Her body was beginning to tense with fear based off of the look that Wyatt had thrown her way. "Tell me you didn't touch the mirror," he repeated while looking straight into Joanie's eyes. Her throat constricted, words were impossible for her so she merely nodded her head. It was just as the tips of her fingers brushed the ornate carvings on the mirror's frame when the earthquake hit. The coincidental timing was not lost on her or Katie.
Wyatt closed his eyes, slightly exasperated.
"Why are we not supposed to touch the mirror?" Katie asked, finding the words that Joanie had lost. Just then the floor rumbled, less violently than before but still enough to unnerve both girls. Aftershocks, Katie concluded in her head.
"It's just an old story," Wyatt started to explain, dismissing the tremors of the house. Then he sighed heavily as if burdened with the entire world. Katie and Joanie, not to be put off, leaned their bodies toward Wyatt's place on the over sized chair. But he didn't react to them. Wyatt had become so lost in thought that it took Joanie's hand waving in front of his face before he remembered that he was even on Earth.
His fingers rubbed back and forth in his lap as Wyatt mentally argued with himself as to whether or not he should delve into the story, the memories of the house and the mirror. On one hand the girls appeared interested and it was a good adventure, but on the other hand it was mentally and emotionally taxing to retell the tale of the looking glass.
"Go on," Katie coaxed impatiently.
"It started a long time ago," Wyatt finally consented, having decided to let the girls in on the story. He sighed, took a sip of water from the glass sitting beside him, and continued on. "The legend says the mirror was forged in mountains of a mythical land-"
"Wait!" Joanie almost shouted, she was stifling laughter. "Are you for real? A mythical land? Seriously?" she looked at Katie in disbelief, but Katie was staring at Wyatt intently. "Guys?" Joanie questioned their silence.
"Do you want to know the story or not?" Wyatt turned his gaze on a quizzical Joanie who nodded her head, sobering up. "I'm just telling you what was told to me. And it was Myrtle who sat me down one night and confided it all in me anyway. So if you're going to poke fun just know you're doing it at Myrtle's expense."
Joanie's smile faded and she waited for Wyatt to continue his tale. He looked as if he was about to say something, his mouth agape, but then he broke into a wide disarming smile. Katie sat up straight, confused. Joanie rolled her eyes.
"Hobbits," he says.
"Hobbits?" the girls repeat simultaneously.
"Hobbits," he confirms solemnly.
"There is no way hobbits have anything to do with the mirror," Joanie raised her eyebrows in disbelief.
"No, maybe not hobbits. Maybe house elves..." Wyatt changes his mind. Joanie is starting to catch on. She plays his game.
"Dobby?" she asks, trying to refrain from smiling. Wyatt shakes his head.
"Maybe not," he holds Joanie's stare, careful not to give too much away. Katie is still lost. She looks somewhat frantically from Joanie to Wyatt and back again.
"What in the world is going on?" Katie asks, frustration rising in her voice.
"Okay, the truth is," Wyatt gives in, "the truth is that there is no legend behind the mirror."
It takes a second for the words to sink in. No legend behind the mirror? No creepy story to explain the timing between touching the mirror and the earthquake? Katie shakes her head and rests the side of her face on her hand leaning against the arm of the couch. "So you were making it all up?" she inquires in a voice barely above a whisper. She looks a little hurt and Wyatt feels a little sorry for playing it up, but the opportunity was too good to pass on.
"Sorry," he says slightly sheepishly. Joanie cackles from where she's seated, finding the whole thing absolutely hilarious. And then she remembers being thrown against the hard furniture and being knocked unconscious.
"It can't be just coincidental timing that Joanie touched the mirror and there was an earthquake," Katie volunteered once Joanie's laughing had died down.
"But it's also something that I can't explain to you," Wyatt shrugs his shoulders.
"Let's touch it again and see what happens then," Katie suggests. What have they got to lose? She stands up from the couch and makes her way towards the staircase. She's at the bottom before she realizes that she's not being followed. "Come on you guys, if there's no legend then what do you have to be afraid of?"
Joanie starts in Katie's direction, to prove she's not a wimp. Wyatt follows her, refusing to be outdone and the three make their way back to the bedroom. Wyatt explained that this had been Myrtle's bedroom, but she'd always kept a sheet over that mirror. He asked her about it once, but she brushed him off saying something vague and noncommittal. Once when Wyatt had house sat for her he had peeked under the white cotton linen, but decided to leave it alone anyway at Myrtle's request.
Katie unabashedly and unceremoniously yanked the sheet away from the beautiful ancient mirror. It now stood before them in all it's reflective glory. The longer Katie stared into the looking glass to more she was in awe at how it had survived this long and stayed so lovely, unbroken and vibrant. There was something odd about how it reflected the world too, everything seemed much brighter inside the confines of the mirror's surface. All three of them took note of this.
It was Wyatt though, who reached out a cautious calloused hand and wrapped his fingers around the wooden frame. At first nothing happened, and they all breathed a sigh of relief. Wyatt released his hold on the mirror, laughing nervously.
"See?" Katie said pointedly, "that wasn't scary."
She reached her own had toward the mirror, and that's when it happened. Katie reached for the glass, not the frame and then she disappeared. The room started shaking and Joanie looked frightfully at Wyatt for any sort of an explanation at all. The only thing she saw in his eyes though was fear. Before she had time to think it through, Joanie reached for the mirror the same way Katie had and then she was gone too. Wyatt didn't know what to do, and he couldn't leave the girls trapped in the mirror all alone, so he reached forward and the mirror swirled around him.
Katie hit the ground hard, but found that she had landed in a field. Not very far away was Joanie, and just beyond her lay Wyatt. The sky was bright blue and the sun was almost blinding. There weren't any trees to shade it's harsh rays and Katie had to cover her eyes with her hand in order to see. In the distance there was some sort of house with smoke billowing out of the chimney. It looked like it was placed at the base of a mountain, and with no where else to head Katie decided that was as good of a direction to take as any.
Joanie and Wyatt made their way over to where Katie was seated in the field. They had noticed the surroundings too and had come to much the same conclusion as Katie. Standing up and brushing herself off, Katie felt achy from her fall and a bit shook up from what had just happened. Could she really have been sucked through a vortex by a mirror? The whole thing reminded her of Narnia and she half heartedly looked around for a lamp post and Mr. Tumnus, but there was nothing of the sort.
The three decided to head for the distant house right away, with no other real options to consider. It was so far away though that they figured the sooner they started on their way the better. Judging by where the sun was in the sky they didn't have much time until it started to get dark.
Up close the house was really more of a log cabin, small enough with probably just one or two rooms on the inside. There was a yellow light glowing through the windows, probably from a lantern. The air was smokey scented, smelling of burning pine. It was decided that Wyatt would be the one to knock on the door and after three hearty raps it slowly opened. And there stood Myrtle.