story is written by David, please send comments and appreciation to
fateful Saturday morning, James Noble's waking thoughts were of the previous
evening's highly ignominious events, at the Cock & Bull pub.
James groaned, wretchedly. This wasn't something he wanted to have to think
about; toe-curling recollections, that just didn't bear dwelling upon.
moaned miserably. He screwed his eyes shut ... but the disturbing images
were still there, persisting; the mental playback, set to a recurring loop
of hideously embarrassing torment. So he pulled the duvet over his head, as
though it was a protective shroud; a forcefield, that might at least deflect
some of the poisoned-arrow memories that were relentlessly assailing him.
wasn't a very effective shield ...
remembered the two barstool-perched stunning blondes, Jennifer and Sharon,
both of them giving him a stinging, retributive slap in the face; he
remembered the footsore bartender, Joan the barmaid, slowly pouring his
untouched, ice-cold pint of lager over his head: his humiliating punishment
... Because they'd caught him staring at their feet.
this, to the enthusiastic approval and uproarious delight of the Cock &
Bull's Friday-night drinkers; those boisterous, letting-their-hair-down,
worst of it the absolute worst of it was that his girlfriend, Debbie,
was there to share in the unspeakable humiliation.
sighed in resignation ... there would be no more sleep for him, this
morning. He got out of bed, and padded to the bathroom.
shower, James remembered about the present he was going to buy for Debbie's
mum, Doris, for her birthday in about two weeks' time. Debbie was coming
along too, and she'd told him to pick her up at home at about half-past
he'd sort himself some breakfast. And then, he thought, he'd better give his
flat a bit of a tidy-up not that he lived like a slob, because he
certainly didn't to make sure it was decent for when he and Debbie
returned later ... with the mirror.
It was 11:25, when James arrived at Debbie's
to pick her up. He got out of his twelve-year-old, seen-better-days
silver-grey Vauxhall Astra, and locked it up. He opened the front gate,
walked up the path, and knocked on Debbie's door. Or rather, Doris's door
... and it was she who answered. And Debbie's mum was a foreboding,
unnerving presence, this morning. Filling the doorway, she stood with her
arms crossed, and glared at James.
"Er ... Hello, Mrs Morris ... Nice, today,
isn't it? I've I've come for Debbie. Is she ready? Can you let her know
"So, what's all this I've been hearing,
James, about what happened at the Cock and Bull last night?" demanded
Debbie's mum. "Deborah never said a thing not a word! I had to find out
from Mrs Ogden, the newsagent, when I went to buy a paper this morning. She
says everyone's talking about it! Well, James? What were you up to,
this time? What were you"
Then Debbie suddenly appeared, saving James
from Doris's inquisition. With forced cheer, she said, "See you later, Mum."
Squeezing past Doris, she said, "James would love to stop and chat, but
we've got to be going. Bye, Mum!"
"You haven't heard the last of this!" shouted
Doris, at the hastily departing James and Debbie. "Not by a long shot. I'm
not letting it drop not this time! Do you hear me, you two? When you get
back, we're going to have a serious talk."
Putting her seatbelt on in the car, Debbie
said, "As you've probably gathered, James, Mum is not a happy bunny this
"Hmm. Yes, I did sort of get that impression,
"Oh, well ... Come on then, James. Start up
this heap of junk of yours, that you call a car. Let's go take a look at
* * *
A ten-minute drive, and they were arriving at
their destination; a street in a tranquil, leafy suburb in south-west
London. James drove slowly along the quiet road, while Debbie scanned the
house numbers, looking for the address she'd been given the previous
In contrast to the other houses in
Springfield Crescent, number thirty-seven's front garden was looking rather
unkempt, thought Debbie as James pulled up at the kerb.
But, after James and Debbie had entered
through the front gate, it wasn't so much unkempt, thought Debbie, as sadly
neglected: There was a private-hire taxi parked in the drive, its tyres
going soft; the opened front gate was hanging off one of its hinges; there
were weeds growing between the cracks in the flagstone paving; and heaven
knows when number thirty-seven's windows last saw soapy water, thought
Debbie as she and James made their way to the front door, holding hands.
Debbie rang the doorbell, and a few seconds
later a blurred image appeared behind the door's frosted-glass panel.
The woman who opened the door was brunette,
brown-eyed, and she was in her mid-thirties, Debbie guessed Mrs
Leadbetter, if she was the lady she'd spoken to on her mobile, from the Cock
& Bull last evening. She had a good figure, and an engaging, pleasant face.
She was very welcoming, too ... though her demeanour seemed rather agitated,
Standing just behind the lady, was a man Mr
Leadbetter, Debbie assumed. But he wasn't so welcoming. Wasn't so
hospitable. In fact, to both Debbie and James, his enmity was palpable. His
expression was sullen, and he emanated resentment. With open hostility, the
man looked James and Debbie up and down, and James felt Debbie's hand
tighten its grip in his. He certainly had a thing or two to learn about
doorstep etiquette, thought James.
Debbie, though, rather more charitably,
thought the man looked unwell. He looked overtired, haggard gaunt. His
skin had a pale, unhealthy looking pallor, and he had large and unsightly
purple-black pouches under his eyes, as if he hadn't slept properly in some
time. And Debbie was sure he hadn't shaved for at least a week maybe even
two weeks. And if Mrs Leadbetter was looking agitated, then her husband
looked outright panicky.
"Yes?" said the lady politely. "Can I help
you?" she asked, addressing Debbie.
"Hello, Mrs Leadbetter it is, Mrs
Leadbetter, isn't it? We spoke on the phone, yesterday evening ... about the
"It's not for sale!" barked Mr Leadbetter
aggressively, taking James and Debbie rather aback. "The mirror's not for
sale go away! And don't come back!"
Mrs Leadbetter glowered at her husband. "How
how dare you, Howard Leadbetter? Embarrassing the life out of me, in front
of this lovely young couple. I've told you! Now, and for the last time: The
mirror is going and that's that. Get over it!"
Mrs Leadbetter turned back to James and
Debbie, her face creased in abject apology. "I hope you'll forgive my
husband's appalling rudeness. But, for some unfathomable reason, he's become
terribly ... attached to the mirror. It's up in the attic. His little
retreat, from the world ... and from me. Won't won't you come in, please
... to see the mirror?"
Debbie and James exchanged discomfited
glances ... there was definitely something strange, something weird, going
Mr and Mrs Leadbetter led the way, preceding
James and Debbie up the ladders and into the attic. Mr Leadbetter had tugged
on a pull-cord light switch, and the attic was illuminated by a naked light
bulb dangling from the rafters. James's first impression, was that the
attic Mr Leadbetter's "little retreat" was actually quite spacious.
looked around, though, he thought that his initial sense of roominess was
deceptive. For, in the top-of-the-house, bare wooden floorboards room, there
were only three items taking up space: a coffee table; a small folding seat,
made of grey tubular metal and dark-green canvas; and, just a few feet in
front of the little flimsy chair, supported by a two-foot-tall, plinth-like
wooden stand, was ... the mirror.
what do you think, dears?" prompted Mrs Leadbetter encouragingly.
regarded the mirror with keen interest. It was quite intriguing, he thought.
Not that he was any expert, but he was sure it must be a very unusual piece;
what the presenters of The Antiques Road Show on TV might call a 'curio'.
was unusually large, too, thought James. Rectangular in shape, James
estimated the mirror to measure about two feet tall, by four feet wide. Of
similar dimensions, he thought, as his recently bought pride and joy his
Internet-capable 46-inch flat-screen TV.
was framed in an ornately carved, highly-polished hard wood, that James
thought might be mahogany, or maybe teak. And he thought the mirror glass
itself was in remarkably good nick just as was claimed, in the local
newspaper advertisement that Debbie had seen. Hmm ... he mused. This was an
antique mirror, crafted in the seventeenth century. Yet there was no sign of
ageing; no sign, of the pitting, patina, or any other age-related blemishes
that James had been expecting to see upon such an old glass surface ... No
sign, of imperfection.
mirror's glossy, dark wood frame was in very good condition too and, though
it did look its age, its succession of owners had obviously cared for it
extremely well, over the long years of its existence.
already decided that he was going to buy the mirror, it being such a fine
looking piece. Debbie's mum was going to be over the moon with it, he
thought. Nonetheless, he turned to Mr Leadbetter and asked, "I'm just
curious, but ... is this the original mirror glass?"
It's the original glass," Mr Leadbetter assured James. "It wouldn't work,
otherwise," he added cryptically.
James exchanged discomfited glances again. Was Mr Leadbetter right in the
head? they wondered uneasily.
Debbie, for some ... instinctive reason, was having second thoughts about
the mirror. Second thoughts, about letting James buy the mirror as a present
for her mum's birthday, in about two weeks' time. She couldn't put her
finger on it, but, there was something ... disturbing, about the mirror.
Debbie was experiencing a niggling, ominous feeling about it. And Mr
Leadbetter's strangeness; his weird behaviour, and the way he was so clearly
letting himself deteriorate not to mention, Mrs Leadbetter's obvious
eagerness to be rid of the mirror only served to unsettle Debbie further.
She felt foolish. Told herself not to be silly. It was crazy, she knew,
crazy to think this way. Yet ...
just be her over-active imagination, thought Debbie, brought on by her
growing sense of deep unease, that she felt her fingertips tingle
unpleasantly as she traced them along the top of the mirror's ornately
carved wooden frame. Nonetheless, Debbie hastily withdrew her fingers, and
she asked Mr Leadbetter, "What what are all of these ... weird symbols,
carved into the frame?"
a sort of, well ... spell," Howard Leadbetter supplied. "The mirror was
designed and crafted by Edward Landry, a seventeenth-century practitioner of
the occult. See ... here is his signature, in the bottom right-hand corner
of the frame. The mirror's ... powers, pass on. Transfer, from owner to
that's enough! Stop spouting your nonsense, Howard! Do you hear me? I won't
have it!" railed Mrs Leadbetter, her voice high-pitched in great annoyance.
"Don't think I don't know what you're trying to do: you're trying to
frighten this young couple trying to put them off buying the mirror."
Debbie, Mrs Leadbetter said, soothingly, "Take no notice of my husband,
dear. If you want to buy the mirror, it's yours and for just twenty
pounds, just like I said last night. An absolute bargain, in anyone's book."
wasn't soothed. In fact, her unease was deepening by the second. And whether
the mirror was going to cost twenty pounds, or Mrs Leadbetter was actually
going to pay her and James a removal fee just to get the damn thing the hell
out of her home, was no longer of any account. Debbie had changed her mind
about the mirror; wished she had never set eyes on the newspaper
advertisement. And now the thought just the very thought of her mum
giving that odious thing pride of place in their home, in two weeks' time,
was giving her a bad case of the heebie-jeebies.
trepidation, Debbie asked Mrs Leadbetter, diffidently, "May I may I ask
why you want to sell the mirror?"
Leadbetter emitted a great, eloquent sigh, suggestive of long-suffering.
"The honest truth? Because I want my husband back. Back to the way he was
... before he bought the mirror. It's as simple as that, dear. He bought it
at a car-boot sale in Crawley, three months ago, for a hundred pounds ...
and he's not been the same since.
you must have noticed the state of him, dear," she went on. "Look at him ...
But he's actually quite a handsome man, believe it or not ... underneath all
that. He's a self-employed taxi driver. But his cab hasn't moved from our
drive in three months, and so we are getting behind with our mortgage. And,
as you can see, he's letting himself go all to pot; no longer taking any
pride in his appearance. He spends every waking moment, up here in the attic
... with the light off. That's that's the funny thing: For hour, after
hour, in the dark, he just sits in that canvas fishing-chair, and stares at
the mirror. Lord knows, what he sees in it if you see what I mean.
Sometimes, I'll quietly come up here, to find his eyes absolutely glued to
it ... in the dark. Just staring, and staring, and staring at it. And he's
letting the house and garden go all to pot, too, besides his own appearance.
He just shuts himself away up here, and doesn't so much as lift a finger
around the house.
you are," said the unhappy housewife, addressing both James and Debbie.
"That's why I want to sell the mirror. It's been turning my life
upside-down. I've had enough, and I want to get back to normal. So ... Do
you do you want to buy it, then? For just twenty pounds? I'll let you have
it for twenty pounds. Just like I promised you, last"
You've got yourself a deal, Mrs Leadbetter," said James brightly.
self-congratulation, James handed Mrs Leadbetter a £20 note, the agreed upon
sum. She promptly handed James's money over to her husband ... thereby
completing the transaction: Sealing the bargain, and confirming the mirror's
transference of ownership.
actually, James, I'm not so sure about this, any more," demurred Debbie
uneasily. "I I think we should forget about buying the mirror, James.
There's there's something about it ... something"
daft, Debs! Just listen to yourself!" James chided, with a foolish grin.
"Like you said last night, Debs, it's just the thing for your mum's birthday
present. She's going to love it!"
Mr Leadbetter, James said, "If me and Debbie stand down below, Mr L, will
you pass the mirror down to us, please?"
a stern and reproving look from his wife, Mr Leadbetter finally nodded his
reluctant acquiescence. Resigned, at last, to the fact that the mirror was
going, he said grumpily, "Oh, all right, then."
wasn't too heavy and, with it still attached to its two-foot-tall,
plinth-like wooden stand, Debbie and James managed to carry it to James's
car easily enough between them.
only after James had opened the Astra's hatch, and they had lifted the
mirror out of its stand, that Debbie thought they might have a problem. "Um
... I'm not sure the mirror is going to fit, James," she said uncertainly.
"Maybe you'd better fold the back seat forward to accommodate it I don't
want to have to struggle with this thing any more than is necessary. Go on,
I'll hold the mirror until you've folded the back seat down."
Debs," said James.
Astra's central-locking no longer worked, in order to get access to the back
seat, James had to open the driver's door again, and then pull up the door
lock on the rear door.
folded down the back seat, James then walked to the back of the car, where
Debbie was waiting for him. "It should be easy enough, James. I'll hold this
end, you hold that end, and we'll lift the mirror into the car together.
We'll put it in face-down on the boot's carpeting, and the stand can sit on
top, okay?" James nodded his understanding and acquiescence.
gotten a good, firm hold on his end of the mirror, and he was just about to
start lifting when, reflected in the mirror, he saw a from-the-knees-down
view of a girl or a woman's legs and high-heeled, open-toed strappy sandal
shod feet approaching. Her legs were tanned and shapely, her toes were
painted a lovely shade of pink, and he could hear that exciting sound of
high heels clack-clack-clacking on a hard surface getting louder and louder,
as she drew nearer and nearer ... and then it was the receding backs,
of the girl or woman's legs and feet that James saw in the mirror, the
clack-clack-clacking sound of her high heels, growing fainter and fainter,
as she walked further and further away ...
nonplussed. Mystified. How could that be? he thought in amazement. What he'd
just seen ... How could it possibly be?
over the Astra's roof, looking for the walking-away girl or woman he'd just
seen in the mirror ... but there was no girl, there was no woman. In fact,
there wasn't a soul on the quiet street either way apart from him and
when you're ready, James," prompted Debbie, her voice conveying that she was
wondering why he wasn't lifting his end of the mirror yet.
you see her, Debbie? Didn't you didn't you hear her?" James stammered.
you on about, James? See who? Hear who?" said Debbie in puzzlement,
surveying the street in both directions ... the empty street.
there was a ... didn't you see, Debbie?" James stuttered incoherently.
seen anyone ... Now, are we going to stand here all day, like two morons, or
are we going to put this mirror in the car? On a count of three, okay,
James? One ..."
gotten another good, firm hold on his end of the mirror, and was waiting on
Debbie's count to three, when, reflected in the mirror, he saw a
from-the-knees-down view of a girl or a woman's legs and feet, walking away.
This girl or woman's bare legs were quite pale, and she was wearing a pair
of well-worn looking black flats.
turned around. He wanted to see the girl or woman; to actually see her, with
his own two eyes. He wanted to see the real, live, in-the-flesh, girl or
woman, to see who she was, to see what her face looked like ... but there
was no one there.
turned back to the mirror, to see the walking-away girl or woman suddenly
stop. She slipped her foot from her right, well-worn black flat, and James
saw her hand reach down for her shoe. She upended it, rapped the heel of her
flat against the pavement, and James saw a tiny stone fall out and roll
away. "Ah, gotcha!" he heard the girl or woman say, her relief and
satisfaction plainly evident in her voice. The girl or woman then raised her
right leg behind her, and James got a superb view of her bare sole, looking
all hot, and sweaty, and smelly. Her arch was pale, starkly contrasting with
the redness of the bottom of her heel, the ball of her foot, and her toe
pads. But he had no more than a brief, tantalising glimpse of the highly
arousing sight, before the girl or woman gave her toes a quick, splaying
wiggle, and then pulled her flat back on again with her hand.
wailed Debbie, holding her hand to the small of her back. Angry and upset,
she demanded, "What the hell, James? I've hurt my back! Why why didn't you
lift? Oh ... I could really throttle you, sometimes!"
sorry, Debbie. But but I saw ... I thought I saw ..."
saw what, James? What the hell is wrong with you? There's no one here but
us! I'd said: On a count of three. Didn't I? And now ... and now my back's
hurting. Oh, I said we shouldn't have bought the mirror! Didn't I? I told
you I was having second thoughts about it, that there was something ...
something about it. But, would you listen? No.
James," said Debbie, getting into the front passenger seat of the car,
"you'll have to find someone else now, to help you lift the mirror into the
back of the car."
mind was all over the place. He didn't know what to think. What to
think, about the girls or women he'd seen walking along the pavement,
reflected in the mirror ... girls or women, that Debbie hadn't seen. Was he
having some kind of ... episode?
distraught, too, that he'd caused Debbie to put her back out, and ... and
how was he going to explain that, to Debbie's mum?
looked up and down the street, hoping to spot a likely helper ... and he saw
Leadbetter was in his drive, with a bucket of soapy water and a sponge,
about to start washing his private-hire taxi. He'd had a shave, James
noticed, and combed his hair. And already he was looking healthier: less
gaunt, more sparkle-eyed, and the pallor of his skin wasn't quite so pale;
even had a bit of colour to it now. And he had a look of get-up-and-go about
him, too, that hadn't been there before. Looks like Mrs Leadbetter is
getting her husband back, thought James. Looks like he's getting back to the
man he was ... "before he bought the mirror".
"Er, Mr L
..." James said, walking over to him. "Couldn't do us a bit of a favour,
could you? Help me get the mirror into my car? Debbie's put her back out,
you see, trying to lift"
know. I saw what happened. I've been watching ... and waiting. Waiting for
the moment, when you found out. When you ... realised."
what, Mr L?"
Leadbetter stared at James for some moments, before saying, "The mirror. It
... it tunes in, to you. And it knows you, now ... Just as it knew me."
Right you are, Mr L ... Er, any chance of a hand, then, Mr L? It'll only
take us two ticks."
right, then, come on ... And my name's Howard. My friends call me Howie."
* * *
minutes later, James was parking the Astra at the kerb outside Debbie's.
"How's your back feeling now, Debbie?" asked James solicitously.
"Terrible, thanks for asking.
James, make sure you get someone to help you with the mirror when you get
back to your flat. I don't want you ending up with a bad back as well,"
Debbie said while unbuckling her seatbelt.
"No ... I
mean yes, Debs. I'll get Mr Jessop to help me. He's the caretaker at Hopwell
House. We're on friendly terms, Joe and me. He'll give me a quick hand with
it, no problem."
then, James. Come in for a cup of tea, before you go back to your flat."
having seen the pair return, Debbie's mum was waiting for them on the
doorstep ... and James didn't like the look of her body language. Doris was
standing there, arms crossed, and with a face like thunder.
then, you two," she said in no-nonsense tones as Debbie and James came in
through the front gate. "As I said earlier, I want a word. You are in
trouble, James. I want to know what you were up to last night."
oh-oh ... I think maybe you'd better make yourself scarce, James," Debbie
said quietly. "Mum's on the warpath."
didn't need telling twice. When Debbie's mum was on the warpath, you'd
better look out if you knew what was good for you.
Debbie, love, what's the matter with your back?" exclaimed Doris, upon
seeing her daughter holding her hand to the small of her back.
It's nothing, Mum. Just a slight twinge, that's all. I'll I'll probably be
all right, in a few hours."
back here, James!" shouted Doris, at seeing James making a sharp exit.
"James! James!! I said: come here you've got some explaining to do!" she
yelled, as James hastily let himself out the front gate, leaving it wide
open behind him. "Come back now! I want a word with"
James can't stop, Mum. He he's ..."
Debbie and her mum watched, as James raced
headlong to the Astra. He flung open the driver's door, slammed it shut
behind him, hurriedly fastened his seatbelt, started the engine, and then
floored the accelerator, wheel-spinning away about 2,000 miles' worth of
tread as he shot away from the kerb with a loud squeal of tortured tyres,
and leaving behind him the lingering, acrid stench of burnt rubber, and the
oily tang indicative of worn piston rings.
Debbie looked at her mum and smiled. "Looks
like that old heap of his has got some life in it yet, Mum."
And Debbie's mum, though she tried to remain
stern-faced, couldn't resist smiling back. Linking arms with her daughter,
she said, "Come on, Debbie. Let's go in and have a cuppa."
James didn't live far from Debbie's, and so
it was only a matter minutes before he was arriving at his flat at Hopwell
House. He parked the Astra in the residents' car park, and looked out
through the windscreen for any sign of the caretaker.
And, as luck would have it, there was the
fifty-something, brown-boiler-suit-wearing caretaker, Mr Jessop, wielding
his hard-bristled sweeping brush. He was tidying up outside the six-storey
block of flats; a sure sign that he had nothing much else to do.
"Joe! Just the man!" said James cheerily
through the now half-lowered driver's window, causing the crouching
caretaker to pause and look around just as he was sweeping a discarded crisp
packet into his dustpan. "Give us a quick hand here for two seconds, Joe,
will you, if you've got a quiet minute?"
The caretaker deposited the piece of litter
into his black plastic refuse sack, straightened up, and arched his back.
"Okay, James. Bit it'll have to be quick you can see how busy I am," Joe
"Yes ... and backbreaking work it is, too, by
the looks of it," James quipped back.
Smiling, the caretaker walked over to the
Astra. Patting its roof, he said, "How the scrap man hasn't got his hands on
this thing yet, I'll never know, mate."
"That's what Debbie keeps saying. It's a
cracking little runner, though. Never lets me down."
"Hmm ... So, cock sparrow, what do you need a
hand with, then?"
By way of answering, James got out of the
car, opened the hatch and, after taking out the two-foot-tall, plinth-like
stand and placing it on the ground, he pointed at the mirror. "This, mate.
It slots into its stand, so we can carry it to my flat all in one piece.
I've bought it as a present for Debbie's mum's birthday, in about two weeks'
time which is why I've brought it here. You know, to keep it out of her
sight, so the surprise isn't spoiled. So, what do you think? She's going to
love it, Joe ... don't you think?"
"Hmm ... A mirror."
James, remembering what the mirror's previous
owner, Mr Leadbetter, had said about it, thought he'd josh his caretaker
friend a bit. "Ah! But not just any old mirror, Joe. It's a
seventeenth-century antique mirror, designed and crafted by Edward Landry,
the infamous practitioner of the occult. Look, see all of these scary
symbols, carved into the frame? And look, here's his signature, in the
bottom right-hand corner of the frame. See, Joe, the mirror has ... special
"Ha ha ha! A supernatural mirror? And you are
going to give it to your girlfriend's mum, for her birthday! Ha ha ha!
Priceless that is, mate. Just priceless ... Seriously though, James, at
times, you do talk an awful lot of"
"Not me, Joe. The bloke I've just bought it
from. And he was being dead serious, too. Honest, he was. He was desperate
to keep it, too. It was the missus who made him sell it. She said her
husband was sitting in front of the mirror all the time, up in the attic,
and in the dark too, just staring, and staring at it. Talk about loony
tunes! Bonkers, he was. I'm telling you, mate, I've never heard such a load
of old cobblers: The mirror had 'tuned in' to him, he told me. He said that
it 'knew' him. And now, because I'm the mirror's new owner, it 'knows' me."
"It takes all sorts to make a world, James,
doesn't it, mate?"
"Yeah, I suppose. Sad, really ... Anyway,
shall we get it inside, then? It's not very heavy, but Debbie told me not to
carry it by myself."
"No problem, cock sparrow. No problem at
James was in his kitchen, making a cup of
coffee. And he was chuckling to himself. He was remembering the utter
gibberish, the unadulterated hogwash that Mr Leadbetter had spouted ...
Edward Landry's occult mirror, indeed!
He shouldn't laugh though, really, thought
James in self-admonishment. Mr Leadbetter was obviously a marble shy of a
But ... It was weird, though, he
mused. What he'd seen reflected in the mirror and heard, too, come to that
just as he and Debbie had been about to lift it into the back of his car
... but that Debbie hadn't seen, hadn't heard.
The approaching and then, inexplicably, impossibly, receding
from-the-knees-down view of a girl or a woman's tanned legs and
high-heeled, open-toed strappy sandal shod feet, her toes painted a lovely
shade of pink, clack-clack-clacking along the pavement ... when the street
had actually been deserted in both directions.
And then, his seeing the second ...
manifestation? ... of the second, from-the-knees-down view, of the
walking-away pale-legged girl or woman ...
Seeing her stop, to remove her right,
well-worn looking black flat. And, at her rapping her upended shoe on the
pavement, his seeing a tiny stone fall out and roll away. And, upon which,
his clearly hearing the girl or woman's relief and satisfaction, plainly
evident in her voice when she said, "Ah ... gotcha!" ...
And, his seeing the girl or woman then raise
her leg behind her, preparatory to pulling her flat back on, and getting a
superb view of the sole of her bare foot, that looked all hot, and sweaty,
and smelly ...
seeing her foot so vividly, too: her pale arch, contrasting starkly with the
redness of the bottom of her heel, the ball of her foot, and her toe pads
And, his seeing the girl or woman give her
toes a quick, splaying wiggle, the deliciously teasing sight glimpsed but
briefly, in the tantalising moment before she pulled her flat back on with
her hand ... Again, when there had been no one on the street, but him and
Debbie. Absolutely no one.
James was trying to pooh pooh the weird
incident. He was trying to dismiss it trying to expunge it from his
mind. Trying to chalk it up, as just 'one of those things'.
Well, what else could he do? It was just some
... some strange trick of the imagination, that's all. Wasn't it? What
people meant, when they said you must be 'seeing things'.
So why, then, he thought, did he remember all
of those details such arousing, details so clearly? And so vividly? And
with such total recall? As if they were now indelibly imprinted in his mind,
for the purpose of ... ready recollection.
In fact, there was now a steadily growing
bulge, at James's crotch, just at the very remembrance of those images.
Images, that he now seemed unable to dismiss.
Unable to expunge ... And could no longer pooh pooh.
Images, that were now persistently demanding
the undivided attention of his mind's eye.
Images, that now seemed, somehow, to be
irrepressible. Insistently asserting themselves, imposing themselves ...
Images, that were ... invasive.
And James realised that he was rhythmically
stroking himself, through the fabric of his trousers. Rub, rub, rub ... Rub,
rub, rub ...
Oh, for Pete's sake! he thought, trying to
dislodge those sexy sights from his mind. This was ridiculous! Get a grip!
he admonished himself. He didn't want to have to go and ... After all, he
didn't have to do this he had Debbie, to care for his needs.
James reached up and opened a cupboard,
looking for some biscuits. Seeing there were only two or three
chocolate-chip cookies left in the packet, he emptied the remaining few
treats out onto a small plate. Refreshments prepared, he put his coffee and
biscuits on a small wooden tray and took them through to the living room.
He'd put the telly on, thought James. He'd
watch the Parliament channel. That should help take his mind off ...
down in front of the TV, in his most comfortable chair; a black leather,
high-backed, and well-padded armchair, carefully placing the tray in his lap
as he sat down.
was on the coffee table, just to his right. And he was just about to take
the TV off Standby when, for some reason, his attention was drawn to his
right ... towards the mirror.
James looked at the mirror.
Mounted on its two-foot-tall, plinth-like
stand, it was up against the right-hand side wall of his living room, where
he and his caretaker friend, Joe Jessop, had placed it so that it would be
out of the way. What had drawn his attention? he wondered.
At first, James couldn't put his finger on
it. And then ... No. It had to be his imagination, thought James. Had to be.
Didn't it? Or some trick of the light. Yes, that must be it. After all,
light could do funny things. Maybe it was just sunlight, somehow glancing in
off another window somewhere. Anyway, whatever it was, there would be a
rational, logical explanation for it ...
Nonetheless, James put his tray on the coffee
table. He got up, and went over to draw the curtains closed ... To find that
it wasn't, his imagination. That it wasn't, some trick of the light. That it
wasn't sunlight, somehow glancing in off another window somewhere ... And,
that there wasn't a rational, logical explanation for it.
In profound disbelief, James stared at the
And then his phone rang. James didn't move
... just stared at the mirror, in wonder.
The phone rang four times, and then his
answer-phone kicked in automatically. It was Debbie, and her voice was all
bright and cheerful and sing-song.
"James? Are you there? If
you are there, James, pick up ... Oh, bother! I suppose your caretaker
friend is still helping you in with the mirror. Anyway, it's about tonight.
About what we said about going to the cinema tonight ... remember? There's a
showing of a film called They Came From The Beyond, at seven. Duh, I know
... it's bound to be really naff, some silly supernatural flick, but a least
it'll be a laugh, won't it? And, I could do with a laugh, after last night!
So come and get me at about half-past six, will you? Oh, and Mum's not mad
at you, James. Honest, she's not. In fact, she's ha ha ha! she's hardly
stopped giggling, since she saw your bat-out-of-hell impression! See you
later, then. Bye."
continued to stare at the mirror ... and there was no doubt about it. No
longer, could he try to deny the evidence of his own eyes ... Not now.
could he shrug this off, as just a trick of the light. No way, could he
blithely palm it off, as being some strange trick of the imagination. No
way, could he so nonchalantly account for it conveniently categorise it
as being merely 'one of those things'.
James knew ... he wasn't 'seeing things'.
a discernible glow, all around the edges of the mirror, where it fitted into
its ornately carved frame.
that grew brighter, and whiter, even as he watched. The glow continued to
brighten, yet it didn't dazzle him. The glow brightened, until it became
impossibly white ... And then, slowly, the glow began to lose intensity ...
was about to happen. James knew it. He just knew it.
waited. Waited, in wonder. He waited in fear, too. In fear of the unknown.
though, he waited in awe.
mirror didn't keep James waiting, for long.
Mirror continues, in Chapter 3.
story is written by David, please send comments and appreciation to