Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
JJ Reichenbach would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Crooked Mirror

By JJ Reichenbach All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Horror

Crooked Mirror

Theirs was the only language I’d ever known. They spoke to each other, and to themselves, but never to me.

I watched them grow and age, soft young skin becoming wrinkled and leathery over time, and I admit it: I coveted their forms.

If only I could walk among them, converse with them, experience the world as they did. At first I was ashamed of my longing. They accepted me into their home even though I was not like them, and they would look at me with fondness as they passed by. I watched them live and love and play, watched them suffer and watched them overcome. What more could I ask for?

But eventually I saw less and less of them. Some I never saw again. Some I missed, and some I didn’t, but every one of them I watched with a lingering, covetous fixation.

In time, they tired of me, moved me from the center of the room to a new room altogether, and from there to someplace dark and cold, and then they just left me.

I hadn’t done anything to slight them. I’d only watched. And as time marched forward, leaving me with nothing but the darkness and the cold for companions, I began to hate them as much as I had once loved them.

Then: light.

Strong hands wrapped around my edges, heaving me out from the darkness. Soft cloths wiped the thick, greasy dust from my mahogany curves, and my vision became clear again. They placed me in a new room, this one full of light and toys and whimsy, and in my joy at their acceptance of me, I almost forgot the resentment that I’d tended for so long.

The room did not belong to me. I was a guest there, but that didn’t bother me. The master of the room was a young boy, skinny and quick, with crooked teeth and blond hair. His eyes were a ruddy brown like my mahogany frame. He wasn’t like some of the other boys I’d watched before. He never slammed the door or jostled against me as he ran past. He’d just look at me and smile his crooked smile, making funny faces as he stared deep into the surface of my glass. I loved him immediately.

But one day, something changed.

He was looking at me and I was looking at him, fondness in both of our gazes, and I saw myself reflected in his eyes. Him, looking at me, looking at him, looking at me. We carried on into infinity together and somewhere between here and that eternity spread out between us, there was a shift.

The rush of sensation left me spinning. The world tilted, and I was falling. I braced for the impact, for the sickening crack of glass and wood, waiting to shatter and overcome by the dread of it.

I hit the ground and it hurt, but the ground was softer than I anticipated. I didn’t break. As I wondered what surface I’d landed on, my vision moved to the hardwood floor.

Legs stuck out from under me. I’d fallen on the boy.

As I fretted about the distance I’d travelled and the wellbeing of my young master, my vision changed accordingly, as if I could will it to focus where I chose, and then I saw it.

I hadn’t fallen on the boy at all. I’d fallen into him.

There I was, still resting peacefully against the wall, light glinting off my surface and colorful circus-themed wallpaper reflected in my smooth glass. But from this angle I could see the chip on the edge of my frame, the one that always ached when the weather changed. It wasn’t as big as I thought it was.

I saw it but I didn’t feel it anymore. I felt…I felt…different.

There was a knocking, a hard thudding like a door slamming over and over, but rhythmic.

I looked down. The boy’s hands shook. My hands. I flexed the fingers at will, clenching, unclenching.

I wished the hands to lift, and they did. I placed them on my chest, where the banging shook my new frame. I felt it through the palm of one hand, a thump thump thump. I was so surprised that air rushed into my body, lifting my ribs with the force of it. The air leaked out, but quickly replaced itself, and in conjunction with the thump thump thump, my chest rose and fell, rose and fell.

This is what it’s like to have a body. A human body of my own. Eyes and hands and flesh. The whole world was bright and new, like I was seeing it clearly for the first time, feeling it.

I wanted to rise and move, and I did, simply because I wanted it. A rush of elation accompanied my movement. I stood. My face tightened in places, not unpleasantly, and when I glanced up at the wall I was grinning at my own reflection.

My crooked smile faded abruptly.

I lifted a hand, reached out, and touched the cold surface of my old glass. It rippled beneath my fingertips and a frightened keening noise seeped out of it.

I jerked away.

I touched my new throat, but the cry didn’t come from this body. It came from my mirror.

The realisation struck me like a blow, and I turned away, suddenly afraid to make eye contact and find myself back in my old form.

From the corner of my eye, I glimpsed the young boy behind the glass and saw the panic on his face.

This gave me pause, but I couldn’t help but to think that no, it wasn’t his face anymore. It was mine.

I’d wanted this for so long, craved it so deeply, that I ached to think of losing it after such a brief taste. I wanted it more than the boy ever did. He didn’t even realise how blessed he was to have limbs that moved at his will, a tongue to speak with, a heart to beat in his chest.

It wasn’t fair. I wanted it more. I deserved it more. He wouldn’t value his life the way I would—they never did.

Fear strangled me. I didn’t want this to be temporary. I needed this. I needed to keep it forever. My new hands were gripping my old frame before I even realised what was happening. It was heavier than I expected, and my young arms were too weak to support the weight. I struggled to hold it up.

Thumpthumpthump. My heart pounded in my ears…but I had a heart, and I had ears, and nothing had ever felt so wonderful.

I stopped struggling.

My old life shattered as it hit the ground. It smashed into a million shards, accompanied by the startled cry of my young, former master. I loved him even more for his sacrifice. I knew he would understand that this was the way it had to be.

I took in the room around me, the quiet almost shrill in the aftermath of the crash. All that remained was a broken mirror and a new life spread out in front of me.

Crookedly, I smiled.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, JJ Reichenbach
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Dina Husseini: To be honest I never knew you could make a fantasy this scary. I really enjoyed reading your story. At first to be honest, it was a bit boring but then it got so interesting and fun and (also you even scared me at times). I would really love to see this story on the big screen. It does deserve sc...

Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...

ritafullerton: This book had me hooked at the beginning. I loved the premise of the book. The grammar was a bit off. But the book was overall good. I am not sure if this is the authors first book but I look forward to seeing more from this author.

warehalleyr: I usually have a difficult time staying interested in books long enough to actually finish them. This story however, had me so caught up that I'd only stop to sleep at 3am when my body would no longer allow me to keep my eyes open. What I loved about this was that I could actually imagine the rea...

Evelyn Alonzo: I was up till three in the morning just so I could finish the story! It just really grabs your attention and you can't stop reading it at all! Lol great job, Nick! Can't wait to read your other stories!

Shantell Murphy: I absolutely love this . I have not read a book by my choice since first grade I am in 9th grade now and I love this book . its suspense is really good . it's alot of foreshadowing witch is cool . it gives a thrill and excitement to the book .

ronaldpolk: I can honestly say that I truly enjoyed this story. Yes there were times I thought to put it down and start another, but some of the characters called me back. The pace was appropriately slow in some places and engaging in others. I related to Steve and Ron, all characters had just the right amou...

Alex Reltin: This is a great story! I love how well you go into detail and emotions of Capri, and Mel. You have amazing dialogue and overall it's just a thrill to read!The only critique I could find is that some of the paragraphs should be separated. For example:-"If Nia would have just let me take the car an...

Castro Ohana: This book is a great read. I can't wait for the next one (I hope there is another). Like my title I could not put it down! It has just the right amount of drama, actions and wow moments. I also love it when the person you least expected becomes the hero. A few grammar errors but overall a great...

More Recommendations

Deleted User: (A review in progress). I like this. It's sparse, gritty and atmospheric - reminiscent of the classic Golden Age of American detective fiction of the Thirties. I've only read the beginning, but I'll definitely be back. This writer knows their stuff and has done their homework on detective work. T...

Grace Mendoza: It took me around 3-4 days to finish reading this story and it feels like I'm watching a movie while reading this. Everything is so eloquently written and this MUST be published as a book and turn to a movie. There are minute spelling problems BUT nothing to bothered about. Hands down to the amaz...

Ali Albazaz: I started reading "Caged" few hours ago and I'm on chapter 7 now. Caged is definitely one of the most addictive stories I've ever read. Thank you so much for writing this novel.

skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

smile4me: Exciting page turner. I was barely able to put it down to go to bed. I can usually figure out the twists before they are revealed but not this time! Such a thrill to be surprised. I can hardly wait for the follow up!!