Deeply embedded, almost covered in moss,
near the stream in the shadow of the mountain
a mirror lay glistening. It reflected the sky, the trees,
the sun and all the animals that dared to stop to look.
For the children of the forest it was no more than a myth,
but one I stumbled on one sunny morning when, shirking my
chores, I’d run off with a book.
And there it was.
At first, I tried to dig it out, it would, after all be such a prize
to bring back and show the others, but it was cemented to the ground
and I scraped my fingers raw trying, without success. Legend
among the forest’s children was that whichever human dared
to glance in this mirror would instantly know his or her fate.
It also told us that there would, indeed, be a steep price to pay
because knowledge of fate should not be encouraged, and
might be considered witchcraft.
But there it was.
The mirror, so deeply embedded before me, looked old, tarnished
and worn, yet still, somehow, it had an air of wisdom about it
if indeed such a thing is possible for an inanimate object. I found
myself sitting there, book forgotten at my side, wondering at the
price for finding out your fate. Was it worth it? Should I look? Around
me the forest stood silently, and all I could hear was the rustling of
the trees and the gentle clucking of the stream.
Here it really was!
Should I? Shouldn’t I? And if I didn’t, would I be able to find it again
if I didn’t and changed my mind? A part of me wondered if I wasn’t
too old for children’s tales about magic mirrors, but still
the draw was so powerful. Just a quick peek? It was probably just
a myth, anyway. An old wife’s tale… And at first I saw only
the brilliant blue sky above me, framed by the bright spring green
of the trees’ crowns. I smiled, why had I worried? It was, after all,
just a mirror! There was…
Then the reflection changed.
When the paralysis let go, terror’s claws that had ensnared my heart
retracted, when I was once again aware of my surroundings and the gentle
clucking of the stream, the light in the sky had changed from brilliant blue
to bright pink lit with orange hues. It was evening. And I smelled smoke.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a deer burst through the foliage, leapt over the
stream and was gone as soon as it had appeared. Alone again I smelled
The mirror was gone.
I realized this as I stood up, dazed and wondering about what was going on?
Was this reality or still just a dream. But I smelled the smoke, and looking
up I could suddenly see the evening sky shimmer in a darker red, slowly
being covered with billowing clouds of smoke. I smelled the smoke
and now I could hear the crackle of trees on fire – their own way of crying for help.
And as I looked down, I saw that my feet were no longer my own
but rooted to the ground, my legs were wooden and straight
yet they wouldn’t bend for me.
I wanted to run.
But I was unable to move, my arms frozen and shaped into branches.
I could feel as my eyes took the shape of flaked bark and suddenly
the sense of urgency, the fear of the fire and the smell of smoke,
intensified exponentially. I was trapped. I would burn. I would die.
This would be my fate! And as my last conscious thought left my –
now wooden – mind, I realized this was what the mirror had shown me.
Fire! Smoke! Chaos! My price to pay.
The tree that was I screamed!
I haven’t attempted any writing besides poetry in a long, long time and I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that my first attempt at a fairytale (without rhyming or verses – which actually took some doing) turns into a horror story hardly fit for children. Anyway, this is my offering for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, where today’s Fairytale Prompt #7 was to write about mirrors…