It was raining. A proper rain, full of howling wind that rattled the branches, scraping the window ever so often. It frightened Lara, but her gaze never wavered. Sitting on her bed, her purple blankets pulled halfway off her bare legs, she was staring at the oval mirror just across the room. It was dark, save for the moon peering into the rain-streaked window— just enough to illuminate the mirror.
She could have sworn by all the books she owned (and she had three bookcases full) that there was something in that mirror. It wasn’t ten minutes ago, when an enormous clap of thunder shook the walls, that she had seen it it: movement. Coming from within the mirror. And not just a reflection of the shuddering walls, no— deeper than that. Further back in the glass. If she had blinked, she would have missed it.
So now Lara sat waiting, poised to jump out of bed, sitting in her darkened room with rain pounding dangerously outside. If she stared long and hard enough, she thought, she’d see it again, for sure. It wasn’t her imagination, and that was saying something; all the stories she had read swirled round and round in her head like a summer storm. She had the mind of a great storyteller, of a wizard of lore, filled with ideas and words and friends that were bursting to see the light of day. Her imagination was wild-—so the mirror held something even wilder.
As she was thinking she might finally close her eyes in sleep, it appeared: a flash of silver, maddeningly swift but there nonetheless. She threw herself across the room and nearly knocked the mirror clean off the wall… but it was gone, quick as it came.
She stood, staring, moonlight drifting in like a ghost. She reached out, on an impulse coming from somewhere deeper than herself, and touched one finger so ever gently to the cold glass. She didn’t expect it to touch back.
She jolted her finger away; it felt scorched with the chill of a winter berg drifting in a blizzard. As she inspected it for the raw pinkness of a burn, something moved within the mirror. She looked up, and this time, it lingered: a horse.
A mare, white as the moon above, standing in her own ethereal glow. Lara blinked, mouth agape. The mare blinked back. Soft dark eyes met wide blue ones, and everything—even the rain—went silent. Lara was transfixed on this apparition in the glass and she felt the urge to reach out her hand once more. She offered it to the mirror, expecting to feel the cool wall of glass . But her hand kept going, into a lush, warm forest, and before she could wonder what was happening, she was standing by a stand of ferns, crickets singing on the warm, dry night.
She stepped forward, moss glowing faintly beneath her feet. Calmly she approached the horse, who walked silently towards her. When they met, Lara felt warm breath, smelling of vanilla and sweet honeysuckle, her hand under a velvet nose. Lara felt as if she was meeting the moon herself, awash in light from a distant star.
From somewhere far away, from another time perhaps, the girl’s mother called her name. But Lara did not answer—and if she had, what would she have said?