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“The Mirror” (Part 1)

September 24, 2011 by Kiersi

 The Mirror

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Each foot buries itself in the sand. His legs shudder, swallowing the impact. The grains of shattered seashells wrap around his bare toes, tugging him downward, tugging him into the earth.

Above the sky glows red as embers, but no sun circles overhead.

The hot sand roars between his toes. A steady ache burns its way across the skin along the bottoms of his feet.

Beneath him the desert growls. He stops and stumbles. He lands hands-down, and begins to scramble backwards, crab-like.

He opens his mouth to shout, to scare it away, to curse and threaten and cry, but nothing comes out. The desert swells, growing, the ground trembling as it reaches into the sky.

“I don’t want to see it!”

His voice rips through his lips and leaves his throat ragged. The skin around his mouth bubbles, red and raw, before his lips are sucked back together. The sand reaches up like vines and pins him down.

The wall of sand contorts, changing its form to the shape of a mirror. It curls into elaborate gold edges, something with finer detail than a human hand could create, glowing like lava under the sunless sky.

Something like a moan escapes his mouth. The sand held within the mirror’s frame surges, liquefies, and turns to tar. After a single ripple it has a clear, reflective sheen. Then the roar inside the earth dies down.

A boy stands in the mirror. With hair so blonde it glows silvery-white, he looks something like an angel beneath a shining halo. His clothes are fine—stolen, and misfitting. He has no weapons or shoes. His eyes are light blue, like two glacial lakes.

Across from the mirror, the real boy screams inside his own mouth, but the sound cannot escape.

“What’s wrong?” asks the boy in the mirror. “Is seeing so bad? Do I repulse you so much?”

The real boy twists against his bonds.

“You’re so pitiful,” says the reflection. “I’m glad I’m not you.”

Feedback welcome and encouraged.

Read part II.


  1. Austen says:

    Whoa. That’s pretty haunting. It reads like a nightmare I had once…

  2. […] place my point in real life, I’m going to use an example from my short story The Mirror. My boyfriend Ryan is probably the best editor a girl could ask for, because he’s always […]

  3. Jim Snell says:


    “A boy stands in the mirror” I think could be worded better, though. Since the sand has just rearranged itself into a mirror, we don’t immediately know if this is his reflection, something he sees in the mirror as if in some magical window to another place, or if there is another boy whose feet are stuck in the mirror as his were in the sand.

    Since you’re planning to make it into an ebook I guess you’ve already got plenty of thoughts about rewriting, expanding the story. In what I see here, I’d like some inking of what he’s running from. Some sense of the cause of the terror. And could be more terrifying if he doesn’t quite know, like in a nightmare.

    Then when he’s stopped and the mirror thing’s happening, he still has the terrifying thing after him, and not only is this going on with the sand, but it’s slowing down his getaway – nearly making certain of his death, or worse.

    Also, I’d change the comma placement in this sentence: Above the sky glows red as embers, but no sun circles overhead.

    To: Above, the sky glows red as embers but no sun circles overhead.

    Otherwise, my first thought is that something’s glowing “above the sky” – and there’s no need for it before the “but” in a short sentence like this.

    Good work. Let me know when I can get the ebook!

    • Kiersi says:

      Thank you so much for the feedback!! I’ve still barely scratched the surface of editing “The Mirror,” so this is greatly appreciated. I remember when I wrote Part One, I wasn’t sure myself how the story would turn out. Now that I know, and with the help of friends and editors alike, I hope the second version of Part One will be much better–in terms of pace, in terms of terror, and more.

      You da best, Jim!

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