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But over time terror fades and curiosity grows. She didn’t return to the pool that day, that week, or for many weeks. But return she did. And when she returned she found her dark twin image awaiting her.
This time it didn’t mirror her position, not exactly, but nor did it truly interact with her. She had the feeling the girl she saw was aware of her, was looking back at her, but when she waved, smiled, or did anything else the dark reflection did not respond.
She still found the reflection strange, even scary, but not terrifying. And it held a dark fascination that stayed with her even after she left.
* * *
Over the next few weeks she found herself returning to the pool time and time again, always intending to visit for no more than a few minutes, always ending up staying for much longer.
And yet, in all that time, the dark reflection that looked so like her made no effort to interact. Over time she decided her reflection looked sad, haunted even. She wondered if that was related to the darkness that everything in the reflection seemed to hold.
For all her visits, all the time she spent thinking about the reflection and the world it showed, she never grasped how much danger she was in. Not until it was too late.
* * *
She still goes to the pool, she still stares into the perfectly flat reflection. I can sense when she goes there, just as I always could.
But I no longer go myself. For I know the danger. I know that if I go to that pool I may be captured. I may be dragged through that strange portal. I may be dragged from the world of light into the world of darkness. Back into the world of darkness. I know she will try to drag me through so she can return to the light… and I can’t let that happen.
I wish it were different. I wish we could both live in the world of light. But we can’t, and after spending my life growing up in a world of dim shadows and dark reflections, tension and terror, I can’t return. Not even for the one who set me free.
I have tasted the world of light now. I have lived where the sun holds warmth, the food has taste, and the world has life. I could never give that up. I wish it could be different, but it can’t. So, while she returns to that pool, that gateway between the two worlds, I never will.
I know she will never forgive me, but I’m also certain that she understands. She too knows this world, she lived in it for many years. I have no doubt she would do anything it took to return here… even if it meant dooming me to the dark world she now inhabits.
So, though I live in the world of light, there is always a shadow on my heart. I did not make the worlds the way they are, I did not choose for things to be this way, yet I know I will always live with the guilt of what I did.
I can at least warn others. If you find a reflection, be it a mirror, pool of water, or anything else, and your reflection does not echo what you do, then run! Run for your life and never return, or one day you may be like her. Dreaming of a world of light whilst living in a world of shadow, clinging to a vain hope that one day you can do what has been done to you… while always knowing it will never happen.
There. I’ve warned you. My part is done. You have been warned. Watch your reflections closely. Be on your guard. If you aren’t you may end up like her, trapped in the darkness with no hope of reprieve and only memories of the light. For there are many more where I came from… and they’re waiting… waiting to take you!