A sliver of light slipped in through a crack as someone tried cranking open the lid to my prison. My only friends for months were the mounds of hay surrounding me and the easy bumps of the carriage as it lolled down the road. It was better than my old companion, an evil witch more obsessed with her appearance than she was with the massive undead army that she had under her spell. I’m glad I did my part in snuffing out her candle.
“Yer taking’ too long, let me at it!” I heard the sound of muffled metal bouncing against the ground. The light from the cracks fluttered dark and then light, “Let me show you how it’s done, Bashful!”
I thought I heard the stuttering of Bashful, one of the dwarves who assassinated my keeper, Maleficent. He was the only connection I had with the outside world within the past months, and I’d rather have remained nailed in. In the night, he would sometimes pull me out of the box, wipe away all the stray hay, and look deep into my face. I tried to make conversation at first, but all he would do it pull off his cap, ring it in his hands, and blush. Eventually we just sat there in the moonlight, the sounds of dire-crickets mating in the background, staring at each other.
Precisely the second after Bashful’s blabbering, the axe swooped through the ceiling of my box, splintering the wood into a wild flurry, the specks scattering off of my surface. Three beefy silhouettes looked into the box, and immediately recoiled. “Damn, that blasted mirror!”
“Y-y-you looked in t-t-to soon!”
Two hands picked me up gingerly and removed me from the box, I was held face to face with whom I can only assume was Dopey. He had two eyes pointing in opposite directions, spittle dripping from the side of a mouth filled with crooked green teeth, his nose had a cleft with dimples, but his clothes were perfectly laundered. All of the dwarves clothes were perfectly laundered.
“My eyes! We already lost four fuckin’ dwarves! We can’t have a blind dwarf leading this sad shit show!” I saw Grumpy, who sported a large black unibrow that always pointed downwards, scars criss-crossing over the numerous tattoos over his arms, chest, and back. His brown cap was perfectly starched.
Dopey’s eyes swirled around in their sockets wildly, “Duhhhhh, Weren’t it you who a killed a…” he counted on his stubby dwarf fingers, “Four of them?”
Grumpy’s brow furrowed more and he finished rubbing his eyes and approached Dopey, “It was the assassin vines who killed them, got it?” He balanced his axe underneath Dopey’s chin, past me.
Dopey just stood there and drooled. I intervened, “He gets it!”
Grumpy turned to me, his axe prepared to swing, “What foul beast goes there!?”
“It’s me, the mirror?” Everyone seemed to forget that I was there. I guess that’s the downfall of being a soul trapped in an inanimate object for all of eternity. Or maybe it was a perk? Especially in this company…
“Don’t you going all about surprising me… Bad things happen when people surprise me…” It seemed like bad things happened when they worked with him too. Amongst the chaos of escaping Maleficent’s lair, Grumpy was able to eviscerate three of six other dwarves in his mercenary entourage: The Seven Deadly Dwarves. I heard him kill Sneezy on the way back from the battle. It was for sneezing out of line. “Welcome to yer new, home, ya namby pamby, lazy ass, mirror!” Dopey turned me to show me a horribly rundown cottage. The windows were broken in, cobble-stones were constantly sliding off of the roof, ivy stretched across the front door, and there was lude graffiti on the side wall. “I did the graffiti me self!”
Grumpy destroyed the front door to the cottage and walked in, booming, “Home sweet home!”
Bashful rung his lavender cap, “It isn’t as bad as it looks… Maybe I can get Snow White to come back again… Oh d-dear, I wrinkled m-my cap again!”
Dopey gurgled while pumping his fist up and down in what looked like approval.
It was a silent dinner of porridge that night. Grumpy was hunched over his bowl, his eyes shifting between me and Bashful, slurping his soup through the gap in his teeth. Bashful’s spoon tapped against his bowl wildly, splashing his porridge all around on the table. Dopey kept missing his mouth.
The cottage had definitely seen better days. On the walls were the mounted heads of an alligator, a cyclops, and the tentacles of a giant squid. I glanced over to a head-board without a head. The label read, “Maleficent: Evil Witch.”
“You don’t like yer porridge, mirror?” Grumpy said.
“I don’t eat. I don’t have a stomach. Much less arms and hands to feed myself with.”
Bashful giggled until Grumpy killed it with a glance, “You don’t fight, you don’t eat… What do you do?”
“Well…” I had to think for a moment. For the past three hundred years, I have been under Maleficent’s service as a validation consultant and make-up tutorial provider. I didn’t think he would like that, “I do some things…”
“I knew ya did some things…” he slurped up another bit of oatmeal, “I bet you deflect magic or something. We could’ve used you against that Maleficent lass we fought a few months back.”
“Speaking of which…” Bashful chuckled out some porridge into his beard, “What happened to her?”
“Well, we got an anonymous tip-” that is something I do, Grumpy, “That she was going to assassinate Snow White and make her her zombie sex slave or somethin’. So she, Snow White, hired us to kill her!”
“So, here we are, sneakin’ around the corridors of her massive castle, until that damned Sneezy blew our cover! So after I gutted out his entrails the six of us had to battle all of the bats, skeletons, and one cyclops to get to her bed-chambers! It was easy to find, the anonymous tip told us to follow the sound of a clucking chicken!” Cluck, Cluck.
“So then we arrived in her private parlour, her just standing there. She immediately threw two purpley green magic bolts at us, so I threw Doc and Sleepy in front of them. I lunged over their dead bodies and embedded my axe into her skull! She just turned into a wisp of black smoke. Yep, killed the baddest witch that ever lived, I did.”
I looked back up to the empty mantle, and saw Maleficent’s pale chartreuse face laughing at me. I’d never forget that face. How could I? I stared into it every morning for three hundred years. I looked back to Grumpy’s eyes staring at me, “Say, you wouldn’t be the one who-”
That’s when Dopey threw up all over himself.
“Dammit, Dopey! That’s the third time today!”
“D-don’t y-yell at him, it’s not his fault!”
“I know it’s not his fault, ya bashful bag of shit!” Grumpy grabbed Bashful’s cap and started wiping down Dopey’s puke soaked beard, “‘Take care of Dopey’ she said, ‘He’s a little dopey’ she said! Where is that bitch of a mother now anyway!”
Grumpy stopped everything he was doing and turned to Bashful. A silence. I had to change the conversation back to what was important, “So what’s going to happen to me?”
Grumpy became gleeful, which would’ve made Happy happy if he wasn’t so dead, and hopped over to the giant weapon display case. He took off an unfinished metal shield and stroked it toward me, “Ever since I forged this perfect shield from the flames of our little puny hearth, I’ve been dreaming of the perfect piece to finish it with… You are it!”
“Yes! Since the dawn of time, we dwarves have been horrible at thwarting magicks. We had to rely on trench warfare and throwing countless men at lightning bolts and acid sprays to defeat our wizard enemies! But now!” He lifted his shield to the light valiantly, “Now we have the magic deflecting mirror shield! It even sasses you out when we deflect magic back at hordes of the undead! I will be unkillable! UNKILLABLE!” Grumpy stood on the table and roared, beating his chest while Bashful shrunk more and more behind Dopey.
“Yeah, um, I’m not going to do that.”
After a three hour tirade and six flagons of mead did Grumpy finally pass out. He stood above me, baby feet firmly planted on the table, flinging insult and spittle at me as he underlined where I stood. I gave him a little lip, “I don’t stand anywhere, I kind of just, you know, hang.”
Now I was propped up against a wall. It was time-out for me, apparently. I couldn’t be the shield of a sociopathic barbarian! My frame would get cracked, my glass will be shattered, and I just didn’t want to take arcane blasts to the face every day. I didn’t even know if I could even deflect magic. He just made that up! I had to get out of here… But how?
That’s when I heard quiet footsteps creaking down the stairs. I was turned around to see bashful, squeezing in his night-time staring session. “Oh, hello, Bashful.”
He looked around the dark living room to see if I could be talking to anyone else. When the coast was clear wrung his hands together, “H-hello, Mirror.”
“May I ask you a question?” He nodded, “Why do you stay here?”
“B-b-b-cause my brothers live here, course!”
“But it’s awful here! Do you really want to live in a dark, decrepit and deadly cottage in the middle of nowhere where you can live anywhere in the world?”
“The outside world is so scary though…”
“Scarier than your brother?”
“H-he’s not so scary!”
“I saw him decapitate one of your brothers for sneezing and throwing another two as magic blast bait.”
“And he’s always yelling at you!”
He raised his finger in the air, “B-but it’s because-”
“You deserve better, Bashful.”
He was dumbfounded, “I d-deserve better?”
“Yes! There’s a great big magical world out there that’s yours for the taking! You can ride dragons to your job at the laundromat and come home to a cup of steaming chocolate ale as you sleep on a feather bed!” My face disappeared into the recesses of the mirror realm and was replaced by the image of Bashful’s wonderful new life. It was my best work yet.
“B-but… But what about Dopey? Who’s going to take care of him?”
Who cares? “Grumpy will take care of him! With all the money Snow White paid Grumpy, he could have a live in care nurse!”
“B-but how am I going to pay for my stay?”
“You shall do odd jobs and then sell me at an antique store!”
“Y-you make it sound so easy…”
“It is easy. Especially you don’t have an angry dwarf threatening to kill you every five seconds.
Bashful wrinkled his cap into a very tiny ball of cloth. He then made his decision.
Bashful packed up all of his things (mostly cleaning products) and we escaped the cabin. We went on wonderful adventures. We went kayaking through the river of seductive sirens, where I won the tide-harp in a singing contest. Ate human brains when visiting a Yeti ran bed and breakfast. We were shrunk and given the key to an Abatawa city after slaying some bees. We got lost in a minotaur’s labyrinth, so we had to make our own map. Turns out, the minotaur needed the map all along so he could sell the property and move to a coastal town. He awarded us the Axe of Lightning Claps for our diligence. We laughed, we cried, and we bonded. Of course, he couldn’t have done it without my encouragement.
But as a gnome sporting a top-hat slapped a sales sticker on my frame I felt no remorse. Bashful, now known as Basher, was trying to fight back tears. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
I was sure. Even though he dropped his stutter and we went on all of these wild adventures together, I still didn’t feel anything for him. I was ready to be sold to the highest bidder and be placed in a quaint parlour or living room. I just hope that it wasn’t a bedroom again.
“I’ll miss you so much, Mirror!”
“Awe, how sweet of you to say.” The gnome picked me up and hobbled to the back of the auction house. Basher, clad in all of his epic, golden dragon armor stood there, nervously polishing his helmet.
Waiting to be auctioned was the most anxiety fueled moments of my eternal life. Usually I was scavenged or bartered off, but a auction was just so grand! I was amongst some of the most luxurious objects. A dragon carpet that could stretch across a whole dance hall, a bed that morphed around your body, and a broom that both sweeped and mopped! The only thing I frowned upon was an animated china set. The teapot (who I assumed was the mother) tried rallying the tiny teacups to stand straight in a line and to stop knocking each other over. Why would anyone want an animated tea-set, they would just knock the tea in their crotch! It was pointless. Atleast I sometimes reflected. Physicality is wasted on them.
After the first three items were auctioned off it was my turn. The gnome pointed at me and a troll lumbered forward and hoisted me up toward the amphitheatre. The crowd was all a flutter with different nobles and merchants. Elves with brilliant feathered hats sat with Fairy God Mothers holding wishlists. Kings were clinking chalices with Necromancers. That’s when I saw Basher looking downcast while fiddling with the clasp of his dragon faced breast-plate. That’s when I saw a familiar chartreuse face.
Clad in her signature horned, pitch black cloak and her beady snake eyes she sat next to him. Her long spider-like arm lovingly wrapped around Basher’s shoulder and whispered to him. His eyes went wide.
The gnome, with his obnoxiously squeaky voice, began vamping the crowd, “And next on the list is a Magic Mirror! It is over a thousand years old and can… What can you do?”
I said, “I can cast illusions in my frame and give great make-up tutorials.” The crowd was silent. That’s when Basher stood up, raising his card screaming, “I bid twenty gold schillings!”
The gnome piped up, “Twenty gold shillings for this old mirror! Any other takers? Going once, going twice-”
“I also can deflect magic!” That’s when everyone gasped. The merchants grabbed their abacuses. The fairy-godmothers double checked their wish-lists and the Necromancers sent ravens to their wives for permission. That’s when a prince, with flaxen hair and a white suit, raised his placard, “Fifty gold schillings!”
Maleficent bared her fangs and jostled Basher’s shoulder, “S-sixty schillings!”
“One hundred!” the princely man called. My nonexistent heart started beating. He was sitting under a parasol hoisted up by a goblin servant while drinking mai-tais and twiddling his golden rapier. This was the life I was meant to be. I was supposed to reflect shining radiance back on the godliest of men and help them achieve greatness.
“Keep bidding you idiot!” Maleficent hissed.
“I-I’m a-all out of m-money.”
“Sell your armor, sell that tiny key sell whatever!” She shrieked to the audience then, “That mirror is a traitor! He betrayed me, he betrayed this stuttering simpleton, and-”
“That lil fucker betrayed me too, ya know!” Grumpy crashed through the front entrance of the amphitheatre both with stuffed linen bags. He tossed his down the aisle and it crashed against the stage, sending coins scattering everywhere.
The princely gentleman reclined in his seat and took another sip of the drink, “It’s not worth that much.”
Dopey was holding me as we all stood at a dock. “Sorry, for tryin’ to assassinate you and all, Dark Witch Maleficent.”
“Not a problem,” She stood five feet taller than the dwarves, holding her staff constructed of baby skeletons and looking towards the depths of the ocean, “It’s just business after all.”
“S-so are we going to kill him?”
Dramatically, I said, “No! Don’t kill me, anything but that!” Killing me wouldn’t be the worst of punishments. I lived over a thousand years and I’ve seen enough of this world. I feel comfortable saying good-bye.
“No, that would be the easy way out.” Maleficent stooped over to inspect me, “I have much more sinister plan. You’re going to sleep with the fishies.”
Dopey dropped me, clapping his hands at this word.
Grumpy said, “Yes, Dopey, ‘fishies.’ But how are we going to make sure he’s gonna stay facing down?” What?
“Rocks.” Maleficent and Grumpy laughed.
“I like yer style!”
Maleficent said, “Sometimes, you have to keep it simple!”
“Please!” now I actually begged, “I’ll do anything you ask me! Please don’t make me live an eternity looking at some sand!”
She laughed, “You can’t do anything! You are nothing. Infact, I’d say that it’s the perfect fate for you to spend the rest of your life reflecting just what you are. A little granule of pathetic sand! Basher, would you like to say anything?”
Grumpy and Dopey began tying rocks to the back of my frame. “N-no, I have n-nothing to say.”
Anger erupted from me, “Well you’d take too long to say it anyway! You’ll always be Bashful to me!”
They hoisted me up, “And you, Maleficent, you lazy, green hag! You look like shit without my advice! Good luck trying to seduce Prince Charming away from Snow White, you old slut you!”
That’s when the three dwarves counted, “One, two, three!” and casted me into the sea.
The descent was slow. Bubbles rippling around me as I passed schools of fish, sharks, manatees, and a giant whale housing a wooden boy and his family. None of them said anything to me. To them I was just another bit of trash thrown discarded by random land-dwellers.
Eventually, I slammed down in the dark nothingness that is the bottom of the see. Reflected into me was complete nothingness, and I, became nothing.
“Like, oh my god, okay, listen mer-girls I found the creepiest thing ever.” She said as her friends gathered on a rock. Her hair was turquoise and dredded. She wore a sponge top with a net cast over it as her coral colored fin flapped lazily in the water.
“What is it?” her friend said as she poked her hair in the water. Two more friends, one bald and one with curly orange hair emerged too.
“So, I was at the bottom of the ocean or whatever, cruising for some hot tail when I found this random plank of wood with like, all of these rocks wrapped on top of it, you know? So I picked it up and…”
That’s when she pulled out the mirror. His frame now molded over and worn. There were black-spots all over the glass and a tiny crack splitting the two halves apart. His split face appeared, out of the depths of the mirror world. Instantly, he started speaking, “Apply mascara directly into the eyeball. No don’t, stop it! I don’t care. I- You got it girl, work that cape. No one understands, only the lake understands. Once applied smack your lips and give your man a kiss. The reflection is someone, the only one, who cares. Can’t throw spears. Just twist and snap and you’ve killed your hair. The dryads will play tricks on you they said! Did I listen? No? Went into the forest. The lake has me. I can always have the lake. I got sucked in. It was all a joke of for them! Laughs! So many split ends, so little time. Life moves on. No one wonders. No one searches.”
“Shelly, this guy is freaking me out!” the purple haired one in the water said.
“I thought he was funny.” she said, “Well, back to the water with you.”
“Yes! Into the deep I go! For I am nothing reflecting nothing!” And down the mirror sank.
“Anyone want fish tacos?” Shelly, the leader, asked her clique. They all rejoiced with dolphin-like shrieks and swam away.