TW: abuse, sexual assault, violence
Three couples rent a Summer home on the lake in Greenport, Long Island Island. All year long, everyone expected a week of relaxation and fun with friends. But, will their friendship and lives their reflections in the mirror?
Javonte glided his BMW to a smooth stop on the pebble driveway next
to a late model, Range Rover.
“Javonte, whose car is that?” Tamika asked as she rolled down the window.
“Car? That’s a Range Rover SUV. Maybe someone bought a new ride.”
Tamika humphed. “One of my girls got a new car and didn’t tell me? No way. We tell each other everything. Besides, it has a Connecticut license plate.” Tamika moved closer and peeked into the car. “None of our friends live in Connecticut. Anyway, I thought we’d get here first, Javonte.”
“Oh well, not this year,” Javonte said as he walked to his trunk.
Tamika took a deep breath. “I love the country. The peace and tranquility. The smell of fresh air..” She leaned back against the BWV and sighed.
“Of course, being here will mess with my allergies, but I still love all this greenery.”
“Yeah, sorry, Hon,” Javonte said as he grabbed the suitcases.
When Javonte and Tamika walked into the house, they expected to find the owner of the Range Rover inside.
“Hello?” Javonte called out.
They walked into the dining room and listened for a response.
“Where do you think they could be, Javonte?”
“I don’t know, but they’re not in this house.”
“I’m going to check out the kitchen.”
Tamika passed the dining room table.
“Javonte, someone’s here. There’re four places set at the dining room table.”
“Really?” He said, walking into the dining room. “I wonder where they are?”
Tamika shrugged. “Can’t imagine.”
“I’m going the check out the rest of the house. I’ll find them. I’ll start in the living room.”
“What the Hell is this?”
Tamika rushed into the living room.
“Oh my,” she gushed, “it’s a Rococo Carved and Giltwood Cheval Mirror.”
“This ugly thing has a name?”
“Ugly, Jovonte? This is a lovely and unique piece of 18th century French furniture.” She said, caressing the ornate mahogany design along its edge. “And it’s expensive too. My grandmother had one made of rosewood. This is mahogany. And my grandmothers didn’t have faces in the design.”
“Unique? I’ll give you that. But, it’s still ugly.”
Hello?” Someone called from the vestibule.
Tamika and Javonte recognized the voice.”
“Betty, we’re in the living room,” Tamika called out.
A moment later, Betty walked into the living room, followed by her husband, Dennis. They exchange greetings.
Dennis asked, “Whose driving the Range Rover?
“Not us. Strange, we haven’t been able to find anyone.”
The couples heard someone in the vestibule. It was the third couple, Niga and Cody.
Javonte sang, “Hail! Hail! The gangs all here!”
The couples hugged and shook hands.
“Hey, guys, look at this ugly piece of furniture..”
As they examined the Cheval, Cody asked, “Who copped the Range Rover?”
Javonte turned. “We don’t know. It was here when we pulled up. We’ve searched the house but found no one.”
“Maybe, they’re out hiking or shopping, but they’ll be back. You don’t leave a ride like that behind.”
“Whoa, what is that?” Dennis exclaimed before chuckling.
Javonte proudly said, “It’s a Rococo Carved and Giltwood Cheval Mirror.” Then, glancing and smiling at Tamika, he continued, “Yeah, it’s a vintage piece of French furniture.”
“You know your stuff, Javonte.”
Tamika shook her head and smiled.
They took turns and examined the frame. It was sturdy with intricate and detailed carvings. Their fingers tingled as they rubbed across the shells and S-shapes.
Mesmerized, Betty glided her fingers over the intricate carvings. “What an exquisite piece. It’s a Rococo Carved and Giltwood Cheval Mirror, isn’t it? It’s in great shape.”
“I’m hungry. Let’s unpack and make lunch.”
Niga laughed. “Cody, you’re always hungry.”
As they walked out, no one noticed Betty lingered.
As they unpacked, Tamika turned to Javonte. “Didn’t you notice how Betty reacted to the Cheval?”
“Not really,” Javonte said as he laid across the bed. “She just admired that hunk of junk.”
“I guess you’re right. It’s probably my imagination.”
The couples sat around the table and enjoyed a lunch of grilled meats, vegetables, and fresh fruit. Bottles of red and white wines anchored the luncheon.
Betty was the first to leave the table. She complained of a headache.
“That was some tasty little tib bits., brothers and sisters.”
“We’re glad you approved, Cody. The ladies prepared the food. You men can clean up the kitchen, agreed?”
They all nodded.
Dennis stood. “Let me check on Betty. I’ll be right back, fellas.”
In a minute, Dennis returned with a puzzled look on his face.
“Did Betty come back down?”
They all looked at each other.
“No one saw her. But it’s a big house. So she’s got to be around here somewhere.”
“Yeah. Yeah, right. Let me find Betty.” Dennis walked off.
Thiry minutes later, Dennis, sweaty, wide-eyed, joined the couples on the deck. Then, plopping onto a lounge chair, Dennis stammered. “I-I c-can’t find Betty.”
Tamekia lowered her sunglasses. “What do you mean you can’t find her?”
“I can not find Betty. I’ve searched this house and the grounds. I can’t find her.”
“Man, that’s crazy. Maybe she went for a walk or a drive or something?”
‘NOWAY, “Dennis responded. “When she gets one of her headaches, she can barely move. Besides, I have the only set of car keys.”
Javonte stood. “Okay. Let’s branch out. If you find Betty, call out.”
An hour later, they met on the deck again.
Dennis sat with his head in his hands. “Where could she be?”
Niga placed her hand on Dennis’ shoulder. “Perhaps it’s time to call the police?”
A sobbing Dennis looked up and nodded.
Niga patted Dennis. “I’ll make the call.”
Niga looked around. “Where’s Cody?”
Everyone looked around.
“He just didn’t get back yet. That’s all.” Tamika said.
They waited. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, an hour.
“Where is Cody!” Niga exclaimed.
Startled, everyone rushed to Niga. Everyone except Dennis,
Dennis stated what everyone was thinking. “Maybe the two of them are together.”
Tamika walked over to Dennis. “No, Dennis, that can’t be. Betty loved you, and Cody loved Niga.”
Dennis stared back at Tamika. “Oh, yeah. Did you know they had an affair two years ago?”
Tamika looked at Niga. Niga nodded, then looked away.
Javonte raised his hands. “Wait, a minute. We’re jumping to conclusions here. The last time I saw Cody, he was searching the living room for Betty.”
“Really,” Dennis answered, his voice laced with sarcasm, “why don’t I take a look in the living room. Don’t worry, you’ll know if I find them.”
Dennis reached into his pocket and removed a pistol. “Everybody better stay out of my way.”
Everyone watched Dennis walk into the living room. Nervously, they waited. Ten minutes later, they heard the echoes of two gunshots. Javonte turned to the women.
“Stay here! Let me see what happened.”Tamika grasped Javonte’s arm. “Please be careful, Honey.”
Javonte nodded, winked, then kissed her. The women watched as Javonte tiptoed towards the living room; he sort cover every few steps. Tamika's heart sank when Javonte entered the room. Instinctively, the woman held hands.
Javonte came out of the room with his arms outstretched. In his right hand, he held Dennis’ pistol.
The woman ran over yo Javonte.
Tamika hugged him. “Javonte, what happened?”
“There’s no one in the living room.”
“What? We saw Dennis walk in there.”
“Well, he’s not in there now.”
“Where did you get Dennis’ pistol?”
Javonte looked surprised at the pistol in his hand. “It was lying in front of the mirror. Dennis dropped it there.”
“Who or what was Dennis shooting at?”
Javonte turned at looked towards the room, then into Tamika's eyes. “I don’t know.”
“I know one thing,” Niga said, “I calling the cops.”
After making the call, Niga spoke to Tamika and Javonte. “The cops are on their way. The cops will find out what’s going on here. In the meantime, I’m going back in the living room to see If I can find any trace of Cody.”
Tamika looked at Javonte. “I think we should pack and get ready to leave.”
They started down the stairs with their suitcases when they heard Niga scream, “Cody!”
They rushed into the living room. Niga wasn’t there.
Javonte stared at the mirror. “This something up with this ugly mirror, Tamika. I just know it.”
“Don’t be silly, Javonte. It’s only an antique mirror.”
Javonte inspected the mirror. “Did you see this warning on the rear of the frame?”
Tamika walked over and read the warning.
“It’s written with crooked letters in mirror writing.”
Tamika pulled a mirror from her purse and held it in front of the warning.
Together, they read the warning:
“WARNING! DON’T STARE AT YOUR REFLECTION IN THIS MIRROR!”
“What?” Javonte said as he walked to the front of the mirror while Tamika did a further inspection of the back.
“Hey, Tamika, I wish we were someplace else.”
“Yeah, Javonte? Javonte?” Tamika walked to the front of the mirror and gasped. Javonte wasn’t there.
“Javonte! Javonte!” Tamika stared into the mirror. Her body shook, and her lips trembled when she saw Javonte and all her friends trapped behind the mirror. Javonte motioned for her to join him. But she realized the power of the mirror. When you stared at your reflection, the mirror offered you your deepest desire. It beckoned you to come inside and stay forever.
When the police arrived, they found Tamika sitting in front of the mirror with her eyes closed.
An officer bent down to speak to her. “You can open your eyes, Mame. We’re the police.”
Tamika kept her eyes closed.
The officer whispered to her partner, “I think we got a sick person here.”
“Mame, we saw a few cars parked outside. Where is everyone else.?”
Eyes still closed, Tamika held up a shaky and pointed to the mirror. The officers looked at the mirror.
Tamika repeatedly screamed, “Don’t stare at your reflection!”