This is an excerpt from the horror novel I am currently working on titled “Strange Reflections.” This passage is from Chapter 5: The Rescue Party.
If you are interested in this story you can read the first 3 chapters here.
Special thanks to my friend and fellow author Sarah Rosmond for the new image.
Excerpt from Chapter 5
There was laughter echoing down the maze of mirrors, a slow rumbling movement of a malignant will. There was no source, but it filled her, penetrated her, and she felt a compulsion to stare at the nearest mirror.
Amanda turned and gazed long at the scar that ran up her face. As she looked at her reflection, the glass turned back time. Her wounds unknit and exposed flesh opened. She reached up to touch her face and felt the shock of the same pain she had felt on the day when the explosion had rocked her convoy. She pulled her hand away and looked down in the reflection and saw that there was blood. Then, shocked at the sight she lifted her same hand to her face and saw no blood. Looking again into the mirror she saw the wound gaping, bits of skin hanging from her mangled face. Her leg in the mirror was a shattered wreck. The moment her eyes touched the reflection of her leg, she felt the pain of her wound surge and grow till she crumbled to the floor.
It was the pain that broke her gaze. Later, she would realize it was the pain that protected her, had saved her from the madness of that moment.
But Armin was still staring. He was a statue, raptured by the seduction of his reflection. His body tensed. His fingers were flexing and clenching in rhythmic movement.
Armin’s jaw worked. “No.”
Amanda said, “Armin, what do you see? What is it?”
He stared into the reflective surface; his eyes fixed his mind focused. Amanda could see sweat gathering on his forehead in the dim light.
She thought about what she had seen and wondered if Armin saw that very same thing.
“No it’s not true.” His voice was barely a mask for his rage.
“Armin?” Her voice quivered. Gooseflesh took possession of every pore of her skin.
“Armin.” She stood, moved forward and rested her hand on his shoulder.
But Armin did something he had never done before, something that Amanda had never thought him capable of. Armin, the joker, as he was always known in the squad, had never seemed to have a hateful bone in his body. Armin, the person who was the life of the party, always quick with a joke or a sarcastic reply, did not even turn his head as he raised his left arm and punched Amanda hard in the face.
The blow was so violent and so forceful that Amanda couldn’t understand how he was able to gain the leverage he needed to knock her back. She stumbled and fell, a shot of pain crawling up her leg for her ancient wound, like tiny spiders nibbling on her nerves.
Armin screamed. He drew his pistol and fired, his finger worked and moved and gushed out lead into glass. The sound of the air changed quality as the ringing took possession of her ears. The mirror cracked and shattered and bits of glass fell to the ground and tinkled with an almost lyrical quality despite her muted ears. Armin fired till he was empty and then threw his sidearm at what remained.
Some of the scraps hung in malformed triangles and Armin screamed again, pounding his fists on the glass to knock out every tiny piece. Blood leaked on his forearms and gathered on the tips of the triangles. Some carried the stain with them as they fell to the ground.
Even as the last pieces fell to the floor, Armin did not stop. Instead, he began his work on the next mirror, and Amanda watched as the glass cut down deep to tendon and bone, though he seemed not to notice.
She had to do something. She forced her body up, her leg crying in agony as she did. She mustered all her strength and charged him. She felt the collision in every nerve, and as they both fell to the floor, bodies mingled from the impact. He moaned like an angry beast.
Armin’s blood flowed freely, and as Amanda lay on top of him, it seeped and stained into her skin and garments.
“Armin. Stop. You have to stop.” She shook him.
His eyes were glassy, and he craned his neck to try and gaze into yet another mirror. But Amanda, realizing that it was the pain that had broken her hypnosis grabbed one of his forearms where the glass had cut deep and squeezed as hard as she could. Armin yelped and looked at her, eyes full of rage.
“Armin snap out of it. Don’t look at the mirrors.”
But his neck stretched and reached for a glimpse like an addict craving a fix.
With her free hand, she smacked his face. It was barely a slap, but it was all she could muster.
He fixed his eyes on her again, the rage focused. He reached up and grabbed her by the throat for a few moments her held tight, and she could feel the blackness swarming behind her eyes. Just before she lost consciousness something softened in his eyes. He let go.
“Amanda?” His voice was rough and muted by the ringing in her ears.
“Armin…” She coughed and sputtered but forced her words through the mucus built up by his stranglehold. “Don’t… look… at… the… mirrors.”
He nodded and stared at her for a moment. “How did you get blood all over you?”
She returned his gaze. “Armin… look at your hands…”
He did. For the rest of her days, she would never forget the look of horror and revulsion on his face.