Friday, April 27, 2012

Chosen by Kelly Metz

The ethereal laughter drifted through the trees, tickling Sebastian’s mind with both curiosity and anxiety. High. Light. Definitely a girl. His feet shuffled in the detritus of the forest floor as he followed, pausing when she did. The voice faded again, its haunting melody replaced by rustling leaves and clacking branches. Sebastian stopped mid-step, his pulse pounding while he waited for her voice to break through once again.

He’d been following it for hours. Or maybe minutes? Shoving a hand through his sweat-soaked hair, Sebastian glared at the sunrays streaking through the canopy. They hadn’t changed; no lighter or darker than when he’d awoken. Moreover, the shadows hadn’t shifted. He turned a tight circle, the path behind him already swallowed by the landscape he’d pushed through following the voice that had called through his sleep.

Sunlight had warmed the back of his closed eyes, and as Sebastian stretched, banishing sleep from his mind and body, subtle aches and pains tweaked through his limbs. With a groan, he’d rolled to his feet, discovering thick forest reaching as far as he could see. Images from his dream clung heavy to his mind as he tried to remember where he’d fallen asleep. He couldn’t, only recalling that it hadn’t been on the ground with roots for a pillow and sky for a blanket.


Her voice was the night’s symphony, drawling his name into an eerie song, hypnotic and soothing like the call of a loon. He turned south, his stomach clenching.


This time north, and then west when she called again. Laughter pealed through the air, sounding from everywhere and nowhere all at once. The hair on the back of his neck pricked. As her merriment grew in volume, an opposing sound joined, dissonant and foreign to the nature surrounding him.

Tires squealing. Horns blaring.

The phantom giggle reached a fevered pitched as metal collided against metal, the sound of twisting steel loud enough to shake the trees beside him before cutting off.

Sebastian,” the voice whispered in the sudden silence. “Come.”


Follow,” she replied, trailing that enigmatic laughter until it began to grow faint.

No, he thought. Don’t leave me.

Sebastian ran faster than he ever had on the football field, foliage blurring until tears streamed from his eyes. Long out of breath, he pushed faster and faster though he wasn’t sure if he was running towards the voice or from what he feared had happened.

The unearthly siren call wove through the last moments Sebastian could remember before waking: his mother’s voice, the annoyingly cheerful pop station, the squealing brakes…

The sounds echoed in his mind as he ran, following that mocking laughter. A root snagged his sneaker, pitching him forward into a cluster of trees. Sebastian rolled, coming to rest face down in the dirt. He could feel the sting of the scratches, the blood trickling down his temple. With a fist, he pounded the ground, squeezing his eyes against the tears.

Do not cry, Bastian,” the voice said. Close, so close.

Sebastian pushed to his knees, wiping his cheek with the back of his hand. His shoulders heaved as his lungs battled with the sudden cessation of exertion. Hands resting on his knees, he stayed that way until his breaths smoothed, his heart calmed and the sounds of the accident subsided.

There is nothing to fear,” the voice said softly.

A feather soft touch alighted on Sebastian’s shoulder. He whipped around, driving to his feet, searching.

The meadow was small, maybe the size of his living room, and perfectly round. Its perimeter was a tightly knit fence of trees so tall, Sebastian couldn’t see where the branches began, the massive trunks disappearing into that frustratingly flat light. The lush grass beneath his feet was the greenest he’d ever seen…until he looked up and saw her eyes.

They were the green of new leaves on a spring sapling, electric, haunting. Captivated by their penetrating stare, it took the space of several heartbeats to realize Sebastian was looking at a reflection. The girl knelt before a mirror, watching him in the glass. As if a pebble had fallen, the mirror’s surface rippled, distorting her elven features. When they cleared again, and those green eyes were still locked on his, he found his tongue.

You,” he breathed, half surprised, half awed and to round it out, half confused. “I know you.”
Drawn to her from the day she walked into his English homeroom a month ago as a new student, he’d been too nervous to approach. Something about her flawless features, sardonic smile, and unbelievable eyes had kept him, and the rest of his class, from befriending the girl. He couldn’t even recall her name.

And I you, Sebastian.” Those eyes brightening even more, she giggled, confirming what Sebastian had thought. She was the source, the ethereal song he’d been chasing.

Where am I?”

You are there. And I am here.” Another laugh. “But not for long.”

What do you mean?”

She hummed, trailing her finger through the mirror’s surface like water, watching him through lowered lashes. A new emotion surfaced. Anger.

Where am I?” he demanded, taking a step forward. “What is going on?”

We’ve been watching you.”


A nod. “You’ve been chosen.”

Chosen? For what?”

Another laugh.

Would you stop laughing and answer my questions?”

When the girl gigged again, a hand demurely covering her mouth, Sebastian lunged, reaching for her shoulder. Collision noises blasted his ears as he grabbed nothing but air, the girl vanishing along with the sounds, the only indication of her existence propped against the tree trunk.

Sebastian approached the mirror, cautious when the reflective surface showed only trees, though by rights, Sebastian should have filled the frame.

Glancing over his shoulder to see if he was being watched, Sebastian knelt. Still, the mirror reflected the empty meadow. He touched the surface, finding it hard and cold as ice.

Am I dreaming?” He hoped the answer was yes. He needed the answer to be yes, because he couldn’t face the alternative.

No,” came the response.

A weight settled like stone in his stomach. Sliding his finger across his missing reflection, he whispered, “Am I dead?”

The mirror turned liquid, the girl’s hand wrapping around Sebastian’s wrist.

Death,” she said pulling Sebastian through the mirror, “is only the beginning.”


Kelly Metz enjoys reading, writing, photography, her family and annoying her baby brother, who, while younger, is now over a foot taller than her and can punch much harder than when he was little. She spends her free time engaging in various torture activities, demon summonings, zombie raisings and spell casting. And writing when she gets bored with those. While having grown up at the Jersey Shore (yes, THAT Jersey Shore), she currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, her retired father and eleven pets (two dogs, one cat, a snake, four turtles and three step-children. Don't worry; the kids don't sleep in the cages. Often.)

Visit her at or follow her antics on twitter: @bwlrgrl300

Photo by: Ksenia Klykova

Friday, April 20, 2012

Absence of Reflection

Rebecca felt decidedly wicked that morning. She’d never broken any of the elder’s rules—at least not the big ones—and yet today she was planning on disobeying the most important one. Behind her, the village was still asleep, the main square deserted and quiet. She ran through the wet grass in her bare feet, her nightgown trailing out behind her white as the morning mist still blanketing the ground. She hurried to the large wall separating the village from the forbidden woods beyond and carefully scaled it under the cover of the large oak tree so that the town watchmen wouldn’t spot her.

No one had been in these woods since the elders constructed the wall a hundred years before. There was a reason it was forbidden and yet no one seemed entirely certain what it was anymore. The only thing they did recall was that a large lake sat at its center. Unlike the well water within the village, this water was out in the open, under the sky and sun, reflecting it all back as clearly as a mirror—grounds enough to avoid it. Seeing your reflection was strictly forbidden. The elders were convinced that if you looked at yourself in any reflected surface you might fall prey to vanity which would lead to any number of other sins. Vanity was the first foothold for evil and evil could ultimately destroy them all.

But the elder’s warnings had been repeated so long and so often, that Rebecca couldn’t muster the same fear that she’d once felt. Especially not now that Thomas had started calling on her, staring at her with his gray-green eyes, always filled with equal parts amusement and desire. He’d declared his interest in her the minute she’d turned sixteen—much to everyone else’s amazement. He was the handsomest boy in the village and she was most definitely not his equal—or so the other girls said. She had no idea since she’d never actually seen her own face. Now she needed to. She had to know if what the girls said was true. She had to see what it was that he saw in her. How could she trust his affections otherwise?

She found the lake without really searching, almost as if some part of her knew exactly where to go. When she burst through the trees along its banks, the birds gathered there lifted off all at once, scattering across the sky. They chattered what sounded like a reproach or a warning. Fear pushed its way into her gut and settled there, but she’d come too far to turn tail now.

Once the birds were gone, the world went quiet. She stared at the lake. The water was strangely transparent in the early morning light. Towards the middle you could see all the way to the bottom. Blanketing the lake bed were hundreds of mirrors, glinting like giant fish scales. She’d never actually seen one before, at least not outside the pictures in her old fairytale book. They must be the ones that the elders took out of the village when her great grandparents were young. They were still intact and amazingly free of algae. They were beautiful.

Her stomach tightened. She should go. This whole trip was foolish. No good could come of it, she thought. Still, her feet inched forward. Almost without meaning to, she stooped down and plucked the mirror closest to her from the water.

It was round and notched along the edges like a giant coin. She carried it over to the trees, carefully holding the reflective part away from her body, and gently set it against one of the tree trunks. She could see her feet, caked with mud and grass, pale as bone in the mirror. She wiggled her toes. Her reflection did the same. She crouched down, settling onto her knees beside it. Her eyes traveled towards its center and the face staring back at her. She’d always known that she had blond hair. She could see it in her peripheral vision, but she didn’t recognize the thin nosed girl staring back at her with eyes narrowed slightly at the corners and cheeks peppered with tiny freckles. Her lips were full and pink. She was pretty, as pretty as the girls who’d said she was nothing special. She smiled at her reflection and it smiled back at her. She brought one hand up and lightly touched her fingers to the glass. Was this really what she looked like?

                The moment that her fingers made contact with the glass, the mirror began to undulate, sucking her fingers into itself before she had time to react and pull back. She was caught in it as surely as if her fingers had been set in cement. The glass surged forward, liquid now and glistening, swallowing her hand and the rest of her arm as if it were a snake. She could feel her bones breaking as the glass crept past her shoulder and worked its way around her neck. She opened her mouth to scream, but it covered her head before she could make a sound. Then her body pitched forward and Alice-like, fell into the mirror. The glass rippled violently a few times and the mirror threatened to topple over before it finally settled and grew still.

                Several minutes passed before a pair of ghost-white hands emerged from inside the mirror and gripped its outer edges. They were followed by the rest of Rebecca’s body, exactly as it was before—except for the creature now residing inside her skin.

                That evening, when Thomas came to call, she took him out to the village wall, leaned up on tiptoe and kissed him—their first. Thomas had time to wonder why her mouth tasted of dirt and metal, but he was quickly distracted when she climbed the wall and dropped over it.

 “Come on, I need to show you something special,” she said.

And after a moment’s hesitation he did.

Story By: Amy

Photo By: Ksenia Klykova

Friday, April 13, 2012

Behind The Glass

I slip the key into the lock and twist. Penn and I discussed his escape last night when I’d snuck in after Lester, the guard, had fallen asleep at the door—as he does every night at eleven. It must be done today because today is the Festival, and most of the castle will be dancing in the streets, drunk and stuffed with oversized turkey legs and freshly baked rolls and chocolate mousse. Including my stepmother.

I push the door open and slip into the dark room, leaving the door cracked a bit so we can make an easy escape. I just have to get Penn.

“Hello, beautiful,” Penn says behind me. My stomach dances at the sound of his voice, and it’s a million times better than the feeling of parading around at some dumb festival. I turn to face him and he flashes me a smile made of teeth whiter than powdered sugar.

“Are you ready?” I ask nervously. I’m afraid that Lester will be back soon. My stepmother made it explicitly clear that he is not to leave his post for any reason, so when he disobeys her, he does it quickly.

Penn’s brow wrinkles, though his smile stays in tact. The two things don’t match each other and I want smooth the wrinkles from his forehead. He’s much too handsome to be making a scary expression like that. 

“Is something wrong?” I ask.

He shakes his head. “No. You just have no idea how much I’ve dreamed about leaving this place.”

I take a long look at him. Black wavy hair, sparkling green eyes, and a jaw line that could cut through glass—he’s every girl’s dream. And he’s chosen me. There’s just one problem though. He’s trapped in a mirror, forced to tell my stepmother that she’s beautiful every day. But I’m going to take care of that.

I run across the room and wrap my fingers around the intricately carved frame of the mirror and hoist it into the air. It’s not as heavy as I expected. I hold the mirror against my chest and tiptoe out of the room. I look to my left, then to my right, down the long, winding hallway. Lester hasn’t made it back yet, but I know it won’t be long. I walk as fast as I can to the back stairway, clutching the mirror to my body.

“I take back what I said about wanting to escape,” says Penn, his voice muffled against my dress.

“Oh, shut up,” I hiss, realizing the compromising position I’ve put him in. I ease the mirror away from me a bit and continue my trek down the slippery stone steps.

I take the mirror to my favorite garden, where the roses have taken over the stone walls that enclose them. I set Penn down in a tangle of vines, leaning him against one of the walls.

“Happy birthday,” I say as I run my fingers over the smooth glass. I wish I could feel his face against my palm.

“Five thousand long years I’ve been stuck in this mirror,” says Penn. “And this is the first time anyone has ever brought me out of the castle.”

“You're welcome,” I say. “I just wish I could actually celebrate your birthday, you know, with you. 

Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could come inside your mirror for the day?”

I shake my head at the thought. If only something like that were possible. Penn presses his hand against the glass to match mine. He looks at me longingly, and I know he wants to feel my touch as much as I want his.

The glass underneath my fingers suddenly begins to warm and soften, and for a moment, I believe it’s my imagination. But it’s not. The glass is no longer glass—it’s liquid.

“I can’t believe it’s actually working!” says Penn, rubbing his free hand over his mouth in shock.

“What’s happening?” I push my finger into the glass. It squishes like gel and my finger disappears into the mirror, appearing on the other side as a reflection.

“The spell on the mirror only works inside the castle. It’s magic is hindered outside of the castle walls. If someone wants to come inside, all they have to do is say the words.”

I extend my arm into the mirror, marveling at the image of my body being half flesh and half glass. Penn grabs my hand, and I freeze. The feeling of his skin against mine is something I thought I’d never feel. He grasps onto my fingers like I’m sinking underwater, like he’s trying to pull me to the surface. And he does. 

In an instant, I’m suddenly not in my world anymore. I’m in his.

But I’m alone.

The air around me is dark and cold, like the cellar in the castle. I turn around and see the other side of the mirror. The roses, shivering in the afternoon wind. The stone wall, cold and grey against the turquoise sky.

And Penn. Not inside the mirror with me.

“Why are you out there?” I say. My voice trembles. I don’t like being in here alone.

“I’m so sorry,” Penn says. The wind blows his hair into his eyes, but he doesn’t push it away. “I wish there was another way for me to be free, but this was the only option.”

I press my hands against the glass, hoping to find the liquid state it was in just moments ago. But it’s hard, cold glass again. Penn touches his fingers to his lips then drops them to the mirror, leaving the imprint of his fingerprints. He stands up and turns to leave.

“No!” I cry. I bang my fists on the glass, trying to break through. “You can’t just leave me here!”

I ram my shoulder into the barrier, but it doesn’t budge.

Penn looks over his shoulder and smiles sadly. “I will be forever grateful for what you’ve done for me. But the mirror must have a prisoner and I have served my time. It’s your turn now.”

“No,” I say again, though this time my voice cracks.

As he leaves me alone in the garden, I slump down against the hard black wall that is my prison. How could he betray me? Is freedom really worth hurting the one you love? As I stare out at the brilliant pink and red roses dancing along with the wind, I realize that it is. And I can’t hate him because I would have done the same thing.

Story By: Stefanie

Photo By: Ksenia Klykova

Friday, April 6, 2012


Three Months Ago

The squirrel, like me, had been running from something. In his case, a fox. In my case, the hateful rumor that Lucy Pritchard spread about me.

Mom wasn't concerned about Lucy. She said to ignore her and she'd stop. I'd been ignoring her forever, but judging by the amount of time I spent crying in the girls' bathroom, that strategy hadn't worked out too well.

So the woods became my refuge, and the squirrel, my luck. If it hadn't been for him, I would have never found that mirror. More importantly, if I hadn't seen the fox chasing the squirrel, and if I hadn't seen the squirrel hesitate, then disappear through the glass, and if I hadn't seen the fox rear back, then run away, I wouldn't have known what the mirror could do.

It seemed ordinary enough – tarnished oval frame, glass surface that showed exactly what you expected, thin wire at the back for hanging it on a wall. But the wall was long gone. Now it rested on the forest floor, supported by a tangle of vines.

I wanted to touch the surface, to see what lay beyond, but something about the squirrel's hesitation made me skittish too. That evening, I was content to watch until the cold breath of night forced me to go home.

The squirrel never came back, but I did, the next day and every day after. I found something there I couldn't get with my guidance counselor's sterile words or my mother's “reassurances.” Peace. I never told anyone about the disgusting notes that appeared in my backpack. Instead, I opted for the presence of the mirror.

Sitting there in the shade of an Oak tree staring at the possibilities, I felt settled, maybe for the first time ever.

Two Months Ago

A scruffy gray mouse went through the mirror. It was the same day my clothes mysteriously appeared in the boys' locker room after gym class. Rather than suffer through a billion whispered rumors and having to explain to my teachers why I was still in my gym shorts, I went home to my woods.

The mouse walked with a limp, like maybe he was missing a foot. I was too far away to tell for sure. He wasn't being chased, and he didn't look back like the squirrel had. He kept his gaze forward as he gingerly stepped through. That was the moment I knew the mirror wasn't something to fear.

After that, I started conducting experiments. Leaves, sticks, then eventually my favorite books and my old teddy bear went through. The glass surface rippled, sucking the different parts of me into its world. What was it like there? Was it quiet? Safe?

One Month Ago

Lucy got bored with her constant ridiculing and stepped up her game. She recruited Mike Johnson to borrow my cell phone. He said it was because he needed a ride home, but what he really did was send texts to half the school announcing I did something with him that I'd never do. That was the day I dropped my phone into the mirror. I couldn't face the responses, the offers, the pictures that got sent to me.

My parents were called the next day, and I sat in the principal's office listening to the evidence pile up against me. I'd ditched the phone. Mike and Lucy were straight A students, and I cut school at least once a week. Naturally, I was pronounced guilty. The principal suspended me for inappropriate conduct, and while my parents promised to set me straight, my chest caved in on itself.

I wasn't allowed to leave the house, but pain clawed inside of me, struggling to escape. Unable to think, unable to breathe, I snuck out and found myself kneeling in front of the mirror. The moon was full, showing me the way my hands trembled and the way my mouth hung open, gasping for something I couldn't find. I closed my eyes and stuck my hand through just to see what it would feel like.

I was relieved when it didn't feel like anything. Not hot. Not cold. Just a peaceful numbness that traveled up my arm and nestled itself in my soul.

An Hour Ago

Fred James cornered me in an empty classroom. Biology was over. The teacher had gone to lunch. I stayed behind like I usually did, pulling my cheese sandwich and my can of Pepsi from my brown paper bag.

Fred sauntered into the room, shut the door behind him, and threw a handful of crumpled ones onto my desk.

“I hear you do this now,” he said.

“What?” I asked, pretending not to see the leer in his face. Maybe if I pretended hard enough, this wouldn't be real.

He touched my shoulder and I jumped up, putting the desk between the two of us. My seat was in the back corner, and the door seemed so far away. Still I tried. I scooted around the desk, but he was right there, the star defense of our football team, all muscles and brawn. He wrapped me up, and I screamed.

“Quiet!” he said. “Do you want to someone to hear?”

I bit his arm.

“Ow! You little --” He shoved me against the desk. I fell hard and started crying.

After that, he must have decided I wasn't worth it, so he grabbed his money and left.

I ran all the way home, through the woods and straight to the mirror. I collapsed in front of it, my hands and knees barely supporting me.


As I lift my head and see the purple around my eye and blood on my mouth, I know it has to end. A month ago, when I stuck my hand through the mirror, I'd felt a sliver of peace, and now its absence is a knife bleeding me dry. I have to feel it again, not just for a moment, but always.

I touch my fingers to the mirror, and just like the mouse, I don't look back.

Story by: Krystalyn

Photo by: Ksenia Klykova

Monday, April 2, 2012

Our First Inspiration Photo

As promised, here is the first photo that we will be using to inspire this month's round of stories.

(The artist's flicker page)

On Friday, our very brave Krystalyn Drown will post the very first Fiction Femme Fatale short story. Plan on dropping in and checking it out. If you have a moment, let us know what you think!