I don’t know why I reached for the mirror’s edge when Mom opened the door to my room. I hadn’t thought I’d be able to hide there and I certainly hadn’t expected the Mirror Land to draw me in with the force of a riptide at sea. The instant my fingertips touched the glass though I felt something rip me forward and in a blink I was looking back out at my room.
My Seeming bolted up from the bed and looked like she was going to dive into the mirror with me, except Mom stepped into the room before she could.
“Oh good, you remembered we have to get going early today,” she said. She was looking right at my Seeming but without any surprise or shock.
“She sees your Seeming as you,” September said. “I think that’s how it’s supposed to work.”
“Yeah, I didn’t want to hold you up,” my Seeming said, answering my mother’s unasked question of why I wasn’t lagging in bed like I usually did.
“Come on down then, breakfast is ready,” Mom said, and turned to head back to the kitchen.
My Seeming glanced at me in the mirror and shrugged in a helpless gesture. She was committed to playing the role of “me” at this point. I watched her follow my Mom downstairs and then turned to September.
“What am I going to do now!” I asked. I wasn’t sure if I could get out the mirror or if I should even try. Seeing two of me would be more than even my Mom could manage to ignore.
“We could try to find your Shadow?” September said. “Maybe she could give you back whatever she took from you.”
“But what about school?” I asked.
“Your Seeming can fill you in on what happened there when she gets back,” September said.
“Where would we even start looking for my Shadow though? She flew off in the real world and I don’t even know where we are now!” I said.
“This is still the real world,” September said. “It’s just a different part of it.”
“But we’re inside a mirror!” I said.
“I don’t think we’re inside just one mirror,” he said. “I think we’re inside all of them.”
“I don’t understand.”
“This place we’re in, it’s kind of connected to the rest of the world through mirrors but it’s not limited to just one of them,” he said.
“So could we walk over to another mirror and get out through that?” I asked.
“Yes, but we shouldn’t. There are things that we don’t want to meet here.”
“Like what?” I asked, backing towards the mirror that led to my room.
“Mercurials and Fragments and Twists,” he said.
“What are those?” I asked.
“I don’t know, I’ve just heard people talking about them and they sounded dangerous and scary.”
“Ok, but can we get back out through here?” I asked.
“Sure,” September said and stepped into my room and then back into the mirror. Moving between places didn’t seem to phase him at all.
“What about me?” I asked, thinking of the riptide that pulled me in.
“It should be just as easy for you,” he said. “But maybe we should wait until everyone else is gone?”
“That’s probably a good idea,” I said. “But what about places like this?” I gestured at the reflection of my room that I was standing in. “Do you know more places like this?”
“A few,” he said. “There’s the Witch Roads you found yesterday, there’s the Fairy Rings, there’s the Goblin Deeps…”
“That’s where my Shadow is!” I said, cutting him off.
“You can tell that?” September asked.
“I…I guess I can?” I said. “When you said that name, I just suddenly saw her there. I think she was following someone, but it felt like she might be in trouble too.”
“Maybe that’s why she hasn’t come back!” September said.
“I think we need to go to her,” I said, anxiety seeping out from my bones to clench my heart. “I think we need to go right now.”
“Maybe we should see Grandma Apples first?” September said.
“She might not be home,” I said. “And she wanted me to come over after school, not this early.”
“I don’t think the Goblin Deeps are very safe though,” September said.
“We’ll be really careful then,” I said. “But I don’t think we can leave my Shadow there.”
“You’re really worried about her? I thought she scared you?”
“She does, but I want her to be ok too,” I said.
“What if she doesn’t want you to come for her though?” September asked.
“Well, then, I can at least have her fix whatever she did to me,” I said. “I’ve got school covered for today, but I can’t let my Seeming live my whole life for me.”
“You’re right,” he said. “It’s just hard.”
“I know,” I said and held him close. “We’ll figure it out though right?”
“If you’re going to take a trip to the Goblin Deeps, you’ll need to do more than figure it out,” someone said in a low voice from out in the hall.
Out in the hall on the mirrorland side of the room, where there weren’t any mirrors and where no one was supposed to be.
“Who’s there?” I said and stepped back to the mirror. I didn’t know if whatever it was could chase me through the glass to my regular room but it seemed like the only escape route that was open to me.
“Who’s asking? I’ll not trade my name for anything but your own.”
The creature that was speaking peered around the edge of my doorway.
It was a wolf.
In my house.
I’m not even going to begin trying to justify why I screamed and leapt back through the mirror. The trip back to the regular world was as easy as September had suggested. The same riptide force grabbed hold of me but this time it pulled me in the other direction.
“Wait,” the wolf said. “You need me. I can be your guide to the Goblin Deeps.”
I’d gone voiceless with fear after stumbling out of the mirror and September was hiding behind me with the fur on his back standing straight up.
I was about to make a run from the door and try to escape from there when I noticed something. The wolf wasn’t looking at me. He wasn’t looking at anything in fact. His eyes were clouded over and as he moved slowly towards the mirrors edge, I saw that he was completely blind.