"She's in the mirror." The man sitting in front of Detective West quavered. The whiskey on his breath danced around the room, leaving an unpleasant odor that disturbed the Detective. Once again, he had the pleasure of talking to Peter Jones, the local town drunk. A little over a year ago he was once a well-respected citizen of Haven's Port, South Dakota, but the death of his wife Anne changed the man. The day she was laid to rest, Peter went into Mallick's Pub, a local bar, and he never truly came out.
"Now Peter, two days ago you told me you tossed the mirrors in the dumpster?" The Detectives' face scrunched up, recalling his visit from the other day. It was hard to believe a drunk, even when he used to be a childhood friend.
Peter's eyes jolted across the room, left to right, right to left, his thumbs fighting with each other in his lap, "I…I did…right in the dumpster they went…but…but they're back." Peter fought to get the words out of his mouth.
"I still think it's one of those pesky…"
"It isn't one of those God damned kids…" his lips shaking, and his eyes fixated on the Detective as he snapped.
The Detective grabbed a pen from the drawer and opened his small note pad, pretending to jot down words. The townsfolk of Haven's Port felt sympathetic as the middle-aged man withered away in sorrow. It was only two years ago when Peter had the world at his front door. Respected and well-paid, a beautiful wife and a nice home, he was loved. According to him, "He had it all."
It had been a year and twelve days since his beloved Anne abruptly died one-night last October. According to the medical examiner and his report, it was an accidental overdose on prescription medicine. Ever since then, a dark and cloudy void had fallen over Peter, one that he couldn't escape.
"Okay Peter, you say it isn't the local kids then who is it? Who is putting the mirrors back in your house?" The questions hardly ever led anywhere, always back to the same answer.
"She's…she's doing it. I've…told…told you this."
After the death of Anne, Detective West had an open-door policy with Peter. The two men grew up together, played on the same sports teams, and went to the same schools. As life went on, Father Time intervened, and the friendship gradually withered away. Detective West hoped he could rekindle the old friendship and help Peter get out of this deep, dark trench. But as the visits kept occurring, he soon realized the old Peter had died with Anne, this one was convinced his wife roamed his mirrors in his home.
"I know you've told me this Peter…look after I get off work tonight, I'll stop by your place. I can take the mirrors from you and dispose of them myself, they won't come back either I assure you. I'd love to keep talking brother, but I need to work on this Kelly Ruth case, come back tomorrow and we can talk some more." Peters's eyes glowed with joy, just the thought of him taking the mirrors away had sparked a little light inside of the shallow man.
As he watched his old friend leave, the only thought racing through his mind was how life and time hadn't been kind to Peter. He had grown thin and fragile, his hair thinned and grayed, and he walked with a sallow complexion. He had been thrown curveball and he didn't even swing, he just watched it go by him.
Whenever Detective West was running behind with Peter, he'd always mention the Kelly Ruth case. It was a sure way to get Peter to leave the office. He didn't like to listen to that case or even hear her name mentioned. He only wanted to focus on his case and the mirror. The teenage girl, Kelly Ruth, had gone missing about two months prior to his wife's death and she hadn't been found yet. She was a sweet, pretty girl, the townsfolk had loved her since the day she could walk. It was a real solvable case, but Peter was too cynical to care about the poor missing girl.
The purplish sky was covered with large dark clouds as Detective West left the station later that evening. The color of the sky and clouds were a sign of the coming storm, one that was supposed to hit harder than any before.
"I better get to Peters trailer before this hits us." He reminded himself of his promise.
As Detective West turned onto Shroud Drive to make his way to the one lonely trailer that sat at the end of the road, he noticed how much the area had changed. There had used to be three houses crowding the street but now only Peter's trailer lived there. Of course, it was battered and beaten, the grass surrounding it nearly as tall his deck. He had moved back there after losing his job and his house, it's where he grew up and once his parents died, it was left to him.
Knock, knock, knock, "Peter, it's Fred!"
The eagerly thin Peter immediately opened the door after the third knock, he had been waiting by the front door since he left the police station. He had pulled an old wooden chair in front of the door and sat there, staring into it for over three hours straight. No moving, no flinching, only staring.
"Fred come…come in, they're over on the couch." His voice along with his body trembled, you could almost hear the bones clinking together.
Filth. The trailer was pure filthy. The table, the countertop, the couch, and the floor were covered in trash. Mostly old beer cans and whiskey bottles. Each step the Detective took in the trailer, his foot pushed through a sea of trash, leaving a tiny walking trail behind him.
"My God…" the detective mumbled to himself.
"There…there, they are." The skinny-pointy long finger of the small shook as he pointed towards the couch.
"What's with the tape covering them?"
"So, she…so she…" Peter's heart started to combust, his body trembling worse than ever before.
"She won't be able to see you? He rested his hand on the shoulder of his friend, trying to calm him down.
"Yes. That's it." He sobbed, his trembling coming to a halt.
So, Detective West placed the five mirrors under his arms, none too heavy or large to have to carry alone. The Detective was a well-built machine, once a college football star and a pro-hopeful, he took a shot to the knee and never recovered correctly. He did the next best thing, he finished his degree and returned home to help the local police.
"You won't ever see these mirrors again Peter, I assure you. If it's not storming too bad, stop by and see me tomorrow around the usual time." He reassured him with a smile.
Peter watched from the window as the police cruiser disappeared into the distance, a small crooked smile crept onto his face, he was liberated from the burdens of those mirrors.
Curiosity had secretly walked into the mind of the Detective as he pulled over in front of the dump. He had heard Peter talk so much about these mirrors over the last few weeks, he wanted to look at them.
Maybe he's telling the truth? The thought had never crossed his mind before and he seriously doubted it now.
As four of the five mirrors peacefully laid in the trash, the last one, a tiny blue mirror rested in his hands. It was a female's makeup mirror; one she could sit on her desk and use when she needed it. The mirror was about the size of an average watermelon, not big at all. Black electrical tape covered the surface of the mirror, every inch of it. No one could see into the mirror and most importantly, no one could see out of it.
Tiny little bumps began rising across the Detectives arms and down his spine, his heart thumping to a steady beat.
It's just a mirror.
A relieved reflection of himself shown in the mirror as he ripped back the pieces of the electrical tape. The goosebumps disappeared from his skin; his heart calmed down into a nice peaceful rhythm.
"Time for you to go too." He tossed the mirror into the crowded dumpster, the sound of the glass breaking accompanied the impact of the mirror hitting another trashed object.
Hopefully, Peter can stop talking about the mirrors now.
The storm of the century swept through Haven's Port the following morning. The winds screamed like a wild banshee, gust of winds reaching up to eighty miles per hour. The trees cried as their limbs crashed to the ground, they watched as the excess rain flooded the streets carrying pieces of their body away. The rain itself fell hard and heavy, hammering into the Haven's Port buildings. The thunder echoed throughout the countryside, the religious folk told themselves it was God speaking to them, keeping them safe. And only a single soul braved the streets of Haven's Port, Peter Jones.
He needed to see Detective West. As the rain played a musical number on the tin roof of his trailer, he was preparing to walk the streets. A tightened yellow raincoat hugged around his frail body and his jeans were tucked deep into his goulashes.
As the door of the Detectives office slowly opened, he wondered who'd be foolish enough to drive through this storm. And then he saw Peter Jones, a man that couldn't even drive walk into his office. Soaked wet from his head to his toes.
"There…there all back." The phantom in his office spoke, Peters skin so pale you could almost see his bones.
Time seemed to stand still for several minutes as the two men sat in silence. Peter eyed the floor and twiddled his thumbs together, too embarrassed to look at his old friend. Meanwhile Detective West stared out the window of his office, watching the raging storm, trying to think of the right words to respond with.
He's probably had a few too many drinks this morning.
"Peter, you watched me place the mirrors under my arms and leave with them yesterday evening. You saw me drive away with them. I took them to Lloyd's dump and threw them deep into one of his bins." The silence was broken. "Peter…we go way back, and I know it's been tough on you since Anne's death, but I have real cases to handle. That poor Kelly Ruth girl is still missing. I want us to keep talking buddy, and I don't mind it at all. But I just can't keep talking about these mirrors." The Detective scoffed, his eyes still watching the storm. He couldn't bring himself to look at Peter.
The silence fell upon the men once more, both men thinking of what to say or do next.
Once more the silence was broken but this time by Peter as he mustered up his words. "I know you and this whole damn town think I'm crazy…hell, Fred sometimes I think it myself!" the fear and the stutter vanishing, he was angry now. "Imagine…you just imagine you toss some damn mirrors in the garbage and the very next morning they're back hanging on the wall like before. I don't need you to berate me like everyone else, I'll see you around." And before he left, he tossed a familiar object on the Detectives desk.
Before any response could be had, Peter had slipped his hood over his head and began marching through the storm. Curious to what was on his desk, the Detective walked over to see what Peter tossed.
Like a snake, fear slithered down the spine of the Detective and embedded itself firmly into his gut.
It can't be.
It was the tiny blue mirror resting on his desk, completely intact and not shattered into small pieces.
It's a different one.
But it wasn't and he realized that as he searched over the mirror, noticing the same scratch marks on the blue wooden frame that held the mirror in place.
It was back.
The Detective sat cross-legged in his leather office chair, a half-burned cigarette in his right hand, and a glass of whiskey in the other. His eyes concentrated solely on the tiny blue mirror, trying to think of a logical explanation of how and why it was back. So, he sat and thought for nearly four hours straight, just gazing deep into the mirror. Gazing only at himself. He had no logical explanation for the resurgence of the mirror, he just knew it had come back.
His initial thought was the kids but even he knew that was wrong now, they would've had to glue the mirror back together and remember the scratch pattern on the back. Kids would never put that much work into a prank. As the day eventually turned into night, an explanation still couldn't be found for the unusual occurrence, and with no more thinking power, he decided to head home. Away from the mirror.
The small lock on the bottom drawer of his desk rattled as he turned the key to unlock it. A small creak accompanied the turning of the key, the lock yearning to be opened once more. Dust and cobwebs covered the exterior of the drawer, they were the only things that had lived inside it for a long time, but now they had a new friend, the mirror.
The weary Detective looked over his shoulder at his old desk as he was leaving his office, hoping it would be enough to keep the mirror detained. In the last ten years of working as a Detective, he had never witnessed such an occurrence. He imagined many others hadn't dealt with such an odd case either. This was out of his league.
It wasn't enough.
The next morning the Detective stood in front of his office door, two fingers firmly gripping the key to unlock it. Drops of sweat raced down the side of his head like bullets, the goosebumps that had left him the other day popped up rapidly, like the acne of a teenage kid overnight.
It'll be in the desk.
The bones in his hand rattled like a tambourine as he managed to open the door. Darkness covered the small space, not an ounce of light to be found until he could work up the courage to flip the lights on.
And there it sat, proudly displayed on his desk. The tiny blue mirror. The reflection displayed the Detective, seeming to mock the pale, trembling man. The hair on his neck stood tall and proud, like a band of marching soldiers. His mouth opened only to allow a small croak of fear to escape from it.
The blue and red sirens on his issued car flickered violently back and forth, the loud sound warning the citizens of Haven's Port to move from his path. The concerned faces of the townspeople were a simple blur to the Detective as he reached speeds the car had never seen before.
"Geez, Fred sure is flying through here this morning." Mrs. Elliot voiced rattled with concern as she tended to the flowers outside of her shop.
"Must be something bad I imagine." Her husband Bob, voiced.
But there hadn't been a bad accident that morning, nor was he chasing a criminal. Like most people when a police car is seen at that speed, the imagination believes it's chasing someone or going to an unthinkable scene. This time though the elderly pair were wrong, Detective West was frightened and on the run from the tiny blue mirror. Of course, he knew he couldn't mention that to the townsfolk or the Chief of Police, he'd look just as crazy as Peter.
THAT'S IT! I can go to Peter's and we can figure out how to get rid of it.
In the eyes of the Detective, everything was a blur, the cars, the people, and the scenery he passed. His cruiser had never gone above fifty miles per hour in Haven's Port. Trouble had rarely occurred in the small town. Every so often a small altercation between two people would occur but the very next day they'd been seen drinking together or simply hanging out. Of course, the Kelly Ruth case had the townsfolk shaken up for some time but that had been the only missing person case in twenty-five years. The town was peaceful and lovely, everyone knew each other.
By the time Detective West had reached Shroud Drive a light drizzled had begun to fall from the clouds, making his already stressful day, more stressful. Regardless of the weather, he was going to talk to Peter for two reasons. The first reason, so he could apologize and the second, so they could figure this situation out together.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! The Detective tapped the horn of his cruiser, trying to garner the attention of Peter. The trailer door stood in place, not moving an inch. The blinds stayed closed as well, nothing to signal that Peter was home.
Could be passed out from drinking I suppose.
Detective West pulled the hood of his raincoat over his head and plodded through the muddy, messy yard. His feet sticking to the ground with every step, the mud so thick and gooey, I wish this damn rain would go away.
Knock, knock…the door opened slowly by itself from the force of the two hits.
Peter…it's Fred, you in here?" his right hand wrapped around his pistol.
The only sound was the pitter-patter of the rain hitting the tin roof of the trailer and the trash hitting together as the Detective trampled over the mounds of trash sprawled across the trailer. He had searched the two bedrooms and the bathroom but found no sign of Peter being in the trailer. He was gone and didn't even lock his front door, barely even shut it as it only took two light taps from the Detective to open it. The only living things in the trailer now were the roaches and the family of rats that lived in the walls.
As he walked to his cruiser a voice appeared over his walkie, "Detective West…this is Chief Monroe. Can you read me? Over."
"Ahh yes sir, I can hear you loud and clear. Over."
"Son we've had reports that you were driving reckless on the way out of town, we haven't had reports of any trouble. What the hell were you doing son? Over." the grumpy, scratchy deep voice questioned.
"That was me, sir. I had a troublesome feeling that Peter Jones was in some trouble after his visit yesterday. His trailers empty and his front door was practically left open sir, over." Detective West stood in front of his cruiser, letting the rain run off his body as he was thinking of what to do next.
"Fred…you know he's probably in Mallick's or passed out in his yard. Check around the yard and then get back here so we can talk. Over." Those last words frightened him; Chief Monroe could be a mean bastard if he wanted to be.
"Will do sir, over."
He tucked the walkie back into its pouch and tightened the raincoat around his body, wiping the rain from his eyes in the process.
Maybe Peter is out here.
"Peter…buddy…you out here?" he yelled but didn't receive an answer.
About thirty feet away from his cruiser, the Detective noticed a pair of footprints in the shape of boots leading to the back of the trailer. It wasn't his, the size was too tiny, and he hadn't walked that way, it had to be Peter's. The helpless drunk didn't receive many visitors these days, the other townsfolk were sympathetic towards him sure, but they couldn't handle his antics like the Detective.
"Peter?" nothing once again.
As the Detective concentrated on the footsteps that led to the back of the trailer, a bright yellow dot in the distance caught his eyes. The dot rested under the old leafless oak tree that sat on the hill behind Shroud Drive. With the rain picking up, it strained the Detectives eyes making it harder to figure out what the lonely yellow dot could've been. As he waded forward through the rain and the mud, he realized exactly what the dot was.
"Shit…that's Peter." It was the same yellow raincoat he had worn the previous day.
The mud slowed him down as he raced towards the oak tree. It was cold, damp, and rainy, and if he had been caught out in the storm from the previous night, he could sick, or worse, dead.
"Chief Monroe, do you copy? Over." The Detectives voice faltered as he closed in on his old friend.
"I can hear you loud and clear. Over."
"I've found Peter, Chief Monroe. He's under the oak tree on the hill behind his trailer. I haven't got to him yet, so I don't know if he's alive or dead. We may need a 10-52, be on standby. Over."
"Be careful son."
"Peter! You alive up there?" he didn't answer, sending the worst thoughts through the Detectives brain.
Peter rested on the cold damp earth, the rain beating down on his body. The thin man couldn't feel it though, he couldn't feel anything anymore. His complexion had turned from sallow to a ghostly white, his eyes stared up at the sky, protruding out of his sockets. He was dead, he had been scared to death. In his right hand, he held an empty whiskey bottle, and with his left arm, he hugged a tiny blue mirror to his chest.
He had seemed to be resting peacefully on a mound of dirt around the length of a grave, which was unusual to the Detective. Anne, his wife, was buried in the local churches' graveyard along with his parents. Unless he had dug this for himself some time back, then this was another person's grave.
As he began to question the reasoning behind this homemade grave, a sick and terrible feeling inched into his mind. There had only been one missing person in Haven's Port in the last twenty-five years, Kelly Ruth. And Peter acted oddly whenever the girl was mentioned around him, this could be the reason he thought.
Please don't be Kelly Ruth, he kept telling himself over and over.
"Chief Monroe…this is West, send out a 10-52. Keep a second on standby. Over."
"A second one? What for? Over." The confused Chief asked.
"Peter's dead sir…and I think I've found Kelly Ruth as well. He's laying on a homemade grave. I will let you know momentarily. Over."
"Jesus Christ…" the Chief's voice faded away.
The stiff, cold, naked body of the teenage girl was propped inside the muddy mound. All it took was several handfuls to remove the mud that revealed her face. An unfathomable smell from her decayed body lifted from the grave, slithering into Detective West's nose as he stood over her. Her body covered inside and out with maggots, worms, and many other bugs, they had been residing there for some time now. A large-deep gash ran across her forehead, more than likely she had been hit with a blunt object and that was the cause of her death.
His hands trembled as held the walkie up to his mouth, his eyes swollen with tears from the scene.
"Chief it's…I've found her. Send a second 10-52." The walkie slipped from his hands and landed in the mud.
The bile he had been fighting in his throat finally won the battle, the Detective lurched over, his partially digested breakfast spewing out his mouth. He had never seen anything like this before, such a brutal and sickly scene. After the final drop left his mouth and his stomach was empty, he stood tall and looked at Peter, a look of hatred and disgust portrayed on his face.
How could you do that to another human being you sick bastard?
As the sound of the sirens played in the distance, getting louder and closer to the crime scene, he noticed a new detail on the tiny blue mirror that Peter still hugged. One that hadn't been there before when he tossed it in the dumpster or when he first arrived to find Peter. It had just appeared as Detective West discovered the body of the girl.
On the back of the frame were three letters etched into the blue wood.
Kelly Nicole Ruth.
The girl, the mirror, had never meant to scare Detective West, the sweet girl wanted her body to be discovered.
Her soul wanted to rest, it wanted peace.