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.


4. Chapter 4

     I wake up drenched in sweat and breathing heavily. The sky is still dark, so it must be night still. Sitting there, curled in my blanket, I remember the terror of the ghostly hands reaching to tear at my clothes. I am fully awake, and don't expect to fall asleep again. I quickly flip on the lights and grab the mirror. It was in my dreams, so maybe it has something to do with the horrible dreams. I reach under the bed to pull out the mirror, but it isn't there. Strange, I distinctly remembered putting it there before bed so that I wouldn't lose it. Shoving the small tingle of fear into the back of my mind, I pull on my furry slippers and wrap my robe around my shoulders. Slowly, I crack open my door. As soon as I see there is nothing out in the hall, I swing it open all the way.

     I slowly tiptoe downstairs so as not to wake anyone, then run quietly to the kitchen and flip on the lights. Pete startles me, and I let out a small squeak of surprise. I pet him for a minute, so that he will not raise the alarm and bring my whole family down to the kitchen. I fill the small blue kettle with water, and sit at the table as I wait for it to boil. I almost doze off, but Pete comes back and licks my hand. When I hear the sound of bubbles in the little kettle, I grab a mug and throw a packet of chamomile tea in. I fill it 3/4 of the way, then fill the rest with a mixture of cold water and honey. About 2 tablespoons make it sweet enough for me, although sweeter is always welcome.

     Pete has took to his bed again, and is snoring softly. I swear, that dog sleeps more than a sloth! When he isn't barking at strangers, he is sleeping in his little red bed. Or in front of the door, next to the exercise bike, or in the piles of clothes and junk littering my brother's room. Glancing at the clock, I see it is five o'clock. No one will wake up for another hour or so, meaning I have the house to myself for a full sixty minutes. I wish I could find that mirror, but I am slightly scared of what will happen. I still can't get the image of the monsters out of my head.

     I finish of my tea and grab a piece of "bread". I think about putting in a movie, but it would be too loud. Instead I settle for my book. I set the bread down on the counter, and go retrieve my book. I return to the kitchen, and look in the fridge for the ghee. I set it in the microwave for a minute to soften it. Just as I am about to put some ghee on my slice of "bread", the cupboard swings open and it hits me on the head, and the world goes black.

     I come to with a start, and jump to my feet. Pete was licking my face. The ghee bottle is lying on it's side next to my bread, which missed the plate when it fell. There is a cut on my chin from where I must have hit the counter when I fell. And there on the floor, next to where my head was, is the mirror. It clearly didn't fall, or it would be broken, but it had to have gotten there somehow. I reach down and grab the handle. Gazing into the mirror, my reflection suddenly disappears. It is replaced with a picture of some forest. It is beautiful, and i gasp! The plants are the most beautiful green I have ever seen, and the flowers look so perfect, they could be from a fairy tale. I show it to Pete, but he has no interest in it.

     I am still studying the picture when the first rays of sun hit the pattern on the mirror. Suddenly, the whole thing glows gold. I drop it, but instead of falling, it hovers. Pete scampers away, and I try to follow him. Instead, I am unable to move, held in place by some magical force, probably the mirror. The mirror grows until it is as tall as the room, then the glass starts to bend. A strong gale of wind blows out and whips around the room. My hair is flying everywhere. The golden light is almost too bright to bear. I open my mouth in a silent scream, and there is this force pulling me into the picture, now as big as life. I try to get away with all my strength, but the spell won't let me go. I tell my legs to kick, my arms to punch, but even if I could move, there is nothing to hit. I expect to be crushed between the mirror and the invisible hand pushing me in, a terrible way to die. Instead I go right through the mirror, into the picture.

     Suddenly, all the wind, the pushing and pulling, the bright golden lights, all disappear. I look around at my surroundings. It is a forest, but one I have never heard of or seen ever. It has almost a magical look to it. The greens are more rich and beautiful than I ever imagined possible. The brown on the trees almost looks like chocolate, almost edible. The flowers surrounding me are the most beautiful colors, ones I have never even seen before, and the perfume they release into the air makes me want to lay down in them and never get up. Finally, I look down into my hands, where I realize I am holding the mirror. My grasp on it is so tight, my knuckles are white and my fingers are starting to stiffen into that position.

     I let out a stifled yelp and drop it into the flowers around my feet. I take a few steps back, then turn to run away, far away. To find someone to tell me where I am. Instead, I see a man. Not a human man. This one is very short, almost as short as a garden gnome. He is sitting on a stump. The 'man' is wearing brown trousers, with a light brown tunic and a dark brown leather vest. He has small dirt brown shoes that look hand made, and a brown wool cap. His skin is slightly tanned, and on his hands he wears brown leather gloves. Around his waist, there is a tool belt with tools one might find around a house, for cleaning and fixing and building. There is a hammer and nails, a small shovel, more gloves (probably for gardening from the dirt on them), a dust rag, a small brush for cleaning counters, and several sponges. They are all the size of doll's toys.

     If I wasn't so scared, he could have looked cute, or slightly comical. However, in this situation, he was scary. I was frozen in place, afraid that if I moved he would make some action to attack me. To my dismay, it was already too late. He stood up, hopped off his stump, and waddled over to me. He was slightly overweight. He stopped just in front of my feet, and looked slowly up to my face, screwing up is eyes as if to take in every detail from my wrinkled pajamas, to the windblown hair and the terror on my face. When his soft brown eyes met my stare, he smiled, and it was the most welcome smile I had ever seen. It was neither threatening, or judging, or the look of a cat about to pounce. I had never seen a smile so full of joy and acceptance and love and excitement, that it put me off guard. I smiled too, and he spoke.

"Hello mistress Sylph, we have been expecting you. Come! We mustn't be late," said the creature. His voice was surprisingly deep and melodic, but it startled me all the same.

"W-who are y-you," I stuttered, trying not to look too scared, and failing miserably.

"Now now, we don't have time to answer all the questions. You took longer than expected, and we mustn't keep them waiting. There will be time for introductions then." he said, with the most sympathetic look. "Grab the portal and we can be on our way, if we hurry we will arrive in just a short seven minutes and thirty-eight seconds. Hurry up, time's ticking away."

     Not knowing what to say to this, I slowly bent down and picked up the mirror, somehow knowing this was the portal he was talking about. Then he turned around and motioned with one finger that I should be following. We stomp through underbrush, following a trail that looks as though it has not had maintenance done for several years. Low lying plants have covered most, but he seems to know the way. As I walk through this beautiful, calm forest, all my fear and tension seem to leave. I have only ever felt this calm in dreams, so it must be a dream. That is my solution. Nothing in the world could ever be so safe, so beautiful, so calming as this forest, with this strange little man. I follow him, who can walk at a surprisingly fast speed. As I follow him, my mind drifts off to my warm cozy bed, and Pete, probably scared out of his mind. 

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