“A mystery does not explain the way I feel….”

“A mystery does not explain the way I feel….”
  • Title: The Mirror
  • Genre: Gothic Romance

“Olivia!” Alec called as he burst through the old oak doors, which gave with a groan like a musket shot.

“Olivia!” He raced through the great hall, haunted by his own reflection. The foggy, cobweb-covered mirrors had once fascinated him, but now he ignored them completely.

He abandoned the hall for the music room. If she would be anywhere in this mausoleum…

“OLIV—”

“Sir, if I may.”

Alec halted abruptly. “Butler?”

The automaton, his metal pitted and dulled with time, clunked forward from the shadows.

“Where is she?”

“Mistress Olivia is dead, sir.”

“What? That’s impossible. I saw her not an hour ago.”

“Nevertheless, she has been dead for centuries.”

Alec sank to his knees, shocked and bereft. They had only known each other a week, but he’d lived a lifetime in those seven days.

“But I saw her, talked with her, touched her. She was no ghost.”

“This old keep holds many mysteries. I was built by my master to manage them. But I am only a rusty tin can, and my cogs and springs are beginning to fail.”

“A mystery does not explain the way I feel,” Alec insisted, pressing a hand to his chest.

Butler cocked his head as if listening. Then he stepped toward the wall opposite where Alec knelt. He plucked one of the smaller mirrors from where it hung against the stone and handed it to Alec.

Alec rose to his feet, accepting the mirror but barely seeing it.

“She would want you to have it, sir,” Butler said.

As Alec stepped slowly over the threshold and into the night, Olivia loosened the shadows that concealed her.

“Giving him that mirror was cruel,” Butler said.

Olivia stretched her fingers, feeling the faint webbing between them, touched her tongue gently to every pointed tooth.

“For him or for me?”

“For both, I’d imagine.”

She ignored him and dusted an identical mirror to Alec’s with her sleeve. It was already shimmering, showing a skewed and fragmented version of the road ahead.

Mary Elizabeth Summer is the author of the young-adult Trust Me mystery series. She lives in Beaverton with her wife, their daughter, their dog, and their evil overlor—er, cats.