I was somewhere completely different.
I was in a small dark stone antechamber, a black door at my back and a floor-to-ceiling window in front of me.
Was it a window? It was a gap, certainly, filled not with glass but some odd kind of plasma, looking as insubstantial as smoke, like translucent silver gossamer spread across the breach in the wall. It flickered silver when I touched it with an outstretched finger. I was looking through it to where the others stood, still in the shop, staring. Could they see me? I had seen them before they came out of the mirror; it would look like my reflection was stood there.
Inside was turmoil; whatever weird business was going on between Willow and Meena, this was obviously it, definitely not what I had imagined. And who was the man?
I knew they could travel through the mirror as easily as I had, and I found myself wanting them not to. As much as I craved an answer, I didn’t want to face them. So I turned to the door.
This truly was a door, not an odd shimmering window; the black lacquered wooden surface was studded with tiny evenly spaced bright silver spikes, and there was no visible handle, except for a spike larger than the others in the place where a handle should be.
I reached for it, wondering if it would turn or perhaps depress into the door, but it did neither. I speared my finger on the needle-sharp tip and gave a gasp of pain, as blood from the puncture dripped from it onto the stone flags of the floor.
Surely there had not been so much blood from such a small wound, but the blood seemed to run across the flag at my feet, curving and being absorbed into the dusty floor until a word was stained into the stone.
As I read the word aloud, the door swung open silently inwards.
There was a distant rushing roaring noise, like when you hear the sea inside a shell, and I turned to see ripples spreading across the silver window as Meena came through it.
I spun and tried to run through the door into the dark tunnel beyond but her hand clamped around my wrist and pulled me back, as a bitter dusty wind swirled up the tunnel towards me with a guttural bellowing sound. Meena slammed the door shut, somehow without spiking her fingers, before the forbidding wind could reach me where I had stood immobile watching it advance.
She shook me by the shoulders until I moved and opened my mouth to breathe properly, not knowing I had momentarily stopped.
“What the hell did you think you’re doing?” she cried, releasing my clothes so I stumbled back a step. Her face was a whiter shade of pale and her eyes were wide, flashing that electric blue colour through her hair.
I was too stunned to stutter a reply; and she didn’t seem to be waiting for one, because she went on anyway.
“Just because of your talents you can’t go through the Door!”
“Yes, the Door!” she said in annoyance. “The path to the Eternals! You didn’t know what was behind it yet you knew how to open it?”
The last traces of blood had dried into the floor and disappeared. I stared at the spot where the word had been for a second until I regained the use of my vocal chords. I surprised myself with the casual tone of my voice.
“No, actually. I haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about or what this place is. What’s with the mirror?”
Meena seemed to have calmed down a little but she was barely coherent. “Oh… but…the talents…I thought you…and he said…”
My confusion was replaced by anger. “You have so much to explain to me. I want to hear it. Now.”
Desperately Meena looked around and the dingy stone walls of the chamber.
“Not in here!”
Her fingers closed around my wrist again and tugged me out through the mirror. From this side, it was like walking through a silk curtain which brushed softly against my skin. Like walking through a veil… a veil between worlds…