Morgan mourns the loss of his wife, Caterine, who, without warning, vanished early one morning from their bedroom. He’s also exhausted and distraught by the police’s assumption that he’s guilty and involved in her suspicious disappearance. Caterine’s body is never found and there was no sign of her in the seven years after she went missing. Morgan thought he’d be pleased when the Declaration of her Presumed Death was approved by the High Court, but he wasn’t: he desperately needs to know what happened to her.
The mirror is eight feet tall and six feet wide. It was made in France in the eighteenth century and hangs on Morgan’s and Caterine’s bedroom wall. Its framework is black enamelled wood with gold-leaf inlays and delicate decorative oil painted panels of woodland birds. Over the years, since Cat’s disappearance, he’s come to think of the mirror as a sensate being, a companion even, that must have witnessed Cat’s disappearance while he slept.
Every day, Morgan stands in front of the mirror and inspects his reflection; as usual, he’s saddened at the evidence of his mortality, but that’s not his purpose. If only you could talk, he says to the mirror, you could tell me what happened to Cat. With his nose touching the glass, he tries to see what lies beyond his reflection. The old dappled surface clouds with the warmth of his breath. He cleans the glass with a handkerchief and, for a fraction of a second, he senses movement that is not a reflection. Not for the first time, Morgan asks, Cat, are you in there? He pleads, Mirror, please let me in.
Morgan steps back, open-mouthed, as the glass silently folds back upon itself just as the Red Sea parted in Cecil B. DeMille’s ‘The Ten Commandments’. Without fear, and with a frantically beating heart, he rushes through the gap into the mirror, fearing that at any moment the mirror will close, and his chance will be gone. The glass gently shuts behind him. For a moment he panics, How will I breathe? He relaxes as a draught of warm musty air drifts towards him as he stands at the entrance to a long dimly lit corridor.
He smells perfume. Cat, are you here?
Cat, wearing her long white Victorian nightgown hurries from the gloom. Morgan, you came to me. Thank you, my love. Thank you.
They embrace. They weep without tears.
Are you still alive? he asks.
No, sweetheart. I died the moment the mirror took me in.
Did you know you would die? Morgan asks.
No, I was just curious about the mirror.
Am I dead?
Yes, we’re ghosts, and safe.
I can’t believe I’m with you, Morgan says.
I watched you pleading with the mirror every day.
I knew you were here.
Always together now, Caterine says.
They hold hands as they stare out through the mirror.
Scene of crime officers in white overalls search the bedroom.
Poor buggers, Morgan says. Our mystery continues.
I hope you enjoyed this story. Remember, I publish a new story every Sunday.
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© Phil Cosker 2021
Phil Cosker has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved; no part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted by any mean, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.