The last Fiction Friday before NaNoWriMo starts. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up during November, but I’m not promising anything. Here’s a scary-ish ghost story for the #goplay October Challenge hosted by Nerd in the Brain and Part Time Monster.
He sighed longingly as he stared at her through the glass. Since their wedding day 10 years ago today, the sight of her still managed to take his breath away. That is, if he had to breathe. He reached out to touch the mirror, but it was no use. She sat on the other side of the vanity mirror, engrossed in her morning routine. He watched her every morning since the day he died.
The vanity table was covered with various pots of creams and lotions that she lavishly applied to her soft skin. He noticed that as she aged, the longer her routine took and more expensive creams showed up on the vanity countertop. He still thought she was radiant, even with her hair in rollers and her make-up smeared from the night before.
The vanity was in the large walk-in closet he had custom built for her when they married. He always assured her that she would have everything she dreamed of. She came from a childhood of poverty, spending most of her youth working alongside her mother cleaning houses to feed their large family. His successful business ventures ensured that even in his death, she wouldn’t have to return to a life of indigence.
Day after day he watched her, wishing he could hold her again. After she would dress, then leave, turning out the light and shutting the closet door, he would spend those hours recalling their first times together. She was so bashful at first. It wasn’t until after they were married that she appeared comfortable in her new life of luxury.
As time went on, he continued to watch her routines from behind the mirror. He could also hear her in the bedroom moving around. He noticed she would stay out later some nights and wake up later in the mornings, or some days, come home in the morning with a glowing grin.
He knew she would eventually find someone else. In their youth, they talked about starting a family. Due to his unexpected death, she never became the mother of his children. He wanted her to be happy. He realized she was still young enough to have everything they dreamed of together, just with someone else. As time went on, and she spent fewer and fewer nights at home, he started to become senselessly jealous.
An entire weekend past, and she was gone. He would beat on the mirror, screaming with rage. The dark room he spied from beyond the glass was unmoved by his fury – only silence escaped to the living world from his lonely purgatory.
Months passed slowly as he anxiously waited for a glimpse of her. She no longer spent the same hours in from of the vanity mirror. He saw the maid tidying up the closet more than he saw his wife.
Then, one day, he heard the voice in the bedroom. It was the voice of her new love. They were laughing together. He missed her carefree laugh. He wanted her to laugh in front of the mirror. If only she knew he was even there.
Suddenly, the door opened. She came flying in with bags and boxes of new elegant clothing. She tossed them in the floor.
“Let me just freshen up a bit,” she called out to the man in the bedroom. Hurriedly, she applied a bit of make-up and perfume.
He reached out to touch her, stroking the cold hard glass instead. He watched her hands move rapidly along her smooth, radiant face. Gasping, he eyed the large diamond ring on her left hand. He slammed his hands against the surface of the mirror, shouting in agony. Oblivious to his pain, she straightened her dress, and turned out the light as she skipped out of the room.
After that, he refused to look through the mirror, turning his back to it. He was still trapped in his empty otherworldly cell with no way to move on. Rationally, he knew he wanted her to be happy, to move on. It had been years since his death. He realized she didn’t deserve to be alone anymore and that the money he left for her in death wouldn’t be able to support her forever. He knew these things, but all he could think about was the life they should have had together and the things he was missing out on.
Some time had passed, and he slowly began to turn out to face the mirror. He hadn’t gazed upon her in weeks, or perhaps months. The day he saw her, she bounced into the room with a huge garment bag. Giggling, she unzipped it. It was her new wedding dress. As she tried it on and stood in front of her mirror, he cried. He knew this was for the best. Perhaps this was what he needed to move on. He would no longer have to look out for her. Someone else was going to be able to take care of her. He could tell she loved him. It was evident in her sparkling eyes. A peace came over him. He felt his anger slipping away as he watched her dance around the closet, humming a love song that seemed familiar to him. He soon recognized it as the song they danced to at their own wedding.
She slipped out of the dress and delicately put it back into the garment bag, still humming the same song. The sound brought him into a blissful state. He hummed along with her, even though she was unable to hear him.
The wedding and honeymoon passed while movers boxed up her belongings and left the closet empty of her clothing and trinkets. Eventually two men carefully wrapped the heavy vanity and mirror, transporting him to another home.
When they removed the bubble wrap, he pressed his face to the surface examining a room larger than the one he had built for his new bride. A larger closet contained even more handbags, evening gowns, shoes.
For days, she would only briefly appear in the closet, busily putting items away, or moving other things to other rooms. She seemed much occupied with settling into her new home, her new life. He was still happy for her, cherishing the moments he could still glimpse her.
He began wondering when he would move on. He was happy enough watching over her for now, but he knew now that she had moved on, he should too. As the days passed, he began to get restless.
One night as he tried to rest his wandering mind, he heard her crying from the bedroom.
“Hello? Yes, I need an ambulance as soon as possible!”
The closet door flung open and the light flooded the room. She was on her cell phone, calling the police. With one hand, she rummaged through the vanity drawers and found her eye drops. Squeezing copious amounts into both eyes, she pleaded with urgency to the emergency responder on the phone.
“Yes, it’s my husband. He’s not responsive. I don’t know what to do!” She exclaimed as she smeared her mascara down across her cheek.
He became flooded with confusion. This couldn’t be happening. She deserved happiness, not to be widowed again. As he pressed his face to the glass, sobbing, a voice spoke up behind him.
“So, what are you doing here?” He spun around, finding her new husband behind him. “Ah, you must be the first one. She must have really like you, kept you around for at least a year or so, right?”
“What?” He asked, confounded.
“Please tell me you’re not that naïve,” he answered, rolling his eyes. “I knew as soon as I showed up here with you what had happened. She was running out of the money you left her; she actually told me that she was having a hard time paying her bills. You go in your sleep too? Do you remember the prick of the needle she jammed in your neck? It still hurts! It would be my damn luck to meet the woman of my dreams and she turned out to be a black widow!”
It finally dawned on him. He died in his sleep at the young age of 25. It was unexplainable at the time. It then occurred to him that he was stuck in this purgatory, not to watch over her, but to seek revenge on his murder.
“Now what do we do?” He whimpered.
“I don’t know. Have you tried to get out? I imagine it’s going to get cramped in here before too long.”