Mirror, Mirror

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Slowly, her manicured hands trembling, Shaina reached for her phone. She called her only emergency contact, her sister, but got the voicemail. 

“She’s back…,” was all she could manage before the phone clattered noisily on the pristine tiled floor. She let loose her lustrous mane and clutched the simple white dress hugging her lithe body. Racking with sobs, she shut the medicine cabinet and took back a step in fright. Staring back was an ugly, scarred, balding woman, smirking at her. The shower curtains were splashed red after the loud blast. 



“One more picture, look to your left!”

“Look right, here!!”

“Just one more, please look here!!”

The flashes continued to follow her as the glamorous Shaina Gujral walked off-ramp into her dressing room. 

“You were fabulous, as always,” her sister bounced in, beaming with pride.

“Are you sure? I thought my turn could have been better.”

“No way, you were the best! Have you seen the latest cover of Vogue? You look drop-dead gorgeous.”

“You have never heard of Photoshop,” Shaina laughed. 

“Oh, this is no time to doubt. Let’s go celebrate tonight!”

“Ok, give me two minutes,” 

As the girls happily left the dressing room, a dark silhouette was left behind in the mirror.



“Your parents must be so excited for you,” the interviewer said. 

“My sister is very excited, yes. My parents, well, not so much,” Shaina said. 

“Oh, why not? Do they not consent to your career?” 

For two seconds, Shaina remained silent.


“Who do you think you are? Painting your face like that!” her father told her.

“You are too fat, too tall!” was the neighbour’s opinion.

“Oh, when will your pimples clear? None of the boys in class like you,” her classmates pointed out.


“I’m just lucky I have my sister. She means the world to me.” 


That night, Shaina looked into the mirror for one last time. But as she moved away, her reflection did not. It sneered back at her and began pulling at her hair. Scars appeared on her face, oozing something horrid. She screamed in terror and fainted. 



“Shaina Gujral: The Ugly Duckling Transformation” 


“Don’t you dare look at that article!” her sister warned her, “You are and always were beautiful. It’s probably some jealous competitor. Just look in the mirror and see for yourself.”


But Shaina couldn’t do that anymore. She couldn’t face the scabbed, vile face, the loathsome sneer. Her worst nightmare came alive. So she spent her time locked up at home, looking at all her old pictures, going through the negative comments on her social media. She puked everything she ate and slept fitfully. The journalists tore down her door and the phones rang off the hook. But she shut everything out. Until she couldn’t live with herself.



“You’re her sister aren’t you? Did she ever mention any strange woman? We suspect she had a hand in this,” the police asked. 


“There was no other woman. It was her reflection. She never believed she was beautiful.” 






The Million Dollar Question


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