Kimberly looked over at her husband Brent, who was snoring lightly in his recliner. He was never able to stay awake long enough to ring in the new year. Somewhere around 10:00 he always managed to slip into his nightly sleep coma, whether he was actually in bed or not. Kimberly sighed and turned the TV off with a click. The house was so quiet, even though she could periodically hear fireworks popping from her neighbor’s yard. The kids were still out at their parties and probably wouldn’t be home for another hour or two.
It was the beginning of another year. Another year of working to make ends meet, keeping up with their two kids’ activities, and trying to keep the house in order. Liam, their oldest, would be leaving for college this year and their daughter McKenna would be only a year behind. Life just kept marching on, and Kimberly didn’t know how the time had gone so quickly.
Kimberly got up off the couch and started gathering the empty boxes of Thai take-out food which had served as hers and Brent’s new year’s celebration. She passed through the dining room to get to the kitchen, her hands full of boxes, napkins and empty soda cans, when something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. One of the walls in her dining room had an arrangement of family pictures in antique frames and an old mirror which had been passed down to her from her grandmother. The mirror was an oval shape, with intricately carved birds and flowers around the worn golden frame. Kimberly could have sworn that she saw something shining in the mirror, something which wasn’t reflected from anything in the room. But when she stopped to look closer, nothing appeared out of the ordinary.
Kimberly finished cleaning up in the kitchen and was heading back into the TV room when she noticed the same shining glow coming from the old mirror. She moved closer to the mirror again, her heart starting to pound. Could the mirror be reflecting some fireworks that were still going off in the neighborhood?
A warm yellow glow was pulsing gently from the center of the mirror. As Kimberly drew nearer, her reflection appeared along the wavy glass but the pulsing light continued to shine, illuminating her face with each rhythmic beat of light. Slowly, tentatively, Kimberly stretched out a hand until just the tip of her finger touched the cool glass.
A swooshing feeling rolled through Kimberly’s arm, down into her stomach, and finally out through her toes. In less than an instant she could feel herself being sucked inside the mirror, her head spinning in a topsy-turvy wave. A moment later she was standing in a tiny room which looked identical to her dining room, only it was in reverse and looked oddly distorted. She was facing a mirror exactly like the one hanging in her dining room with the antique golden frame, only instead of reflecting herself it showed her dining room as it was in real life. Kimberly tapped on the glass and her ears nearly exploded with the thudding echo that passed around the distorted room. She instinctively covered her ears in response, waiting until the reverberating sound faded away.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” a light voice said from behind where Kimberly stood. She quickly spun around to see a young woman standing there, her hands resting idly in the pockets of her crisp ivory dress. She had light brown hair which was so long it reached the small of her back and was pulled away from her face with two exquisite ivory combs.
“W-what…?” Kimberly stammered, backing away involuntarily until she bumped into the wall.
“Do not tap on the glass,” the girl said in a frank, matter-of-fact tone. Though her words were crisp, she had a melodic Irish lilt to her voice. She nodded her head toward the mirror on the wall, her hands still hidden inside her pockets. “In fact, do not touch anything in this room. Not until we are ready to see.”
“See what….?” Kimberly started, but decided she needed some other answers first. “Who are you? What am I doing here?”
The girl smiled, a twinkling light dancing in her eyes. “The answer to that, my friend, is the true riddle of the day, one which you will have to answer for yourself.”