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Like most men, David had never liked his in-laws much. The exception was his wife’s grandmother. His wife had always been her favorite grandchild, so he was treated like he had always been a part of her family and not just married into it. She had recently passed away, and not surprisingly, left her house and all of her earthly belongings to his wife Gloria.

If not for the location being two states away from where they lived and worked, he would have eagerly moved into the large two-story Victorian. Instead, but not to a detriment, the property would be sold along with any valuable items inside of it.

It sounded simple enough to go through the house and separate the things that would be sold from the items that would be kept. David had no sentimental connection to any of the items, so he only saw things that would be sold and things that would be thrown away. Gloria’s perception of everything in the house was either sell or keep. The boxes of things to keep were outnumbering the sell items four to one. If this continued, they would be bringing nearly everything in the old house back with them.

Understanding that his efforts would be scrutinized, and ultimately wasted, David decided to just venture around the house and explore. A part of him had the childish idea that he would find a secret room or hidden valuables. Despite not finding any such thing, the fantasy at least kept him entertained. Mistaking a door underneath the stairs for a closet, David was surprised to find that the door led to a basement.

Dark, but not foreboding, the large room was sparse and silent. The lighting was adequate enough to relegate the darkness to the corners of the room, but not banish it completely.

From what he could see, the room only contained a small pile of bricks near the stairs, an old flowery patterned chair, and a large wine rack that covered most of the side wall.

David plopped down on the old high backed chair, sending a cloud of dust up into the air. Temporarily blinded, he squinted his eyes as he waved his hand back and forth in front of his face. The dust slowly drifted towards the floor, but not before sending him in to a sneezing fit. As he regained his composure, he looked around the dimly lit room from the comfort of the dusty chair.

From upstairs, his wife Gloria yelled down for him. “David honey, is there anything down there?”

Her voice startled him. He was unaware that she had seen him descend into the basement.

“I found a wine rack. The bottles look really old too,” He shouted back up.

“Well pick us a good one and bring it up. I could use a glass,” She shouted back.

With a labored groan, he rose from the chair and moved to the wine rack. There were hundreds of bottles, most of which were either French or Italian. One bottle in particular caught his eye. It looked exceptionally older than the rest of the dusty bottles. His first thought was to blow the dust away, but decided to wipe it away so he could avoid another round of sneezing.

He stared curiously at the label. The lettering was foreign, and it was a language he had never seen before. The letters were like nothing he had ever seen. The writing was strange, but not so strange that it caused him any concern. The label only left him with an eagerness to open the bottle and have a taste. With the cork already partially protruding, David was able to remove it easily with his index and thumb fingers. Without smelling it first, he tilted the bottle upward and took a big gulp. It tasted exactly the way that it looked, old, strange, and dusty. Returning the bottle to the rack, he instead chose a bottle with large looping cursive words written in French.

Satisfied with his choice, David began to head upstairs. He gave the room one last look and his curiosity was instantly piqued by what he saw. An old wooden chest with rusted metal framing sat alone against the opposite wall. It was a fairly large box and David’s mind immediately began to fantasize about the contents. Images of gold coins and jewels from every corner of the earth danced around in his mind. He imagined swashbuckling pirates and large ships with tattered skull and cross bone flags hung high above the sails.
He couldn’t help but smile. Once reality returned, his expectations became more realistic. There was probably nothing of any value in the chest– old clothes perhaps, or even letters and photos.

A rusted and frail looking lock prohibited immediate entry. He needed something to smash the lock with. David retrieved a brick from the pile near the stairs, and with only a moderate amount of force, he was able to break the lock.

He took a deep breath and opened the lid.

Disappointment.

What he found inside was far from treasure, and not even as interesting as old photos or clothing. There was a large mirror wrapped in an old blanket. He removed the mirror and leaned it against the wall.

David took a step back to examine the mirror. The framing was atrocious. He knew that his sentimental wife would refuse to part with it and it would find its way to a wall in their home.

“Not a chance,” He said out loud.

He picked up the brick that he had used to break the lock and stepped back to a safe distance. Once the mirror was broken, he would just lay it on its face and claim that it had accidentally fallen over. It wasn’t like Gloria was going to launch an investigation into his claim.

As he raised the brick, he noticed that he couldn’t see his reflection in the mirror. He stepped closer, thinking that the angle of the mirror was the cause. After standing directly in front of it, still no reflection.

Maybe it was some old freak show carnival mirror used to sucker people into believing that an amazing feat of magic was being performed. He didn’t care either way. The mirror was not leaving the basement in one piece.

David wound up and tossed the brick across the basement. His aim was perfect and the brick approached the mirror center mass. He closed his eyes and cringed in anticipation of the sound of shattering glass.

The basement remained silent.

He opened his eyes and found that the mirror was undamaged. Searching the area for the brick, he was unable to find it right away. Looking towards the mirror, he saw the brick in the reflection. It was behind him, back where he had been standing. David smiled at the sight of it, but when he turned, his amusement switched to confusion.

The brick was only behind him in the mirror, and even worse, his reflection was still absent.

He retrieved another brick from the pile and once again threw it at the mirror, this time not shying away from the sight of the impact. The brick once again sailed towards the mirror, landing a little higher than the previous throw, but still near the center.

David gasped as he saw the brick fly through the mirror and slide across the floor near the first brick.

Slowly he moved towards the mirror. He took a deep breath and reached out to touch what should have been a smooth surface. What his hand found instead was an empty frame.

What should have been fear racing through his veins was instead curiosity. The same feeling that he had when he was expecting to find a chest full of pirate treasure had returned.

Before stepping completely though, David first poked his head into the mirror frame and looked around the new room. The room appeared to be exactly the same, save for the two bricks that rested on the floor.

At first he couldn’t notice any differences. The wine rack, the wooden chest, and even the old chair were all in the basement room, but on opposite sides of it. The only noticeable differences were that the pile of bricks near the stairs was instead a stack of wooden planks, and the wooden chest’s lid was closed without a lock on it.

David smiled as he cautiously tip toed across the room and opened the lid. What he found inside was tools. There were wrenches, pliers, saws, screwdrivers, hammers, and a large can full of nails. He closed the lid and went back to the mirror. He began to step back into the normal side, when another drop of curiosity landed on his brain.

If there is a mirrored version of everything in the basement, then there could be a version of him as well. 

The idea was frightening and he wondered if he ventured upstairs, would he find a version of his wife going through old boxes and a version of himself wandering around the house. The sour knot of fear twisted in his stomach. Much like the boards and the contents of the chest, there had to be other variations on this side of the mirror as well. David’s fear was a product of wanting to know, but understanding that discovering these differences could lead to unforeseen consequences.

Deciding to ignore the potential danger, he moved upstairs. With each step he ascended, the tighter the knot grew in his stomach.

The door at the top of the stairs was cracked slightly. He gently pulled it open, only to find an empty hallway. Remaining quiet, he listened for any sound. The house remained silent. Quickly, he snuck a quick glance to the left and right to make sure there was nothing dangerous on the periphery.

In a loud raspy whisper, he said, “Gloria.”

Again he paused, listening for any noise. Nothing. Feeling confident that the house, and possibly the world was empty, he moved from room to room comfortably. The house was dark, save for a small amount of red light beaming through the spaces between the boards on the windows. He flicked on one of the light switches and the room exploded with light. David shielded his eyes. Although he hadn’t explored the old house on the other side in great detail, he was familiar with the basic layout. He went from room to room, turning on lights and found that the only strange thing was that all of the windows and doors had been boarded up from the inside.

Before putting to rest the idea that this version of his world was void of life, he yelled out for Gloria one last time. This time he shouted at full volume.

More silence.

In the kitchen he opened the cabinets and found more of the strange writing from the wine bottle on all of the food packaging. He peeked outside through a gap on a boarded up window. The outside looked the same, save for the ruby colored sun beaming down.

From the corner of his eye, he saw the red light from another window momentarily obstructed as if someone had stepped in front of it. David quickly ducked down. He moved from room to room turning off each light until the house was once again bathed in only the minimal red sunlight from outside.

From outside he suddenly heard a low but constant squeaking sound. It sounded like two metal objects rubbing together without proper lubrication. Cautiously, he moved towards the windows and looked through one of the gaps in the boards again.

He found the source of the squeaking immediately. The wheels on a caged box car whined and squealed as it moved towards the house. The box car was the size of a large van, and had large wooden wagon wheels instead of the smaller metal train track wheels.

Two large figures walked in front of the box car, one pulling it by a chain. They seemed to be discussing something in a language that sounded like pouring milk on Kellogg’s rice crispies. The language was odd, but it was the least horrifying thing about the pair. They were humanoid, but considerably larger than humans. David guessed ten to twelve feet tall and at least five hundred pounds. Their appearance was like a bloated Nosferatu.

Their faces were large hairless white ovals that sat on stumpy necks. They lacked protruding noses or ears. Even the orifices for receiving smell and sound were absent. Small milky bulging eyes resided near to the center of their faces, and their mouths hung slack with long canine teeth—each one spaced several inches apart. Even though they had such predatory teeth, their clothing and behavior gave them the appearance of sleazy alien politicians. Both were bare foot, but wore flooding dark slacks and three quarter length top coats, buttoned to the collar. There was no way to tell what was under their clothing, but they both seemed to be males.

The pair argued for several minutes until one of them unlocked the cage on the wagon and reached inside. It removed its hand, holding a normal human woman. The woman screamed and fought, but the monstrous thing held her with the ease of a person holding a squirming puppy.

It thrust the woman towards its companion and continued to speak its crackling language. The other thing poked at one of her breasts tentatively with one pointy finger before responding with its own exaggerated response. It repeatedly pointed at the house and waved its arms in excitement.

David wished that he could understand what they were saying, or what exactly they were. Every part of his brain was screaming for him to return to the basement and out of this world, but the scene was so interesting to him that he couldn’t pull himself away. His mind was spinning and he felt light headed trying to figure out what he was seeing.

As the two things argued, a man jumped from the wagon and sprinted away. The pair stopped their argument for a moment and let out a screeching whistle, followed by more clicking. Similar in size to the two well dressed monsters, a shaggy horned guerrilla rushed from somewhere to the left of the house and chased the man down.

David had a limited field of vision from between the boards, so he couldn’t tell where the thing had come from. From his brief glance, he could see that the beast was covered in dark coarse hair and large piano key like teeth. At first it ran on two feet, but switched to a quadrupedal gallop.

From behind him, a soft feminine voice spoke. “David, what the hell are you doing?”

Turning quickly, he saw his wife standing across the room. Forgetting where he was for a moment, he waved her over. “Come here you gotta see this.”

She looked puzzled. “What’s wrong with you? You were supposed to come down and get the tools from the basement, but you started turning on lights and yelling. Do you want us to get caught?”

The reality of where he was returned. “What do those things want?”

Gloria looked puzzled. “What’s wrong with you? What do you think they want?” She asked rhetorically.

David was so excited that he had failed to keep his presence hidden. As he returned his gaze to the two well dressed monsters, he found that they were both staring directly at him. He ducked away from the window, but it was too late.

A loud screeching whistle rang out. The house began to shake violently as something rammed itself against the outside wall. David knew that it was probably more of the horned guerrillas being sent inside to get him.

Gloria ran for the stairs, but was snatched as a hairy arm burst through the window and ripped her out of the house. The window closest to David imploded and showered him with glass and wood splinters. Another hairy arm shot into the house, hands opening and closing desperately, searching for something to grab onto.

David crawled on his stomach towards the basement door. The beast began clawing and ripping away the window frame to accommodate its girth. David looked back and locked eyes with the monster. The face was covered in fur so thick that only two beady yellow eyes and the large mouth could be seen.

The creature roared as it continued to fight its way inside of the house.

David could hear Gloria screaming for help outside. Despite her identical appearance, he knew that she was not his wife. It still bothered him to see this mirrored version of his wife be torn away into the unknown. As he approached the basement door he saw a man dash down the hallway and into the basement. On his heels, David jumped to his feet and rushed down the stairs after him.

The entire time he had been in the world beyond the mirror, he had wondered where the other David was. As he stood at the bottom of the stairs he got his answer.

The other David stood with half of his body on the other side of the mirror. He looked back with sorrow in his eyes.

As he began to step completely through, David held out his hand. “Wait. Don’t leave me here.”

The other David stopped, staring sympathetically and said, “I’m sorry.”

David rushed towards the mirror. As the other David exited the world of monsters, he pushed the mirror to the ground and closed the doorway.

David slammed into the basement wall a second after the mirror disappeared. He pounded his fists against it, begging the mirror to return. He heard the heavy roar of the horned guerrillas as they entered the house upstairs. Having nowhere to hide, he ran up the stairs and slammed the door shut. From the other side of the door, one of the beasts rammed it.

David screamed, but there was no one there to help him.

The other David ran upstairs with a look of panic on his face. Bright sunlight beamed through the open windows. Gloria was startled by his sudden rush into the room.

“Oh my god. Did you see a ghost or something,” She laughed.

David wiped the sweat from his forehead. “It’s so bright out.”

Gloria looked puzzled. “Well yeah honey, it’s usually like this during the daytime.” She smiled as she placed photos into a box. “What happened to the wine? As soon as you mentioned it, I really wanted to have a glass.”

David looked back towards the basement door before returning to Gloria with a smile. “Right, totally forgot. I’ll be right back.”


Credits to: P.L. DuPeé (http://yourbeautifulnightmares.tumblr.com/)

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