Contributor: Marissa Halvorson

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My mind whirled as I spun in circles, searching for a way out. My face looked back at me from every direction, my eyes wide with fear. My feet moved without my volition.
A new face popped up in front of me. I stumbled back with a cry, heart beating an unsteady rhythm. “God, Noah.” I exhaled and wiped a hand across my forehead. “You scared me! Do you know where we are?”
“Not sure,” the face in front of me replied. He brushed golden hair out of his eyes and stared at me, unblinking. “There sure are a lot of mirrors, though. Maybe we’re in a house of mirrors?”
I bit my lip and swiveled. My reflection peered back at me. “Noah?” I didn’t look at him as I spoke my next words. “Do you think this is real?”
Silence answered me. My head whipped around to find nothing but my face. The unusual paleness stood out in sharp contrast to my dark hair.
“Noah?” I called, rubbing my hands over the goosebumps on my arms. The wind wrapped around me like a frozen blanket. “N-noah? Are you there?”
A bone-chilling laugh rattled the floors and mirrors. I opened my mouth to scream and the breath sucked from my lungs. My legs collapsed. “Wh-who’s there? Noah, is that you?”
“Noah? Who’s Noah?” the voice called, echoing from all directions. “It’s me, Cameron.”
With a sudden clarity, I realized the voice talking was different from the cold laugh. Cameron’s voice radiated warmth and femininity. With forced effort, I stood and turned, searching in my multiple faces for hers.
“Right here, silly.” Cameron stood behind me. Her auburn curls were an awful mess but as usual, a playful grin lit up her face. “Sometimes you’re really funny, you know that?”
“You’re just as bad as Noah,” I told her. “Would you guys stop sneaking up on me?”
Cameron winked. “We’re not trying to. You’re just not paying close enough attention.”
“Okay, whatever. So do you know where we are?”
“Well,” Cameron’s head turned, taking in the room. “It sure looks like we’re in a room full of mirrors.”
“That was Noah’s observation,” I sighed. “ But how did we get here? I don’t remember anything except waking up here.”
“I don’t know…maybe you’re seeing things? Why don’t you get us out of here?”
“Well, if you dreamed it up, I’m sure you can take us back home.”
“Why would you want to go home?” questioned a new voice, slick and cold. A chill wracked my body. I turned away from Cameron to stare right into a pair of icy blue eyes. My legs moved back but my foot slipped and I hit the ground hard. A loud crack echoed through my ears. White-hot pain blinded me, sliced my skin open, shattered my bones. I gasped, holding my injured arm in one hand and grimacing through the pain.
“Sorry, did I frighten you?” It seemed his voice alone could create snowstorms, blizzards, and possibly ice itself. “It’s Crys.”
His matter-of-fact tone gave me pause and it took me a moment to realize it was his name.
“Wh-who are you?”
An emotionless smile played over his lips. “Your worst nightmare.”
Cold spread through my bones, numbing my pain. I clenched my hands, willing them to stop shaking. I swallowed the lump in my throat and opened my mouth to speak, but before I could, darkness plowed over me.
Light peeked out from behind thick curtains as my eyes shot open again.
Warmth shrouded my body, a blanket wrapped tight around me. I was covered in a thin layer of sweat. I sat up in bed, wiped my forehead and sucked in deep breaths. “Thank god it was just a nightmare,” I whispered to myself.
“You had a nightmare?”
“Cameron?” My shoulders jerked and tensed. I squinted through the dim light to make out Cameron’s figure sitting on a chair beside my bed. “What are you doing here?”
“Thought I’d hang out here until you woke up so we could go shopping.”
“Same here.” Noah waved from over by the door. “Not so much for the shopping, though.”
A knock sounded on the door and before I could say anything else, it swung open. “Ava? Are you awake? I have breakfast ready.” My mother stepped in, her eyes squinted, adjusting to the dim light. “Come on, Ava, get your butt out of bed.”
I opened my mouth to answer, but a hand appeared from behind her, touching my mom’s arm. It was pale, too pale to be real. Then a face popped from behind her shoulder. I clapped a hand over my mouth and screamed. Mom jumped and looked behind her, eyes wide, but she didn’t seem to see the hand touching her arm, nor the face, the frozen smile or icy eyes.
“Noah, Cameron?” I whispered. They both looked at me and I continued, “Can you see him?”
Mom’s eyes darted around my room, passing over Noah and Cameron without stopping. “Ava, honey, is something wrong?”
“Of course we can see him, Ava. But I don’t think your mom can.”
“But why not?” I whispered.
“Ava, who are you talking to?”
My gaze wandered to my mom, whose eyes darted around. I swung my legs out of bed and took a step forward. “Crys?” I said.
A knife appeared in Crys’ pale hand. “No!” I cried and leaped forward just as the knife buried itself in flesh. A scream tore through my throat and then red and black spots speckled my vision.

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