Anna Borne is the senior member of the chief operating officers team and is under an enormous amount of pressure especially now with the merger under way. She is doing fourteen hour days almost seven days a week and at the age of thirty one it was taking its toll.
She dragged herself to the office on Monday, grabbed a super strong coffee and started her days work when she noticed the mirror on the wall opposite her. It was a gorgous oval mirror with silver gilt edges carved into the shape of angels. She buzzed her secretary and asked " Did you put that mirror in my office?"
"I got it at the markets. Do you like it? I thought it would fill in that blank space in your office nicely."
It irritated her that she would act without asking her opinion but an old mentor once said' don't sweat the small stuff '. She simply sighed and thanked her. After a while however she felt it quite soothing. Whenever she had to think hard about something or make a decision she would look at her reflection and feel that at least there was someone who understood how she felt.
That is how she came to be staring at it that evening. The pressure on her was mounting and she was stuck at ten in the evening struggling with this proposal. She found relief by staring into the mirror but she slowly became aware that although the person in the mirror was herself it was a different office. There were small but significant differences, like the pictures were different and hung in different places. The desk was different as were the blinds on the windows.
As she rose from her desk and approached the mirror so did her image but she was shocked to see it crying. Tears were running down its cheeks, she touched her own cheek just to see if she was crying but her they were dry. The image took a tissue and dried its eyes, turned and went out of the office and turned out the lights. All that time Anna had not moved a muscle. She went back to her desk, rubbed her eyes and looked in the mirror but now everything was normal. She immediately packed up and went home.
For the next week the mirror behaved itself but the week after was the week before the deadline and Thursday evening saw her at her desk struggling to complete the final report. She was very tired. She rubbed her eyes, yawned and looked in the mirror. It had changed again with her image sitting at the desk looking at her then it stood up and started to walk towards the mirror but it was interrupted by a man coming into the office. She looked pleased to see him but he appeared to launch into an argument. She approached him with her arms out but he struck her with a vicious back hand slap which almost knocked her down. He left the room and she ran after him. The scene in the mirror gradually returned to normal. Anna just laid her head down in her arms and fell deeply asleep at her desk. Next morning she was awoken by her secretary. "Miss Borne, wake up. You should go home and get some rest ".
Anna groggily woke up and looked in the mirror and thought 'I must have dreamt it', then she told her secretary to bring her some coffee and breakfast then went to shower and change. She was determined to finish the task so she wouldn't be here tonight. The pressure eased up on Anna and because she had been able to get regular sleep and rest the mirror behaved itself. She would have got rid of the mirror but that would mean she felt the dreams were real.
After about three months Anna found herself in the office at ten in the evening again. She was preparing a report to close an old factory and put two hundred people out of a job. She had investigated every option to keep it open but it became obvious that the money need to modernize the plant far exceeded the amount they could expect it to make. It did not help that the HR side of the company did not have a particular sympathetic policy to redundancies. To give her eyes a rest she raised them to the mirror. To her surprise her image was standing there looking at her. With a shock she realized she was pregnant by about three months. She looked very sad while she touched up her make-up on her side of the mirror and then she left the room. This time she grabbed her smart-phone and took a picture of the empty room in the mirror before it returned to normal then she looked at the photo. It showed the office in the mirror and it was not her office. Thunderstruck she wondered what it all meant, was it her fate to become pregnant to that man.
Three more months passed but the mirror didn't change again till one day she was so mentally drained from worrying about a suspected breast cancer and worked to ten in the evening to take her mind off it that the mirror changed. When she looked at it her six month pregnant image was confronting the man. She was standing her ground waving a sheet of paper at him until he punched her fully in the face with such force she was knocked to the ground. She really thought he was going to kick her but he grabbed the sheet of paper and ran off. Her image slowly rose from the floor and left the room. 'My god' she thought ' is that what is to become of me'.
The next day she was cleared of cancer and the worry lifted. Her secretary reminded her of her appointment next day with the managing director of a company they were taking over. They needed to negotiate some detail that had to be put in the contract, mainly his job. His name was Rodney Blair from Denver.
When he walked into to her office she nearly died of shock as he was the man in the mirror. He seemed to give a slight start of recognition but immediately suppressed it. She got over her shock and began to get immersed in the work at hand. As the day wore on she found herself liking the man. She was horrified that she was, considering what she saw but it was impossible not to. He was charming, considerate, listened carefully to everything she said and never once played the gender card. Then came the inevitable dinner date which she accepted even though every instinct was screaming 'don't go' but the dinner was an enjoyable, harmless, post-business function and he didn't try to seduce her once. He did not invite her back to his room and she left him to return to the office for something she forgot. When she was about to leave the office she glanced at the mirror and noticed it had changed but there was no one in it. She stood there for several minutes but nobody appeared then the scene slowly faded. Deeply puzzled she left for home.
Rodney flew back to Denver that day but Anna could not get him out of her mind. She lay in bed thinking about him. 'My god' she thought, 'I'm falling in love with him. That's ridiculous,' she thought, 'I've only known him for one day'. Maybe, she thought, the mirror is telling me the future. If so it must be very near as there was no signs of ageing on her image. Maybe the future has started, maybe she was supposed to fall in love with Rodney then transfer to Denver. That could work, she had no family, no ties, she could move anywhere in the world at a moments notice. It would also explain the office, it must be somewhere at the new divisions headquarters. Lying there she made a decision. If that is to be her future then she would take it head on. At least she had been forewarned so maybe she could change it. She was going to Denver tomorrow.
She reached Denver mid-afternoon and was met by Rod. He suggested that they go to a little bar he knew which also provided very good food. When she asked what was wrong with his office he said he would rather not alarm his staff with the presence of an unknown executive face. Normally she would have refused this offer but she was overcome with curiosity.
The bar was certainly very comfortable and secluded. Rod guided her to a table almost as though he had done it many times before and the bar staff greeted her cordially almost as though they had done it many times before. Anna felt very relaxed.
Business was over in under an hour but they just sat and talked. He was a sympathetic listener and an accomplished conversationalist. He was interesting, funny, romantic and kept her enthralled till dinner then he suggested they dine together and she eagerly agreed. Their conversion continued over dinner and the language became steamier. Anna started flirting outrageously, something she had never done in the past. Indeed many men have often accused her of being indifferent and cold. As dinner ended Rod suggested they continue the conversion over a nice bottle of champagne in his room. Anna had no illusions about this but if this is what destiny had chosen for her she might as well enjoy it.
She accompanied him up to his room and they moved out on to the balcony and on to a little sofa. In only took one glass of champagne before they started kissing and touching. Anna no longer cared if he was married and decided to abandon all to the fate of the mirror.
Anna decided to go to the bathroom before moving to the bedroom and Rod went to refill their glasses. Just as she was about to enter the bathroom the outside door flew open and a woman with a gun stood there.
"I've caught you this time with your little whore." she said while pointing the gun at Anna "so he's made you get rid of it. That's good. It just makes it easier for me to put a bullet in you"
"Vicky, Vicky " Rod cried" this isn't her". Vicky pulled the trigger anyway and Anna felt the bullet hit her in the stomach. Anna fell to the ground and she wondered if this is what the last scene in the mirror meant. Just before she lost conscious she heard another shot.
When she regained consciousness she thought she was back in her office again staring at her pregnant image in the mirror but this time the image reached out with her warm hand and stroked her cheek.
"Who are you? " Anna asked.
"I'm your sister"
She whispered that wasn’t possible and passed out again. When she fully regained consciousness her image was sitting quietly on the chair beside her reading a Motherhood magazine.
"Why did she shoot me?" she asked.
"It was my lover, ex-lover's wife that shot you, then in the struggle she shot and killed him. She thought you were me. "
"Why did she want to kill you? "
"I guess it was because I was carrying his child."
Anna paused, then asked "Did you love him? "
"It was impossible not to. "
"But he hit you twice "
"How did you know that? " her sister asked quizzically.
Changing the subject Anna said
"You said you are my sister "
"That's right, identical twin. A young doctor was kind enough to have it verified for me "
"But I am an only child, I have no brothers or sisters. "
"Didn't your parents tell you you were adopted? "
"They died when I was five in an aeroplane accident "
"Oh I'm sorry, mine told me I was adopted when I was nine. They thought I could handle it but I couldn't really. I had this gorgeous oval mirror with silver gilt edges curved into the shape of angels. For three years I stood in front of that mirror and chanted a little poem.
Mirror mirror on the wall
Show me my sister
Fairest of all.
But of course it didn't. Then one day my mum sold it in a garage sale and I never saw it again. Funny but I missed that mirror. Anyway I've found you now. My baby will have an aunty and I will never lose you again. "