When Sylph finds a mirror at the bottom of a hidden lake, it is just another piece of junk. But this mirror could be the solution that Sylph has been searching for.


2. Chapter 2

     The sky was dark, and it looked like it might rain. I didn't really mind. The tree I was sitting under would protect me from the chilly wetness. I was thinking about cats. I absolutely adore cats. They are one of my favorite animals. Anyways, thinking about cats, my mind started wandering to a story I had heard. A few years ago, some people were sitting down there by the pond, and a cougar appeared on the other side of the lake. It was winter, so it had frozen over, but the ice wasn't strong enough to hold the big cat, so the people got away. I never really thought much of it, just some old tale someone constructed to sound cool.

     Suddenly I heard a twig snap somewhere behind me. I slowly turned around, and about twenty yards away, in the bushes, there were two green eyes watching me. My mind turned to that story, and my heart beat quickened. I really love cats, even big ones, but I'd never wanted to come face to face with one. Since my path was blocked, I figured I would climb the tree and wait for it to go away. Slowly, I stand up, and start edging toward the first branch I could reach. A really stupid plan, seeing as cats can climb better than me. As I reached the first big branch, it started to rain.

     Also, unfortunately, the cougar, or whatever it was, realized I had noticed it, and was starting to slowly approach my tree. I really hate heights. Have I mentioned that? My two worst fears are heights and doctor needles. Or any needles. OR, ANYTHING having ANYTHING to do with doctors, hospitals, or the smell of sterile wipes. They are like hospitals. Well. I am clearly good at getting sidetracked. Well. Anyway, I forced myself to just keep climbing like my life depended on it, because it did. The cougar had finally lost all interest in stealth, now I could see it was a cougar, and was instead trying to find the best way to reach me. Suddenly, I grabbed a branch too small to hold me.

     I plummeted down into murky darkness. I couldn't see. Or breathe. I had experienced this once. It was in a doctor's office. I absolutely hate needles, and my mom promised that I wouldn't need shots this time. When the doctor came in with four different injections for me, I couldn't breathe. It was horrible. I looked around frantically, trying to find which way was up! Gasping for air, I sucked in a large amount of water. I tried to cough, and only got a mouthful of mud and something slimy. It tasted disgusting, but I didn't notice. Thrashing around in the water, I got caught in something. I clawed at my throat. It hurt more than anything I had experienced. Losing consciousness, I saw a sudden flicker of blue light before giving into the wet, dark death surrounding me.

* * *

     Walking down a dark hallway, I have the feeling I am late for something. I quicken my pace, and look down at my watch. It's not moving. There is suddenly a door that opens at the end of the hall. A hand reaches out, beckoning me closer. It looks like a women's hand, with perfectly manicured nails, but it is rippling. The lighting in the hall suddenly changes, and I can see that the walls are dark green, with little speckles of blue. Turning back to the door, I take a step forward. I sudddenly feel a force pulling at me from the door. The hand slips inside, and I take a step through the door.

    As soon as I cross the threshold, the scene changes completely. Suddenly I am in a magical forest. The greens are unbelievably bright and beautiful, and there are flowers everywhere. Music is coming from somewhere ahead, and there is a bright blue glow coming from the same direction as the music. It is one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen. Following a path that suddenly appears in front of me, the music gets louder and louder. It is more beautiful than anything I have ever heard. It sounds like all the instruments and voices in the world singing in harmony, and even that would be no match to the song i hear now.

     As I walk between two trees, the air ripples like I just walked through some kind of energy field and I can suddenly see what is the source of the glow. A small Victorian style hand mirror is sitting on a log, surrounded by a wreath of flowers and branches. There are little specks of light flitting around the bushes and peering into the mirror. They act like a little bug would, but I can't see them, they move too fast. Walking forward, I reach for the mirror. The little flying lights zip away from me, so I can't get a good look at them. As soon as I touch the mirror, it sucks me into a vortex of colors, and then everything goes black.

* * *

     My eyes fly open, and I look around. I am not in the pond anymore. I have no idea how I got out. I stand up, and realize that I am on the other side of the pond. The sun has moved all the way across the sky, so I must have been gone all day. My mother must be so worried! I pull out my soaking wet phone, then realize it will do me no good. Something out of the corner of my eye flashes, and I whip around, thinking the cougar came back to finish the job. But instead, there is an old Victorian mirror lying in the mud. The exact same one from my dream. 

    The sun is reflecting on its surface. I don't think I should leave it out here, but it's really freaking me out. Looking around again to make sure no one is watching, I stuff it into my sweatshirt pocket, since the mirror is already wet. I stumble over fallen trees and push past bushes that get caught on my clothes. I am in a hurry, so I don't care to be careful. Running up the slope to the main path, I remember the feeling of drowning and shudder. I realize that the taste of the swamp is still in my mouth, and it makes me gag. I spit out a mouthful of mud, then start coughing uncontrollably, as my body clears itself of wretched mud. When I can breathe again, I wring out my hair, and try to come up with a story to tell my mom. Hopefully, she will be gone and I can clean myself up.

     I am in luck. Since it is a Friday, my mom went to my little brother's swim meet. I rush inside, not bothering to take off my shoes. I grab a plastic bag, and stuff my sweatshirt, shoes, socks, phone, and mirror in it. I am too afraid to look at my reflection in the strange mirror from my dreams, and I am still slightly afraid it will suck me into it like in my dream. I fling my shoes into the garage, in front of the furnace.  I quickly wipe up the water that drips on the floor, and sprint upstairs into my parent's bathroom. I throw on the water to the shower.

     Not bothering to wait for it to warm up, I step into the spray of water. I look down, and watch a dark green water cascade down my clothes and down the drain. There are bits of mud that don't go down, and I am afraid that mom will ask about them. I scrub my face and arms, getting any remaining mud off. My hair must look horrible. Touching it, I can feel mud and plants from the swamp, as well as dirt and debris from lying on the ground and tearing through the forest. Ignoring it for the moment, I scrub my clothes, which are still on me, with lots of soap, erasing the stains as best I can, and trying to erase the stench.

     I peel off the wet clothes, and hang them over the side of the shower. Now I wash the rest of me that was covered by clothes, eliminating the mud stuck between clothes and skin. Finally, I scrub my hair, and wash it with shampoo three times to get as much dirt and stench out as possible. I dry myself off, and pull on my favorite pajamas. I throw my clothes into the washer with my socks and sweatshirt, and put my shoes in front of the furnace in the garage. I can tell my mom that I dropped my phone in the pond, but I don't know how to explain the mirror, so I take it upstairs, and wrap it in a scarf. I do not want to look at it.

     When I collapse on my bed, I finally realize what just happened. I almost drowned! My mind gives me a replay of my time spent under water. It was terrifying! My brain tends to go into action mode after something bad happens, then when I don't need to do anything, everything hits me like a punch in the gut and I collapse. I hate it, but that is my brain's attempt at survival instincts. Sometimes I wish it would take away the emotions completely. They make me feel weak. After what feels like hours, I calm down. I hate myself for being so stupid as to let someone sneak up on me. But I can not let anyone know it happened. They would make a big deal out of it. And that would attract attention. And attention is bad because then people think about you, and attention draws hatred, or jealousy, which makes enemies.

     I pull my blankets up around me, and hug Peachy to my chest. Peachy is my purple teddy bear. I have had her since before I can remember. Her beans are scented mango, according to the tag on her, but I was too young to read and named her peachy, because to me she smelled like canned peaches that we used to eat all the time with dinners. She is my best friend when no one else can help. More tears than countable have been shed onto her furry head. As I lay there, the sky turned dark and I passed into a dreamless slumber, the tears long since gone.


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