It was already past dusk, but the noises of the nearby traffic could still be heard from the agitated street. It was dark, not a single thing could be seen. But when a door opened and a light bulb was filled with electricity, the narrow hallway became illuminated.
This hallway was nothing but a passage into the small apartment that Mary had rented so that she could be closer to her job, a comfortable position in a clothing store for a young stylish woman like her.
Although the corridor already belonged to the apartment, it was so incredibly narrow, that it could only support a mirror or paintings on its humid walls. As such, she had a thin single piece of furniture with a mirror on top of it, where she deposited her keys and purse when she arrived at home. There were no windows on that corridor, and only two doors provided passage into and out of it.
Mary entered the corridor and closed the door behind her. She dropped a bag of groceries and continued to write on her phone. She sighed and placed her purse, keys, and phone above the thin piece of furniture.
“Doesn’t he get it that I’m not interested? I’m trying not to be a jerk, but this guy is seriously pushing me to be one…” Mary had a slim figure, brown eyes and black short hair, which before did not attract the attention of men, but once she became independent and acquired some knowledge on how to properly wear her clothes, she quickly stood out of the crowd as a magnet for the other gender.
Mary looked in the mirror and could only be more confident in herself since her new looks had landed her a comfortable job and perhaps a good partner in the not so distant future. Thin lips with a red baton, a little bit of color on her cheeks to cheat the current cold season and a black eyeliner to emphasize her eyes. These were the simple tricks that Mary added when she began working at the clothing store. As a consequence, Mary spends some more time looking at herself in the mirror throughout the day, checking and correcting her appearance.
While doing so this time, the single light bulb in the hallway began to flicker. “Ohh… Yet another problem.” Mary turned around and looked at the light bulb. “Not gonna fix that today.” She made her way back to the entrance and picked the bag of groceries. “I swear the pictures looked so much better than the real thing. We can’t trust digital sources these days…” Then, she headed to the other end of the corridor, opened the door there with another set of keys and entered the apartment, leaving the door open.
The flickering got more intense while she was inside, but once she returned to close the open door, she was astonished to see that the flickering had stopped. “Uh… Weird. We’ll see how you’ll be functioning in the morning.” Mary then turned off the light in the hallway, closed the door and locked it with the keys.
Hours of darkness have passed. In the morning, the light in the hallway came back once more as Mary was leaving the apartment to go to work and as such, had to made her way through the narrow hall. The door lock shifted and the door opened, and after pressing a switch, the light bulb flared up, illuminating the place once more. Mary passed through and closed the door with her keys in hand, but when she was about to lock it, she was surprised to see her other set of keys barely holding themselves in the lock that she was about to close from the hallway’s side.
“Strange… I thought I had left these on the furniture yesterday…” She locked the door with the set of keys already on it and moved to the front of the mirror just above the furniture, to check her looks one more time before leaving for work. Today she used a purple lipstick that contrasted very well with a yellow shirt. She was also wearing a black skirt that reached slightly above her knees and long black heels.
It was then, when she was looking at herself, that the light bulb began to flicker again, sending a shiver down Mary’s spine. “Oh! Gosh… This thing again.” Mary turned around to better look at the light bulb and when she did so, a black form took shape within the mirror. Without hesitation, the form tried to grasp Mary, who was unaware of its presence. It clawed maniacally at the mirror without consequence. “This is becoming troublesome. I’ll exchange you for another later tonight”. When she turned around to pick up her things, the black form dissipated instantly and the flickering ceased as well. Now looking at the light bulb through the reflection of the mirror, she still expressed. “I swear this place sometimes gives me the creeps.” Mary then picked her purse and left the house.
Hours passed and the sound of traffic echoed from the outside as the laboring class returned home from another day of work. The entrance door to the hallway opened once more and Mary turned on the light in it. As she entered, so did the flickering started. “Oh. So you’re still on that?” She retrieved a package from her purse and within it was a new light bulb to replace the malfunctioning one. “What a relief for having remembered to buy one of these on my way home.”
Mary closed the door and locked it before placing her purse and keys on the furniture. She glanced at herself in the mirror and noticed that she looked just as gorgeous as she was when she left the house earlier in the morning. “Still looking good girl!” She giggled at herself. Now focusing on the task at hand. She looked to the light bulb through the mirror.”At least the ceiling here isn’t that high. Perhaps I can switch the lamp without the help of a chair.”
The young woman opened up the package and turned around, giving her back to the furniture and mirror above it. She carefully rotated the flickering light bulb, having in special attention not to touch the glass, otherwise, she would burn herself. Once removed, there was no more source of light in the hallway. She quickly placed the damaged light bulb above the furniture, but carelessly touched the mirror above it with her elbow. In a hurry to place the new light bulb, Mary was not aware of the balancing mirror and when she finally placed the lamp, light returned to shine the hallway.
However, she turned around to the mirror only to have it crashing on her face. The mirror shattered into several pieces, cutting Mary’s delicate face. She screamed in anger more than in pain, as she understood that her image had been damaged. The flickering had stopped now with a new light bulb, but Mary did not pay attention to it. “Not my face… Not my face… Not my face!” She hurried to get a makeup wallet which contained a small-sized mirror to check how she was. It was in her purse, which remained above the furniture. Slightly trembling, Mary took the object from her purse and looked at her reflection, her cheeks were unharmed but her nose and forehead were scratched and there was even a fragment of glass in one of her temples. “Oh no… What the fuck just happened?! How am I supposed to fix this now?!”
The flickering began anew, even more frequent than before, but Mary paid no mind to it. For a minute she looked at herself, angry at how such a small mistake could cost her dearly. Despite the focus on her image, Mary then noticed a curtain of black smoke rising from where the mirror had fallen. “What the hell?!” She stepped back, frightened of what she was currently seeing. The smoke took the form of a humanoid and it stood still while Mary panicked. “No freaking way… Is this some stupid prank?” Her attention shifted right away when the mirror that she had in her hand started shaking. Mary turned her eyes towards the makeup wallet, and looked directly in the mirror, only to see a black deformed face rushing towards her. Letting an alarmed gasp was everything that Mary could do before the dark form right in front of her ran towards her and embraced the young woman in a turmoil of smoke. She chocked, she could not breathe. The smoke then entered through her nostrils and blackened her lungs before leaving through the only vent in the hallway, thus letting Mary fall to the ground, with her a face darkened as if her eyeliner had spread all over. Devoid of life, Mary still bled despite being dead. The blood ultimately led for her corpse to be found a couple of hours later by a neighbor.