Sunday 30 June 2013

Girl in the mirror

By Lisa Rapley

Looking in the mirror was never a nice experience.

Flaws glared like neon lights in Times Square – the pimples, the fat roles and even the scars would shine bright as if they were lit from behind. No matter what she did, the brightness of each would continue to shine, almost blindingly. All in front of the mirror.

Following her reflection, she tugged and twisted at her top to make it sit better against her jeans. Alas, the reflection was just as bad as the real deal and this was as good as it was going to get for the day.

Turning away from the metallic glass, she grabbed her backpack and walked out the door.

Dashing through the rain to the high school, she made it inside just as the downpour started.

At least she missed that, she thought, the rest was just a bit of water – what did it matter?

Matter it did. She caught her reflection in the glass – hair plastered to her face from damp, making her look like a drowned sloth. Fantastic.

As she moved through the corridors, she felt the eyes on her, following as she passed classroom after classroom. She could feel the stares piercing her back, as if they had nothing else to look at.

She'd never liked school. She was intelligent, yes, but all she wanted was to get through classes, be invisible and return home again. All the while agonising about what could possibly happen the next day.

There really were no good reasons for them to target her. It had just happened that way. She contemplated whether it was because her estranged father was the town drunk or maybe because her mother made a name for herself at the local casino.

Neither would explain the actions of teenagers. Sure, parents gossip to other parents and children overhear. But was it enough for an entire class to wage a coherent attack on one measly high school girl? Dubious.

Sidling into her seat in English class, she suddenly had an overwhelming feeling everything was going to go wrong today.

And then it started.

Reverberating against the walls, the fire alarm began ringing loudly though the halls and classrooms.

The class began packing up their things and filing out the door. The teacher yelling for them to go slowly and not push.

She shoved her notebook back in her satchel and trudged towards the door, joining the throngs of students heading towards the exit.

As she neared the door to exit the school building she caught a whiff of smoke. Something actually was on fire. Then she heard the piercing sirens wailing through the streets to the school.

Catching a few bits of chatter from students, she heard 'chemistry' and 'explosion'. Possibly not the best thing to happen, she thought.

As she walked down the steps, the firemen were heading in the other door, fire-hose already connected and ready.

The pavement was wet from the downpour and the leaking fire-hose, with pools of water forming underfoot. Students were mulling around waiting for direction from the teachers.

She maneuvered to the edge of the group, trying to get away from so many people.

Suddenly she felt her feet disappear from underneath her, landing hard on her back in a giant puddle of water.

Students began giggling and pointing at her. Nobody rushing forward to help her up.

And that's when the jeering began.

“Haha, what an idiot.”

“What a fat freak.”

“Well, that's awkward,” one girl said with a sneer.

Even an “oink, oink”, from one of the soccer guys.

She looked down at herself, her jeans were soaked and covered in dirt, and she could feel the pain growing in her backside.

As she started to get up her classmates laughed even harder. A few even snorting.

You're the real pigs, she thought. Never brave enough to actually insult any of them back.

Brushing the dirt off her hands on her jeans, she picked up her bag, testing which parts of her body hurt the most – her right ankle was quite tender to put any weight on.
And her fellow students continued to laugh.

Finally the principal appeared, ordering them to gather and be quiet.

He looked towards her with exasperation, noticing her soaking wet clothes.

“There was no reason to go jumping in puddles, Isabel,” he said.

She looked at him, incredulous, as hot tears began rolling slowly down her face. Before anything could get worse, she pivoted on her heel and ran.

Arriving home she headed straight to her room, successfully avoiding her mother.

Looking in the mirror she saw everything, all her imperfections, the wet and muddy clothes. They just glared at her. The insults were firing through her mind, matching with each flaw she saw in herself.

How can a few simple taunts make her so upset? They shouldn't mean anything, those people don't know her, they're the idiots.

Yet, the insults happen everyday, whether she embarrasses herself or not. It is a constant barrage. And the principal! She had no one at that school.

Anger swelled inside her and she lashed out, punching the mirror. It cracked, shards of glass spearing themselves in the soft carpet.

Pulling her fist away she sees tiny scratches on her knuckles with blood seeping out. She touches the cuts gently, they sting a little.

Sitting down on her bed, she sees the pieces of glass jutting out of the carpet, an idea forming in her head.

It wouldn't be such a bad way to go, she thinks. There would be no more jeering or feeling left out. Everything would be over.

She picks up a piece of fallen glass and with swift precision brings it down on one wrist and then the other, carving deep gashes through her skin. She watches as blood seeps from her veins and drips slowly onto the glass strewn floor.

The Broken Mirror.

By Hannah Begg.

The teaspoon clinked gently against the side of the cup. Closing her eyes, she breathed deeply as the sweet steam rose and brushed against her face. The toaster popped; reaching for the crispy slice of sourdough, she let her fingers pause on the rough, hot texture, waiting for her skin to start tingling; quickly dropping the toast onto a plate, she slowly dragged a knife across it, watching the thick, golden honey glisten in the morning sun.

Lifting the mug to her lips, her gaze fell upon the shiny surface of the kettle. Momentarily, her own reflection looked back. Gasping in shock, she spun round, heart racing, coffee sloshing out of the mug.

It’s okay. Relax. You didn’t see anything. The surface was steamy, it was clouded, the reflection wasn’t accurate.

She waited a few moments, breathing slowly, eyes closed. Reaching for some paper towel, she watched as it soaked up the spilt coffee - rough white morphed into damp, creamy brown. Carrying the coffee into the next room, she curled up at one end of the couch, resting the coffee on her lap, and picked up the small, blue folder. Sighing, she began leafing through the newspaper clippings and doctor’s notes again. Each one was becoming more familiar now. She no longer felt dizzy, or nauseous, as she read them. Pausing when she reached the section at the back with the photographs, she gently touched each one, letting her fingertips rest on the sharp colours, the jagged images...

The only thing I really remember is the pain. White-hot, searing razorblades, sinking claws into my flesh, scratching my eyes, tearing my throat. And I remember a high-pitched, all-consuming noise, shrieking in my mind, making my ears throb. I found out later that it was my own voice, screaming and screaming.

Taking a sip of coffee, her gaze fell upon the object leaning against the opposite wall. With a thin, pink bed sheet carefully draped across its smooth surface, it showed only a faint, ghostly reflection of the room. Quickly looking away, she continued to browse the medical reports. Apparently this was part of the recovery process - accepting what had happened, according to the psychologist. But it just felt so surreal, so separate from her life. The photos showed a raw, un-human creature lying amongst a twisted mess of hospital tubes and bandages, unconscious. How could she connect herself with that?

I’m still me. I haven’t changed, my perception of the world hasn’t changed. The sun still sets each afternoon, the sky becomes deep, dark, golden; the television still rattles each night with tinny laughter and applause.  My opinions and thoughts remain exactly the same - my mind isn’t damaged...


The fire had started very suddenly, according to the police reports. The flames had instantly leapt onto her shirt. Her brother had managed to extinguish the flames within moments, but apparently the damage was done. She still didn’t know exactly how much damage was done, though - she hadn’t looked in a mirror. In the hospital, the nurses’ expressions told her nothing. The other patients looked away as she moved along corridors. Her own father’s eyes welled up with tears whenever they met her own. But it was the frightened looks from young children, visiting sick grandmothers and grandfathers, that made her start to worry about what a mirror might reveal.

In the early days, the psychologist had told her she wasn’t ready to see her own reflection. One day, she waited until her mother had left the room to visit the hospital cafeteria before rummaging through her handbag. Finding a small eye-shadow kit with a tiny, cracked mirror, her breath caught in her throat as she began to slowly lift it, watching as the reflection moved up her white hospital gown, reaching the rounded top. Slowly, it began to reveal some puckered, raw skin at the base of her neck. Gasping in surprise, she had thrown the make-up as hard as she could, sending it clattering against the opposite wall. A small puff of pink powder burst from the broken pieces, creating an eerie, shimmering glow that slowly settled on the floor. Her body shook with dry, wracking sobs as an agonising sadness began to pour from her heart.


Closing the folder, she took several deep breaths, waiting for her heartbeat to slow. Standing, she carried the empty coffee mug back into the kitchen, aware of her ghostlike reflection moving within the veiled mirror on the opposite side of the room. Refilling the kettle, she carefully looked away from its shiny surface.


Now, it haunts my every waking moment. I know I will be forced to confront it eventually. I fear my own reflection; the fear itself startles me wherever I turn. I close my eyes and see a creature staring back at me; it reaches out and claws its way into my soul, tearing my skin apart, leaving me trembling on the earth. My reflection follows me as I move through each day, it creeps up my spine, and courses through my veins. Yesterday, a cry of shock escaped from my mouth as my own shadow suddenly appeared on a wall in front of me.

The mirror - my reflection - is always there, waiting patiently for me.

Gently placing the coffee mug back on the bench, she turned away from the kettle and retraced her steps back into the living room. She slowly moved towards her veiled reflection, gazing at the ghostly outline staring out from behind the pink sheet. Taking a deep, steadying breath, she moved forwards. It was time.


The mirror has been my nightmare, haunting me. Now, it will be my release.

Her father arrived home late from work. All the lights in the house were on, illuminating the deafening silence. On the kitchen table was a neatly folded bed sheet - the one that had been draped across the mirror since the accident. Peering into the living room, he noticed the mirror was gone. He turned and began to move quickly down the hallway, dread growing heavy in his stomach as he found each room empty. With a sickening fear creeping up his throat, he pushed the bathroom door open, and sank to his knees. Her body was floating in the bath; the water was a bright, glistening shade of red. Her face, gently framed by the water, stared blankly at the ceiling, impossibly white against the blood-red backdrop; her wrists floated near the surface, revealing smooth, deep stripes of open skin.

Floating brightly next to her were large broken shards of mirror, reflecting the light from above.

Monday 24 June 2013

Shiloh and me

by Wai Chim.

Disclaimer: I don't know about the others, but I found this month's prompt to be extra challenging. But as an author, sometimes you just have to trust the story to lead you, sometimes you're just flying blind.

So let's strap on those crash helmets.


Ma kept no mirrors in our home, only painted pictures strung up in thick, lacquered frames, shielded by glass. In fact, I had never seen a mirror until the day Ma sent me to school.

Ma gave me a little metal lunch box, the cartoon faces that had once smiled up at another child had long been worn away. But when I traced the polished surface with the tips of my fingers, I could feel the curves of the lips, googliness of the big round eyes.

I peered into its metallic sheen and saw blobs and shapes and skin tones. But when I got in super, super close, I could see an eye.

“Ma. Look. There’s a girl in my lunchbox!” I held the lid just millimetres from my face and blinked. The funny looking eye was still there. “I can see her.”

Ma had sighed loudly, not looking up from her mending. “Miya, don’t be ridiculous. You can’t go to school saying such nonsense.”

“What’s your name?” I whispered. The girl said nothing, but her watchful eye blinked. I put my other eye up to the box. The girl had shifted and was peering at me through a different eye. I pulled back and the girl was gone. This made me frown. “I think she’s shy. She must be lonely.”

Ma just clucked her tongue and sighed again.

The girl was definitely a shy one. “Well if you won’t tell me, I’ll call you Shiloh,” I said matter-of-factly. Shiloh was the name of a dog I saw on TV last week. It was a boy dog, but I didn’t think the girl in the lunchbox would mind.

I was happy to be taking the shy girl in the lunchbox with me to my first day at school. I was making faces as Shiloh’s staring eye while Ma was slathering tuna fish onto a piece of bread for me.

 “Miya, stop goofing around,” Ma scolded as she took the lunchbox from me. She plopped the sandwich in, slapped together in Glad wrap and I could tell that the tuna was already making the bread soggy. I made a face.

“Miya, stop that. You’re going to be late, come on. Put your shoes on,” Ma barked.

She clutched me by the hand when we got outside. She had on a light pink scarf, pulled close across her leathery skin, covering the veins that ran along her cheeks. Her thick heavy hair fell in a straight line just above her perfectly sculpted eyebrows, like the edge of a sleeve. She didn’t glance down at me as we weaved through the crowds and crossed the streets towards the big stone building that I knew was the school.

Ma left me by the front of the school gates, lunch box in one hand, a plastic bag holding my school supplies in the other. She scurried away, peering over her shoulder not to check on me, but as if she was being followed.

I saw another little girl standing by the front gate. Her mum was giving her a fierce hug and a kiss. She had a pink backpack and a matching plastic lunchbox in her hand. I went over to her and held up my little tin chest.

“Is there a girl in your lunchbox too?” She just stared.

I had to put Shiloh away in a cubby hole when I got into the classroom, along with my coat. Miss frowned when I showed her the plastic bag that had a few short pencils and a ratty old notebook that Ma used to write down the week’s lottery numbers. Miss was young and very pretty, and her soft auburn hair flopped around her ears as she shook her head.

“Why don’t you take a seat, Miya?” Her voice was kind and gentle.

I sat down next to the girl with the pink lunchbox. I could see that her pink jumpsuit was the same colour as well. She pulled out a pink pencil case that held a row of pink pencils, all new and shiny. They were already perfectly sharpened but the girl took one out and ran it through her (pink!) sharpener, turning and turning. I thought the lead would surely break but when she pulled it out, the tip was still there, long and thin like a needle. The girl beamed with pride and started on the next one.

I stared down at the little orange and brown bits of wood in front of me, their ends all round and stubby. Ma got them when she filled out the forms at the TAB. I felt funny in my stomach, and my mouth a little dry. I wanted to ask the little girl for a pencil, I wanted one really bad, but my lips felt pasted together. I had to make myself really small on my side of the desk.

The squeak squeak squeak of the sharpener rang in my ears, like someone rubbing a balloon. I shuddered, goose pimples running up and down my neck and along my arms. I turned away, casting my eyes to the colourful posters along the walls and closet doors where Miss had made us stash our lunches and coats.

And I gasped.

I knew it was Shiloh, she had the same brown eyes and I could see that her hair was big and brown and curly. Her clothes were grey with giant purple and brown stains on them. They were much too big for her. But she had a big goofy grin on her face and huge freckles on her cheeks. She was waving her arms at me, to say hi. I guess she wasn’t so shy after all.

“Miss, miss!” I waved my arms excitedly. “There’s a girl in the closet waving at me. She must have gotten out of my lunchbox.”

And the whole class burst out laughing. My cheeks flushed red hot.

Miss held up her hand. “That’s enough children.” But the whole class continued to whoop and hollder. Miss cleared her throat and crossed her arms, glaring. She looked so mean, almost as mean as Ma did when she caught me doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing. The laughing finally died down and everyone stared up at her quietly.

My face burned with embarrassment. I stole a quick peek at Shiloh, her eyes were red and her lower lip was quivering. She looked so sad and alone. It made me feel a tiny bit better, even if my classmates’ cackles still echoed in my ears.

Miss turned to me. Her face was no longer angry and her voice was soft as she explained. “Miya, that’s a mirror. It shows you what you look like.” She came over and held out her hand to me. We walked to closet door. Shiloh was walking towards us, her little hand clasped in her own teacher’s hand. She had stopped crying but she was snivelling a little.

“See,” Miss said, pointing to Shiloh in the ‘mirror.’ “That’s you. That’s what you look like.”

I frowned. Shiloh frowned back. I pouted and Shiloh pouted too. I squished my eyebrows together and went right up to the little girl. Her brown eyes stared back at me, bold and daring. I stuck out my tongue.

The little girl’s tongue tasted cold and smooth, like the frost that I licked off the window in the winter time. I ran my tongue all across the surface, smearing my saliva around like icing on a cake.

I could hear the whole class gagging and retching behind me, even Miss let out a small gasp. “Miya, that’s quite enough,” she exclaimed.

I pulled away and peered at the little girl’s face. She was blurry now through the film of spit but I could tell she was giving me a big toothy grin.

Behind her, I saw the girl in pink making a face.

I went back to my seat as Miss returned to the lesson. Throughout the day, I kept stealing glances at Shiloh in the mirror. She was always there, waiting, ready to give me a wink or a smile. She even stuck out her tongue a couple of times which made me laugh.

It was good to know that on my first day, I had already made my first friend.

Tuesday 4 June 2013


By Reg Elliot

I spent 1989 shedding my skin. For the best part of the year there was no looking in mirrors. There was no one home.  It was a year of upheaval and glorious turmoil.  Not really what my final year of Uni should’ve been. But fun. I shunned all my regular mates and hung out with Simon and his circle of friends.  This was a crowd from Balmain and the east.  Me, being from north of the Harbour Bridge I had three heads to them. 

On Simon: The most generous, up-for-anything bloke you could ever meet. Loved his weed.  Loved his food.  Generally wore his food all over whatever he was wearing. The messiest eater you could ever encounter.   

Weed was not the basis of our friendship, just a very big part of it.  But as I said, Simon and I were up for anything. Weed turned to hash, hash turned to trips, trips turned to e’s, e’s turned to coke.  Coke plus e’s required Quaaludes (or Rohypnol) and possibly more weed and so on. I’m sure you get the picture. If I did see my old friends they could see something was not quite right with me.

My 66 ‘S’ Type Jag and I left home for Woolloomooloo (Sure, I went east, but I still had three heads). I juggled four jobs to pay the rent and for my Kung-Fu lessons which, like my new weekend habits, I was every bit addicted too.  I was hugely impressed by all the great looking girls Simon knew. . . . who wouldn’t talk to me.   Eventually I won some of them over with my wholesome northern suburbs ways and by talking shit when I was drunk. Some I never wanted to win over.  One I did want to win over was Rachael.

Rachael was involved with Les an ex-cop who was now the group’s drug dealer.  Les was six foot three tall with a three foot wide smile.  He and I got on fine. Problem was Rachael and I got on fine too.  She would end up with whoever she wanted on any given night.  This got to me after a while.  If I went off to brood she’d find me.  In fact, Les would help her! It was all very strange.   It was about August when I sensed all was not right. I was failing Uni, nearly crashed the Jag, had weird stomach pains and strangest of all, I’d began to steal stuff.  I didn’t steal?  Simon did.  He was excellent at it.  But it was something I’d never done before. Booze,  sunnies,  amyl nitrite and even tiger prawns from the fish market.  How dumb is that . . . sunnies?

Still there was another addiction. If not high on weed, I was high on a rock face in Lindfield.  Rock climbing, Kung Fu, I was morphing into a drug-taking martial-arts monkey.  When we were out in town I’d find myself running my fingers lovingly along building surfaces as we went from club to club.  Before I knew it everyone was screaming ‘Get Down!’   I got so into climbing I did the Harbour Bridge with a mate. Twice! In one night! (When I returned to my car after the first climb I discovered i'd left my car keys up the top next to the gigantic red light).  There was no broken straws or screaming camels.  I just knew I had to change and didn’t want to be forced to.  I got out of town one week to try and get over Rachael and get the drugs out my body.

I checked into The Grand Hotel, Kiama which was anything but. After several schooners I attempted to fast-track getting Rachael out of my head by asking the barman if he could direct me to the badest bastard in the Pub thinking he could knock some sense into me.  Blackie was his name.  Fucking perfect.  He had mad black hair, leathery tanned skin, a wonky eye and forearms like Popeye.   I asked him outside politely enough, maybe that was my problem?  He wouldn’t have a go.  I pushed him. Still no go? He ended up buying me a beer.  Then we went to the RSL and had a boogie with his friends.  Nice bloke. Awful dancer.

I got Rachael out my head the next day instead.  I took a copy of ‘Still life with the Woodpecker’ by Tom Robbins to Easts Beach and somewhere in between reading, swimming, sleeping and just telling myself I was an idiot, Rachael drifted off pretty much forever.   Easy. 

I called Simon to see what the weekend plans were only to learn everyone was heading for Burrawang for two nights to dry out.  Drug free weekend.  Perfecto.

I arrived first and settled into the pub, which was right next door to where we were staying. In came two of the girls from our group who’d never spoken a word to me in over a year.  ‘This will be good.’ I thought. They said hello and asked for twenty dollars.  Jesus Christ, their fathers were millionaires.  I gave them the money instead of what I should have given them.  Rachael appeared and ran up to me and jumped into my arms and wrapped her legs around my waist.  Les was behind her smiling and waving.  I give him a wave, but with Rachael I really didn’t reciprocate.   She got the message and we all got on fine the whole weekend.

We drank, we cooked, we ate and we danced.  Me badly. It’s on film somewhere. Simon found a stash of drugs in my car.  For most of them the whole point of the weekend went up in smoke and up their noses. I just drank a little.

I have not told you everything on that year.  It was the year I decided I wanted to write. Indeed I had started to write, though only poetry. I’d told some of my new friends of this plan.  No one really paid any attention.  Or so I thought.

I was out the back veranda inhaling the freezing night air writing a poem when Sally came out and slumped down next to me. She was high. ‘Tell me a story.’ She said. Her final words that night.  She leant her considerably lovely head on my shoulder and listened as I put her to sleep inside forty two seconds flat with the mother of boring stories.  I stayed out there as long as possible. I liked having Sally close and I knew it would never happen again.

Eventually I picked her up and carried her back into the peaceful darkness of the old house and found a place for her to sleep.

I went to the dining room at the front of the house. There was a fire but no bed.  I made a pillow from my jacket and used a blanket I’d stolen from Les and Rachael.  A large mirror sat above the mantle-piece and I got stuck with myself for a moment. I think it was me.  I recall thinking ‘I’m not a finished product’. Opposite the mirror is an enormous window outlined by two heavy crimson curtains held fast against the window’s frame. Beyond the window the night is in the garden, its faint trees boasting blood-red flowers.  I seem part of this expansive portrait. Maybe to see yourself, you must be yourself. Suddenly I was slightly more finished.

Sunday 2 June 2013

The Mirror

By Sarah Begg.

In the city of Venice among the winding canals and narrow streets there is a house that has stood for hundreds of years. There is nothing extraordinary about his feat in a city such as Venice, nor is there anything particularly remarkable about this house to the unenlightened eye. The house is small and narrow, made of ancient stones, its sides squashed up against the houses beside it. However to the visitors and tourists that find themselves exploring this particular street in Venice, a small sign out the front indicates that this was once a house of some significance.

Venice Historical Trust:
The house of Carmella Vilotta Verdanesta (The Violet Rose) c. 1660 – 1712.

No other details are given about the former owner of the house, yet the gate stands open and a small sign on the door indicates that visitors may wander through the interior provided they leave a small donation in the box at the front.

It is in the upstairs hallway of this house that the great carved mirror hangs fixed to the wall. All visitors who walk past cannot help but stop and gaze at themselves in this mirror, their eyes wide with what they see reflected there. One woman who was contemplating suicide saw hope and light – a sign that things were going to get better. She left a different person, all thought of the unthinkable now gone. An old man saddened that his son no longer spoke to him saw reflected in the mirror his own worst character traits – it was not his son that was at fault, but he himself who had caused the rift. He left already reaching into his pocket for his phone, dialing his son's number before he was out the gate.

I first heard of this mirror from a friend who had recently returned from a holiday in Italy. Before leaving, this friend of mine was awash in the sea of uncertainty and hesitation, unsure what to do with his life and what to make of himself. He returned from his holiday a changed person – confident, full of ideas and determined to start his own business. When I remarked at the change in him and asked what had happened on his holiday to bring about such a difference, he first hesitated and then confided in me about the mirror.

“I don't know how to describe it,” he said. “I had been wandering around the streets of Venice for hours and was actually looking for a place for lunch when I came across this house. It was open to visitors so I went in and had a look around. The house was eerily quiet, and there was nothing particularly noteworthy about it. Yet when I walked down the hallway on the first floor the most amazing mirror was hanging on the wall. I don't know why, but when I looked into this mirror I saw myself as a whole new person. I felt as if I were having an epiphany – as though I could suddenly see where my life was going to lead me and I knew, somehow I knew that it was really going to happen. When I finally walked away from the mirror I suddenly knew what I was going to make of myself, and all the insecurities I used to feel just melted away.”

I was highly skeptical of the report my friend had given, however being a naturally curious person as well as an aspiring detective, I decided that I needed to visit this house and see this intriguing mirror for myself. It was easy to rearrange a few days of an upcoming trip I already had planned to ensure I could visit Venice. In the few weeks before I left for my trip I spent hours Googling the mysterious house to try and find other visitors' reports.

To my surprise and subsequent excitement, I came across a number of similar experiences written from people all over the world. A woman who had been feeling insecure about her husband's fidelity saw reflected in the mirror confirmation that he was having an affair. Sure enough, when she confronted him about it he revealed that he had been unfaithful. She credited her trip to helping her finally cut off contact with her cheating husband and start her life afresh. Another woman wrote that she had found peace in her own self upon her trip to one particular house in Venice – gazing into a mirror, she realised that life was too short to worry and stress about every little thing, and she had gone on to become a highly acclaimed meditation teacher.

With every story I read I found myself becoming no longer simply curious from an investigative point of view but excited to gaze into this mirror and experience my own epiphany, for the more reports I read the more convinced I became that a miracle was happening in this small house in Venice.

Finally the day came and I found myself walking with trepidation towards the house with the mirror. When I reached the gate I paused and gazed at the house, feeling my heart beat wildly and my hand shake slightly. Yet then the most heartbreaking, gut wrenching sound blasted forth from the house – it was the sound of glass shattering into hundreds of pieces.

Mortified, I sprinted into the house and up the stairs only to see the mirror I had traveled from afar to visit currently being destroyed by a ragged looking man wielding a hammer, himself hysterical and weeping.

I froze and I stared at him, and then he saw me, a mad gleam winking in his eyes.

“It ruined my life!” he screamed, smashing the remnants of the mirror off the wall, as if he needed to justify the destruction he was wreaking. “Lies – it was all lies it planted in my head! An evil demon, sent to torment me for years and years!”

Dropping the hammer the man suddenly rushed past me down the stairs, howling with a sound that was half laughter, half weeping. Within moments the sounds of his departure vanished, as did he.

Walking forwards in sorrow, I approached the wall that had formerly housed the magical mirror, carefully stepping through the hundreds of glass shards now littering the floor.

Looking at the wall, my brows creased in consternation. There was no back to the mirror and poking through the bare bricks were strange metal implements. The crazed man had caused many of the bricks to come loose, and there was a small hole about eye level, just big enough for me to get a finger into. In a brief moment before I pulled at the bricks and forced a larger hole in the wall I distinctly heard the soft sound of weeping coming from the other side.

As the loose bricks gave way and collapsed towards me, I saw a person crouching in a small cavity beyond the wall. It appeared to be a man, though his skin was so pale it was almost translucent, his grey hair and beard were so long and matted it looked as if it had never been cut. For the briefest of seconds I saw him as he was – hunched over, cringing and sobbing softly. Then he realised that the wall was gone and, looking up, our eyes met.

They were so pale they were almost white, clear orbs that might easily have scared me, yet all I saw was the combination of sorrow, loss, fear and despair held within.

And then he was gone, vanishing suddenly down a warren tunnel I could barely see.

“Wait!” I called, but it was as if he had not really existed at all, so silent and empty the cavity was left.

As I pulled away the rest of the bricks I discovered the most amazing contraption built into the wall beyond. Though it was mostly destroyed with the collapsing bricks, I was able to gauge it's basic function. Using a variety of light and force, the device could manipulate the surface of the mirror, causing the viewer to see an altered form of reality.

To this day I still don't know how the strange man did it, or what became of him once his mirror was destroyed. I have never written about what I discovered until now, preferring to let all those who had experienced a miracle keep their dreams alive. Yet I know, and now you do too, that it is the realm of no man to presume to know what others need to see.