This is the unabridged version of my first creative writing assignment. Still a bit rough, but…
I still think about my mother. I assume she’s still alive; no reason to she wouldn’t be, not unless something awful had befallen my own world. My own world. Jeez, how long had it been now? eleven years? maybe twelve. I was only twelve years old when I left. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I had been getting ready for bed. I was dressed in pyjama bottoms and admiring my reflection in the mirror; a hair which had appeared on my chest was of particular interest. There was a knock at the door and my Mum appeared brandishing a mug of hot chocolate.
‘Jeez, Mum,’ I blurted,’I’m twelve years old now, at least wait until I say come in.’
‘Nothing I haven’t seen before, dear. You forget that I spent a good couple of years wiping your bits when you were a baby. And also that time you were really sick that we don’t talk about anymore.’
‘Yeah, I know, but i’m getting older now and…’
‘Say no more. I’ll put your chocolate on the table and leave you in peace to play with…whatever, it was you were playing with before I came in.’
‘I found a hair.’
‘Really. Face, chest, armpit or unmentionables?’
‘Just the one?’
‘Well, i’m sure it’ll be the first of many.’
I turned my attention back to the mirror and poked at the hair again.
‘You okay?’ Mum said, with a hint of concern.
‘Yeah, i’m fine. Just growing up I guess.’
‘Well, i’m here if you need to talk about anything, or Dad’ll be home in a couple of weeks if you need to talk about, y’know, boy stuff.’
I gave her a reassuring smile. ‘No worries, Mum.’
‘Okay, hun. Remember and brush your teeth before bed, yes?’
And that was the last bit of advice I ever received from my mother. A few hours after that, my life would change forever. For the record though – It was good advice.
I was blowing on my hot chocolate when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move in the mirror. My first reaction was to look around the room and see what had caused it. A towel was lying on the floor behind the chair I was pretty sure i’d thrown it over. That must have been what I saw. The towel must have slipped off, and I happened to catch it in the mirror. Convinced, I put on a T-shirt, picked up the towel and headed to the bathroom to hang it up and brush my teeth. Bed followed, and nothing else of interest happened until something woke me in the middle of the night.
Bleary eyed, I scanned the room for any sign of disturbance. Nothing seemed amiss. The clock read 2.40. I hit the pillow again and was just nodding off when something moved across the mirror again. I sat up immediately. I might have been half asleep but I definitely hadn’t imagined it. I hauled myself out of bed, popped on my slippers, threw on a dressing gown and went to investigate.
Nothing seemed amiss in the room so I turned my attention to the mirror. All I saw was, Me. Then the surface of the mirror moved. It wobbled, like a disturbed jelly. Tentatively, I reached out to touch it. It gave slightly under the pressure. Cold custard, I thought, withdrawing my fingers. I looked around the room, hoping that some answers would present themselves. None did. That was the last time I saw my bedroom. Curiosity got the better of me.
I took a deep breath and reached out to the mirror again. This time I exerted more pressure. To my horror, and wonder, my fingers began to sink in. And wouldn’t stop. I tried to pull back but it was no use, the force was too strong. I was up to my elbow now and panic was setting in. The more I struggled to get free the further I was pulled in. It was closing on my face now. There was nothing else for it – ‘MUUUUUUM!’
And then it was over. I felt the cold against my face, the pressure as I was pulled in, and then… Wow! The other side of the mirror. Screaming panic gave way to wonder. I felt like I was standing at the centre of the universe; a universe of mirrors, floating endlessly against a black backdrop, attached to each other by glowing red umbilicals. I was trying to comprehend all of this when I realised I was moving. And moving fast. My bedroom mirror was now far behind me. In front of me, another was coming up fast. I realised I was moving along my own umbilical but I could barely see it. Little flashes of colour were the only give away. I felt as though I was floating through space. By the time I had managed to comprehend all of this, another mirror was in front of me. Instinctively, I put my hands up to shield my face, but I needn’t have worried; hitting the mirror was like belly flopping into a pool of custard. I relaxed and allowed myself to be pulled through.
What happened then? Well, that’d be another story altogether. I’ve ‘reflected’ so often now that I barely give it a second thought. That first time though is still so fresh. Mixed emotions well up as I recall it. How quickly one’s childhood disappears. I’m a man now. I’ve seen places, creatures and wonders beyond most people’s comprehension but, despite all that, I still think about my mum.