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“I’m afraid of the man in the mirror, Mommy.”
When Harper James’ daughter whispers those words to her mother, Harper must decide whether it’s a case of overactive imagination or something more sinister. Her daughter’s confession leads to a startling revelation of her own that rocks Harper’s world and forces her to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Sacrifice is a short story by Nicole Ireland.
“Sacrificing your happiness for the happiness of the one you love is by far, the truest type of love.” – Unknown
A loud crack shattered the still silence of the cold, dark winter night. A tree limb from an old, half rotted pine tree crashed to the snow-covered ground in front of a blue, rust-spotted and ramshackle mobile home on Briar Lane in Chambers, Maine, a little podunk town an hour outside of Hiram.
“What was that?” Harper James jumped away from the counter and peeled the kitchen curtain aside to peer out. The shattered remains of a tree limb lay on her front lawn just feet from the side of her home. If it had hit the trailer, the damage would have resulted in repair bills she couldn’t afford to pay.
“I need that like a hole in the head,” she muttered, turning back to the dirty dinner dishes she’d been washing.
Shuffling footsteps crossed the tile floor behind her. Harper glanced over her shoulder to see her daughter Avery in the doorway, clutching her little brother’s hand.
Both children were smiling, but behind the smile on Avery’s face was something else. It was as though she were trying very hard to hide something from her mother. Harper couldn’t imagine what.
“Mommy, do you think Aidan and I could sleep in your bed tonight?” Her daughter asked.
Harper knelt on the floor in front of Avery and smoothed a hand over her daughter’s soft, flaxen hair. “Why don’t you want to sleep in your bed tonight, honey? Is something wrong?”
Avery bit her lip and turned her dark blue eyes away from her mother’s prying gaze. Avery leaned forward and whispered in Harper’s ear, “I’m afraid of the man in the mirror, Mommy.”
Harper raised her eyebrows and sat back on the floor, her back straightening as she stretched the muscles in her spine. Concern creased her brow and created a deep network of lines on her otherwise flawless face. She was used to Avery’s wild imagination. The girl was always conjuring up imaginary animals and people out of thin air.
She had never seen Avery exhibit such fear before, though. Something about her daughter’s behavior sent a shiver up her spine. It put her on edge and sent her into protective mommy mode.
“Avery, what are you talking about? Who’s the man in the mirror?”
Avery swallowed. “He lives inside the glass and watches me. Sometimes I see him when I wake up in the middle of the night. He isn’t very nice.” She wrinkled her nose before asking her question again. “Can we please sleep with you?”
Rather than make Avery dredge up more information about the man in the mirror so close to bedtime, Harper nodded. “Of course you guys can.” She stood up and guided her children towards the hallway. “Now go put your pajamas on. Once you’re ready for bed, I’ll read you both a story.”
“Okay, Mommy,” they said in unison before running off down the hall.
– coming soon
2- “When I reviewed Nicole Ireland’s A Second Chance, I attested to her beautiful writing.
With Sacrifice, she has secured my opinion of that gorgeous style.
“They both smelled of baby powder, soap and innocence.”
Though it was chilling, heartbreaking and, at times, downright gruesome, Sacrifice is still a beautiful story from a widely talented author.
Five stars. – Author Allie Burke
Links to Purchase
Barnes & Noble – coming soon
Kobo – coming soon