The words of the father’s prayer scrambled out of my lips, words tripping over each other as I murmured faster and faster.
…and deliver us from evil…for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.
This could not be happening. No way. I pulled on my clothes and almost tripped over hangers lying askew on the floor. I double checked the lock on my door, and assuring myself that it was indeed as secure as it could be, I sat down on my bed.
The laptop was turned off, my calendar was hanging straight on the wall, and my chessboard was packed firmly back in its case. Everything was normal, everything was just fine. There were no blood stains on the carpet, there was no zombie leaping out of my wardrobe, and there were no coffins lying around with a vampire ready to bite my neck. I took a deep breath, and tried to recall the meditation techniques that my yoga-crazed P.E teacher had attempted to teach our class.
Deep breath in for a count of seven…breath out for a count of eleven. Close your eyes…open your mind… Deep breath in…
I opened my eyes.
My breathing had slowed, and my mind was relatively clear. I never would have thought meditation would ever come in useful! I was on my own. I had just seen a face, a human face, in the bathroom. These things had never happened to me before, until we moved into this house. What would any other person do in this situation? I thought for a while, and a plan began to form. I would call my mum, and tell her that the heating in the house had broken, and that I want to come back to the city for the night, stay over at a mates, that kinda thing. I developed the plan until it sounded realistic enough, and until there were no flaws for her to pick up on. I picked up the phone that was sitting on the bedside table, and dialled in her number.
There was no dialling tone. I checked to see if the phone was plugged into the socket correctly, and it was secure in the hole. I pulled it out, then jammed it back in again. I dialled her number for a second time.
I dialled a third time, and prayed for the call to connect.
The well known melody of ‘Rock a bye baby’ channelled through the phone.
‘Rock a bye baby on the tree top…’
I threw the phone across the room and it landed with a thud against the solid oak wardrobe.
Appearances can be deceptive.
“Who said that?!” I screamed frantically.
I’m over here. Look behind you.
I turned slowly, dreading what I was about to see. The nursery rhyme played on and on, coming through my speakers, through the mangled phone.
‘And down will come baby, cradle and all…’
My reflection had disappeared from the tall mirror against my wall, and replaced by another. A boy, my age, was looking out at me. He was tall, with thick dark hair and piercing green eyes. He was wearing an old fashioned shirt, stained with mud and oil - likewise with his jodhpurs. A stable boy.
“Please tell me this is not real.”
“Talk to me!!”
A laugh tinkled through the mirror, and travelled through to my spine, raising the hairs on my neck.
“Come closer! You’re a boy, I’m a boy…what’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen…a ghost!”
A dead boy with a sense of humour. Fantastic.
“I just want to talk… I haven’t talked to anyone for so long… I’m so lonely…so very lonely…Do you know how boring it gets? Watching a room day in, day out… The day of the fire…I ran like a coward away from the stables into the house, and I sat here curled up in a ball and I cried. As the smoke from the fire swept in through the open window, I drew nearer to the coldest object in the room. This mirror. I can’t explain what happened - I just…went through it. Do you know how much I have longed to have my life back again? Do you know how much I want to live just as a normal seventeen year old?? I have watched you in the last week, envying your freedom and your life. After all these years, my chance has finally come to live again!”