Story Saturday: The Mirror

"The Mirror"

Once upon a time, there was an ordinary girl in high school named Alexis who was very unhappy with her life. She felt as if she would never amount to anything and that nobody wanted to be friends with her. The other kids she went to school with liked to throw wads of paper in her thick frizzy hair and tripped her in the hallways. Every day, she wished that her life could be different, dreaming of the words that she read about in books and saw in movies. If she could be like the princesses she read about in fairy tales and go on real adventures, then she would be truly happy.

One day, she was walking to the bus stop when a piece of paper blew toward her and landed on the ground. It was a flyer for a new virtual reality experience called "The Mirror." It advertised that the experience would allow its players to live in a world of dreams where all of their fantasies would become reality. She could hardly believe her eyes. This was exactly what she had wanted. According to the flyer, they were looking for people to test it at a location nearby. Alexis watched the bus drive away and decided to go check out the place advertised on the flyer.

The building was surprisingly nondescript and didn't have a lot of visitors. There was a small lobby inside with a desk but no chairs to sit in. The walls were black and had no artwork or decorations adorning them. Alexis showed the flyer to the woman behind the desk and was led to a hallway containing many closed doors that all looked the same. She was brought inside one of them where he entered a small white room containing what appeared to be an ornate-looking mirror. The woman gave Alexis an opportunity to turn back, but she refused adamantly. After signing a contract, and the woman left her alone and closed the door.

Confused on what to do next, Alexis studied the mirror. It was taller than her and had a golden frame with an intricate pattern. She stared at her reflection inside the empty room. The mirror did not do anything. She couldn't find any plugs or batteries hooked up to it. Then, she thought about how much she hated her life and how she wished she could be part of a fairy tale. The mirror began to glow, beckoning her to imagine her idealized world. The more Alexis thought about her favorite fairy tales, the clearer the image became. She saw a reflection of herself in a shimmering pink gown standing in a glittering forest full of pixies and colorful flowers.

Without hesitation, Alexis placed her hand gently through the mirror, finding that it had no substance. Once she was on the other side, she was wearing the same beautiful gown and delicate tiara that her reflection had on just a moment before. In the mirror, she saw only pure white, as if the glass was made of paper. She didn't have much time to think about this when she heard the sound of crunching flowers getting increasingly louder. Glowing pixies flew away in every direction. A horrifying troll trudged closer and closer to her, decimating every flower in its path. It looked at her hungrily as if she was a midnight snack. Alexis turned around and ran away as quickly as she could.

The next thing she knew, she was being swept up by the most handsome young man she had ever seen with golden hair and a strong build. He placed her gently on a majestic white horse and brandished his sword to defeat the troll. After an epic battle, the man, who was clearly a prince, embraced Alexis and told her how relieved he was to see that she was safe. He took his place at the reigns of the horse and brought her to a beautiful castle with marble towers that glistened in the sunlight. When she asked him who he was, he simply told her that he was her prince and that he loved her with all his heart.

The next day, Alexis woke up between satin sheets and velvet blankets. A maid brought her the most delicious breakfast she had ever eaten, consisting of cinnamon rolls and pancakes. She selected a decorative corset and trousers to wear for the day from her wardrobe, remember how difficult it had been to escape the troll in her gossamer gown. After grabbing a bow and arrow from the royal armory, she set off in search of more adventures. She encountered a huge dragon that turned out to be far more troublesome than she could handle. Yet again, her prince came to her aid embraced her, telling her how much he loved her. She tried to ask him questions about himself and his life, wanting to get to know him better, but his answers were vague, always turning the conversation back to her.

The next few days continued like this. Alexis went on many more adventures that always ended in triumph. Some days, she needed the prince's help, and others she didn't. She soon grew bored of this life and wished to have a meaningful conversation with someone, but even her maid seemed to exist only to serve her. Maybe this wasn't what she wanted after all. She decided to search the forest and find the mirror that led back to her real body. She pinpointed the exact spot it had been when she arrived, but to her horror, there was no mirror.

She yelled up to the heavens and pleaded to return home to her own miserable life. At least there, people were real and complicated, and she didn't win every battle. She had to work hard to achieve her goals, and there were circumstances for all of her actions. Thankfully, her prayers were answered, and the mirror appeared before her once again. This time, though, it did not show her alternate self. Instead, she saw an image of her parents frantically making phone calls and crying over her empty bed. It looked so much smaller than the one she had now but so much more inviting at the same time. Even her pesky little brother looked sad. How long had she been away?

Alexis pummeled in through the mirror and hit her head on something soft. When she opened her eyes, she realized it was her own carpet. She had fallen through her bedroom window. Her family looked up, startled by the noise. As soon as they saw her, they ran to her and embraced her, telling her how much they loved how and how worried they had been. This time, it did not sound mechanical and rehearsed like it had with the prince. She knew that there was truth behind their words, and she was grateful to have such wonderful parents.

The next day, Alexis tried to show her parents the building that brought her to the mirror, but all they found there was an empty parking lot. She shrugged it off and continued to live her boring ordinary life where anything could happen. The school bullies no longer got to her. She made more of an effort to find new friends and relationships, taking pride in knowing that they spoke to her because they wanted to and not because they were programmed to. Deep down, she now realized that she was a princess all along.


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