"When you smile, I don’t know what to do."
What was that thing? The little boy spent his days trying to understand what the awful creature that had visited him really was. Was it a witch? Was it some kind of hag? Maybe it was a ghost of one of those things. The boy wasn’t old enough to really understand it much better than that. But what he did understand was that the thing was scarier than anything he had ever seen before.
He remembered trying to tell his mom and dad about the witch, but they both assumed that he had just had a bad dream or something. Bad dreams were something that he used to have plenty of. But those involved things like gorillas sneaking into his bedroom to scare him, and other such nonsense. Just dreams. And the dreams had slowed considerably once his tonsils had been taken out.
Well, after the strange story he had told them, the boy understood why the grownups didn’t believe him. He was no baby after all. He’d be old enough to go to school in a few years, so he was old enough to be able to take care of this problem with the mean old hag on his own. …But he wished he just wasn’t so scared.
And besides, that scary witch hag hadn’t come back in a few days. Maybe the grownups were right; maybe it was all just a dream. There weren’t really things like ghosts or monsters anyway. His mom said so! And his mom and dad knew everything. If there was really a bad thing, they would catch it and beat it up! The boy was feeling better already. Now it was time to go to the bathroom and get his drink of water.
After taking care of a little business, the boy turned to the sink and reached up to turn on the water. As he did, he noticed his reflection in the mirror above the sink. He liked the way everything in the mirror was the exact opposite of all the real things. It made it seem like a completely different place; a place that might be fun to explore. He wondered if his real face looked different to other people than this mirror image, because, after all, he was seeing it backwards. He smiled about that one.
But then something strange happened. The smile on his reflection began to widen, which didn’t match the expression that was now on his own face. At the same time, he heard something. It was the sound! That awful sound! That deep monotonous single tone that pervaded everything and went on and on. As the boy took an involuntary step backwards, the lights quickly dimmed, darkening the shadows on the face of his reflection in the mirror. The reflection hadn’t taken that same backward step.
The boy looked on in shock and terror as the widening smile on his mirror counterpart turned into an evil grin, showing an ugly, fanged row of teeth that were just a bit too big for the mouth. Lines began to form all over the face, and the area around the eyes became dark and sunken. The eyeballs, which now looked dark and cloudy except for a pinpoint of yellow light in the center, glared at the boy with a look of fanatical hatred.
The monstrous image in the mirror continued its horrifying metamorphosis, growing larger and changing even further. The ugly features became more pronounced as the figure grew. All resemblance to the little boy was long gone. What was now glaring back through the mirror at the cowering young boy was the hideous hag that the boy had hoped would never come back!
“I told you I’d be back,” she chuckled in a maliciously teasing voice. “This will never be over, and it’s only going to get worse. Telling the adults didn’t work, did it? They can never help you. No one can help you against me. And I’m going to make you wish you were dead.” The boy was now crouched against the opposite wall, trying to make himself as small as possible.
In a split second the hag’s tone of voice changed. She began to angrily scream at the little boy. “Do you think I ever really left! I’m always with you! I know everything you do! There is nothing that can protect you! You are my dog! I’ll never let you go, and there’s only one thing you can do to make this stop!”
With those last words, the mirror became cloudy and the image of the hag faded away. When the lights finally began to illuminate the room properly again, all that was left was the little boy sitting against the wall softly crying.