Once Upon a Dream

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Your world was burning. And I stood watching

Aida felt a sudden chill. Her head snapped to the door towards the store.


She rushed towards the front part of the shop. When she opened the door, she saw Abel talking on the phone in the corner. Her head turned quickly to the counter. The music box was untouched.

"Hey! Sorry, I came by and you weren't here. You didn't miss any customer," His smile was contagious. She was relieved that he didn't get lured by the spell.

She hugged him tightly. It was quite a surprise coming from her since she wasn't the type of person to act so bluntly.

"What's with all this love?"

She pulled back and looked into his eyes. They were swirling with so many emotions. She grabbed his head and kissed him. Abel's eyes widened. That was something different but the kiss was so innocent that it made him feel light. He closed his eyes and kissed her deeply.

She poured her feelings into that passionate kiss; poured her loneliness and sorrow. She was feeling beautiful around him; was happy around him. Aida was in love with him.

After they stopped, he grabbed her hand and squeezed it tightly.

"I like your surprises," He was being cheesy. "I really like you, Aida." Instead of gleaming with happiness, she looked ready to cry.

"I really like you,"

Aida was in front of a boy. He just confessed to her. She couldn't believe it. The last time she confessed was in middle school and it went terrible but this was different. She was being confessed to.

"Hey! Graham! Don't lose your time with her. She's an introvert. She doesn't like to be around people!"

Graham didn't budge. He was staring into her eyes with hope and she was intimidated.


She didn't know what to say. She didn't know how to reciprocate his feelings. She was the girl with the weird big black eyes.

"It's ok. Don't give me an answer yet. I surprised you. But when you're ready, come and tell me." She nodded.

Unfortunately, Graham had to move to another country in his second year of College. She gave him a message through a common acquaintance, ready to tell him her answer before he was leaving. She waited for him the whole day. It started to rain but she didn't move from that place. Aida waited for him in front of their university but he didn't come.

"Are you alright?"

She didn't know why Abel was looking at her in worry until she realized she was crying.

"I'm fine. I'm really happy right now."

Abel smiled and kissed her again and again. They were only small pecks but it made her laugh.

"By the way, you should hide that music box. It taunts me every time I see it." He was only joking but she took it very seriously.

That day, she spent it entirely with him. They went to karaoke and they ate street food. It wasn't the best date but it was the most meaningful one.

That night, Aida cried herself to sleep. The memories were overwhelming.

Aida was in front of the mirror. She inspected the place first. Nothing was suspicious. She was inside the magic room. Her attention returned to the mirror. It was shifting and making a loud noise. She felt it lure her in and followed the overwhelming need to get as close as possible.Her eyes widened and took a step back in fear. Inside the mirror was the reflection of Abel. She turned her head and found him watching her with hatred.

"So that's your secret. You steal the inner beauty from your customers. Just like a witch," She frowned.

"No. You don't understand!"

He chuckled darkly.

"I don't understand? Is there another meaning to what you're doing here? Let's not go around the bush. You are the worst!" She felt like a blade just cut her heart in two. He walked closer. With every step he took forward, she was taking one back. "They were right. You will never be loved and you will never be able to love. You and your sinister big black eyes."

Every word was cutting deep into her soul. She was worthless. She was stealing the beauty just so she could take revenge for her ugly past.

"I'm sorry," She muttered.

He looked down at her with a judging gaze. He was right in front of her when he pushed her harshly and she fell through the mirror.

She fell into abyss. On the other side of the mirror was nothing but darkness.

"Isn't that what you wanted, Aida? You wanted to see the other side of the mirror. You wanted to see the magic of it,"

She shook her head.

"I just wanted to be pretty because that's what saves you in life!" She was tearing up.

"Beauty. It all comes to beauty, doesn't it?" The voice chuckled. She was still falling into thin air. "True beauty is not visible. That's only a shell that will eventually break. True beauty is inside. Is in the way you think and you act. It's in the way you treat yourself and others. You craved respect and you got it. You wanted to be beautiful and that is exactly what you became. A beautiful face with an ugly soul." She frowned.

"I want out,"

The voice started to laugh. The echo of the abyss was making it louder and more sinister.

"I WANT OUT!" Aida screamed.

She opened her eyes wide and jumped up, sweating and trembling. It was only a nightmare. She sighed and grabbed a hand through her hair.

Her phone was vibrating, signaling a new message from Abel. She didn't want to see him. Now, she had to go see the mirror.

Since it was her store, she could open and close whenever she wanted and that was exactly what she did. She closed it for good reasons.

Aida spent a few hours in front of the Magic Mirror. Nothing happened; nothing, but music. The melancholic song was reasoning through the entire store, soothing yet it made her remember the bad times. Making a deal with the devil was the worst mistake she had ever done in life. She should have been happy with her original beauty.

Aida shouldn't have found the mirror.

On the other side, Abel was in his room, impatiently waiting for Aida's reply. It was already lunch and nothing.

"Maybe she got sick of you,"Alec teased his friend.

Abel rolled his eyes, knowing that wasn't like that. Alec was overreacting; or just making fun of him.

"This girl got you wrapped around her finger." Robert was happy for his colleague. He had never seen him so positive before.

"Maybe that's why you make so many mistakes lately." Alec added jokingly.

In the last year, Abel made more mistakes than he did in his whole trainee days. He couldn't focus on acting or modeling, he was always getting into verbal fights with his boss and even with Robert and Alec and he was irritated almost every time. The only time he felt light and happy was around Aida.

"Maybe it's her. She put a spell on you or something."

Abel brushed the statement off. That was impossible. She was a normal girl.

"How would that be? Maybe she gave you a potion. Lately, the girls don't find you attractive anymore. Maybe she wanted to have you all for herself," Robert was only messing around but Abel was worried.

Alec saw his reaction and placed a hand on his shoulder,"Don't listen to him. I'm sure she didn't do anything to you."

That would have been nice if it was true. Unfortunately, it wasn't.

Abel needed to see her and talk to her about some things. He wanted to make sure that she was fine too. He went straight to her shop only to find it closed. However, the back door was opened, he could see that through the window. She was inside.

The front door wasn't closed so he entered without a problem. He got taken aback when he heard music. It was the same song, repeating again and again. It strangely sounded like a music box.

"Right," He remembered the music box. Abel searched for it in the store but couldn't find it until he noticed a drawer when he was searching on the counter. It was locked. The curiosity was too big therefore, he actually broke the lock and opened the drawer. The music box was amazing.


"What are you doing?"

His head snapped to the back door. Aida was watching him warily, her eyes red and sore.

"Have you been crying?" She was caught off guard by his question and worry so she rubbed her eyes quickly.

"I have allergies," She mumbled groggily, rubbing her eyes.

Abel raised an eyebrow. Did she really think he would buy that? She walked closer and noticed the broken drawer.

"What did you do?"

He shrugged innocently,"Nothing."

The music box was in there. She pushed him away only to see the drawer empty.

"Look I was just really curious. Besides, my flat mates got some crazy ideas stuck in my head,"

"About me?"

"Not necessarily. They were just joking around about you casting a spell on me or something," He was too oblivious.

It was happening.

"You don't have to worry about that," She mumbled, trying to make it something petty.

"Then why do you?"

"I'm not,"

He was really not in the mood to fight. Not after he got into trouble so much in the last months.

"Let's just drop this subject." He decided in the end.

"What if they are right?" Abel laughed. She was really serious about that subject. "What if I did cast a spell on you?" He shook his head bemusedly.

"Then you definitely caught me."

She was worried. How was she going to face him after that nightmare and their recent misunderstanding?

"I'll tell them to apologize to you even if they were just teasing me."

"I think you should leave now." She bent her head and avoided looking into his eyes.

He sighed and left. Once she was alone, she started to cry. Everything she did was coming back to her; haunting her.

A week went by and Aida didn't contact Abel. Robert and Alec felt responsible.

Abel was even worse than before. He was looking for fights everywhere.

"I think it's our fault,"

Robert glared at Alec, "You think?"

Alec glared right back. Robert was the one who started the teasing. He had a bigger fault.

"Hey, man. Are you alright?"

Abel looked really pissed off.

"I got it. You're not alright. You should go talk to her."

"She hasn't contacted me in a week. She doesn't want to talk to me!" Abel exclaimed, still angry.

Robert sighed and looked at Alec for help.

"Robbie's right. You should force your point of view on her. You might be surprised by how well she reacts if she sees you,"

Abel rubbed his forehead, debating his opinion with theirs. He had a terrible headache.

Aida was thinking about Abel a lot but she had to respect her duties. The mirror wanted to be fed.

"That music box has a bottle of perfume in it?"

Aida smiled. It looked forced.


Abel hesitated to enter. He was fine watching her through the window.

"How much is it?"

"Enough," Aida's response sounded awfully familiar.

He noticed how her eyes scanned the woman from head to toe. That was weird but maybe it was part of the job. She had to find the perfect perfume for her customer.

"I have enough. How does it smell?"

Abel listened closely. Thankfully, the glass was thick.

"Like magic."

His eyes widened. He told him the same thing when he first asked her about it.

Aida told the woman to follow her in the back. That let Abel to freely enter and take a look at that music box.

"Nothing seems suspicious," He turned it upside down and inspected every corner. It was a normal music box. Abel noticed the key hole to the side and got curious. "Where would the key be?" Abel surveyed the place just in case. His eyes landed on the counter. The drawer was still broken since she didn't have enough time to repair it. He found the key easily.

Aida was in the back, ready to feed the mirror when the melancholic song turned on in the whole store. Her eyes widened.

"What's going on?"

Aida didn't have time to give answers. The mirror was hungry. She pushed the woman in the mirror quickly and rushed out the door.


The boy was amazed by everything. He spin the key in the hole and the music turned on; in the whole store.

"Put it down." She ordered him.

He did, mostly because he didn't want to piss her off, but he got interested in something else.

"Hey!" She only had a second to scream at him when suddenly, he ran past her in the corridor.

"Is this place supposed to be so long?" He wondered loudly, his heart beating faster in fear.

He found the door widely opened and entered slowly, gasping at the beauty of it. His eyes didn't fall on the mirror. No, his eyes noticed the unconscious woman on the ground.

Abel ran to her and rolled her on her back. She looked like she was sleeping. He raised his head and noticed the mirror. It was glamorous.

On the other hand, when Abel saw his reflection in the mirror, every door in the store closed. Aida got thrown out of her own shop and locked outside. She started to bang on the door like a crazy person.

"No! Let me in! No!"

Time started to move slower until it completely stopped. She frowned, terrified.

"Let me in!"

Inside, Abel was staring closely at the mirror. Something about it was bad. He got goose bumps when the mirror shifted and originally, thought it was only an optical illusion but realized it was nothing like that when the mirror started to shine brightly. It blinded him for a few moments. When the light died down, he saw what Aida has seen once.

He tried to touch it but it electrocuted him so he pulled his hand back and watched in amazement.

"This is just like in the fairy tale. Unbelievable!"

He took a step closer in hope that he could catch a glimpse of what was inside.

Unlike Aida, Abel saw more and it scared him. On the other side of the mirror were faces; sorrowful faces of victims. He could even hear them scream and cry. It was horrible. He frowned and started to back off however, the beauty inside him already caught the Magic Mirror's attention. Abel was a feast.

Two hands got out of the mirror and grabbed him. He squirmed and got out of their grasp however, the door was locked. Abel was trapped in there. Was that even real? Did Aida know about it? Was that why she always brought women in there? To take their beauty away?

Suddenly, he understood and frowned. His friends were right. If mirror was real and he wasn't dreaming, then she probably did cast a spell on him.

"The perfume," Abel trailed, still not believing all the crazy stuff happening at the moment.

People started to see him differently after he started to use her perfume; Robert and Alec did too.

Abel dodged the hands but he was growing tired. He had to find a weapon so he scanned the room quickly for one but he couldn't find anything helpful.

The woman on the ground started to wake up. She rubbed her head and got up groggily. Abel ran to her, helped her up and told her to look into his eyes. The woman frowned when the hands grabbed her and started to drag her into the darkness.

"No! Help me! What's going on? Help me please!"

He tried his best to keep her out but his hands were sweaty. In the end, the mirror ate the woman entirely.

Abel was breathing heavily and he could feel the force slipping out of him. He jumped behind a couch and found something that looked like a dagger. It was really small and maybe inefficient but he had to try. She probably used the dagger to unpack the packages she got with perfumes.

Abel closed his eyes and squeezed the dagger. He had to encourage himself; he was a man after all besides, he had no way out. He needed something hard to break the mirror; even scratch it so he used the bottom of the dagger.

He sighed for the last time before he launched at the mirror, getting the chance to hit the edge. That seemed to be the weak point.

When Abel cracked the edge, Aida screamed. A little bit of her chin broke and became dust.

"No. No, no , NO!"

She had to break in somehow. He was attacking the mirror! He was attacking her source of beauty! She looked around and noticed the fast food. Since time was stopped, she grabbed a chair and threw it against the window. Luckily, it did break. She entered the store but she still couldn't open the back door. Aida sighed and fell against it. Another scream followed, and another. He was breaking the mirror. He was breaking her.

While Abel was destroying the source of magic, Aida's face was breaking. The color of her skin became darker and her body gained more fat. Her big black eyes were changing back to what they used to be like. The transformation was taking a lot of energy from her.

When the light faded away, Abel was sure the mirror was destroyed. He fell against the wall and tried to regain his breath. He dropped the dagger and closed his eyes for a moment.

Suddenly, he remembered Aida. He got on his feet and walked towards the door. It was unlocked. He glanced at the broken mirror one last time before he walked out.

Abel found Aida unconscious on the ground; at least, he thought it was her. The girl was chubbier, though not by much, her face resembling Aida's a little. Some things were definitely different; like her skin or her cheeks. Her chin wasn't as sharp as it was before but she did have big eyes, surprisingly. She wasn't ugly at all; she was just normal.

When Aida woke up, she was safely tucked in her bed, home. She got up quickly and looked around. Abel wasn't there but he left a note for her. She started to cry while reading it.

You are beautiful just the way you are.

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