Monday, 31 October 2011

Tales of Terror: Man in the Mirror - Part Two

Apologies for the wait but here it is a promised; the second part of my Hallowe'en horror tale...

Robert idly tapped his fingers on his keyboard and looked at the screen. Blank. Robert was a novelist and had written several successful novels a while ago. In recent months, however, his imagination seemed to have all but emptied. He tried to focus his mind on ideas but that nagging feeling at the back of his head really didn’t help.
It was now two days since Robert had seen that reflection but it had certainly not left his mind. He had been deliberating over it ever since. He and his wife had decided that the attic room would be best served in its old function so it had become his study. He had felt uneasy about the idea of spending time in the vicinity of the mirror but he had pushed the thought away. He was acting as if it was emitting a sort of malevolent force; which was of course absurd. He had concluded that it had surely been a trick of the dim light; after all, there was only that small window to illuminate the place.

But it wouldn’t hurt to prove his theory.

He peered above the laptop screen and found his eyes facing the mirror.  Almost sub-consciously, Robert left his seat and walked to the fireplace. To the mirror.

He stared at himself for a few moments. And himself stared back. He moved his head side to side (whilst feeling a little foolish) and his reflection did the same.

He laughed. How could he, one who thought himself a rational man, have believed that his reflection could be anything more than that. He let the laugh develop into a full, unrestrained hearty laugh.

But his reflection didn’t.

Robert almost choked at the abrupt ceasing of his own laughter as he watched his reflection.

It was unmoving. No, that was wrong. It was blinking and flexing its eyebrows just as Robert was doing but standing still as Robert was not. He moved his head but the reflection was completely autonomous now. Anything Robert would do it simply looked like it didn’t notice and continued to wear a look of complete beguile; as if it was utterly captivated by what it was seeing.

All thoughts of getting back to his writing and of Sara and of everything else exited Robert’s mind as he kept gazing at the mirror. If anyone had seen him they would have noticed the look of complete beguile on his face as if he was utterly captivated by what he was seeing.


Sara peered over at her husband as he ate his breakfast silently, just staring ahead. He blinked suddenly when he noticed he had finished and stood up. “I’m going to the attic.” He said plainly.

“Again?” He gave her a quizzical look. “I know its good you’re writing again but you seem to be…” She tried to find the words, “…too involved. I’ve hardly seen you over the last couple of days and when I do you have this glazed expression -”

Robert interrupted her. “I’m fine. Really.” He said bluntly. “We’ll go for out tonight to make up for it.” he added. He kissed her affectionately before leaving his wife alone for his attic.

As soon as he reached his study, every thought of Sara cleared his head as he perched in front of the mirror.
Shortly after he had started watching it two days ago, his reflection had begun moving around the room; going to his desk and rifling through some papers. Occasionally, the reflection would leave the room altogether and Robert would sit patiently until it returned. He had found it near impossible to tear himself away from it; yesterday, he had even watched it all day until he had fallen asleep.
As he watched on the third morning, something new happened. As his reflection stood by its desk, the door behind him opened and Sara entered the room. Instinctively, Robert looked behind him to see if Sara had really come in the room but she had not; only in the mirror. Robert marvelled at seeing a perfect reflection of his wife in the mirror. He had never seen her reflection in it before just as she had never entered the attic since the day he had discovered the mirror.
Robert watched intently as his reflection and Sara talked; their staunch expressions telling him it was not a genial conversation; their silent talk quickly escalated into what looked like an argument by the flaying hand gestures. Robert watched over this feeling detached from the scene. He started to wonder once again; what was he seeing? He had to open his mind up to notions he would have thought preposterous a few days ago. A parallel world? He definitely wasn’t seeing the past as he knew this scene had never happened because Sara had never visited him in the attic. More importantly, the two of them never argued.

He was jolted back into (his skewered form of) reality by a sudden shock.

Sara was facing the mirror.

(C) Christian Bone 2011
--------------- Return soon to read the final part. If you dare (cue maniacal laughter)----------------

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Tales of Terror: Man in the Mirror - Part One

Welcome to Chalbo's Tales of Terror - cue maniacal laughter and/or gothic organ music. What we have for you on this chilly October night is a tale of a young couple moving into their newly-inherited home. Is everything as it seems? Of course not. Enjoy reading!

Robert Wilde was not impressed. From his memories of the (very) few visits he made to his uncle as a child, he saw Graystoke Manor as a grand building. It had seen better days even at the time, of course, but it was still an impressive house. Now, as he stood inside it, all he could think was how decrepit it was.
“It’s still amazing. Look at the size of it,” perked up a voice behind him. Robert looked over to Sara, her mouth hanging wide and her face aglow as she looked over the bannister at the floor below them. Robert huffed. She did not have as privileged a lineage as her husband and so was not as used to the scale of the building around her.
“Uncle Monty could have smartened the place up a bit before he decided to pop his clogs though.” Robert spoke half to himself while lifting up a dust cover from a very old-fashioned dolls house.
Sara shot him a glance. “Don’t be so cruel. It’s not as if he knew that it was going to pop- to
pass away, was it? Poor man. A sudden heart attack, didn’t they say? Like he died of fright…”
Robert murmured an agreement, his mind on other things as he bent down to inspect the dolls house that looked as if it hadn’t been played with in so long a while. The porcelain dolls sat awkwardly in their chairs, perhaps only held there by the delicate silver cobwebs that entwined them.
“Are you even listening?”
Robert broke out his thoughts and went over to his wife and smiled. “Of course I was.”
Sara couldn’t help but smile back. When he was lost in his thoughts, Robert’s eyes clouded over as if he wasn’t aware of anything around him but when he snapped out of it, she couldn’t help but get lost herself in his brilliant blue eyes.
They stared at each other awhile without reason as couples in the bloom of romance do and then Robert noticed something adjacent to the nursery room they were in.
“Hey, it’s The Locked Door.” Robert called, breaking from his wife’s embrace.            “What?” She said slightly irritated.
She joined her husband outside a very old mahogany door. “When I used to visit Monty as a kid, I always wanted to see what was behind this door but he would never let me.”
“Well, now’s your chance.” Sara said, holding the skeleton key they had been given for Robert to see.
“And that’s why I love you,” he beamed as he turned the key in the lock. The child inside him filled with a sort of excited anxiety at the forbidden place he was about to enter. He pulled the door knob.

It didn’t budge.

Robert pulled with more force.

Still no movement.

 “It’d better be worth it after this build-up.”

With all his energy he heaved at the door and this time it did give way and swung outwards with a piercing creak that perhaps lasted just a tad too long.

The space in front of them revealed a small dusty staircase that they realised as they ascended its steps led to a small attic room; its floor space occupied by a long wooden desk, covered in neat piles of paperwork, and a wooden cupboard that had faded over the years due to a small ray of sunlight that came emitted from a tight, square window.

“It must have been your uncle’s old study.” Sara said to her husband. “I s’pose he locked it cos he didn’t want you rifling through his private things.” She looked up from the paperwork she was inspecting and saw that Robert was standing in front of an old fireplace on the other side of the room. She joined him and discovered that he was engrossed in an ornate oblong mirror with a golden frame encrusted with glittering jewels and a shining surface, hanging from the fireplace wall on a thick chain. It must have been the most lavish item she had seen in the house and also, when she thought about it, the only thing not caked in dust and cobwebs. Sara looked up at Robert and found his unblinking eyes not straying from the lozenge mirror.

He could not help but stare at it. He had always been interested in the history of some things. The mirror looked pristine as though it was polished everyday (did that even make sense with the door being so stiff?), but Robert could tell it was very old. How long had it been hanging on that grubby wall. Imagine if it could show you what it had seen…

Sara huffed to herself. Although she saw its attraction, she was not as captivated by her husband and, eager to explore the rest of the house, made to leave. Robert saw his wife leave and so turned to see her. Out of the corner of his eye he saw his reflection.

Standing still.

Instinctively, Robert called his wife’s name, as his eyes shot back to focus on the mirror.

“The mirror…” He began but then trailed off. Had he really just seen that? He moved his head from side to side and was pleased to see that it copied him exactly.

“…Is not that interesting?” Sara offered.

Robert detached himself from the mirror. “No, sorry. Let’s look around.”

(C) Christian Bone
------------------------- Return tomorrow for the tantalising second part -------------------------

Monday, 24 October 2011

Many Apologies!

Dear followers, I'm sorry. Here you are investing your time in following my humble (Chal)blog - even keeping up to date with it as well, if you're reading this post - and I reply your kindness by failing to post anything! Well, as I've settled in to university now (studying Crearive Writing at the University of Winchester, if any of you were wondering), I'm going to make it an aim to post on here at least once a week. And, to kick off this this massively popular, multi-million dollar reboot, I'm going to post a three-part spooky short story for you lot to enjoy over this coming Hallowe'en weekend. And, while I'm at it, please remember to take part in Neil Gaiman's soon-to-be Hallowe'en tradition, All Hallow's Read.

Ghoul-d night, everyone. Be back here for my Tales of Terror, starting Saturday!
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