Wednesday 9 February 2022

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 238

This week's picture prompt is from author Lisa Shambrook, taken of an old mirror in her father's barn. 

This had to be another Tricky tale, I knew it as soon as I saw it. Exploring some characters & themes for the third book in the series. The last Tricky exploration was Week 237

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An image of part of a mirror set into a wooden lintel lying on the ground. Taken by Lisa Shambrook.

Man of Mirrors

When Annie had called him the Man of Mirrors Tricky had thought it referred to his vanity, and the way he liked to ponce about in his vintage top hat and tails. She didn’t doubt that he had a mirror or two to primp and poke at himself, but the problem was nasty people could try all they might to be good looking – and maybe on the face of it (pun intended) they were – but if you were ugly on the inside it always showed through. Stanislav was no exception.

But it turned out the mirrors didn’t allude to his penchant for self gratification in his reflection, it related to how bloody adept he was at using them to open time bubbles and portals to other places.

It hadn’t been something Tricky had expected. She was only just beginning to understand how he had managed to learn such skill. She had no idea that people of her ilk taught the ungifted, but it didn’t surprise her that it would be someone like Gandalf; he taught anyone anything, bugger the consequences. That’s how such craft got into the wrong hands, that and choosing to walk the darker path.

It didn’t half irk her though. Stanislav was a conniving bastard at the best of times, but with this kind of gift, it made him downright dangerous. And it meant she had to up her game too. She’d never had it tested like this before; no one other than her mother could match her – not even Gandalf , or Douglas Bottle as he was properly named. So how the hell had Stanislav managed to run rings round her? Or was he not alone? Was there someone else helping him? Then it dawned on her who that might be. It made sense. He had gifts beyond all of them.

For the first time in all of this, Tricky felt truly frightened. She’d had moments, like down there underground, when she hadn’t been quite sure she’d see daylight again, but this was something else. If they combined their efforts they could do more than just take over the landmass, they could control everyone and everything in it. In effect the people would become their prisoners. And having seen what they did to their prisoners, Tricky didn’t like that at all – oh no, not one little bit.

Tricky stood up in the barn she’d found to sleep in and brushed the hay off her clothes. She’d seen an old mirror near the entrance and had an idea. It was still set into the wood lintel that had once sat on a dresser. It didn’t give much reflection in the nightlight, but she wasn’t here to look at herself.

She shuffled about in her underskirts and pulled out the items she desired. The germwort and creasy had been easy to replace, they were abundant everywhere, but it had taken her a while to find the obsidian again. She was just glad she’d dropped it like Dufray had done, otherwise all of this would be pointless, including his sacrifice.

She placed them in her palm and gently squeezed. She heard the mirror crack, even though there was no mark, and the surface rippled like a lake. She squatted down and tested it with her hand. Yes, it had opened. She put her face into the surface. It was like putting your face into a bowl of water, except you could breathe on the other side.

She blinked her eyes and looked around. Yes, this was what she was looking for. She pushed the rest of her body through, until she clambered out the other side. It was like a white room with no doors.

She shuffled around in her skirts again, this time higher up. She didn’t think they’d found it when they’d taken her; she was sure it was still there. Then she felt the hard edge and pulled it out: A small palm-sized mirror. She was grateful to Nathan for giving it to her. He knew more about the things she needed that she had expected; enchanted glass always came in handy.

She held it up, facing it over her shoulder, and looked side on into it. She could just about see it; a faint colour round the edges. Then she moved it a fraction and the picture filled the mirror. There he was in Ferriston woods. He’d made his way back. You couldn’t miss that dumb hat of his. Stanislav might think he was able to outwit Tricky, but there was one crucial thing he seemed to miss, her affinity with trees. Not only could she place exactly where he was, she knew the trees he had just passed personally. Tricky smiled. 


  1. Love this!

    Here's mine... I did some writing! TheRavensCall

  2. Hey, look. Another story from the recently retired me.

    Ellen's Mirror

    1. Nice tale, nice and dark. I liked it. Thanks for joining.