I’m at a carnival with my friend, Sasha. The smell of cotton candy and popcorn fill the air.  High spirits are everywhere. Clowns dance around while kids laugh at the funny sideshow attractions. Sasha suggests that we go into the house of mirrors. I agree. As we hand the man our tickets we joke around with our popcorn, trying to catch it in our mouths. The first thing that I see when I walk into the funhouse is mirrors. Mirrors everywhere. I start to hyperventilate, my breathing starts to quicken, my heart beats faster. A misty ghost then comes out of the biggest mirror. I shriek loudly as it lunges at me. The ghost is just about to grab me when-

I wake up drenched in sweat. This is the third time I’ve had that dream this week. It always ends up the same way: I wake up before the ghost grabs me. I always know exactly what is going to happen, but it still freaks me out; it just seems so real. Unfortunately, my nightmare is something I have to worry about during the day too.

It all started when my great Aunt Cornelia died last fall. It was after the funeral, I was staring at my reflection in a beautiful mirror that Cornelia had left me. Then I noticed that a face, not my own, was staring back at me.  I turned around: no one was there. I looked back at the mirror. The face was still there. I screamed and dropped the mirror, causing it to shatter. I recognized that face: it was Cornelia.

After I recovered from the shock of seeing my dead aunt I took the pieces of the mirror and put them in a nearby box. That box has been sitting under my bed ever since.

As a result of my “mirror incident” as I call it, I have been afraid that the ghosts of dead people will come out and try to take me with them.

At first my parents didn’t realize how scared I was. That was until they saw my panic attack. I started to scream and wail. I wouldn’t stop, couldn’t stop until the mirror was taken away and I was sure that ghosts weren’t coming to get me. After my freak out my parents decided to call the doctor.

The doctor, Dr. Hanra, told me that I have catoptrophobia: the fear of mirrors. She told me that there are many different reasons that people have catoptrophobia. Some common ones are low self esteem (people don’t want to look at themselves), superstition, and in some cases (like mine) people are afraid because of a traumatic experience as a child involving mirrors. Dr. Hanra told my parents that I had been affected greatly and didn’t know if I would ever grow out of it. After that, the doctor talked to my parents while I sat in the hall, too nervous to try to listen at the door like I normally would.

After the appointment my parents removed all of the mirrors in my house. I was relieved that they were taking the whole thing so calmly. Now I try to avoid mirrors and hope not to get taken by a ghost.

One day I was walking along the sidewalk when I spotted a shard of a mirror lying on the curb. I didn’t have my usual panic attack, in fact, I didn’t feel scared at all, I felt this weird urge to pick it up. Why, I don’t know, but I picked it up even though I didn’t know what might happen. This decision would change my life forever.

When I looked into the mirror I saw a swirling mist behind me. I looked behind myself and, just like the “mirror incident,” there was nothing there. Suddenly with no warning, a hand came out of the shard. I tried to scream, but it was as if all the air was sucked out of me. The hand grasped for my neck, trying to grab me. The misty hand finally grabbed me and started to pull me into the broken mirror. It was as if I was in a washing machine, tumbling around with all the clothes.  My hands trembled with fright. All I could think about was that my fear was coming true.

A voice whispered inside my head,

I am Florence Nightingale. You, Hazel Florin, will suffer my wrath.

With that I was sucked into the mirror.

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