Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a wonderful story from Gaelis, entitled
Mirror, Mirror..of the lost.
Background music “What Lurks Beneath” by Smartsound
Gordon, ropemaker by trade, was travelling from Owls Head to Kingsport to offer this months production.
It would be the last of the busy market days for Kingsport before winter dragged its frozen claws across the land.
He had been dallying, reluctant to leave hearth and home as the days were already growing short and chilly and thus, with dusk already falling fast, he decided to turn in at an old, run-down Inn he had never noticed on previous journeys.
Neither its unexpected discovery nor the somewhat haunted look of the gloomy building and not even the merry atmosphere in the warm and homely pub room could keep him from his bed.
He had his mind set on getting an early start and make up for the lost time.
As he followed the comely maid up the well-worn, creaky stairs whilst paying way more attention to her equally comely rear than a married man should, he couldn’t help but glance into the old, cloudy mirror facing him as he came up to the landing.
He stumbled, luck alone keeping him from tumbling down the stairs, as facing him from the mirror was not his face but staring back at him as through a window was a view of the pub room.
Not the merriment he had witnessed before, the warm glow of the fire and the golden puddles of beer on the polished old wood of the tables.
What he saw was bloody mayhem. The tables slick with blood, the landlady slumped over the bar with a knife in her back and the patrons mangled, cast across the bloodied furniture in sickening contortions not unlike puppets with their strings cut.
Squinting his eyes shut he wanted to turn away, and follow the unperturbed maid upstairs but found himself stunned with fear and surprise.
As he dared to look again at the hellish glass it was but his own face, pale and scarred, looking back at him.
Despite his plans to sleep early and move on soon after dawn and despite the weariness from the journey so far Gordon couldn’t fall asleep.
Every time he closed his eyes he saw the scene from the mirror. Every time drawn to a new horrific detail he hadn’t noticed before.
He couldn’t help it, he needed to take another look at the mirror, convince himself that it was merely a spectre of his imagination.
Slowly, carefully he crept up to the landing of the stair and peeked into the cloudy glass on the wall.
There it was again, the pub room drenched in blood and death. Yet it was not entirely the same scene.
Just at the edge of the mirror, where the lower landing of the stairs was visible the maid stared at him with dead eyes, still clutching a key akin to the one of his room, her limbs twisted and broken.
Gordon had to steady himself on the wall as he rushed back to his room, all thoughts beyond flight banished from his mind.
He grabbed his things and ran for the stairs, avoiding another glance at the mirror.
A few days later ….
A young merchant making his way back from Kings Port came upon the Inn.
After drinking through most of his earnings with the regulars, he followed the maid upstairs almost knocking down an old, cloudy mirror as he staggered up to the landing.
He screamed as in the mirror he saw like through a window a view of the pub room, guests slaughtered, the landlady stabbed and blood on every surface,
…….and swinging gently from a rafter on a very new rope, the ropemaker whom he had missed at the Kings Port Market.