This story is by R. AmRi and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“You’ve reached Happily Ever After. This is Mirror Mirror’s Office. How can I help you?”
“I just turned into a frog!”
That was one common reply to receive on M’s day.
He didn’t need much, but M knew his clientele needed more than a good cup of tea and a cozy couch, at least most did. Days were always busy, and years had filled his house with thousands of patients day and night. He continuously told the Evil Queen she was beautiful, even if he knew she was all wrinkled and angry. He told the brave knights where their quests were to be followed. He told the naive princesses to not eat the apples old ladies gave them and tried to convince the dragons to not swallow the princes.
It was a busy day, and M was responding to calls and attending to patients as they lined up outside the office where he hung from the wall. Every patient was a post-it more on the trash, a name scratched from his list, and a whole pot of tea each… sometimes it had a twist.
“–So I locked her on the tower,” said the old witch, “And a boy keeps showing up–” M couldn’t look away from the witch’s crooked teeth and lack of hair. “Mirror Mirror On The Wall, what will happen, after all?”
M sighed, seeing a thousand possibilities in front of his eyes passing as fast as a fortune wheel. Until, it stopped. “You mustn’t hunt the boy down, or else you’ll lose the girl. Blind eyes can see through thorns.”
The witch left, cursing and slamming the door, and M scratched her name, telling himself, “Yeah, Rapunzel will leave, for sure. Next!”
There was a loud slam of the door, so loud that M fell from his chair as the mirror shook. His notes fell all over him, and his white coat became golden as the tea fell on him.
“Excuse me!” He rushed to see, through his glass, the intruder, “Excuse me, what on earth?”
But there was no one around, but the floor was wet and glassy. M wanted to curse, the tea still burning him, as the image of the freaking mermaids crossed his mind with their shaky legs and wet hair. You don’t have to sell your soul for a boy, you idiot!
“Hello?” He heard a low whimpering just next to him, but the glass didn’t let him peer further than he was. “Dear Merlin, if you’re a mermaid messing my floor–”
He heard a girl with a lullaby-like voice, sniffing her tears as she spoke. “I’m not.”
M frowned, “So…” she kept crying, and each whimper let the floor flooded with tears. “Curse?”
“Can’t you tell?”
“If you keep hiding, no.”
She cried louder.
“I won’t laugh,” M tried to comfort her, leaning his cheek over his glass to try to get a look of her.
“I’m standing in front of you!”
“Oh, damn,” he shook.
He had seen it all, so many years and so many patients. And not once had he denied them his service. But even magic had its limits when the invisible girl went to him, mainly when M’s magic depended on reflections.
Marguerite, her name was. A forgotten princess from a faraway land that she never mentioned. She only knew she ran away when dragons came… she never thought a curse would fall over her the moment she crossed the barrier of her land.
Days became months, and then into a year without any successful attempt of bringing Marguerite back. Yet, M kept trying, day after day. He tried deeper magic, managing to jump out of his mirror to treat her closely, but sometimes she wasn’t more than air’s matter and nothing more. Her voice was an echo, a lullaby that made his magic jump, and try to reach her.
Her voice started to haunt his office. The people that came inside would hear it like the cries of the air, but those who stopped and listened would hear Marguerite’s soft voice and lullabies that would warm the heart.
“Oh, Mirror Mirror On The Wall, who am I, after all, if I cannot be seen in the world?” Marguerite continuously asked M as he finished working.
What could he say if he saw not one story or possibility about her as he did with the rest of the people that came to him? So he would smile, knowing she was close by the glass, and say: “You are the loveliest of songs and the wildest of storms.”
M and Marguerite started to share a cup of tea at midnight, just when the moon came out. He told her about his cases, and she told him about her life. He admitted he didn’t remember his past outside the mirror if he had a life before that.
“So, you’re cursed?”
“Maybe I am… Maybe an act of bravery will set me free. Maybe you too, as you ran away,” M had joked, and the Princess had gone into a heavy silence as if thinking about his words.
Marguerite admitted she sometimes didn’t miss being visible as she could help people with her magical voice. Nurturing and healing, like a mother’s warm hug. And those nights, when the moonlight hit the window on the opposite wall to illuminate the room, the light would hit M’s glass and shine over where Marguerite stood, and she would glow, appearing against the dark. Marguerite would look as if made of glass, yet M could see her big curious eyes, always trying to see deeper into his mirror, as if she was trying to enter his world.
“If I manage to capture moonlight and cure you,” he had once asked, a knot forming on the back of his throat, “Would you leave?”
“Oh, Mirror Mirror, you silly fool,” Marguerite had said, “Your reflection is what saves me every full moon.”
And he believed her words.
It was a warm night, the office had just closed, and M and Marguerite were sharing a nice meal. Until the door slammed open, revealing that one old witch with the crooked teeth.
“She left!” she shouted, “Rapunzel left even if I loved her, even if her prince was blinded by thorns!”
M swallowed his bite, seeing the witch raising her bony fingers, pointing them at him. Her long nails looked like claws ready to scratch his glass.
“Easy,” he raised his hands, and the room was surrendered by the sound of the air, Marguerite’s song of distress.
“It’s your fault, Mirror.”
“I told you to let her go.”
“Stop!” Marguerite’s voice echoed in the room.
The witch’s fingers tangled with smoke and fire, “And you’ll pay for my broken heart!”
Maybe it was all too fast. Perhaps everything wasn’t fast enough. But M saw the witch’s curse reaching him as the moonlight hit the window. And just as he was ready to look away, he saw Marguerite’s reflection appearing, jumping in front of him, shielding him from the witch.
M didn’t realize he had blacked out. In fact, he didn’t know he could. But when he opened his eyes and saw everything in a million pieces… he looked at his hands, and his skin was shattered like his glass was.
He wanted to scream. He was shivering and getting blind by a light over him. Was this it?
But a soft face appeared over him, and it was the only straight thing he could see.
And he woke up.
“Oh, dear!” He groaned, jumping to sit down, “What on earth?”
He was tackled by a wild embrace, and he almost fainted at the contact. Holy Merlin, what is this witchery?
But the moment his attacker pulled back, he recognized the curiosity in those hazel eyes. Marguerite.
“Am I dead?” He demanded, touching awkwardly her face, intoxicated with the sense of her warmth against him.
“We’re free,” she smiled from ear to ear. “By saving you… You saved me. An act of bravery–”
“–Did set us free,” he said. M wanted to jump, maybe go out and feel the grass under his feet. He always wanted to do that! But–“No,” He then realized, covering his mouth, “Who am I if no one but a broken mirror without a wall to hang on.”
So Marguerite said, “Mirror Mirror, you’re the healer of them all. Now come along, and we’ll help the world.”
And they did, with long-lasting lullabies and hands that learned to heal without a drop of magic. And M was happy to see the world he saw so many times inside his glass. To be next to the maiden that had become the echo of his adventures, hand in hand.
Some years passed, and in a faraway land, Dr. M left his case on the floor, adjusting his white coat, Marguerite clearing her throat, and he knocked on the door.
M smiled, “Hello, I’m Mirror Mirror. How can I help you?”