to taking the slogan 'Camping for Boys' a little too literally and excluding girls from the Scouts' activities.

Now, a little older and more versed in the customs of modern times and equality, he was settled in a new town and making a fresh start.

He'd befriended his neighbours and their six children and was pleased to see how much his friendship had meant to them.

The mother was sick and bedridden. He'd never met her but heard a lot about her and her struggles with illness from the kids. The father was a tall, pale, remarkably thin man who always looked worn out. As he probably was after the strain of coping with a sick wife and so many young children, the oldest of whom, Marcus, was barely twelve years of age.

The family had been delighted when Elias finally suggested an overnight camping trip. The kids had hinted often enough how much they'd love to go on one and their father looked so relieved at the thought of a whole night without the burden of them that Elias could barely contain his pleasure and pride at having set it all up.

So, here they were, just before sunset heading off to the camp site that he and a couple of the older boys had set up that afternoon. The boys had taken Elias into their confidence and, although he had reservations at first, he decided that there couldn't be too much harm in a childish prank.

The plot was that as Elias told the inevitable creepy story round the camp fire the older kids would all surreptitiously don horror masks in order to scare the littlest one.

How they laughed as they explained how frightened he'd be when he saw them, one by one, turn into monsters in the firelight. As Elias raised an objection they assured him that the prank wouldn't go too far and that little Samuel was used to being teased. He'd laugh when he realised it was all a silly joke and be happy that he'd been the centre of attention again.

Now here they were approaching the camp as twilight descended and Elias hoped that all would go according to plan and he wouldn't have a scared witless six year old to cope with.

At the camp everyone set about their tasks and soon they had all marked out their territories in the tents and one of the girls had taken young Samuel for a wee before they settled round the newly-lit fire for marshmallows and, best of all, the scary story Elias had been promising.

Priscilla, holding Samuel's hand, came back to camp with a smirk on her face. 'He's had a good one' she announced. We don't want him going again in the middle of the story'.

'Shan't' insisted Samuel 'I'm empty'.

'Bah' snorted Marcus 'you've always got a dribble left'. And he lunged playfully towards Samuel with a big grimace on his face.

Samuel, trembling, pushed his knees tightly together and Priscilla sighed as she took him off to a nearby bush.

Finally, everyone took their places round the fire.

'Now, children' leered Elias, his face looking hideous in the firelight, 'if you're sitting comfortably, I shall begin:

Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in a beautiful old house way out in the country. The house was sumptuous and lavish both inside and out, all except for one room where nobody was supposed to go.

Strange noises emanated from the room and often if one walked past the closed door one felt an iciness that couldn't be explained. Even in the height of summer.

As she grew older the girl's curiosity started to get the better of her and she started to wonder more about the room and its contents. The fear she'd always felt had started to subside and she realised that she was becoming brave enough to go inside and have a look round.

She sought out the old housekeeper and politely asked for the key. The housekeeper issued a stern warning 'No good will come of this' as she reluctantly handed it over.

The girl hugged the key to her chest and noticed that it was remarkably cold. So cold it felt as if an icy shard had penetrated her heart. Daunted she put it in a box in her room and decided that today wasn't the day to go exploring strange rooms'.

Elias paused and looked at the kids. One of them had indeed put on a horror mask and a small whimper issued from Samuel.

'Go on' the kids urged 'oh please go on with the story'.

Elias resumed:

'The girl tried her best to be brave but the cold key had frightened her and she gave up the idea of exploring the room. Until she decided to hold a slumber party and, in the middle of the night, one of her friends came shrieking into the bedroom to report that she'd heard a loud moaning issuing from the room just as she passed it.

'And it's cold' she continued. 'So very cold. Look, I'm still shivering'.

All the girl's friends demanded an explanation and she reluctantly told them about the room and its reputation. She tried to play down the actual incidents but her friends were not about to let it go.

'There's five of us'... 'Safety in numbers'... 'Oh, do let's explore'.

The girl remembered how curious she'd been about the room and realised that now might be her best chance to have a look in there. She doubted she'd get this many people eager to explore it with her again.

She took the cold key from its box and showed it to the others 'See how cold it is' she told them. They all touched or held the key 'Seems OK to me'... 'That's just room temperature'. None of them could feel the cold as she did.

With varying degrees of bravado they all set off to the room which failed to oblige them by issuing any icy blasts through the keyhole.

A couple of the girls started to suspect that they were being pranked with all the talk of cold rooms and cold keys but, nonetheless, everyone stayed to make a grand entrance.

Just as the girl put the key in the lock a terrible scream could be heard at the end of the corridor and someone or something raked its fingernails down the window. She jumped back but the door was open and, in their fright, the others had all stampeded into the room to get way from whatever was making such a commotion in the hall.

The girl entered the room and found a light switch. The room was bare except for a large wardrobe that had a mirror on the door. The reflections in the mirror showed a group of terrified girls who were gradually calming down and getting back to their usual bolshie selves. Except for one – a girl that the others didn't recognise.

'Why do you disturb me?' she asked.

They all looked round, excepting to see her behind them but she wasn't there. They all looked again into the mirror.

'Why did you open the door?' asked the girl 'Don't you know you've opened the way to let them in?'

Two of the girls fled back to the bedroom and the others huddled together, too scared to go anywhere.

'Who? Who's them?'

Just as the question was asked a shriek entered the room and echoed all around it. More nails could be heard scraping at the windows and then, to everyone's horror, scratching at the mirror on the wardrobe door.

The girls were rooted to the spot and watched to see what would happen to the Reflection in the mirror.

The room got very cold suddenly and the shriek became frozen in the air. On and on it went just the one high pitched note, stuck there.

posted on May, 17 2016 @ 10:19 AM
The nails clawed frantically until they gave up and the sound could be heard of hands rubbing themselves together as though they were cold.

The girl in the mirror looked out despairingly 'I can't keep this up' she cried 'they'll unfreeze eventually and all will be lost'. Tears streaked her face as she explained that it was only the cold that kept her tormentors at bay. The cold and the locked room which had been her sanctuary.

'We didn't know' protested the girls. 'We thought this was just a creepy old room'.

The Reflection glared out of the mirror at them 'The room has always been 'creepy' enough to deter visitors up until now'.

'Oh, come on you can't have expected to stay safe in here forever. Someone would have opened the door eventually'.

The Reflection appeared to resign herself to this. After all, she'd been imprisoned in here during far more superstitious times and couldn't have bargained for the more 'enlightened' attitudes that pervaded the modern world.

The frozen shriek seemed to go up an octave and waver a bit.

'Oo-er, it's thawing out'... 'It can't harm us can it?'... 'It could split our bloody ear drums. Is that harm enough for you?'

The girl approached the mirror 'Is there something we can do to put things right?' she asked.

The Reflection sobbed 'If only you could, but there's nothing. They'll claw away at this mirror until it falls in shards onto the floor. When that happens I'll be reflected in each tiny piece and my suffering and loneliness will be multiplied a myriad times'.

The girl looked around to beseech her friends for help or some ideas but found herself alone in the room. Unaccountably the light went out. She stared into the blackness of the mirror only just being able to make out herself and the Reflection.

The shrieking started to resume its normal pitch and flew around the room. It sounded as if it was bouncing off the walls.

The Reflection looked ever more terrified as the scratching continued. The girl, too, found herself in a such a state of terror that she felt she'd never recover.

She had to duck a few times as the shriek surrounded her and tried to nudge her. It was insistent and seemed more interested in her than in the Reflection.

It was almost a relief when the clawing at the mirror finally yielded a result and a large crack appeared. The Reflection doubled. The mirror cracked again and yet again until, just as she had foretold, it was in splinters on the floor.

The girl squinted in the darkness, anxious to see if the Reflection was indeed reflected in all the pieces.

Unaccountably, the light went on and the girl looked at the Reflection's defeated and accusing image staring up at her dozens and dozens of times.

The shrieking had stopped as had the clawing and the girl expected to find herself alone in the room. Not so... she felt warm breath around her ankles and heard a small shuffle behind her.

Hardly daring to look she turned around and was confronted by a rather grateful, if exhausted and old-fashioned, young man. She looked down at the insistent warm breath that still beset her ankles and saw a smallish dog. Now he had her attention he wagged his tail and appeared to ask for something.


'He's looking for his ball. Heeere, boy' and the man threw a ball for the dog. The dog raced off to fetch it and brought it straight back to the girl asking her to throw it for him.


'Oh he'll have you at it all day if you let him. He was his Mum's downfall'.


'Well, all she wanted was a bit of peace and all he wanted was to play. So there was sort of a conflict of interests'.


'Well, she's a Witch but sometimes she really ought to read her spells more carefully. This wasn't the first one to go wrong'.


'The spell was supposed to give her a safe place she could pop off to when she wanted to escape the dog. I didn't realise she wanted a safe place from me, too. I dunno what happened but she ended up imprisoning herself in the mirror and turning me and the dog into some sort of ghosts... or other. We've been stuck in the Astral Planes with nothing to do but play bloody ball for god knows how long. He's been as happy as Larry'.

The girl gathered herself 'You do know that you haven't freed her, I suppose? See all those shards on the floor – well she's imprisoned in each one of them. Suffering many times more in each reflection'.

The man looked down at his former love who was glaring at him dozens of times and surely would have killed him if she could. The girl half expected one of the shards to leap straight off the floor and aim straight for his heart.

'Well' he said rubbing his chin 'is that so? Hmmmphhh, serve her right. Miserable sod should have appreciated us more when she had the chance'.

He looked down at the dog 'Come on, boy. Let's find some of those girls for you to play with. Give your old Dad a break'.

Elias finished the story with a flourish and was gratified to see that he'd had the rapt attention of all his audience, most of whom were looking suitably monstrous and scary in accordance with their prank. The exception was the smallest one who was round eyed and squirming on his seat.

'Well, young man. Did that frighten you?' Elias asked him with a smile.

'Yes... yes it did but now I want a weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' responded the little one and, to his great amazement, the child launched himself towards Elias's throat baring small, sharp fangs as he did so.

The older kids looked on with a mixture of approval and alarm. 'Go easy'... 'Oh no, don't eat him all'... 'Save some for us will you?'... 'Bugger, too late. He's scoffed the bloody lot'.

'Not quite all of him' said Marcus 'there's a finger over here. We'll save that for Ma, it'll have to do her. Pa will have to go hungry again'.

'We didn't think this through, did we? said Priscilla 'being scared witless certainly works up the appetite but we really didn't allow for Samuel being such a little pig'.

The kids all looked daggers at Samuel who responded with a loud Buuuuuuuuuurp.

'Priscilla,I really do need a wee now. I just don't have enough room inside for a full bladder and Elias'.

edit on 17-5-2016 by berenike because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 17 2016 @ 10:19 AM
Why didn't Cinderella get picked for the football team?

Because her coach was a pumpkin.

(Had to do something with the spare post).
edit on 17-5-2016 by berenike because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 17 2016 @ 10:30 AM
a reply to: berenike

Great story and well written!!! SF

posted on May, 17 2016 @ 10:41 AM
a reply to: Quantum12

Thank you. I hope you don't regret that last star (if it was yours) now I added the joke

posted on May, 17 2016 @ 10:45 AM
a reply to: berenike
I added the star before you edited, I knew you would be putting something funny there !

posted on May, 17 2016 @ 10:51 AM
Oh NICE twisted ending!

posted on May, 17 2016 @ 10:54 AM
a reply to: AccessDenied

Thank you
I was hoping I didn't signpost it.

posted on May, 17 2016 @ 05:17 PM
a reply to: berenike

Hi berenike!

Twisted ending indeed!

That was great! Easy to read (nice flow) and definitely kept me interested.
Good luck in the competition.

posted on May, 17 2016 @ 05:32 PM
a reply to: jacygirl

Thank you

posted on May, 17 2016 @ 05:46 PM
really enjoyed the 'story within the story'

posted on May, 17 2016 @ 06:49 PM
a reply to: cosmickat

Thank you. I hoped I'd got that about right because it was supposed to be (in the story) aimed at little kids but it still needed to be entertaining enough for the reader here.

posted on May, 21 2016 @ 02:32 PM
a reply to: berenike

Fun! Well, except for Elias... Lol!

Never trusts pranking kids cause the joke may just be on you.


edit on 21-5-2016 by AboveBoard because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 21 2016 @ 03:45 PM
a reply to: AboveBoard

Thank you very much

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