It was a little after eight now and even with the long-drawn-out summer evenings, the sun had long set. The young girl stood at the gate staring aimlessly into the darkness, her only comfort was the shadows of the trees as they danced around her feet. The garden seemed to stretch out forever like a velvet blanket as it disappeared into the darkness. The grass rippled softly, caressed by the cool night air but the girl just stood at the edge of the large wooden gate silently watching, studying the small cottage at the end of the overgrown driveway.

Time had taken its toll on its crumbling façade, even the doorway was now entombed in thick odorous vegetation and yet, she was intrigued by it, enchanted by it, she wanted to get inside so badly but something was bothering her. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t remember why she was there! That was the problem, the last thing she remembered was simply falling asleep. She closed her eyes trying desperately to remember how she had gotten here but her mind had gone blank, there was nothing; It was then that she realized, there really was nothing! There was silence all around her, the wind had stopped and the grass at her feet had ceased to move, it was as if time itself had abandoned her.

Up until now, she had been so caught up in the moment that she had not even realized that she was now standing before the doorway to the old cottage, its decay filling her nostrils like rotted leather. She couldn’t remember walking up the driveway or hearing her feet on the gravelled surface. She had simply closed her eyes and then the silence had come. She could feel the fear mounting inside her mind, scratching, tearing its way to the surface. Now she was struggling to breathe frozen in terror and for a brief moment, she felt paralyzed.

In the back of her mind she could hear the words "Run girl for God’s sake run!" but she couldn’t even blink let alone run. As if by instinct, she watched as her own hand reached out towards the door. It felt cold to the touch. As soon as her fingers touched the old wooden surface, a searing pain rushed through her forearm. She gritted her teeth and pushed hard against the door. Clouds of blackened dust billowed about her feet like tiny dancing demons. The pain seemed to be moving rapidly up towards her shoulder now and with one last fevered effort, she pushed with all her strength. The door swung open with a deafening "Screech"

The girl’s attention was instantly drawn to the doorway as slowly, yet deliberately a symbol began to appear. With each stroke the air became thicker, putrid, she could taste the dust in the air “burnt toast” she thought, as it settled once more around her feet. It was at that moment that she realized the dust was ash! The thick charcoal-like flavour engulfed her taste buds, choking her as now the symbol began oozing and dripping, its thick black essence running slowly down the doorframe. “Fuck, is that blood”? she screamed out loud, coughing and spluttering as small puffs of ash spewed from her mouth. She did not get a chance to answer her own question. From within the darkened room beyond the now open doorway, something had moved past the dimly lit window at the back and it had moved fast enough to refocus her attention to what lay beyond the door.

Trying to ignore the now fading image beside her, she stepped cautiously into the darkness of the room. The layout, much like the exterior of the house was rotten and derelict. As her eyesight adjusted to the shadows, she could now see the thick layers of soot, it covered nearly every surface like a soft veil. This worried her, as the only marks left in it were her own frenzied footprints. Even the air in the room was different, heavier. There was no movement of the dust, it was as if the atmosphere was stagnant, not even a breeze, even though there were clearly no windows in the frames. They had been broken long ago, possibly by some passing vandals or just weakened by the weather, either way, the shards of glass now lay buried, covered by the thick blanket of soot. Everything in this room screamed “un-natural” to her but for now, her attention was focused elsewhere!

There, hanging precariously above an old fireplace was an ancient-looking, metal frame mirror, which like the rest of the house, was covered in a layer of soot. She brushed lightly at the mirror with her fingertips. “At least the pain has stopped now,” she thought, as the dirt fell away in large clumps. She drew her hand back away from the mirror as if it had given her a jolt of electricity. “What the Hell”? She could clearly see in the mirror, another room. Perfectly decorated with all the fineries of a modern house but there was something vaguely familiar about it. “No, it can’t be!” She spun around on the spot, nearly falling through the rotted floorboards as her eyes focused on the dark shadows again, like a bird of prey looking for its next meal but she was sure of one thing, the room reflected in the mirror, was the room she was standing in but it was like the reflection was untouched, before the rot and ash had moved in.

Turning back to the mirror she froze! There, looking back at her with a menacing grin was her own reflection but its empty eyes stared back at her, unchanging, animated only by its own hidden agenda. Its smile seemed to spread slowly from ear to ear as it opened its mouth. Rows of teeth, twisted and rotten, glistened as it salivated, and then it spoke. The words dripped from its mouth like venom “I am thee and thou art I” It echoed about the room. Its twisted smile just seemed to grow even larger now. Again, and again it repeated the words “I am thee and thou art I”. The girl stumbled backwards in shock, this time the floor was not so forgiving. It opened up beneath her feet as if to swallow her whole. She only just managed to grasp one of the floor beams as she fell through the floor. She held herself in place as the entity began to work its way out from the frame of the mirror, its' now visible nails, curved like talons, made a horrific scraping noise as it slipped from the surface of the mirror-like a new-born baby, followed shortly by a gut-wrenching but muffled squelching sound as it hit the floor.

The girl let out a sudden yelp. She tried to scream but her throat was now dry from the combination of soot and fear. She panted hard kicking with her legs, pulling herself out of the hole. The creature, its body elongated and deformed, pulled and dragged its way toward her. With each movement, still repeating the words “I am thee and thou art I”. “What do you want”? she cried out as she backed up against the cold and yet unwelcome barrier of the wall behind her. The creature was moving faster now as it approached her outstretched legs, reaching for them with long and rotted fingers. She could smell it, taste it, and now feel it as it grabbed at her ankle. Panicking she turned, scrambling back towards the doorway but before she could clamber to her feet, the entity was upon her!

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