Shay stared blankly at herself in the cracked mirror. She lifted her arm and ran her right index finger along the split down the middle, tracing the break. The woman winced as the break pricked her finger. She glanced down at her index finger, a red bubble of blood forming. She rubbed her fingers together getting rid of the stinging feeling.
She wondered how the mirror got like that in the first place. She wondered who was around to break the mirror.
This wasn’t an ordinary mirror as it allowed Shay to take a look back into the past whenever she wanted to. She didn’t use it that often. She knew well enough not to dwell on the past. She regretted things she had done before, but the only reason she would look back on them was to find a way to fix her mistakes.
Shay wasn’t a good person. She tried to be, but things never turned out the way she wanted them to. Things never turned out well. It was all because she was cursed with double witch magic.
Most witches in her town came from one witch parent. Their mother or father was a mortal while the other was a witch. It just so happened that Shay’s parents were both witches, which meant double trouble for their daughter. They weren’t allowed to have children in the town’s eyes, but they didn’t listen. Now Shay was paying the price for their selfishness.
In fact, that was something Shay often looked at in the mirror. She enjoyed watching memories of her parents. They were both long dead after an accident happened when Shay was just a little girl.
She tried to convince herself that it wasn’t her fault. She was young and had no control over her powers. Yet, she still missed them dearly and had to grow up shunned away from the world trying to figure out her powers all on her own while trying to keep them in check at the same time.
Shay looked deeply into the mirror, but only one side showed her her parents. They were dancing in the middle of the kitchen of Shay’s tiny shack. It was their house that she inherited after their deaths.
She smiled at her parents dancing in the kitchen. Even in the darkest times, they always found a way to remain carefree. They loved each other very much. Shay then frowned realizing that was their last day alive.
Before Shay could watch anymore, she heard a sound coming from the other room. She snapped her head around to look over her shoulder, a slight panic beginning to build up inside her.
“Who’s there?” she called, turning her whole body around. She stared at the closed door hoping it wasn’t the town’s guards coming for her again. She hadn’t been outside in a few days. She hadn’t done anything.
“Who are you?” was the reply.
Shay stiffened. That was her voice. How was she answering herself? Where was it coming from?
She turned back around to face the mirror. The left side where her parents were dancing was now her regular reflection. The right side, on the other side of the deep crack, however, was Shay standing beside her mirror confronting a woman.
Her mouth gaped open wondering what that could possibly mean. She had never seen that woman in her life, so how could the mirror be showing her the past? And how come it was only showing up on one side of the mirror?
“Figure it out yet?”
Shay jumped and turned around. She took her wand out of her pocket and held it in front of her defensively. Then she recognized the woman as the same person in the mirror and dropped her guard just a little bit.
“Who are you?” Shay asked. It was then she realized what the mirror was doing.
The woman smirked. “You’re welcome. It now reminds you of the past and tells you about the future.” She pointed to the mirror.
Shay stood up tall and narrowed her eyes. “You broke my mirror? How? Why? And how did you get into my house?”
The woman rolled her eyes. “I don’t believe you’re asking the right questions, nor are you asking them to the right person… Or, thing.”
Shay raised an eyebrow, but kept a steady gaze on the woman. She had a feeling this woman was somehow talking about the mirror, but Shay didn’t dare turn her back on the hag.
“Are you a witch?” Shay asked.
The woman chuckled. “Again, you’re asking the wrong questions. But I guess I’ll humor you.” She walked along the perimeter of the room and sat down on a large, dusty armchair. “My name is Aspen. I used to be a witch.”
“Used to be a witch?” Shay repeated.
“I was stripped of my powers by the town mob a few years ago. My time as a mortal is almost up, which is why I’ve come to you.” Aspen explained.
“I didn’t realize the town could take away a witch’s power.” Shay muttered.
“That’s what you’re getting out of this conversation?” Aspen deadpanned. “No, the stupid mortals cannot take our powers away. They want to hang you. They hung me and I traded my powers for life.”
“You ask too many questions.”
Shay remained still staring at the woman.
Aspen sighed realizing Shay wasn’t going to let her questions drop. “Cats have nine lives for a reason, dear.”
Shay gasped. “You killed your cat?”
“No,” Aspen scoffed waving her hand, “Pixie still has four left. I only took one because after that my powers were gone. It’s an interesting price to pay… She lost the other three on her own trying to protect me in various battles eons ago.”
Shay opened her mouth, but closed it. She really didn’t have much to say. She was just as confused as ever.
“Anyway,” Aspen stood and pointed to her reflection, “I split that mirror for you—you’re welcome—so now you can see when the battle is going to begin. The town mob will be coming for you soon and you need to be prepared.”
“What do you care about me for?” Shay asked.
“I’m helping a fellow witch, an orphan. Be grateful, will you?”
“You’re not a witch anymore. How do you know all this stuff?”
“I may not have my powers, but I still remember my witch’s life.” Aspen stated.
Shay let out a deep sigh. Then she smiled. “So, you’re telling me that all I have to do iss find a cat, let the town hang me, and I can be mortal?”
Aspen scrunched up her face in disgust. “What a stupid child you are!”
Shay stiffened, taken aback.
“No!” Aspen exclaimed. “You don’t want your powers taken away. Something big is going to happen and you’re going to need all the help you can get.”
“I want my powers gone, though. Then I can live a normal life.” Shay explained.
Aspen looked at her cockily. “Turn around and gaze into that mirror. Tell me what you see and then decide whether it will be worth it to lose your powers or not.”
Shay stared at Aspen for a few moments wondering whether she should listen to her, wondering whether she should turn her back on this woman. Shay finally nodded her head and turned to face the mirror again.
On the left, were her parents staring and smiling back at her with their arms wrapped around each other. They weren’t doing anything, but they stared as though they could see their daughter on the other side, in the real world. It was almost as though they had been waiting for this moment and couldn’t wait to see her reaction to what she was about to see.
Shay peeled her eyes away from her happy parents and looked to the right side. But all she could see was her reflection. She furrowed her brows in confusion. She never had to ask the mirror to show her the past. It just always knew what she wanted to look back on. Why wasn’t the future working?
“Ask,” Aspen said.
Shay drew in a sharp breath keeping her eyes on the right side of the mirror. “Um, what’s my future look like?” she had no idea what she was supposed to ask, but she hoped that would suffice.
The mirror lit up and showed her entire town in ruin. Mortals were dead, witches were captured or hung. But that’s all the mirror showed. Shay turned away from it and looked at Aspen.
“What in the world is this?”
“The future of the town. I don’t care so much for the mortals, but did you notice that there were no witches to be found? Someone, or something, is getting rid of them. That’s where you need to come in.” Aspen explained.
Shay raised an eyebrow.
Aspen rolled her eyes. “You need to save the town. Save the other witches. You’re the only one strong enough to do it.”
Shay remained staring at Aspen with confused written all over her face.
“You have double powers!” Aspen shouted. “You don’t realize how strong you are because you were gifted with double magic.”
“Cursed,” Shay corrected through gritted teeth. “I was cursed with double magic. I killed my own parents.”
“Exactly, they weren’t here to teach you the importance of cats… How absurd…”
Shay glared at the old woman.
“Pick up a spell book and read it!” Aspen snapped. “Your powers wouldn’t be at such the low stage they are now if you had just practiced on your own, learned to control them. You wouldn’t have to hide in this filthy shack away from the townsfolk. You’d be able to wander around with the ability to act like one of them without batting an eyelash… Or blowing something up, whichever you prefer.
“Your magic really counts now. You need to figure out how to control the magic, accept the magic. Only then will you be able to do what you’ve been destined to do.” Aspen explained, her tone softening now.
Shay’s jaw dropped. Once she learns to accept who she is, she’ll be able to do what she was destined to do? This was her life, real life, not a fairy-tale book. What was this old woman thinking?
“Take a look in the mirror again if you don’t believe me.” Aspen pointed behind Shay.
She turned around and noticed the left side of the mirror was back to normal, but the right side showed Shay with her parents. Shay pointed to it with wide eyes.
“But… That’s not possible.”
“It is because you’ll end up dead soon enough. That is, if you don’t do anything about it.” Aspen said.
Shay turned around and swallowed a lump in her throat. She knew well enough not to trust strangers, and Aspen was a stranger. However, she also knew that the mirror never lied. If the mirror and Aspen were saying the same things, then Aspen must have been telling the truth.
Aspen picked up a satchel on the ground, something Shay didn’t notice she came in with, and the woman reached into the bag. She took out a maroon book. It was old, the binding was cracked and the cover was peeling.
“What is that?” Shay asked knowing very well what it was.
“This was my spell book when I was a witch. It was my favorite.” Aspen smiled. “There are so many good prank spells in here.”
Shay blinked slowly. Now was not the time to be thinking about tricking people.
“I pass this onto you.” Aspen outstretched both her arms, allowing the book to rest flat on both the palms of her hands. “This will help you save the world.”
Shay slowly took it out of Aspen’s hands, but kept a skeptical gaze on the old woman. She wasn’t entirely sure what to believe, but the mirror never lied. Shay was going to end up dead if she didn’t do anything about… Well, about whatever Aspen was anticipating. While Shay wanted to see her parents again, she certainly didn’t want to lose her life anytime soon.
Aspen smiled. “Open the book. Then everything will become clear to you.” She picked up her bag and turned around to leave.
“Wait,” Shay called after her, “you’re not going to stay and help me?”
There was no answer. The old woman was gone.
Shay sighed. She looked the book over, front and back. There were no words on it. It felt rough, the book was worn-out.
She looked over her shoulder to take another peek at the mirror. Her reflection stared back at her on both sides. Nothing was appearing and Shay didn’t know if that was because she didn’t ask for anything or if it was because the mirror had already shown her her fate as of right now. She dies.
Shay drew in a sharp breath and shrugged her shoulders. If she was going to die anyway, what did she have to lose? She opened the book. A white light shone through the pages and everything disappeared.