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At first, Shelley thought that her daughter Sarah’s reaction to the mirrored wardrobe was hilarious.

She would watch the little girl sidle up to the wardrobe, then get down on her hands and knees and crawl past it, pressed up against the drawers, before getting to her feet on the other side. She flatly refused to stand in front of it.

“I don’t want the mirror girl to see me,” she said.

Shelley thought that it was just a silly phase. Sarah would grow out of it, soon enough, she thought. She decided to move the wardrobe into her daughter’s room to speed up the process.

Things only got worse.

First, she found that Sarah had pulled the top drawer open, filled it with boxes to provide a solid base, then propped her big drawing board up on it, obscuring the bottom half of the mirror.

She confiscated the drawing board.

The next day, it was sheets. How Sarah could have managed to get them secured at the top of the wardrobe, she couldn’t figure out – it was easily twice the little girl’s height – but there they were, and Shelley was furious.

“I have had enough of this nonsense,” she said. “What the hell is wrong with this mirror?”

Sarah, on the bed, hugged her knees. “The mirror girl wants to get out,” she whispered. “She can’t if she can’t see me.”

Shelley pulled down the sheets and grabbed Sarah by the wrist. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she said, pulling her distraught daughter in front of the mirror. “Look, it’s just a reflection. It’s just you and me-”

She stopped, a slow, cold sense of horror crawling up her spine, as her sobbing daughter’s smiling reflection looked up at her.

© Kari Fay