III.

She paced down the room and halted at the window, gazing out with wide, sad eyes. If only the fog would lift. Then she could see something, anything. If there was something, anything, to be seen. It was not as if she were sleepy. She hadn't had any sleep in a week, but she was not tired.

"Reflection," moving from the window and turning to the small mirror by her bed, "will they come tonight?"

Her reflection said nothing, and said nothing expressively.

"Where do they go?" the girl queried.

Her reflection shurgged.

"Why do they go?" the girl began again.

Her reflection moved a little and sighed. "It's more complicated than you think. I would help you if I could. But I can't answer your questions."

"Can't or won't?" It was the same conversation every night.

"Go back to the window," instructed her reflection, and the girl obeyed.

She looked, but nothing happened. She opened her mouth to speak, but the vague reflection in the window glass was quicker.

"No; watch," the voice was fainter than it had been in the mirror.

The girl looked back, and suddenly the mists lifted, and she saw three ships. Three ships with masts and rigging, and canons, silhouetted in the dark of the sea and the pale grey of the thick clouds. She gasped, but did not blink. She seemed to have seen that vision before. Many times. Deja-vu if ever it existed.

She had instincts. She knew she had.

"Wha...?"

As soon as the soud left her mouth the fog dropped again and the vision disintegrated. The girl ran back to the mirror. She had suddenly remembered what came next in the vision.

"They're coming," said her reflection calmly. "You must hide."

And the mirror broke right across the centre, across the face, across the expression and across the words.

Anastasia Swallow turned from the broken glass and took a sharp knife with an ivory-carved handle out of her pocket. The elaborate handle was cold and uncomfortable in her hand, but Anastasia didn't care. It had belonged to her father.

Frantically she began to run the knife down the edges of the bricks in the wall. After a while she looked up, and, snatching the cracked mirror off the wall, she ducked her head down and was seen no more...

The End

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