[Photo: Couldn’t find the credits. Taken from Google images.]
[Disgusting category for pretty grisly death scene. I wanted to write about a demonic haunting.]
Her face was like cracked porcelain. Matte white skin and dark red, nearly black eyes. Not the irises as they weren’t visible behind the blood. Blood that was seeping through her tear ducts and running down her cheeks, the only streaks of color to contrast the delicate petal soft flesh of her face. Her lips were also colorless, cracked, and dry. Her lion’s mane of hair, having the same wilderness about it, was the last of her worries when she looked at herself in the mirror in the dining room.
She dropped the tray she had been carrying. Mrs. Carter, whom she was entertaining for tea, came rushing in to see what happened. The antique sterling silver tea set Delia had been carrying was one of her most prized possessions. It was the only full set from this line still in existence, and she owned it. It wasn’t a priceless set; she had purchased it for two thousand dollars, but had it appraised by a professional for around ten, who then offered to purchase it. Delia declined. It wasn’t the monetary worth that she was concerned with, it was the history behind the particular set. And now it was all over the floor, along with the tea cups from her good china.
“Oh, are you alright, Delia. What happened?” Mrs. Carter went right to work helping her pick up the pieces.
Delia examined each piece for for nicks, scratches, and dents. Praying none of the hinges had been damaged or bent. Aside from one broken foot on the sugar bowl–which could be repaired–everything was still in good condition. It wasn’t the silver that was worrying her the most, though. In fact, worrying about the silver was her way of coping with the mirrors in her house. Anything she could do to keep her mind off of them.
Delia was agoraphobic, and could barely leave the house and never without at least doubling up on her Valium which normally knocked her out by the time she felt relaxed enough to leave. Her brother, Johnathan, would have to be next to her the entire time, not just to giver moral support, but also to keep her awake. If she didn’t need to leave the house she was fine.
“Oh, it’s nothing, Mrs. Carter. I must have tripped on the corner of the rug there.” She nodded toward the Persian rug underneath the dining room table.
The corner she had nodded toward was underneath a chair. Mrs. Carter was no dummy. She realized immediately that there was no possible way the rug could have tripped her up. No matter, if she didn’t want to say, then who was she to pry?
“Delia, I do wish you would call me by my given name. My Franklyn has been long dead for years now, and every time you say it that way I half expect him to come walking around the corner.”
“Sorry, Margaret. It’s just I grew up with you and Mr. Carter right next door my entire life. I know you miss him. I do too.”
“I do miss him, but he’s been gone long enough. So has Marcus.”
Delia bit her lip. The pain cancelled out the heartache, but only temporarily. Long enough for her to push back the immediacy of the mentioning of his name.
“Dear, no one can relate to what you have been through the way I…” Mrs. Carter tried to continue, but Delia cut her off.
“Get out of my house.” Delia said, calmly without looking up. She was still picking up the pieces of her tea set, and setting them on the tray.
“Delia, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset…”
“GET OUT!” Delia’s mouth went wide, and spittle flew from her lips.
Mrs. Carter stood up and went to touch Delia on the shoulder, and then thought better of it. Instead she turned and walked out of the dining room, through the living room to the front door. She opened the door and stood for a moment, waiting to see if Delia would come to her senses and realize she was about to throw the last person who understood her; cared about her, out of her life.
Delia looked at the woman, and instead of seeing the nice old woman with the white hair, and caring eyes; dressed in one of her plain grey Sunday church dresses and wearing a knitted baby blue sweater, she saw an old haggard witch with large evil clouded eyes, a wicked grin missing nearly half of her rotted teeth, and breathing heavy as if angry and readying herself to cast her most devastating curse to date.
She knew that what she was seeing was an illusion; a hallucination, but it wasn’t the reason she wanted her gone, and the crazy old bitch knew it. She knew what she had done. They all knew.
“I said get out. Don’t come back. You’re no longer welcome here.”
Mrs. Carter frowned and stepped out of the house, onto the porch, and pulled her sweater closed. The wind had picked up and it was cold. There was an icy quality to the wind that seemed unnatural and uninviting. Her hair began to come undone from her bun under the force of the gale, and she squinted her eyes. Feeling suddenly unsafe, she quickly stepped off the porch and jogged back to her house, holding her sweater to her breast.
Once Mrs. Carter was gone, Delia could finally be herself again. She shook her hair out of the clip that held it back, and let it run amok. Aside from the darkness that had crept under her eyes over the past few months, Delia was still hauntingly beautiful. However, she was no longer able to see it. Having been told all of her life how good looking, and intelligent she was; how much potential she possessed, and how successful she would become, well … they were all lies. Everyone had lied.
What good were physical looks and inner potential, when on the brink of success and on the edge bliss, every thing could be taken from you in an instant. Taken with a single action forced by a lifetime of lies. Marcus being the biggest liar of them all. He said he loved her. He vowed to stay with her. He pretended to be happy. All lies. What does Mrs. Carter know. The old bitch’s husband died quietly in his bed after a lifetime of happiness and adventure with his presumptuous bitch of a wife. Not Delia, though.
Marcus had suffered major depression, and Delia couldn’t–no, that’s not true– Delia refused to see it. Delia knew best and she understood that Marcus could not be trusted making decisions on his own. So she made them all for him. When he took his own life, she had not blamed him. She blamed herself. Not for pushing him to it, but for not ordering him to stay alive. She foolishly assumed that suicide was not something he would ever consider. Though, he had been considering it since he was a teen. Well before he had ever met her.
She picked up the tea set and placed it on the table. Later she would wash and polish it for far too long, to keep her from doing what she was about to do now. Look into the mirror. The one that had caused her nerves to crack in the first place. It was getting worse. She wasn’t just seeing an altered image. She was seeing an “altering” image. A work in progress, as it were. Now when she looked, there were lightning like cracks threatening to separate and divide her face into parts. It didn’t surprise her to see this, but it struck fear deeper into her bones, as she reached up and touched her cheek with the tips of her fingers.
Her hand was chillingly white and her fingernails were long, black and sharp. She used the tip of her index finger and traced one of the cracks along the right side of her face, then pulled her hand away and looked at it, instead of its reflection. It was normal. She looked back at the mirror and her macabre reflection smirked. It wasn’t her in that reflection any more, and she hadn’t found anything about this amusing enough to crack even the slightest of smiles. She squeezed her eyes shut, and turned away. She would have cried then, but crying wasn’t coming easy anymore.
Over the past year, since Marcus’ death, crying became harder and harder with each passing day. Her occasional panic attacks grew in frequency, until her brother took her to a shrink and she was diagnosed full on agoraphobic and prescribed Valium. Her brother failed to heed the psychiatrist’s recommendations for therapy as he would have had to bring her. He also ignored warnings that the doctor had given about his fears that Delia might be approaching a paranoid psychotic break.
Johnathan didn’t have to time to attend to his neurotic sister. He had his own problems, and she was only one of them. He cared about her enough to at least check on her from time to time and he had recruited Mrs. Carter, their childhood elderly neighbor, to keep tabs on her. She had been spending afternoon tea with her everyday, but mostly kept her thoughts to herself, about what she was observing. On this last day, however, she could no longer keep it to herself. And for that, she would pay.
Delia went to the toilet to relieve herself. The tea she and Mrs. Carter drunk had run its course, and seeing the disturbing image in the mirror was having an effect on her bladder. When she finished, she turned on the faucet to wash her hands. Feeling the cool water, she decided it would be just what she needed to break her out of the funk that she was in, so she cupped her hands and splashed some on her face. The cool clear water felt wonderful, but that’s where any relief was left behind.
She looked into the mirror, and her reflection was covered in watery streaming droplets of crimson. She would have been started at this, but had begun expecting things like this for sometime now, but they were still unnerving. She began to shiver, as the air had grown icy. That was when her reflection spoke to her for the first time.
“The old bitch needs to pay. You … need to make her pay. Sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. You know what she is doing don’t you?”
Delia slowly turned her face back and forth in the unmistakable ‘no’ gesture. This was new, and it was scaring her right to the depths of her core. Her stomach lurched, and she thought she might vomit.
“She is trying to get you to give up something. Something important. Something she can use against you. She doesn’t care about you, you know? Johnathan has her spying on you. They are all against you. They blame you. They all think you are responsible for his death. If you don’t do something, you’ll be next.”
The reflection’s voice was a whispery hiss and raspy. Delia had known the things she was saying, but was at a loss for what she could possibly do. As if reading her mind, the reflection made a suggestion.
“You don’t actually have to do … anything. Give me the order, and … I … will take care of … everything.”
“Do it.” Delia said. “Take care of everything.”
The reflection’s dry cracked lips spread in a menacing grin that manifested its satisfaction. Then the image faded into a shadow and eventually into nothing, as Delia watched. Soon she was looking into a mirror, where she should be seeing herself. She knew somewhere in the bottom of the lake that was her mind, that something was not quite right when she began to see the ‘altering’ reflection, but now … it wasn’t just “not right”, it was down right frightening. She was looking at the reflection of the wall behind her that should have been interrupted by the image of the person looking into the mirror, or even the person that had been looking back at her for the past year … something. Delia turned from the mirror. I think I will clean my tea set now. Yes, that’s what I’ll do.
Margaret picked up the receiver on her wireless hand set, and pushed the speed dial button along with the number four button. She heard the dial tone, and the melody of tones dialing the number. She put the phone to her ear and waited.
“Hello. Johnathan, it’s Margaret. I’m extremely worried about Delia. I tried to have a word with her, as you suggested, and she just went off on me. She screamed at me and sent me away. I would like you to go talk to her please. Tell her I’m sorry, and I will keep my thoughts to myself if she will have me back. Call me when you get this. Good bye.”
She had gotten his voice-mail. Johnathan rarely answered the phone. He had asked her to text him, but she didn’t have a mobile phone, or a computer. She was sure she could work it out, if she ever was forced to, but she felt she had all the technology she needed and didn’t feel the need to be connected to the entire world. Her regular land line was all the connection she needed, as far as she was concerned.
Margaret hung up her phone, and went to her own toilet. Her bladder was in worse shape than Delia’s and two cups of tea would have had to been released before she left her house any other day, but today, she didn’t think it was prudent to ask if she could use the Lady’s before heading out. Being thrown out and all.
She headed there now, and walked in, leaving the door wide open. There hadn’t been any need to close it for some time now. Privacy was something she had plenty of, these days. She walked right passed the mirror without looking into it, and didn’t see the wickedly scary looking woman who shared an eerie resemblance to her dear friend next door. She didn’t see the darkness of her blood filled eyes, lightning cracked face, and evil fraught grin.
Margaret hummed a tune while she did her business. She finished and got herself back together. Flushing the commode, she stepped in front of the mirror and turned on the water to wash her hands, and pushed the pump on her antibacterial hand soap. She rubbed them together and rinsed in the warm water of the faucet until clean. She pushed down on the single dual turnoff handle of the faucet and looked into the mirror.
Her hands went instantly to her face as she realized what she saw there. She was flushed red with the adrenaline of what had just occurred. She hadn’t realized her face did that, but then, she wasn’t used to being in such stressful situations.
“Oh, Maggie, she did get to you, didn’t she?” She asked her reflection.
She began humming her tune again, and went into her living room and switched on the television and picked up her crochet basket with her needle and yarn and sat in her chair to watch some Ellen. She readied her yarn and laid the afghan she was working on across her lap. Then picking up the needle, she began to thread and loop her yarn.
She was finally beginning to warm up and was in full giggle mode, when her stitch caught. It wasn’t a big deal. It happened occasionally when her concentration broke. Ellen was good for that. Sometimes, Margaret wished she wasn’t so dang funny . She looked down at what she had done and caught a glint from the side of her metallic crochet needle. A strange sensation followed and she tried to turn it to see what it was. Eventually she saw the reflection of her eyes in the flat of the thumb hold halfway up from the hook.
She had to blink a couple times when she noticed something wrong with the appearance of her eyes. They were not their usual blues, but rather dark, and the whites were not visible. Suddenly a cold shift in the air sent a chill right to the base of her spine and before she knew it she was gripping the crochet needle in her fist, and stabbing herself in the face with it.
She stabbed and stabbed and stabbed, screaming the whole time. She popped one of her eyes with one stab, and then the other. She ripped through her cheek and the hook caught the flesh on the way back and pulled the weak wrinkled flap of flesh away from her jaw. Blood was splashing her unfinished afghan as she slammed her fist into her face again and again. Eventually she hit herself in the neck and the hook grabbed onto her jugular and pulled it out where it flapped around squirting everything in the near vicinity, like a fire hose that had gone rogue, and uncontrollable by the firemen that were aiming it.
Soon, Margaret’s rampage ended. She slumped in her seat; her face unrecognizable. She was dead, and her spying mission had ended. Satisfied her work was finished, Delia’s grotesque reflection faded into shadow and then dissipated. It reappeared instantly in a teapot that was once again shining, and smelling of silver polish compound.
Delia was rubbing the pot, with slow, unintentional strokes. She was not … there …so to speak. Things had taken a turn and she didn’t know if they were for the better of for the worse, but it seemed the safest place to be was inside. Inside of herself, shutoff from her working mind, but resting in the subconscious realm that was usually reserved for REM sleep. It welcomed her in, readily enough, though, as somehow she knew, deep in that lake of her mind, that it was the safest place to be. She would have to come up, eventually, though, and when she did. Her reflection would have good news. Yes. Good news , indeed.