The Game

“It’s your turn.”

“Why me?”

“Because you’re new.”

New? He’d lived here for ten years. Yet, he supposed he’d never really made an effort to get to know the neighbours. Not really. Not at all, in fact. He didn’t know any of these people. Hell, he wouldn’t recognise them if he passed them in the street. 

He wouldn’t have been here tonight either, if the invitation hadn’t been so intriguing. And if he’d not been suffering from writer’s block. It had been six weeks and he’d not written a word; not opened his laptop even.

They were looking at him, expectantly and he felt the need, suddenly, to apologise.

“I’m sorry I’ve never really made the effort to get to know any of you. I’ve lived here 10 years and probably kept myself to myself too much. It’s the work you see. It does that to you.”

The attractive young lady who’d positioned herself directly opposite him, smiled reassuringly. “Don’t worry. Everyone has busy lives; no-one really has time to look out for one another normally. And to be honest, we’re not the most sociable neighbourhood. Not since the accident.”

Oh, yes, the accident. Ten years ago, a forest fire had spread into town and destroyed many of the houses, leaving people homeless, destitute or dead. A few had rebuilt, but without industry, and with insurance almost impossible to obtain, the town had never recovered. It was its quiet loneliness that had first attracted him, and which had inspired the stories that might, possibly, make him rich, if the letter he’d received the other day was genuine.

“It’s your turn”, the young man to his right repeated. He seemed arrogant and angry. “Everyone has to look.”

This, it turned out, was the strange Halloween game he’d been invited to join.  

The invitation had been delivered by the young girl to his left who he’d simply found standing in the hall with the neatly written envelope in her hand. How the party he’d been invited to had ended up being here, in his own house, in his own dining room to be precise, he wasn’t sure. 

He’d imagined there was going to be a séance. But that hadn’t been the game at all.

“Come on!” The young man proffered the thing again and, reluctantly he took it. 

He glanced into it, feeling fear grasp his heart and squeeze it tight. He reminded himself it was just a game; just a trick.

“Very clever”, he stammered. He glanced at the thing again. He could see the wall behind him, the fire blazing in the grate, the clock upon the mantlepiece. He turned it slightly. And there, the bookcase, laden with unread books, the door, the lamp in the dark corner. It flickered slightly; perhaps the bulb needed changing.

Oh yes, he could see everything in the mirror. Everything except his own face.

Rod Webb
Oct 31 2020

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Intriguing with a clever twist at the end

Janette Ostle
Nov 1 2020