Some children love their lives. Some children hate them. Some children don’t even bother to think about what their life is like. And … some children, like Edith Bluebutton, find their life completely pointless.
Edith’s parents were taking her on a day trip to a “pointless” stately home where “pointless” tour guides talk about “pointless” things “that have nothing to do with anything.” Despite the fact Edith had said all those things, as the family drove up the cobblestone path towards the building, she began to feel like taking them back.
The building’s colossal shape loomed over the Bluebuttons, casting a cloak of darkness around them, as they tiptoed into the house. The walls were as white as bone, the carpet as red as blood and the white silk curtain that hung over the window blew softly in and out, casting dappled shadows onto the floor. Odd ornaments sat on the mantle piece and were dotted around on tables and window ledges like unmoving creatures which seemed to be forever staring.
At thirteen years old, Edith felt as though she was not a pretty girl. Her mud brown hair, which she refused to cut, fell heavily down her shoulders to her waist, her grey-green eyes stared intensely whilst her pink lips, which were so thin they could have
been a line drawn across her face, almost never smiled. At school, if she didn’t know the answer to something she would pull her curtain-like hair around her face and hide. Although Edith may sound like the type of girl who did this to get attention, she didn’t. It was just that she was the shyest in the class and was afraid to show her face.
Edith looked listlessly at her mum, who had been talking to the tour guide for half an hour, coughing loudly, trying to get her attention. Giving up, she looked around her and noticed how huge this place was. With a furtive glance over her shoulder, she slipped away and headed for a small door which opened onto a winding staircase which she tiptoed up, hoping her parents wouldn’t notice.
As she reached the top she squealed as she tripped on a piece of string. Puzzled, she pulled it. Down came a dumb waiter which she was drawn towards although it looked rather precarious. Hesitating, she placed a foot on it. Feeling brave despite her pounding heart, she heaved herself up and eventually tumbled out onto the cold marble ground of a kitchen.
“Boring … what could be more boring? A kitchen, seriously,” Edith said out loud to the room as she rolled her eyes. Just as she had decided to make her way back to the dumb waiter, out of the corner of her eye, she spotted another hidden door. “Oh …” she whispered curiously. She trod stealthily towards it, as if pulled by a magnet, and gently pushed it open.
The moment she stepped inside, Edith was cloaked in darkness. Heart pounding in her chest, she searched frantically for a light switch when, unexpectedly, she spotted a blanket which seemed to be covering something. Her heart settled as her eyes adjusted to the dark.
“Ha!” she declared triumphantly, casting the blanket to the floor. “I knew there would be something cool up here.” Before her stood the most amazing mirror. It was tall and imposing with an ornate shape on the top which was almost like an owl waiting to swoop. Despite her fascination, she thought there was something rather spooky about the mirror which made her gasp and clasp her hands together.
As she neared the mirror she breathed, “My reflection! It … it looks so … pretty …” In her reflection, her face looked boldly back at her, her eyes not hiding behind her heavy hair which now appeared to dance down her shoulders to her waist like a waterfall.
“Wow … whenever I look in the mirror I see myself as ugly but now I look beautiful!” she whispered as she turned her face this way and that. Still, however drawn she felt, there was something troubling about the mirror and she was compelled to find a light switch so she could see her reflection more clearly.
Edith scaled the room, scanning the walls. Nothing. Casually, she glanced back at the mirror. Her reflection was gone.
Heart pumping in her chest, she darted back over to the mirror but no matter how closely she pressed her face to it she could see no reflection at all.
“What’s happening to me?” she breathed as a cold hand touched her shoulder, causing her to jump around in shock. Before her stood a girl identical to herself, identical to the girl in the reflection, the perfect her. Edith’s mouth dropped open as the mirror girl smiled a wide and warm smile and held out her hand.
“Hello,” the mirror girl uttered shyly and Edith shuddered when she touched her ice cold hand. “Can we be friends?” the mirror girl questioned innocently as she sweetly tucked her chestnut brown hair behind her ears, eyes twinkling in a vaguely malicious way that Edith didn’t seem to notice. In fact, Edith seemed to be
entranced by the mirror girl and also not to notice the icy lilt to her voice. So much so that when the mirror girl asked if Edith wanted to play hide and seek it wasn’t at all difficult for her to say yes.
“Coming! Ready or not!” the mirror girl looked around the room, then flung open a cupboard door where Edith was hiding. “Found you … again …” the mirror girl smiled boredly and it was true that she seemed to find Edith very easily. “Now it’s my turn to hide” the mirror girl threatened with her usual sweet smile as Edith began to count to fifty.
“Coming! Ready or not!” Edith mirrored the mirror girl but, try as she might, she couldn’t see her anywhere. Then a flicker of a movement caught her eye and she squealed in delight as she saw her new friend staring out of the mirror at her, as intensely as one of the ornaments downstairs. “There you are!” declared Edith, not seeming to notice, at first, that the mirror girl didn’t move, didn’t even blink. Edith began to feel unnerved yet when the mirror girl reached a hand towards the surface of the mirror she moved towards it.
As Edith touched the icy surface of the mirror, the mirror girl thrust her hand out, faster than light, and grabbed Edith’s. Almost as though pulling Edith towards her in a dance, the mirror girl flipped their positions so that Edith was now in the mirror and the mirror girl stood free on the other side. Edith let out a silent scream whilst the mirror girl skipped over to the door.
“I’d better get down to mummy and daddy,” she sang. As she reached the doorway she turned and spat out, “Good luck with your even more pointless life!”
All Edith could do was what she had always done, sink to the ground and hide behind her hair. However, now she kept one eye open, one eye fixed on the door …
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