I enter the room of blood-red walls.

I pass the velvet furniture

and step in front of the mirror.

The lamps on either side flicker.

The glass turns foggy

until I can’t see my face.

Mist swirls around my features

like snakes roaming a corpse.

The fireplace at my feet sparks.

Heat suffuses my body,

beginning at my feet.

The fog clears in the mirror.

The face doesn’t belong to me.

An old woman’s face.

She has my features and eyes,

but she’s wrinkled and bony.

A smile lifts the corners of her mouth.

I touch my mouth.

I’m not smiling.

An arm in the mirror

wraps around her scrawny neck.

A snap.

Her head tilts at a strange angle.

Lifeless stare past me.

A hand touches my shoulder.

I scream and run from the room.

Laughter follows me from the house.

I will never return.

by Susanne Leist

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