• tab John had felt that there was something wrong with the mirror for some time now. It was a lovely piece of work that Angie had picked up for a song at the little antique shop of Fifth Street, but to him there was just something unsettling about it. Angie scoffed, teasing him about his propensity for superstition.
    tab "Honestly, sweetie, it's not like it's haunted."

    tab It was in a position of honor, hanging over the dresser across from their bed. John knew it was silly, but he always turned his back to it when he changed. After a while he started getting dressed in the bathroom.

    tab Angie insisted that the fluttering shadows they could both observe in its image were part of the glass. It was how you could tell it was really old, she said. The surface was warped from obsolete glass-making techniques.

    tab That didn't stop John from feeling like whenever he caught his own eye in it, he had just missed seeing someone else peeking in from the corner of the frame.

    tab Then, on the night of the storm, it was the last straw. Angie was asleep - Angie could sleep through anything - but the distant roll of thunder and oppressive pre-storm atmosphere was keeping John hovering fitfully on the edge of consciousness. He was dimly aware when the first rain began to clatter on the roof, but the crack of lightning just outside the window still startled him. He jerked in the bed, eyes snapping open, and as the light of the thunderbolt faded he saw - just for a moment - dozens of gaunt faces and pale hands pressed against the mirror.

    tab He shook himself, rubbed his eyes, and they were gone.

    tab The next morning, he insisted they move it. He reluctantly told Angie about his nightmare and she teased him affectionately but consented, if John was sure it would make him feel better. Together, they moved it from the bedroom to the upstairs hallway leading to storage.

    tab John's feelings about the mirror were abated, but he couldn't shake his sense of nervousness. He saw his doctor, who said it was just stress from his new job and prescribed a mild sedative. Guiltily, John admitted that he felt like he was being followed, berating himself for his foolishness and worrying about his mental health. His doctor patted him on the shoulder and told him to get more sleep and to go home and take a hot bath.

    tab This didn't seem like a bad idea. Angie bustled around, warming a towel and breaking out her bath salts despite John's protestations. Kissing him on the forehead and starting the hot tap, she slipped from the room.

    tab With a heavy sigh, he pulled off his shirt and watched the bathroom mirror fog up with condensation. This was going to do him good; Maybe he did just need a little rest. His hands stopped, however, as he began to unbutton his pants. A line was appearing in the steam on the mirror, as though a finger was being dragged across its surface. John stared, wide-eyed, as words spelled themselves out.

    tab "Please bring back the mirror. We miss you."