H
literature

Her Name is Mary

Daily Deviation
GDeyke's avatar
By GDeyke   |   Watch
55 46 1K (1 Today)
Published: August 27, 2017
I was about to close up and hang the sign on the door when the knock came, timid, as though it wasn’t quite sure that it wanted to be heard. For half a heartbeat I thought of leaving it unanswered, but no matter how late the night, turning custom away leads only to hunger; so I opened the door, and found before it a woman, with a large oval mirror clutched to her breast. It was an older piece, framed in tarnished silver, but her eyes were what caught me: large and dark, and almost frightened.

She hesitated a moment on the doorstep, until I waved her inside. “Come in,” I said. “Are you selling, then?”

She shook her head, setting the mirror down carefully, face-down, on one of my end-tables. “Only as a last resort,” she said. “Do you do repairs?”

The question startled me, and I checked in the midst of closing the door. “Generally not,” I answered at last, but closed it all the same. “I resell antiques, Miss –”

“Mrs Witherblume.”

“You’re married, then?”

She hesitated just long enough for me to think it odd, then gave a shrug with aspirations to nodding.

“People don’t usually come to an antique shop looking for repairs, Mrs Witherblume.”

“I expect you get things broken from time to time, though – surely you’re able to refurbish the odd enchantment?”

There was something desperate in her tone, and despite everything I found myself eager to be of aid to her. “I’m no expert,” I warned her, “but I’ll do the best I can. What’s the trouble?”

Mrs Witherblume gestured to the mirror. “It’s stopped working.”

I stepped around the table and began to lift it, careful to keep from scratching the glass. “What was it meant to do? Scrying, warding, communication?”

“Just the usual,” said Mrs Witherblume. “It reflected the one who stood before it.”

Again, for a moment, I found myself pausing. “Ah,” I said at last, and turned the mirror over.

It seemed, to my eye, to be working just as it should. It reflected the ceiling of my shop with no difficulty, and the jewelled birdcage I had hanging from a rafter gave it no pause. Just to be sure, I passed my hand over the glass: it shone back from the mirror just as it was, down to the white lace that trimmed my sleeves.

Of course, one must not be an artificer to know that a mirror’s reflection is no enchantment but a simple physical property of silvered glass. It would take a curse to darken it.

“Would you come here for a moment, Mrs Witherblume?”

She came to stand beside the end-table, and I caught up her hand. Her fingers were cold, even through the light black glove she wore. I passed our joined hands over the mirror: within it I saw only my own, clasped around empty air.

I became aware, suddenly, of the beating of my heart; of the blood that rushed through my veins; of my fingers, still intertwined with hers. I squeezed lightly and let them go.

“Do you have other mirrors at home, Mrs Witherblume?”

“Of course.” She hesitated a moment. “But none other that shows the viewer’s face at once, I think. There’s my hand-mirror, of course – I did make certain that one was still working. It was enough to fix my hair with, at least.”

“Is it glass too, then?”

“No – polished steel.”

I liked this less and less. I felt for Mrs Witherblume, with her dark eyes and gentle fingers and timorous demeanour; I did not want for the obvious answer to be the right one.

More to busy myself than in hope of finding something, I took up the little jewelled brass rod that I use to sort out the enchantments on my wares and felt through the auras of the glass and the silver and the frame. As I had feared, there was nothing there. The mirror was as ordinary as a mirror could be.

I set the rod aside and looked back up at her, holding her eyes with my own. “When did you first see that the mirror was – no longer working?”

“This morning,” she answered at once. “I brought it over as soon as I could. It wouldn’t do to have it around, with…”

“Yes,” I said when it was clear she did not mean to go on. “Mrs Witherblume, you had better sit down. Have a spot of tea.”

“You can repair it, can’t you?”

“Of course,” I said; and for that matter I could, if my fears were true. “But I do need to know how this came about. Mrs Witherblume, would you mind terribly telling me how you spent your day yesterday?”

“But I had nothing at all to do with the mirror,” she said, taken aback.

“All the same: humour me, if you would. What was the last thing you did last night?”

She hesitated, eyes wide, fingers cold against the cup of tea I pressed into her hands. “I don’t remember.”

-

Harold.

The name had been on the tip of her tongue all night, though she hadn’t dared to speak it aloud. Are you married? I’d asked her, and her silent nod-shrug answered: Harold. (Well, she wasn’t married any longer, for what little that was worth. Until death do us part, as the vow goes.)

She’d brought the mirror over as soon as she could. It wouldn’t do it have it around, not when Harold might see, might wonder. She never dreamed that he might already know.

It took two cups of tea and a glass of Scotch to get his name past her lips; but then the rest tumbled into place as neatly as anything. His sneering ownership of Mrs Witherblume, his temper, all the bruises she wore below her neckline. Even when she recalled, at last, his hands around her throat and the taste of blood below her tongue, she didn’t know what it meant that she awoke in the morning with her reflection in silver nowhere to be found.

“I’ll repair the mirror for you, of course,” I said. My skill with enchantment is small, of course – I am no artificer – but altering a mirror to show the dead is simple enough a task, and one I’ve had cause to practise before. “But, please – take this with you as well.”

I handed her a silver bauble, all wrapped in curses.

“Let it fall into Harold’s tea,” I told her, “and I promise you will be free of him.”

-

I found Harold Witherblume’s obituary in the paper some few days later. I never found Mrs Witherblume’s: with the mirror freshly enchanted, there was little cause for anyone to suspect she was anything but alive. I am still not fully certain whether she knows it herself.

Because I did her a kindness when I repaired her mirror, and because I shared tea and comfort with her, and because – perhaps – she took a liking to me as I did to her, I am a welcome visitor to the Witherblume place these days. I keep her enchantments in order as well as I can, of course, but I am no artificer. Mostly I come to share tea and comfort, to speak of this and that and other things. She is doing quite all right for herself, these days. Her freedom suits her.

Her name is Mary.
Recommended Literature
D
Drowning Love
1 You have found easy prey. A man has taken to walking the beach at night, alone. From underwater you watch him through the rippling surface. But you haven’t taken him yet. Why? Why do you watch him every night even though you hunger for his flesh? I feel so alone. (Go to 4) Enough of this. I must eat. (Go to 10) 2 You walk a beach at night, unclothed and soaking wet. A man sees you and for a moment he is stupefied, helpless in your beauty. 3 You take your man to the ocean floor where the giantess of the sea resides. She goes to crush you with her leviathan hand but stops when she sees your man. You intuit it has been a long time si
M
Milking It
    “Well now, this is inconvenient for both of us.” The brownie sat cross-legged on the kitchen floor across from Nicki. “We both know what will happen to you if I return empty handed; but I know what will happen to me – and believe me when I say you’re the lucky one.”    Nicki blinked slowly. The world was blinding, fuzzy, and somehow upside down.    “Look; my own self-interest aside for the moment, you’ve always been such a good provider. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume for the moment that there’s some exceptional reason for tonight’s lapse?
L
Late Stage
She screams as her face changes. I don’t understand why – I’m fixing it for her. I remember her face as clear as day, after all; the velvet-soft wrinkled skin, the silver bangs framing her face, the eyes like windows to the sky itself, crystal clear and uplifting as daylight. I know what I’m doing. But something isn’t right. Who is this woman? My wife hates white blouses, and her voice is all wrong. I lift my hands away, and the person beneath my fingertips staggers back and collapses, amidst a chorus of screams and the sound of someone throwing up. Doctors are everywhere. Good, I think, They can help that poor
© 2017 - 2019 GDeyke
Written for A Game of Genres, Week 2. Paranormal mystery, under 1500 words.

Wordcount: 1240.

DD 12.09.2017: Thank you so much to everyone who reads and comments, and especially to akrasiel for featuring!
Recommended Literature
D
Drowning Love
1 You have found easy prey. A man has taken to walking the beach at night, alone. From underwater you watch him through the rippling surface. But you haven’t taken him yet. Why? Why do you watch him every night even though you hunger for his flesh? I feel so alone. (Go to 4) Enough of this. I must eat. (Go to 10) 2 You walk a beach at night, unclothed and soaking wet. A man sees you and for a moment he is stupefied, helpless in your beauty. 3 You take your man to the ocean floor where the giantess of the sea resides. She goes to crush you with her leviathan hand but stops when she sees your man. You intuit it has been a long time si
M
Milking It
    “Well now, this is inconvenient for both of us.” The brownie sat cross-legged on the kitchen floor across from Nicki. “We both know what will happen to you if I return empty handed; but I know what will happen to me – and believe me when I say you’re the lucky one.”    Nicki blinked slowly. The world was blinding, fuzzy, and somehow upside down.    “Look; my own self-interest aside for the moment, you’ve always been such a good provider. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume for the moment that there’s some exceptional reason for tonight’s lapse?
L
Late Stage
She screams as her face changes. I don’t understand why – I’m fixing it for her. I remember her face as clear as day, after all; the velvet-soft wrinkled skin, the silver bangs framing her face, the eyes like windows to the sky itself, crystal clear and uplifting as daylight. I know what I’m doing. But something isn’t right. Who is this woman? My wife hates white blouses, and her voice is all wrong. I lift my hands away, and the person beneath my fingertips staggers back and collapses, amidst a chorus of screams and the sound of someone throwing up. Doctors are everywhere. Good, I think, They can help that poor
Comments46
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Sign In
WishingUnderThatStar's avatar
WishingUnderThatStarHobbyist Writer
This is really good. It pulls you in and keeps you interested right until the end.
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
Thank you! :D I'm glad you enjoyed it!
neurotype's avatar
neurotypeHobbyist General Artist
I think this does a good job of straddling the line between the obvious and unexpected. Like, there's clearly something off with the woman, but there's not an exact reason to think death until you say so. It's not so out of the blue as to not make sense, but it isn't necessarily the only option.
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
I was actually somewhat worried it would be too obvious, so it's great to hear that. Thank you!
MikesScribbles's avatar
MikesScribblesHobbyist General Artist
And in a time or place lacking any other meaningful thing to buy, sell , or give a measure of comfort is a thing of infinite worth when spent, and holds not value when hoarded.
Well done.
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
:nod:

Thank you!
FaolSidhe's avatar
There is great tenderness in the writing. The antique dealer is such a gentleman.
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
Thank you! ;)
SCFrankles's avatar
SCFranklesHobbyist Writer
So beautifully and delicately done, and so moving. I love this strange but still recognisable world you've created.  

Congratulations on the DD! ^__^ 
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
Thank you! I really am pleased with how this one turned out. :D
LiliWrites's avatar
This is sweet! Well, as sweet as a story about a murdered woman can be. :) Congratulations on the DD. 
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
Aw, thank you!
Memnalar's avatar
MemnalarHobbyist Writer
Well done. I like it very much.
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
I'm very glad to hear it. Thank you!
kyjaybob's avatar
wow, I love to read,  Great piece.  I look forward to more. 
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
Thank you - and thank you for watching! :D Welcome to dA!
Erzsabet's avatar
ErzsabetProfessional Artisan Crafter
This is good, I quite enjoyed it. I don't often stop to read lit pieces, but this one caught my eye and I had to open it to read the rest of it.
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
Thank you! :D I'm delighted to hear that it caught your interest.
Loksuven's avatar
LoksuvenHobbyist General Artist
Book This is a real page scroller; after I saw the first few sentences in the thumbnail, I just had to read the whole thing!
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
Glad to hear it. :D Thank you so much for watching!
salyssong's avatar
salyssongHobbyist General Artist
this song came up when i red this:

When your time is over
And we come down to take you away
You better pray to Jesus
May the serpents of god lead your way

And when you find salvation
In revelation
This is the son of the earth

And the you cross the liar.
The devil's fire
Mother as sign of rebirth

Mother Mary is a bird of prey
Bird of prey
Bird of prey

When your life is over
And the angels are falling from grace
And in the eyes of Judas
You're born on the darkest of days

An when you find elation
Illumination
You are the son of the earth
And then you kill the liar.
In Satan's fire
Hell is a sign of rebirth

Mother Mary is a bird of prey
Bird of prey
Bird of prey

Stand up and pray!

"Mother Mary Is A Bird Of Prey"-Powerwolf
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
Now there's a nice coincidence. Powerwolf are awesome. Horns 
EricVonSchweetz's avatar
EricVonSchweetzHobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on the DD!
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
Oh, wow. :o Thank you!
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Sign In
©2019 DeviantArt
All Rights reserved