I lived in a dormitory throughout my four years of university. My school had a good selection of student residences, but I chose the one that was most recently constructed. It was set way back, but I didn’t mind the extra exercise to and from classes.
The first thing I noticed when I moved in was that the building was U-shaped, with an open courtyard in the middle. The corridors were open on one side, meaning we could easily cross to the opposite side without walking all the way around the dorm. There were also huge, floor-to-ceiling length mirrors every six feet or so. We would spend time fixing our hair and primping there before classes.
We first started encountering problems with the mirrors a couple of weeks into the semester. Apparently, a younger student had been combing her hair in front of the mirror. Since it was a huge mirror, she could see the mirror at the opposite corridor clearly. She claimed that she saw her reflection just standing still, not mimicking her movements. She had passed out, and after a week she transferred dormitories.
I don’t know if it was because of the rumors or hysteria, but the mirror-related incidents began circulating more frequently after that. Some of the girls had begun to cover the mirrors in the evenings so they wouldn’t see their reflections when they came back to their rooms late at night.
One morning, I was in the cafeteria getting breakfast. I was dawdling near the fruit and juice section (the cafeteria was vegan – another horror story IMO) when a girl from one of my classes approached me and said Hi.
I greeted her back, turning to smile at her. She looked tired and sick, with dark bags under her eyes, pale skin, and a listless facial expression.
“What happened to you?” I whispered, picking up my tray and following her to a table.
She picked at her granola cereal, not even pretending to eat. After a few minutes, she finally looked up at me.
“Have you ever looked at your reflection on the other side of the corridor?”
I laughed. “What do you mean? I look at myself in the mirror every day.”
“No. I mean the mirror across the courtyard. Have you ever tried doing that?”
I rolled my eyes. “Oh, I get it. Was there another ‘incident’ with the mirrors?”
She wouldn’t meet my eyes. “I’m not kidding. I did it last night – accidentally – but I’ve had nightmares all night. I barely slept.”
I was concerned. “Maybe you should take a nap. Or go to the clinic. Do you want me to take you?”
She gave me a wan smile. “No. Thank you, but I’m fine.” She picked up her untouched tray of food and stood up. “See you around?”
I nodded. “I’ll see you around.”
I never got to see her again, though.
It was a few days before I even heard that she committed suicide. I didn’t ask how she did it – I didn’t want to know. But I knew it was messy and bloody and included several broken mirrors.
Several carpenters were working on the mirrors, removing the broken ones and replacing them. One of the residence advisers quietly instructed them to position the mirrors in such a way that they wouldn’t be directly opposite the ones on the other hallway.
The dormitory was scheduled for a blessing soon afterwards. I stayed in my room, losing myself in online games to distract from the aura of gloom that hung over our residence.
That night, I was walking to the laundry area at the back of the dormitory. I purposely kept my eyes straight ahead, not wanting to catch a glimpse of the mirrors. I breathed a sigh of relief when I arrived at the laundry room, then spent a good half hour listening idly to the hum of the washing machines as it churned my clothes.
I didn’t look at the mirror on purpose.
It happened by accident. I guess my clothes weren’t as dry as I thought, and they’d been dripping. I slipped on the floor, landing on my back. My clothes scattered everywhere. I exhaled to myself in frustration as I picked them up. When I grabbed the last shirt, I noticed that I was directly in front of the mirror, part of the last pair still in their original positions.
I looked up.
My eyes automatically went past my reflection and focused on the mirror opposite to mine. There was somebody in front of that mirror, and when I squinted, it didn’t look like me at all.
I whirled around, looking for the person on the other hallway. But there was nobody there. It was already past midnight, so everyone was probably asleep. The whole courtyard was dark, the hallways dim.
I laughed at myself, blaming my overactive imagination.
Then I caught movement from the corner of my eye, and I turned back to the mirror, turning rigid with fear as a broken, bloodstained face grinned at me from behind the glass.
I screamed, scattering my laundry for the second time and running to my room. I slammed the door shut and dove under my sheets, shaking with fear.
A few moments later, I heard my roommate’s bed squeak and her footsteps pad towards me. Not wanting to talk, I squeezed my eyes shut and pretended to be asleep. She sat down beside me, then started combing my hair with my fingers, something she often did. She repeated the gesture until I fell asleep.
I woke up late the next day. When I opened my eyes, I caught my roommate entering the room with two cartons of breakfast. She greeted me cheerily, and I sat up, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes.
“Thanks for last night,” I said. “I have the craziest story to tell you.”
She cocked her head to one side, looking confused. “What about last night?” She asked.
“You know. When I came back from the laundry room.”
She set the food on our study nook, then faced me. “Didn’t you see my note? I headed out a bit after you did. I spent the night at my boyfriend’s apartment. I can’t stand this creepy place anymore.”
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