Note: Today I’m posting an excerpt (the prologue) from my novel, Escaping the Mirror. I’m excited to report that as a result of a free promo I’ve been running this week, my novel has reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Kindle Store for free teen and YA fiction and literature ebooks. It’s still free through May 24, 2014, so if you haven’t already, get your copy today!
July 20, 1978
The baby looks up at me from her bassinet, bundled in her innocent pink blankets, not crying like a normal baby, not cooing, just staring at me with those horrible black eyes. It gives me chills, the darkness in her eyes, and it makes me want to run away, but all I have the energy to do is crawl back into bed and pull the covers up to my neck.
I knew she was evil. I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew. My body knew it from the very beginning, long before my mind ever figured it out. It tried to get rid of her, retching and heaving like it had been poisoned. It was way beyond normal morning sickness–I had that with Jimmy, and I know how it feels. This was different. It was an almost constant state of misery, a violent kind of sickness, like the baby was trying to do me in.
It didn’t ease up much when my belly started to grow, either. Then I had the kicking to deal with along with the sickness. That was savage, too, not just the little butterfly flutters that I had with Jimmy. There was so much thrashing around in there, I started to think I must be having twins who were battling it out for survival.
Interesting, then, how when the baby came, so did Angel, like her invisible, spiritual twin. Only Angel’s not a baby. I don’t know how old she is. Ancient, it seems. But her body and voice are like a child’s.
As if she knows I’m thinking about her, she comes into the room and climbs up on the bed, lifts the covers and curls up next to me. “You have to do it,” she whispers.
I get a cold lump in my chest. “Do what?” I say, playing dumb.
“You know,” she says in an irritated kind of way. “You have to get rid of her. It’s your responsibility.”
How can I argue with that? I mean, sure, the evil is probably mostly from Danny’s blood, but still, I allowed it to happen.
“You messed up last time,” Angel goes on. “I don’t know what you were thinking.”
I turn my face away from her. I don’t know what I was thinking, either, grabbing the baby’s arms and squeezing the warm chubby flesh like I was trying to squeeze water out of dough. None of the evil came out. All it did was make the baby cry–and leave bruises that made Danny’s mama give me funny looks.
“I’m not a killer,” I say. “I’m not going to kill my own child.”
“You have to,” Angel says. “You’re the only one who can do it.”
At just that moment, the baby starts to cry, and the fear rises up in me like vomit.
“Do it!” Angel hisses in my ear. “Do it now while she’s still small. Soon she’ll be stronger than you.”
“I can’t.” I start to cry, too, burying my face in the sheets.
Angel pulls the sheets away. “You have to, do you hear me? You have to do it!”
I know she’s right. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. No matter how much I argue with myself, or with Angel, trying to deny it, I know it’s the truth.
So I push the sheets off of me and get up, cross over to the bassinet, Angel tiptoeing along behind me. The baby’s cries turn to shrieks when she sees me.
“I’m sorry,” I say to her. Then I put my hands around her neck and squeeze. This time it seems to be working–the evil oozes out of her eyes like black tar.
“That’s right, squeeze!” Angel whispers behind me. “Squeeze harder!”
The baby’s face is red; black is streaming down her face like tears.
“Mama, what’re you doing?”
I whirl around to see Jimmy standing in the doorway, his mouth open, his sweet blue eyes as innocent as can be. I snatch my hands away.
“Nothing, sweetie,” I say. “Just checking on your sister. She was–she was coughing earlier. I wanted to check her throat.”
He just stares at me, and I know that he knows I’m lying.
“Come here, honey,” I say to him, wanting to hold him, to somehow erase what he just saw. But he turns around and runs out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
I panic. What is he going to do? Is he going to tell Danny?
“Do it!” Angel says. “Do it before they stop you!”
But I can’t. All I can think about is Jimmy’s face, and how I’m ruined now, in his eyes.
I run for the bathroom, trying to get away from Angel, and I close the door and lock it. I grip the sink with both hands, breathing hard, and look into the mirror. In my own eyes, right in the center of the blue, a black pool of evil simmers. And behind me, somehow, is Angel, standing with her arms straight at her sides, watching me.