Chapter 3

Written by: Anna Zhigareva
Alice spent Saturday afternoon at the National Library. By a stroke of luck, the librarian owed her late aunt a favour and with shaky hands and words of caution handed Alice a pass to the National Archives.
 
As Alice swiped through the big metal doors, the sterilised smell of the library’s fifth floor hallway was immediately replaced by the musty scent of ancient books and yellowing parchment. Alice had been in this room only once before, on a trip with her class. She hadn’t understood its usefulness then, but over the years had come to recognise the necessity of keeping such records. 
 
How would it feel to not know anything from the past? To not know where we came from, who we were? 
 
Alice scanned the rows of shelves. In contrast to popular belief of archives being stuffy, dark, wood-panelled basements with creaking staircases and tilted shelves full of mouse-eaten books, this space was quite modern. Certainly, the library staff kept the room and its treasures in the best condition possible.
 
Where to search? Never in her whole life had Alice read literature that explained apparitions originating from within a mirror!
 
Alice pulled a book off the third shelf in the section on sorcery in the late middle ages. The front cover fell heavily onto the table as Alice opened it in the reading area. The book was old, the ink blurred in places. She could barely make out some of the words on the contents page, but one letter jumped out at her: ‘M’. Then a squiggle and a barely visible ‘r’. Alice immediately turned to page 476.
 
The chapter recounted stories of suspicious occurrences involving mirrors in the homes of noble families. The author gave no indication whether any of these stories had ever been proven, but simply told these events as they had been recounted by the victims of these happenings. 
 
About to give up, Alice suddenly felt the hairs on her back rise in agitation. She stared straight at a drawing of her mirror, in it an apparition of an old woman gazing out towards an ocean, a ship sinking. A wail rose in Alice’s mouth but she stifled it. The tale recounted her exact experience. “Oliver was to set sail the following day…”. Alice shut the book. The characters mentioned carried the names she knew only too well.
 
***
 
Alice stared into the mirror, its silvery surface glittering invitingly. Had she been chosen to see these visions for a reason? What secrets did this mirror truly hold? A sudden, unrelenting, daring urge pushed Alice towards the reflecting surface.
 
Wiggling her stone-cold fingers, Alice placed a tentative palm against the glass. For a second nothing happened. And then, it was as if the world was swirling, glittering silver, gold, the colours of the rainbow. And she was falling, landing in a huff of pink and beige in a thicket of brambles in someone’s garden, her long skirts tangled in the branches. 

Comments

Anna you have seamlessly carried the story forward. I loved the last para about Alice getting into the mirror. You have opened so many threads for the next writers who can use their imagination to see beyond the physical world. Loved the chapter and the detailing.
I agree with Hemali. The next writers can take this story to where ever their imaginations take them. But your skill at describing characters and situations really sets the story on its way. You build so well on the excellent job previous writers have done/
Wow, Anna! I love how you have turned the entire story around and so beautifully done. It could go anywhere from here. Love it!