Unholy Trinity: Reflections by Deborah Tapper
Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.
His kid sister’s banging on the bathroom door again, so he turns the music up even louder. Combs his fingers through his dark hair. Tilts his head a little, admiring the effect.
The mirror boy smiles back, exposing razor teeth.
He stares in frozen disbelief as the grin splits open, mouth stretching until those teeth are all he sees. Then he moves. Too late. His twisted image lunges out, jaws crunching shut.
Deafening music drowns the screams, the terrible wet ripping.
His reflection slides back below the mirror’s surface like a satisfied shark, tattered skin still caught between its teeth.
The room looks slightly different at night.
He stands in front of the mirror. Bed, closet, unwashed laundry – all normal. Then he snaps the light off. Stares at the shadowy reflection. Something in the far corner, hunched and shapeless.
Not in his room.
Only in the mirror.
It creeps closer every night. Slow. Furtive. Hungry. When it climbs on his bed he gets scared. Hides in the bathroom. There’s nothing in the mirror the following night. He sleeps in the tub again anyway. Just to be sure.
That’s where the police find his skin.
But they don’t find anything else.
The smudge won’t go.
She breathes on the antique mirror, tries again. She’s selling to a fussy collector, who won’t buy if he sees this flaw. It’s almost like an eye. And rubbing only makes it worse.
She pushes harder – harder – and her hand plunges through.
The glass seals around her wrist, trapping her. She struggles, kicks the mirror, but it won’t break and it’s sucking her in. It’s already swallowed her arm to the elbow. She fights until her face squashes against the glass. Then she screams instead.
The mirror ripples.
And something very different comes out.
Deborah Tapper loves all things strange and macabre. She writes at an old desk surrounded by five hundred pet bugs.
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Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her longer work includes the folk horror novels, The Five Turns of the Wheel, Reborn, and The Woodcutter, and the novellas, Bottled and Paused (all via Brigids Gate Press). Her dark poetry has been published in her collections Lilith Rising (co-authored with Shane Douglas Keene), Foundlings (co-authored with Cindy O’Quinn) and Metallurgy, as well as the HWA Poetry Showcase Volumes VI, VII, VIII, and IX and Black Spot Books Under Her Skin. She can be found supporting indie authors at HorrorTree.com via the weekly Indie Bookshelf Releases. She is an active member of the HWA and can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on Blue Sky as stephellis.bsky.social.