One Good Deed

The mirror’s surface remained devoid of any human reflection. Dirt and unidentifiable sludge kept her curly hair twisted into a tangled mess. Carefully applied charcoal dust and more dirt buried the features of her face in earthy cracks. Torn fabrics and layers of ragged coats hid her expensive undergarments. She was only disguising herself as a vagrant, not forcing herself to suffer every aspect of their misery. Besides, at her age wearing anything felt uncomfortable already. Everything dragged at her skin, chaffing or cutting in the worst places and almost nothing seemed to heal anymore. Eventually she would be nothing but a gibbering pile of cuts and bruises. She needed to finish this before that happened, or before someone made the decision for her. With one final turn in the mirror, she gave a snapping dismissal to herself and headed for the streets.

It had been years since she’d gone outside. While she had technically left her home on several occasions, she had never just spent time outdoors for the sake of being outdoors since the day she’d received the phone call asking her to come to identify the body of her last grandchild. Her family had not been large, but this was the twenty first century in a first world country. She hadn’t expected to be the last Goldenbaum standing. Children were supposed outlive their parents here, and the grandchildren outlive them. If you had a few descendants, your legacy was secure. You didn’t need to pump out fifteen kids in the hopes that a few would live long enough to do the same before they all kicked the bucket. She scowled up at the pale blue of the winter sky. “I had four kids. Two had kids of their own. Fifteen! That’s fifteen I could rely on! I was supposed to be done with this!” She screeched. A woman passing by gave her a small look before quickly hurrying on her way. Evalise sighed. Causing people to think she was psychotic wouldn’t help. Probably. (more…)

The Humanity Mirror

I am the happiest woman in all the world. I am about to marry the man of my dreams, and he has given me this delightfully magical mirror as a wedding gift. My complexion glows, my eyes sparkle, and as I twirl in my gown, I am beautiful. Nothing could be better.

#

After our first year of marriage, it appears some of my sparkle has dimmed. I gaze into the glass surface of the mirror, desperately looking for the sparkle in my eye and the glow in my cheeks. Perhaps the year of arguments and disappointment have taken their toll on my beauty. I have to hope that this next year will be better. He gave me a lovely pendant for our anniversary. But it pales in comparison to this mirror he gave me last year.

#

Each day it seems as if there is less life in my reflection. After every fight, I rush to the bedroom and stare myself down in the mirror. My eyes are squinty and hard and frown lines wrinkle around my mouth. Had I known this marriage would slowly suck the beauty—the life—from me, I never would have accepted it or this mirror.

I don’t know what to do. (more…)

September Stories at the Confabulator Cafe

We hope you enjoyed last month’s stories. We were lucky enough to have a brand new guest author submit last time, so if you haven’t had a chance, go back and read the story “Nephilim” by the talented James Young.

This month, we wrote to the prompt: “the mirror’s surface remained devoid of any human reflection.” We hope you’ll delight in the different directions the Confabulators took that prompt this month.

We’re still on Wednesdays this next month. Here is the September schedule:

Wednesday, September 6: “The Humanity Mirror” by Sara Lundberg
Wednesday, September 13: “One Good Deed” by Kita Haliwell
Wednesday, September 20: “Girl in a Mirror” by Rob Conway
Wednesday, September 27: “Last Rites” by Neil Siemers

 

Nephilim

“You boys lost?”

The man’s voice, with its slight Southwestern twang, came from behind me to my left.  As Pedro, my Patron, was sitting on that side, I ignored it.  To be honest, it was hard to focus on it in the busy, bustling diner as it was.  Pedro had told me the place’s name, saying that it had the best salsa burger in the entire country. I gotta admit, that’s not exactly what I imagined a vampire who’d been around for half a millenia would remember, but whatever.  I’ll admit the tomatoes, peppers, and Kobe beef were like someone painted a sunset on my palate, but that’s what happens when all your senses increase by a few orders of magnitude.

Place has a bit of a fly problem, I thought angrily, as it suddenly seemed like a horde of the buggers had taken up residence just outside of my arm’s reach.

“Hey, shit for brains–talking to you too,” the man continued from right behind me.  I nearly whirled around whipped out his throat just for the hell of it, but caught myself.

Don’t want to announce to a room full of gazelles that a lion walks amongst them, I thought.  Although this asshole is definitely moving his way to the ‘slowest gazelle on the veldt’-territory I glanced over at Pedro just as the diner’s cook slammed his hand down on the bell in the order’s window.

The look on Pedro’s face that was my first warning. The Old Ones tend not to show fear.  I think part of it is showmanship, but most of it is because after walking the earth for centuries there’s not a whole lot you haven’t seen.  So understand, when an Old One has a face like a seal who has just seen an orca hop out the water and start walking up the beach towards him, that’s a bad sign.

My second warning?  Well that was the fact the sound of that bell just kept ringing…ringing…ringing like the sound had been suspended in mid-air.  My master, before turning me over to receive my training as a young vampire, had told me sound or light seeming to be off was a sign of magic.  What particular brand of magic was not important, as generally magic is a big neon sign saying “GTFO” in 100-point, bright neon green font. (more…)

The Next Step

The knock came early on Sunday morning, between my second cup of coffee and my first beer. I didn’t get much company. The last ten people to knock on my door were UPS drivers, and they fled in their big brown trucks before I even answered the door.

I peeked out the front window, expecting my landlord, who would want to know when to expect last month’s rent. Instead, I saw Mack Davis, the guy who had made my two years at Bobtown University a little piece of Hell. He didn’t look like I remembered. A couple of decades wore everyone down, but his once full frame had grown slack. His gray temples faded in to a receding hairline. Time had erased his trademark smirk and had left crow’s feet in its wake.

I opened the door as far as the brass security chain would allow. “What do you want?”

“Hi, Sammy. Do you still go by Sammy?”

“It’s Sam, now.”

Mack took a deep breath and blew it out. “Okay, Sam.”

“What do you want?”

“Can I come in for a second?”

This man had taunted me. I skipped classes just to avoid him. He once beat me so badly that I couldn’t sleep and spent the night sitting on the benches at student health, waiting for the doors to open. Now, he stood before me, turning a yellowing piece of notebook paper over in his hands. His slumped shoulders stole at least three inches from his height, and he had lost at least thirty pounds of muscle.

“Why?” I asked. (more…)