The Reflection

Submitted into Contest #101 in response to: Write a story that involves a reflection in a mirror.... view prompt


Fantasy Sad Teens & Young Adult

Magnolia gently ran her fingers over the worn leather spines of the stack of books; Spells for Aspiring Mages, The Official 21st Century Potion Cookbook, The History of Magic, and The Laws & Regulations of Mages. She’s read The History of Magic, and The Laws & Regulations of Mages. However, her mother forbids her from spells or potions until she’s eighteen, though the law states Mages can begin practicing magic on their sixteenth birthday.

“Magnolia Opal, quit touching those!” her mother, Narcissa, scolds, “This is why I don’t take you anywhere with me.” she huffs as she slaps Magnolia’s hand.

“I’d really like to read these, Mother.” Magnolia pleas.

“You’re not old enough for Spells and Potions, they’re too dangerous.” 

“But I’ll be eighteen by the next full moon and I won’t know any spells.” Magnolia reasons.

“On the next full moon, you’ll be eighteen and then you can learn all the spells and potions that you want.” Narcissa says sternly as she wanders further into the shop. 

Magnolia enjoys going to the Magic Shop with her mother. Each object radiates with magic, sending a euphoric feeling of power through Magnolia’s body, she loves it. She hurries to catch up to Narcissa before her absence becomes noticed. 

Past the oak tables stacked with leather bound books, through a narrow corridor lined with shelves; full of potions, herbs, enchanted trinkets, toads’ feet, and etc., down a winding staircase, Magnolia finds Narcissa admiring herself in a large silver, oval mirror. The mirror appeared ancient, yet the silver had no tarnish. 

“Don’t I look amazing?” Narcissa chimes to herself. She truly is beautiful; her black, wavy hair falls to her shoulders, her eyes a deep emerald, suits her delicate face and fair complexion.

Magnolia glances around, dirt covers the floor and cobwebs decorate each corner of the stone walls, yet every object in the room is completely spotless. Magnolia approaches the mirror, oddly only seeing her own reflection though Narcissa is planted in front of it. They look almost identical, they really do, aside from the blue-green of Magnolia’s eyes.

She backs away from the mirror, “There’s something wrong with this mirror, Mother.” Magnolia states.

“Oh hush, child. This mirror is wonderful, just take a look at me!” Narcissa scoffs. “ I think I ought to buy this!” She rushes up the winding stairs, through the narrow corridor, and across from the oak tables stacked with books, to the shop owner's desk.

“Did you find anything you like, Narcissa? It’s unlike you to leave here empty-handed.” Laverna, the shop owner, chimes.

“I’d like that beautiful silver mirror that’s downstairs, how much do I owe you?” Narcissa asks eagerily.

Laverna twists her wrinkled face in confusion. “The mirror downstairs?” she questions.

“Yes, that one. You know down the winding staircase…-”

“-Ah, yes. That Mirror.” Lavernas’ eyes grow wide. “That won’t cost you any money.” she says in a silky voice.

“Great! I’ll have Magnolia bring it out for me.” Narcissa says with giddy.


Nestled deep in the forest, along a stone path there’s a small wooden cottage. Inside there is a large cauldron over a fire, a small wooden table, two beds, and now a large, silver mirror. Narcissa stares at her reflection, admiring her great beauty.

In three days time, the mirror has destroyed her; every waking moment is spent staring at her reflection in the mirror.

“Mother, what has happened to you?” Magnolia desperately pleas.

“Why, this mirror… it’s made me extraordinarily beautiful. I even look younger, about your age!” She gleams. Her reflection is exceptionally beautiful, though her face looks as if it has aged thirty years or more. 

“Mother, you don’t understand.” Magnolia tries.

“What I don’t understand is how you can be so jealous, you refuse to compliment your own mother.” Narcissa scoffs.

“Mother, you don’t understand what that mirror is doing to you. I tried to tell you that something was wrong with it. Yes, your reflection is beautiful, only your reflection now.” Magnolia blurts.

Narcissa contorts her face as she backhands Magnolia on the mouth. “How dare you talk to me in that manner?”  

Magnolia holds her hand up to feel her fat lip, it stings as the blood rushes to her face. Fearing more backlash, she decides not to tell Narcissa how she really looks for now. “My deepest apologies, mother. You’re right, I was just jealous of your beauty.” Magnolia lies, holding back mustering tears.

“I know.” 

“I’m going to the magic shop, I’ll return by sundown.” she murmurs as she rushes out of the cottage, tears freely falling down her cheeks. 


Magnolia arrives at the end of the stone pathway exiting the forest, she turns left, only a short distance to go before she’ll get to the Magic Shop

“There must be a potion or spell that can solve this, there must be.” Magnolia says to herself before she stops in her tracks. “It can’t be.” puzzled, she darts her eyes around, thinking perhaps she went the wrong way. Magnolia isn’t lost though, no, the Magic Shop is lost. 

She stands where the Magic Shop has resided for her entire life, yet no evidence of any building shows. Magnolia doesn’t believe that this is any coincidence; Laverna had left in the night, avoiding the consequences of the mirror. 

Magnolia sinks to the ground, defeated. Now, she has no way of saving her mother. She wishes that she had those books of spells and potions now more than ever, yet this is no time for irony. She must return home now and tell Narcissa the bad news. 


Magnolia rushes into the cottage, finding her mother in front of the mirror. Narcissa looks nothing like herself; her hair is gray, her teeth are black, and her face is wrinkled beyond recognition. 

“Mother, I didn’t want to tell you. I wanted to get a potion or find a spell to help you, but I can’t…” Magnolia starts. “You look like a ghost of yourself, a corpse more or less.” she expresses, waiting to get slapped.

“I thought you learned your lesson earlier! I’m tired of your jealousy, it looks hideous on you.” she scoffs and charges toward Magnolia. In an attempt to defend herself, she tosses her law book at the mirror; Shattering the mirror into pieces, putting an end to the enchantment. 

Narcissa picks up a piece of the broken mirror, finally seeing her true reflection. Tears pour down her face, “I look like a monster” she screams. “I can’t live like this.” dropping to the floor in agony.

“Don’t say that mother, I’m sure you know a spell or a potion that can undo this.” Magnolia leans down to console her. 

“It’s no use, can’t you see? You’ve broken the mirror, broken the spell but not the curse.” she snarls into the shard of mirror. “Good-bye, my child.” Narcissa drives the shard of glass into her own heart, taking her life. Magnolia screams, holding her mother closer. 

“I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. I love you.” She whispers. Magnolia felt like the mirror; scattered into a million pieces.

July 10, 2021 03:36

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Kat Wallberg
17:23 Dec 31, 2023

Oh man I love this concept. The first scene was beautifully done. I love how you established the atmosphere of the shop, the magic of the world, and the dynamic between the characters. I would read a short book about this, and I think this definitely would benefit from the word count a small novel would afford you. The ending does feel a bit rushed, but it feels like that it's not a skill issue but rather a limitation of the length. This story and narration style feels too big for this format. I don't think that's a bad thing, it's happene...


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Graham Kinross
14:53 Nov 24, 2021

Usually I prefer stories told in past tense but this really worked. Nice story.


Shannon McCumber
03:40 Feb 02, 2022

Thank you🙂 I'm glad you liked it!


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Hannah .
00:21 Jul 21, 2021

Wonderful story. Emotional, but descriptive, great word use, beautiful English. Keep it up! :D


Shannon McCumber
17:20 Jul 21, 2021

Thank you, I'm glad you liked it! (:


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Alex Sultan
19:58 Jul 15, 2021

Great use of present tense - I feel like few make use of it, and you did it very well here.


Shannon McCumber
21:00 Jul 15, 2021

Thank you for the feedback, I really appreciate it! I struggle with present tense so I'm really happy to hear that you felt I made great use of it. I'm glad you enjoyed it! (:


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Shea West
15:37 Jul 15, 2021

This was so endearing!! I especially love how you used present tense throughout the entire story. It gave the story a unique vibe!


Shannon McCumber
16:07 Jul 15, 2021

Thank you, I didn't notice the vibe until now. I usually don't write in 3rd person or present tense,(I have a hard time staying in present tense) but it flowed from my mind this way. If that makes any sense. lol I'm glad you enjoyed it! (:


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Sharmishtha Saha
04:26 Jul 13, 2021

Well written. Enjoyed the story.


Shannon McCumber
12:54 Jul 13, 2021

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it!😊


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