The Mirror and the Storybook

 

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Chapter 1

 

 

I don’t know my last name, or any of my family, for that matter and I’m just fine with that, although, if I could, I would find them, no matter how long it took.  My name is Emily, but my friend, calls me Em, I live in the old, dilapidated Homebound Orphanage, mostly keep to myself, and like to read; but enough about me, my best friend is Jamie.  Same as me, she doesn’t know her last name, but at least she knows her family and was promised to have them back in a few years.  And if I had to guess, I’m probably the same age as her-14.  I have been in this orphanage for a very long time, I don’t even know how old I am.  “Girls!” Miss Mary harshly called from the hallway, the lights were turned on and the girls were awoken, (I believe I forgot to mention that this is an all girl orphanage), and led towards the kitchen.  There were roughly 200 girls at the orphanage but, I usually only pay attention to myself and Jamie (unless there’s drama, then Jamie and I quietly listen to it).

I usually meet Jamie at breakfast but, sitting at the table, I don’t see her yet and we have been eating for about 5 minutes and I still don’t see her.  It was then that I heard muffled yelling and a scuffling in our room, I was surprised when I only saw about 30 girls, including me.  Like I said, I keep to myself and Jamie, but I hurried towards the room (and yes, all 200 girls share one room, it’s actually a gym transformed into a large bedroom) but I wanted to make sure Jamie wasn’t involved.  There was a tall, dark figure standing above a small, curled up girl, Louise, I think her name was.  Three girls rushed to her aid, her best friends, but I just stood there wondering why they weren't afraid of the figure, looming over them.  Still watching the dark figure, I saw it move its hand over Louise, passing it just above her.  A dark, purple haze seemed to emanate from its hand and fall slowly on top of her unconscious body, seeming to enter her, but no one seemed to acknowledge it, Weird, I thought, thinking of the many things this figure could do to harm them, and still standing way back, enough for a herd of cows to pass between us, if they really wanted to.

    Suddenly, the dark figure turned towards me, slowly raise its arm shoulder-level, and pointed at me.  I turned behind me to see Jamie running towards me, asking what happened, and when I turned around, the dark figure was gone.

 

Louise was carried to the nurse's office by Miss Mary, whilst, of course, being followed and pestered by her three friends-I forgot their names, of course, forgetful me.  The other girls, Jamie and I included, were herded back to the dining hall to continue our breakfast as if nothing had happened.  

As Jamie and I sat down, I continued my breakfast while she started hers, I asked, “Where were you?”.  

“Bathroom.” Jamie, little shameless Jamie, replied.  

“Did you see that random dude standing over her?”  

“Who? Oh, Louise? Yeah, um.”

I waited for a bit, but my impatience got the better of me, “C’mon, you don't really miss a 7 foot tall mysterious dark figure standing over a little girl.” Louise was about 6 years younger than us, so 8-ish.  

“Hm, I don't think so.”  

“What?  How am I the only one who saw it, he pointed at us, too.”  

“Hm.” was the only answer I got.  

“I'm only telling you this because you’re probably the only one who won't think I'm crazy.”  

“Oh, you're definitely crazy,” she replied, stuffing her face with bacon, “mostly because you're not eating this delicious food.”  She was right about that, I had stopped eating to have this conversation about things that probably didn't exist, but I was starving, my stomach growled at me as I stalled to eat, so I began to eat my ‘delicious bacon’ with Jamie.

 

After breakfast was free-time, Jamie and I usually sit in the reading corner, we only read about half of the time, but no one else reads, (out of 200 girls, only 2 read, crazy, I know) so no one minds that we sit there and talk.  Actually no one minds us at all, that's how we can listen in on other people's conversations without getting in trouble.  

Other than that, during free time we listen to other people’s conversations, since now is pretty much the only time to do that, and today and now is the perfect time to listen in because of Louise’s attack.  Jamie said she wanted to go listen to Mar because she always spread drama, so it was to her and her sister that we snuck.  Luckily they were sitting on their beds and we sleep right beside them, so we sat on our beds and pretended to read and take notes.  They didn’t seem to notice, or at least not to care, that we were sitting literally right beside them.  

We made it there just in time for the drama, and Mar was the one to start it, “Did you see Louise getting carried to the nurse’s office?  I heard she was trying to leave the orphanage and Miss Mary beat her up.”  

What?” her sister, Beatrice, added fuel to the dramatic flames, “Well I heard that someone snuck in and tried to smother her with a pillow.”  

“No way, there wasn’t anyone else in here, so it couldn’t have been that.”  Now, that put my brain into action, they didn’t see anyone else, either.  So that narrows it down to a few things: They somehow missed him-no, it, they just weren’t looking, or I am literally going insane.  I am really hoping it isn't the latter, for my sake.

    Bea, that's Beatrice's nickname, and Mar got up and walked off, looks like I missed the drama.  

“Did you hear that?” Jamie asked me.

“Well,” I admitted, “no, I may have been thinking during most of it.”  

“You mean ‘daydreaming’.” Jamie probed.  

“No!  I really was thinking this time.”  

“Okay, well, it seems that we're not the only ones eavesdropping, they said they heard Miss Mary and Miss Jill talking through the wall.  Miss Mary said she found a ‘really weird and suspiciously placed mirror in the wall.’”  That struck me as weird, and not only did I think the mirror in the wall was weird, “Why was Miss Mary in the walls?  That's kinda creepy.”  

“I don't know,” Jamie agreed, “but it is weird, maybe she has to clean the walls or something.  Anyway, that's probably not important for right now, at least.”

“Heh, or maybe she hides things there,” I mocked, “like stuff she steals from us or something.”  

“Hm,” Jamie joked, “I think we’re more interesting and create more drama than Margaret and Beatrice.” Margaret is Mar's full name.

    “Hey-,” I started.  

“You wanna sneak out at night and see the mirror?” Jamie said.  

“You took the words right out of my mouth.” I replied, and we began planning our escape into the walls.

 
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Chapter 2

 

That night, once we were sure everyone was asleep, we slowly slid out of our beds noiselessly and tiptoed in our soft, white, sheep-like socks across the hardwood gym floor to one of the hallways leading away from it.  

“So, what now?” Jamie asked, whispering, even though I felt like we’ve been over this like, a million times now.  

I sighed, and whispered in response “Okay, so, we sneak into the utility closet (since it is used for more than just tools, seeing as this is an all girl orphanage) and look behind posters and boxed and other stacked stuff, and look for a door or hole or something.”  

“Oh, okay, I remember now.” Jamie whispered back, blaming her terrible memory for most likely making sure I remembered the plan.  We snuck slowly and carefully across the old, creaky, stained, purple carpet of the hallway, the smell of old wood entered my nose, I smiled, I have always loved the smell of old wood, you know, like when you walk into an old, wooden house and you smell what can only be described as ‘old’.  Jamie, on the other hand, hated the smell, and I could hear her behind me, silently complaining.

    We finally reached Homebound Orphanage’s utility closet, I slowly and quietly grabbed the squeaky, rusted, silver handle of the closet door, I winced as it squeaked with its age, and finally clicked open.  We snuck in the utility closet and began slowly and silently moving the boxed stacked on the walls and I peeled a poster with circles on the side with monkeys, ballerinas, and a lion, there was an elephant standing on one foot on a pedestal in the middle of the poster.  I assumed it was of a circus and began to peel it off of the wall, I grabbed the top left corner of the poster and peeled it slowly.  

When about ⅓ of the poster was off of the wall, I turned my head to see Jamie looking behind a large poster, nothing.  I heard a crisp, sharp, crackle behind me, and when I looked around back to the poster, I hadn’t stopped trying to pull it off of the wall whenever I turned around, there was a large tear going from the middle of the left side all of the way to the elephant’s trunk.  When I turned back around, Jamie had the same face as I did-terrified, eyes wide, mouth open, and our faces were pale.  

“I’m sorry!” I whispered, hoping both that Jamie wouldn’t be mad at me and that we won’t get caught, because we’re not allowed to be out of the bedroom at night.  

“It’s okay,” she replied, “it was my idea too, we can tape it, I’m sure they don’t pay too much attention to that poster.”  

“Yeah,” I replied, trying to be helpful, “I think I saw some clear tape in that box over there that says ‘art supplies’.”  As Jamie ran over to the art supply box (even though there is not a lot of room to run) and began to rummage through, I began to put the poster back on the wall, we could see behind the tear in it that there was no hole, big enough for us at least, behind the circus poster.  Jamie came back with the clear tape that I had seen in the box and she pulled the tape out of the dispenser, all the way out, there was only about an inch left in the dispenser.  The expressions on our faces multiplied.

“It’s okay,” Jamie said, seeming to try to comfort herself more than me, “we can make this work, we just need to tape the edge of it, then the rest won’t be able to be seen, right?”  

“Uh, y-yeah.” I said, trying to hold the poster tight enough to where you can’t see the tear easily.  She taped as much as she could of the tear, starting at the edge, when she came close I could hear her breathing as heavily as I was.  It was 12:00 a.m., bells started to ring to signify the hour, maybe since they’ve been there so long, no one will wake up because they’re used to it.

Jamie got the tape on, when we backed away and looked at it from afar, I said, “Well, it looks good.”  

“Hopefully good enough.” Jamie replied, “But we didn’t find any hole or door or-anything that will help us into the wall.  Maybe we should just give up, it is just a mirror, after all.  Also, I don’t want to get in trouble.”  She was right, I don’t want to get in trouble over a mirror, either.  But my curiosity took hold.  

“I don’t want to get in trouble, either, but maybe the mirror will reveal something about what happened to Louise, or why only I saw that-that dude.”  I waited a moment before continuing, hoping that she would jump in, but to no avail, “Look, you can go back to bed, but I’m curious, and we are the ones doing this because no one notices us.  They have like, 198 other girls to look after, even if they do notice that we’re gone, whether it be tonight or in the morning, they’ll probably just ignore it.  If someone else finds out, then...well, we’ll be back before they notice, anyways.”  

“Wow,” Jamie said, as she realized the same thing as I just did, “you plead a very good case to just find a random mirror in the wall, I guess that just proves how boring life in an orphanage can get.”  

“Well,” I tried to defend, “I’m curious, and why shouldn’t we?”  

Jamie sighed, “That’s true, I suppose I’ll go with you, but if we get found, I’m saying you forced me too.”  

“Okay,” I said, happily, “fair enough, but don't worry, we won’t get caught.”  

“And Em, that’s why you’re my friend.”  

I smiled, and said teasingly, “You know you love sneaking around.”

“So, how are we gonna get in the walls?” Jamie asked me, whispering again, “there’s not exactly a giant sign with a big arrow pointing the way.”  

“Well, Miss Mary found it, right?  So maybe there's something in her room.” I replied, hoping she would still come.  

“But the staff all share a room, don't they?” she asked.  

“Yeah,” I replied, “Miss Mary wants her own room, but the others are just fine with it.”  

“Oh, that’s gonna make it even harder.”  I smiled, patted her on the back, and began to lead the way.

 

We finally reached the caregivers’ room, but when we looked just above the door, there was a bell, I suppose this was for occasions like this one, where some of the girls try to sneak into their room, but this was for a good cause.  But maybe if we only opened it just enough for us to fit through but not wide enough to ring the bell.  This door and handle, unlike the one for the utility closet, were shiny and new, so I was able to open it with ease.  

“You go first,” I whispered, “you’re smaller, you could get through and hide in case I accidentally ring the bell.” which was true, in my opinion, she looked like a stick figure.  

“Okay,” Jamie reluctantly replied, “But, Emily, if you get me caught and then leg it-”  

“I won’t get you caught, and even if I did I wouldn’t leave you.”  

She sighed and began to sidle through, turning her body to get each leg through, the whole time she had a grimace on her face, scared of getting caught.  Once I could no longer see her in the darkness of the caregivers’ room, she whispered through the crack, “Okay, I’m through, I’m gonna go hide now.”  I heard her soft footsteps on what looked like, in the dim light of the hallway, their green carpet.

    Now it was my turn, I felt my facial features turn into a grimace, and my breath turn quick and short.  I slowly eased my left leg through the door-safe, it fit through easily.  Now for my torso-I sucked in and held my breath, I tried to flatten myself as much as I could, holding the door as I did, trying to hold it steady in case I bumped it-safe.  I began to breathe again, but still only short and shallow.  I turned so I was facing the door again and began to drag my right leg through, once it was most of the way through, I just decided to fall backwards and catch myself, I then eased myself to the ground and began to breathe normally again, my face relaxing.

    I stood up and began to walk towards what seemed to be Jamie waving me to her from a side room leading away from all of the sleeping caregivers.  We seemed to be safe-for now, at least.  

“Look at what I found,” Jamie said, full of pride, “ I was looking for a hiding spot and I found this wooden doggy-door thingy in the wall.”  

She lead me to something that looked exactly like she described it-a wooden doggy-door thingy in the wall, “That must be it!” I whispered excitedly, “C’mon, let’s go.”  I bent down and pushed it open, then I got in an army-crawling position and began to crawl through.  

“Oh,” Jamie teased, “so you can fit through a doggy-door, but you can’t fit through a human-door.”  

I smiled, “Yep!  That’s about right.”  

I could hear Jamie laying down and crawling behind me, there was a short tunnel about the same size as the door we crawled through.  We soon came to what seemed to be a dead-end, my claustrophobia began to set in, I started to regret that I crawled through here so readily.  

Jamie knew what was wrong even when I didn’t even realize I was giving it away, “You okay?” she asked, sympathetically.  

“Mmhm.” I replied, not trying to be rude, but trying to keep my fear bottled up.

    We reached the dead-end, which ended up not being a dead-end, yes, there was a wall at the end, but you could stand up, and there was actually some elbow room.  So I stood up and moved out of the way so Jamie could stand up, we figured no one would hear us so we talked more normally, but still, of course, didn’t get to a yelling point.  

“Which way is it?” Jamie asked me, there were two choices, left and right, but I figured Homebound Orphanage’s walls were like a maze,

“Let’s go...left!”  If I had to choose left or right, it would always be left.  I turned left and began to walk through the wooden walls that had plaster in between the boards.

As we walked through the small hallway within the walls, we had to step over stray boards and even a few mouse traps, “Well, I guess we know why Miss Mary was in the walls now.” suggested Jamie.  

“Yeah,” I added, “and now we also know that the orphanage has mice.  And where your homework went.”  I smiled and pointed at a piece of paper with lots of writing on it, along with Jamie’s name.  Not only was there writing on it, but there was also a corner missing on the top left of it, chewed off by a mouse.  

“Oh, no!” Jamie complained, “I worked on that for a week!  My second one definitely wasn’t as good.”  She sighed, “Too late now.”

    After we had been walking for a good while, we heard the bells ring two o’clock, I suppose we missed the bells ring one o’clock.  We then saw a light off through a corridor to our right, I looked behind me at Jamie, but she only shrugged, so I turned down the corridor and began to walk at a faster pace.  The corridor was relatively short, and at the end of it, a glowing mirror with a white stand, the mirror itself was about four feet high, but it seemed to be emanating a light blue light.

“Woah,” I mused, “how is it glowing?”  

We both looked around, “I don’t know,” Jamie answered, “I don’t see any light to reflect in it.”  As I walked closer, I began to see myself in it, black hair, freckles, and relatively short and fit, except, instead of long hair, it had short hair and the facial features of a boy, weird.

“Hmm.” I pondered, I touched my hand lightly to it and I began to feel a tingling sensation beginning in my arm and spreading throughout my body, I tried to pull my hand back, but to no avail.  My hand was stuck to the mirror, I kept trying to pull my hand back, but then my male reflection reached his hand out, grabbed my wrist, and began to pull my hand in.  As my hand disappeared into the mirror and he began to pull my arm into it, I panicked more and more.  

“Jamie! Help!”  I called, I pulled harder and harder and Jamie grabbed my shoulders and pulled with me.  The mirror pulled harder and faster, now my whole arm was inside the mirror, Jamie grabbed my remaining hand, my legs were sucked in.  I was only able to get in one word before the rest of my body was sucked into the mirror, “Jamie!”

 
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Chapter 3

 

It was cold in the mirror, I looked around, all I could see was a light blue void, the same color as the light coming out of the mirror originally.  Other than the blueness, there was the boy that I saw in the mirror standing in front of me.  

“What’d you do that for?!” I said, annoyed.  

“Well,” he started, he sounded just like me, “I saw you, you’re Emily, right?  We’ve been looking for you.”  

“How do you know my name?” I interrogated, “Who’s we?  And who are you?”  

“Umm, well, I’m Ethan, I’m your twin, and our family has been looking for you.”  I couldn’t get words to form in my mouth, so I just stood there, my mouth gaping.  “I understand your shock and confusion, but if you’ll just come with me, I’ll explain everything.”  

“Wait,” I interrupted, “how do I know you’re not going to kidnap me if I follow you?”  

“You don’t really have much of a choice, since, as you might’ve observed, you’re in a portal at the moment.”  

“N’kay.” I confusedly agreed.

Ethan led me through what seemed to be invisible walls.  We walked for a few more minutes and then the blue void began to disappear and be replaced with luxurious green grass stretched across a vast plain, mountains in the distance, and forests surrounding the mountains.  I could see a kingdom on a hill a mile or so away and a faint figure flying through the sky, bat wings, lizard tail, dinosaur head-a dragon?  

“This,” Ethan welcomed, “is Foxmoor, the only kingdom in Silverden that has an alliance with the dragons.”  I was shocked once more, but my shocked face soon turned happy as a wide smile spread over my face, unable to be stopped no matter how hard I tried.

    Ethan must have seen my excitement because he began to lead me towards the kingdom, telling me stories and legends of Foxmoor and Silverden.  Ethan explained to me that Silverden has four moons, but only one of our moons are inhabited. 

"Oh, okay” I replied.  After about an hour of storytelling and walking, we had reached the kingdom, but right in front of the large wooden doors, standing on the stone path, Ethan had us stop.  

“I don’t want to introduce you to everything too fast, so I’ll take you to Foxmoor’s library.”  I smiled as he led me through a small door beside the gate and into a massive library, it was two story and there were bookshelves lining the walls, and the walls were 10 feet high, too.

    The library had two stories, the top of which looked like an inward facing balcony, acting as both a floor for the second level, and a ceiling for the first.  Under the supposed balcony to our left was a door leading into the library, there didn’t seem to be a lot of room out there, but I could see grass, flowers, and two benches.  To our right was another door that I bet leads into the city, when I turned around, the door we had just come through had another iron door behind it, I guess that is for security purposes, seeing as it leads out of the walls.  There was a man behind the counter to the left of the door, he looked very thin and frail, with a thin beard down the middle of his chin, the brown of it contrasting with his pale white skin.  He was sitting behind the counter and, nodding at Ethan, continued his reading, it didn’t look like he planned on listening in on our conversation.  I’m assuming that man opened the door when he saw Ethan and I coming through the barred windows around the library.

    Ethan sat on a chair and gestured for me to sit in a chair across from him.  

“Questions?” he asked.  

Which I think was an insane question but I answered anyway, “Well, yes, but it would take way too long to ask them all, even if they all had a short answer.  But, I guess, for right now, down to business.  Who was that dark figure standing over Louise in the orphanage?”  A confused and worried look came over his face and he only pushed an open book towards me.  “What is this?” I asked Ethan.  

“Em, if you don’t mind me calling you that, this is the Storybook, it has anything and everything you need to know about pretty much everything in Silverden.  It says here,” he pointed to the page it was open to, it said ‘Dark Cloaks’ at the top of the page above a picture of what I had seen in the orphanage, “that the dark figure you saw, is a dark cloak, only those from Silverden can see them, and you are originally from Silverden.  And dark cloaks are a very powerful race whose goal is to help take over all of Silverden, and Earth.”  

“Wow.” is all I could manage, a few minutes passed of thoughtful silence, then, “Okay, second question, who is my-our family?”  

“Our parents are the king and queen, and we have two sisters and one brother.”  

“Really?” I asked, the news finally sinking in as my eyes beginning to tear up, my mouth once more stretching into a smile across my face. 

“Yes,” Ethan stood up and sat beside me, wrapping his arm around my shoulders in a comforting way, “you have a family now.”  

“My whole life I have dreamt of having a family, dedicating days, months even, dreaming, drawing, writing, of having a family.  And now I have one.”  We spent a few minutes there, me trying to compose myself after hearing the surprising news that I just got-I have a family, my very own family.  While he comforted me, Ethan, my brother, my twin, was comforting me.

“Okay, third question,” I interrogated, “how did I get here through a mirror?”  

“Well,” he answered, “that place just on the edge of the forest-where we came here from-contains a portal, and going through that portal will open another portal on Earth, which just happened to be that mirror.”  

“Oh, wow.

We talked for a few more minutes until Ethan suggested probably the best idea I’ve ever heard, “I believe you are ready to have a tour of the city, any more questions before we head on?”  

“Nope!” I replied, excitedly and partially untruthfully, I wanted to know if there was any way I could get back to the orphanage and see Jamie just one more time before her family comes back, the police start looking for me, or I set out on this big adventure with my family, but I guess that can wait until I get a tour of the city.

    “This,” Ethan began, opening the door of the library facing the city, “is the kingdom of Foxmoor.”  The city was full of bustling people on their way to the marketplace or back to their homes which were neatly scrunched together throughout the city.  My jaw dropped open, I couldn’t help it, “Woah.”  That was all I could get out, what was I supposed to say?  ‘Cool?’

 No, this deserves better, this deserves an essay or something, but I was breathless.

    “Now then, shall we?” Ethan continued, starting to walk towards the marketplace, which was in between us and-a castle?  

“Wow,” I tried, beginning to regain my breath, “is-is that?”  

“Yes,” Ethan answered, “that is our home-the castle.”  ‘Wow,’ I thought, ‘if being my mirrored image in male form isn’t a dead giveaway, the fact that he knew exactly what I was going to say should be quite enough proof that he’s my twin.’

    “C’mon, let’s go!” I said excitedly, I would leave him but he’s my twin and, y’know, I would get super lost even though you can see the castle from miles away.  Ethan only sighed and began to lead the way towards the giant castle-our home.

 
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