Mirrors by Shera Hill

Shel came up to Lisa’s room, sat on the bed and offered her some pot. As they smoked she glanced at the mirror over her dresser and said, “I think there’s another world inside of mirrors.”

Shel tilted his head, still holding the smoke in his lungs, not wanting to let it out yet by talking. He shrugged, as if to say, “So what?”

She said, “I’d like to get inside, see that world.”

Lisa dressed all in black. She dyed her hair black, wore thick black eyeliner, white face makeup, and black lipstick. Her older sister avoided her at school and tried to ignore her at home. 

“Goths are so pathetic. I can’t believe you!” 

Mom hardly seemed to notice, muttered something about “a teenage phase”, and since the divorce Dad lived on the other side of the country.

Lisa spent most of her time in her room, laying out tarot cards, texting Shel, and blocking the messages that constantly popped up from the girls who walked behind her after classes and made comments about her clothes, her hair, the way she slouched. Everyone at school knew her name. Shel was her only friend and only because he was as weird as she was.

He finally exhaled the smoke, offered her more and when she shook her head, snubbed out the joint and put it in his pocket for another time. “How would you get inside a mirror?”

Lisa held up her phone. “There’s ways to do it—a spell.”

He took out his own phone, found the site.

“This is so bogus,” he said.

“Can’t say that ‘til you’ve tried it.”

“A bunch of want-to-be witches and warlocks.” He pointed at the screen, “Says here if it doesn’t work it’s because you don’t believe hard enough. What a crock.”

Lisa thought Shel was more a nerd than a Goth. Things had to be right in front of his eyes or proved by science for him to believe. She was thinking of having sex with Shel today. She didn’t like being ignorant about something other people knew. Shel was a virgin too. She’d never asked him, but knew he was. No one would bother them for several hours. Her sister was at the mall, her brother moved out two months ago, and her mom worked until seven.

She nodded toward the mirror. “I bet if you go inside everything is air and light. I bet it’s amazing.”

Shel ignored her and started a game on his phone.

“I’m going to try the spell.” 

He looked up. “Go ahead,” and in his snide voice said, “be sure to believe hard enough!”

Lisa took her phone and stood in front of the mirror and tried to look past her smeared eyeliner, the pimple showing through her thick face paint, the blond roots at the part in her hair.

She read the spell, gazed into the mirror and recited the words. 

Nothing happened. 

Shel snickered and said, “You’re not believing hard enough.”

“Fuck you.”

She repeated the spell slowly, thinking, I believe, I do believe!

Shel laughed again. 

Lisa sat the phone on her dresser, straightened her shoulders, closed her eyes and envisioned what she dreamed of as the mirror world. Space and streaming bands of color. Flying, yes, flying! Because she knew you could fly there! It was magic like Harry Potter, or like when Mom and Dad were still together and took them up in a hot air balloon, and they moved with the wind, and it was so strange, so quiet and so free.

Click, click, went Shel’s phone. Lisa opened her eyes. The afternoon sun slanted through the window, showing dust on the dresser, fingerprints on the mirror. 

She said, “You want to have sex?” She could ask him that with her back to him, just watching his reflection. 

He looked up, blinked, stared.

“Nothing serious like, just so we know.”

He put down his phone, looked away and then looked back at her in the mirror. “Um, I don’t have any kind of protection.”

“My dad left Trojans.”

Shel had dark eyes, beautiful eyes. Lisa gazed at them now without having to pretend she wasn’t. 

He said, “You really want to?”

“I just thought we could, at least once, so that we—” but her words floated off like the dust motes in the slanting light. Shel waited, and from the edge of her vision, Lisa glimpsed something in the mirror, brought her eyes back to herself, and saw a girl with smeared makeup, wet lashes and trembling lips. 

She looked down, shook her head, and said, “I don’t know what I want anymore.”

Shel didn’t say anything but left the bed and came over. He stood behind her and put his arms around her. 

They stood that way, not moving as the light receded, and the mirror grew dark.

Shera Hill was born in Wichita, Kansas, but now lives in Baywood Park, California. She’s always been an avid reader, with most of her working life in the book world. She retired in 2014 as a library branch manager, but has written poetry, short stories, and novels, since she was a child.

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