The Mirror

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Aug.27th 1924

The morning is light and clear, and the sea is calm. How often I find my gaze wandering to the sea, staring out to the grey vastness in awe, which then turns quickly to a shuddering fear-

I think this shall be the last day of my writing, so I must be precise in my dialogue, despite the events of last night(26th), in case my fears prove themselves to pass.

The night of the 24th was comparatively uneventful, with dinner being a brief but hearty affair. I had retired to my room early, shortly after eating. My day's purchases were placed on the dresser along with my figurine from Scotland. Frowning, I looked carefully at my two parcels. Coincidence though it obviously was, my two parcels were wrapped in exactly the same fashion. Same folding in the same places, as near as could be, and both sealed with brown packing tape. Another little story I could add to tell my friends. Leaving them wrapped, I opened the bedroom window slightly for a touch of fresh air. Being a low first storey window, iron bars ran vertically across to prevent the ingress of unwanted visitors. Undressing, I slid into bed.

That nights sleep was not altogether restful, rather it was more fitful and uneasy. It was not long, it seemed, that I had been asleep when I started dreaming-

-everything was dark at first, until my eyes adjusted to the light. When they had become accustomed I found that I was drifting through deep waters. The sea. No sound reverberated through the misty liquid, and it seemed that I moved in slow motion. Forces other than my own were guiding me towards some unknown goal, as I swam without any impetus. Slowly into view came a few blocks of green stone, jade, obviously shaped by hand for their angles were too defined with no sign of erosion, although their geometric shape was unimaginably hard to make clear. Drifting closer I could discern the faint outlines of a building in the distance. Small at first, I expected to be within reach of its walls soon, but it was taking an age for them to come any closer. This underwater structure was infinitely bigger than I had first suspected. Eventually I came to within around one hundred feet of the walls, staring in total disbelief. No human could have built this for its geometry was all wrong, and surely could not have stood as it was unsupported. But on a block to my left were the engraved words, ‘Built by Randall Smith'.

The walls rose to over four hundred feet before my eyes lost sight of the topmost portions. The architect here (Randall Smith?) must have been a genius or a stark raving madman, for the angles of this structure totally defied every law of physics, geometry and gravity ever applied in science. In this asymmetrical world symmetry was being openly mocked. Order did not belong here. Everything screamed of madness and I found myself starting to feel claustrophobic. Ahead of me yawned a massive stone archway with a pitch black void beyond which light could not penetrate. The portal stood fully one hundred feet high and sixty feet wide. Its topmost portion was carved. Floating closer, a chord of recognition was struck within me, turning quickly to a chord of fear knotting in my stomach. The carving was an exact likeness of that on the mirror, and upon this realisation a wave of panic and nausea swept through me.

A feeling of trespass and terror took me, and I felt that I had desecrated some forbidden temple. My breathing was becoming rapid and my claustrophobia growing. An immense feeling of dread began to overwhelm me and I turned to escape only to find that the maddening walls now surrounded me. I glanced in all directions in apprehension of what was to come. From the darkness of the archway I sensed a deep evil emanating, although nothing seemed to stir within. Except bubbles. Small at first, growing slowly larger and rolling round the top of the archway's lintel before spiralling towards the all too distant surface. Staring at the blackness of the doorway was all I could do; I was frozen to the spot in fear.

A deep heaviness or oppressiveness swept out of the dark and washed over me, caressing. Movement was impossible, even to turn my head. Heavier and heavier became the pressure of the water until a shape started to emerge into the faint light. A dim shadow at first, which quickly moved forward to float within the archway. Tentacles writhed around the edge of the giant doorway, feeling their way, gripping the stone, getting ready to pull…something through. Stark terror now gripped me and I tried to force a scream but only screamed in silence as from beyond the dark heaved a huge bloated head. Fish, toad? I knew not. Slimy, monstrous, evilly glinting yellow eyes above rows of venomous black teeth and an enormous beak, like that of an octopus. Circling this beak were several more tentacles, tipped with black barbs, roiling towards me to where I floated. Two of these gripped me round the waist and chest, at which I tried to struggle. In vain. It was then that I started to shout and scream like a maniac, but the instant I opened my mouth I felt and then saw tiny little feelers emerge from my throat.

Eyes wide in terror and panic like I had never known, I lost all sense of realism, if indeed there were any. Looking back at my nemesis I saw one single tentacle head for me and wrap itself around my neck and to slowly squeeze. The pressure in my head was immense, and as I was drawn up to the foul creatures eyes I could feel my skull begin to crack, when a booming alien voice exploded in my mind, "RANDALL"-

At the instant that voice called, I sat bolt upright in my bed gasping for breath and glaring round the room with wild eyes staring like marbles. A sweat chilled my body, and I remember feeling disorientated, taking a few moments to fully realise where I was.

Leaning over and striking a match, I glanced at my watch, seeing that it was only three o'clock in the morning. I was about to blow out the match when I noticed a glistening on the surface of my dresser. Lighting the bedside lamp showed that the whole of the dresser was covered with what I presumed to be condensation, until a cold draught blew across my face. The window was wide open. It had obviously been raining and blew in with the wind. Swinging my legs out of bed to close the window my feet were instantly chilled as they touched the floor. The carpet was also damp, and very cold. It had rained harder than I expected. A quick glance round the room showed that even the walls were dripping wet. I was feeling far too tired to do anything about it at the time and so lay back in bed. But the sheer reality of the dream kept me awake for at least another two hours.

Rising on the morning of the 25th, I found that everything had dried out sufficiently. I felt reasonably good, despite my waking in the early hours, and so decided to spend the day lazing around the countryside. Whilst eating my breakfast that morning, I pondered over the dream from the last night, and at how I was actually holding my breath when I woke up. The realism of my dreaming had seemed fantastic, but then a lot of people feel that way upon waking, some even disappointed that they woke at all. I was not one of those. The slimy green cyclopean walls hinted at some memory I was not able to place, leaving me with a nagging familiarity. But the creature was easy to place. It was from the frame of my mirror and the figurine from Scotland. Images such as these are bound to play tricks on the minds of the weak or the over imaginative.

Breakfast finished, I started to make my way to my room to freshen up before wandering outside. It was only when I had reached the foot of the stairs that I noticed how quiet and still everything had gone. Collecting a few items before I set out, I hung the mirror on the coat hook on the back of the door.

One of the precipitous cliff walks took me along the coast towards the West. It was not a strenuous walk by any means but had a steep path here and there when the land rose to the top of a cliff head, yawning away to my left onto the rocks below. Seemingly I had been walking for almost two hours, with various stops along the way, and the time should have been close to midday. My pocket watch told the time as being a quarter to twelve, but the sun was still fairly low and the day had not yet warmed up. My watch must have been running fast, I thought, so I set about adjusting it to an approximate time until I got back.

Upon resetting my watch I had the feeling that everything around me was moving at a slow pace, even the waves seeming to break over the rocks and then hang briefly in the air before crashing back down. Apart from the sea there were no other sounds at all. No birds, insects, farm machinery or wind. Nothing. I did not know why this should seem so strange for I was quite isolated, alone on the coast. (Alone? Would that I were.) I decided to turn round and start a slow walk back. This proved stranger.

I had not realised, until my journey back, that the temperature was not rising but instead getting gradually colder. This I could not explain for there was still no wind with a perfectly clear August sky. Still no sound or movement. An uneasiness stole over me and I decided to quicken my pace. Eventually I neared the village and thought that I heard talking from below the cliffs, laughing as well I think, but very soft, and very eerie. My first impressions were that it had been the wind but there still was not the slightest breeze. Then came the feeling of a presence behind me.

A stone clattered down the path making me spin round, heart racing. No-one. Then that soft voice again. Malevolent. Not laughing this time but calling out. To me? I could have sworn that it called my name. As I stared up the path another stone came rolling from out of nowhere. It didn't take anymore as panic set in and I turned running downhill towards the village in a blind sprint.

Upon reaching the road I raced up it towards the inn. Still no sound, no movement, no people. Barring the sound of the waves and the voice which still followed behind. Hauling open the front door of the inn I searched for the landlord or whoever else might be within. Empty. The bar, kitchen and dining room were all empty. Yanking out my room key I pounded up the stairs three at a time. Again I could not find a single person. My door was swiftly unlocked and I bowled inside.

(Present-My room is so cold now, and although by my watch a whole day passes, night still has not come. The sun is high above me now, but not moving. That soft but hideous voice still calls from below my window but I dare not look. Those deep wet footsteps are thudding through the earth again. God…I shall need sleep soon.)

The chill inside my room was remarkable. As cold as ice. Crossing to the window, I sought to see if there were any signs of my pursuer. The window would not open and no amount of pulling could move it. But I heard a frantic clicking or scraping on the road below, and a laugh more like a hiss. Quickly turning to the door I was going to risk a glance into the hallway before locking myself inside. But the door, too, was held fast.

Frantically looking the room over I noticed that there was a thin sheen of moisture all over the walls, floor and furniture. Then, a musty smell filled the room. Fish? I could not be sure, but it was definitely the smell of the sea tainting the air. The dampness could not be accounted for as my window was shut. Wiping my finger along one wall I tasted the moisture. Saltwater. Seawater. Seawater with the foul stench and taste of dead marine life. Gagging, I spat out the disgusting dew just as a noise from behind made me freeze. It was more of a 'slop', like a wet sponge falling to the floor. Turning slowly with my breath quickening and heart hammering with fear, I saw a piece of thick brown seaweed laying on the floor at the foot of the door. Kelp. And it was wriggling.

Just as I felt confident enough to move towards it and examine it, another piece landed on the first. Staggering backwards and sitting on the bed, I couldn't believe that I had seen it fall from out of the mirror.

The surface of the mirror was now shimmering. It became slightly blurred, the sound of the sea grew louder, then the mirror creaked and grew to twice it's size. I needed to scream but my mouth had dried up, and I found myself gibbering. My stomach knotted and tightened when I heard the voice.

"Do not deny us, RANDALL, join Him in his dreams in R'lyeh."

I think I must have passed out then, as the horrid laughter echoed through my brain.

It was after this episode that I awoke to my present horror, to which I am now resigned. Certainly there is someone coming for me…I hear Him in my dreams, suggesting things to me, threatening me with aeons of pain as His pale, sickly, wriggling larvae feed upon me for what would be an eternity. Several times I have woken from these nightmares crying.

(My feelings at the time of my waking cannot simply be put down on paper, except to say that I must have come to terms with the inevitable. If I had not then surely I would be screaming.)

Glancing up from the floor where I had passed out my jaw fell slack, and I remember half shouting or choking something in my fright. The walls of the room were (and are now) layered completely from floor to ceiling in moist brown seaweed, seeming to emanate from the mirror, and disappear within the glass.

Standing up, I reeled from dizziness instilled by the foul reek of fish and dead sea life, almost making me sick. I steadied myself on one knee and looked at my watch. It said one-thirty. Also the date had changed to the 26th. Obviously it was still running fast, for it should have been around three-thirty in the afternoon. Unless I had slept for ten hours. If that was so, then the real time was not much past midnight. But still the sun shone.

Another thing that I have noticed about the seaweed on the walls-it gently heaves up and down like it was breathing. What scared me though was when I realised that it matched my own pattern of breathing.

My preoccupation had been so intense that I had not at first noticed that my room had grown colder. I shivered and, rubbing my arms briskly, looked for my overcoat. It lay on the armchair, so I stepped over and quickly donned the thick garment. The chill within my room was now starting to frost the window. My breath fogged as I blew into my hands. Still the room got colder, with the temperature dropping noticeably by the second, making my teeth begin to chatter.

I sat on the bed and wrapped blankets around my shoulders to retain any heat I could. The speed of the frosting was ridiculous. My nose, cheeks and fingers started to numb and my respiration was short and painful; my eyes began to close, feeling an unending desire to drop to sleep.

Then warmth. A wave of room temperature washed over me. A blessed release. The numbness left my fingers, replaced by an itching as they warmed. Outside was a typical summers day.

My attention was brought abruptly back round to the mirror when I heard a watery, bubbling noise. Staring at it, slightly confused, I moved slowly towards it until I could see the surface shimmering again. The bubbling ceased and was followed by a deep, regular echoing that I could only describe as giant footsteps, emanating from the very ground below me. Slow and heavy, they vibrated up from the foundations of the village itself. They became louder and closer, until I thought that they would burst through the door of my confined room. Until the noise lessened and moved farther away. Towards the sea? Pipes. Can I hear pipes?

The seaweed still matches my breathing.

I now hear soft voices, sighing in despair, becoming clearer, the moans and cries of tortured souls. Piercing screams and a bubbling, gibbering madness of laughter of those that had lost their minds. In the midst of all this noise, a face was growing in the mirror. It seemed that it was travelling from up inside the depths of the glass, small at first but growing steadily bigger. An old mans face. Familiar yet alien.

Standing mesmerised, the face burst from the mirror, hanging out of the frame, staring with jet black eyes, themselves like inky mirrors. No pupils. No life. No soul. Apart from the ones it had stolen. It spoke a single word to me.

"COME", before folding in on itself and disappearing backwards within the glass, which became immediately still.

Evening?

There is no circulation of air in my room. It is musty and stifling. The seaweed heaves gently as if asleep.

As far as I can tell, it has been about five hours since the face last appeared. Nothing has changed. Outside is quiet and still.

The room is now becoming more odious and offensive. I can hear the sea, but it is coming from the mirror. Whatever happens will be very soon. Would that I had my father's old service revolver. I could have put a bullet through my head long ago. When I come to think of it…There is movement from the mirror…




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