Lena glanced at herself in the mirror, looked away and then quickly glanced back again. She stared, unable to believe her eyes.
The young woman looking out of the mirror was tall and statuesque. Her eyes, hair and nose were just like Lena’s, but with none of the gangling awkwardness of growing limbs and the puffy cheeks of a child.
She could have been Lena’s older sister.
But Lena didn’t have a sister.
And if she did, Lena somehow didn’t think that her sister would have to live on the other side of the mirror.
Silently they watched each other for several minutes. Lena’s eyes were wary. The woman’s eyes were sad.
Lena put her hands behind her back and pinched her wrist.
Yep. She was awake.
Slowly she brought one hand around and placed her palm on the mirror. The woman raised her own hand and laid it against Lena’s.
‘Are you real?’ Lena whispered.
‘I hope I won’t be.’
Lena frowned at the odd reply. Wasn’t the experience strange enough without the mirror woman giving answers to Lena’s questions that made no sense?
‘What do you mean?’ Lena demanded curtly, ‘and what do you want. Today’s a special day and you’re making me very uncomfortable.’
‘I know. Today we turn twelve.’
We?, Lena thought, If I’m going to go mad, can it not be on my birthday, please, Jesus?
Mama always said that Lena was a bit crazy and that she should pray more. Now seemed like a good time to do some serious praying.
‘Will you go away, Lady? You are starting to scare me.’
‘I will go,’ the mirror woman said slowly, a tear leaking from the corner of her eye which slid down the long, thin nose so like Lena’s, ‘but first… promise me something.’
Sighing impatiently, Lena nodded, ‘Okay. What is it?’
‘No matter what happens, or what anyone says to you, don’t get in the Headmaster’s car.’
‘What kind of thing is that to ask? Why would I need to get in his car?’
‘Exactly. There is no reason, so don’t get in.’
© Alison Pearce
First written 2008
Edited June 2010