I'm not sure how to describe this, sorry. It's a short piece on a very sad subject.
"I'm afraid of the mirrors. In the Dark."
I watched the tears roll down her face in the lamplight. She clutched the lamp close to her chest, her little hands clasped so tight over the porcelain base her knuckles had turned white. Another tear stained the shade.
"Why only in the dark?" I probed.
She stared past me to my right, lips trembling.
"They're worse in the dark. Things can get you then, from the mirrors. You see them in the mirrors, then you turn around and they can touch you."
"Who's going to touch you?"
"Anything can - anybody."
"Who have you seen so far?"
The lamp pressed further into her chest. "Lots of different people. I'm scared of the man mostly."
I waited for her to continue, not wanting to spoil the atmosphere while she was finally confiding in me. A minute or so passed by and I had to keep the conversation going. I pressed, as gently as I could.
"Can you tell me what he looks like?" My voice was barely more than a whisper, hopefully not so hushed to reveal my urgency, yet low enough not to startle the frightened girl quivering in the corner of the room.
She finally looked at me.
"His face is pink," she cut me off before I could rectify my mistake, "he's been burned, I think."
"Why are you afraid of him?"
Her eyes grew wider, two rich brown irises stared at me incredulously, tears causing the reflected light to dance erratically over them.
"What if I get burned?" She whispered.
Had she changed the subject? The cogs of my mind turned quickly, recalling each of my words in search of provocation.
"I see him grabbing me. He would kill me if he caught me."
"He will never catch you." I knew my efforts to console her were pointless, but there was little else I could tell her but the truth. Though I knew she'd never accept the truth.
"There are others, too." As she leaned in to me our corner was plunged into darkness.
I remained still as my face and chest were battered by little fists. I allowed the fervoured beating to continue until the blows began to subside, when I reached out and caught a pair of wrists, one in each hand, and held them steady.
The wrists shook as sobbing came from somewhere behind them. Letting go of one, I slid my arm around a trembling shoulder and pulled the girl as close as I could.
Tears dampened my shirt and fingernails dug into my flesh, but I held her there, staring straight ahead into the dark.
"What happened?" Came a muffled sob.
"You dropped the lamp."