Home > Cursed (Enchanted Gods #1)(7)

Cursed (Enchanted Gods #1)(7)
Author: K.K. Allen

Charlotte is standing at the great room window when I enter the house. I half expect a lecture for staying out too late, but she smiles easily and leads me up the white marble staircase. At the far end of the hall, she opens a set of double doors with a grand flourish.

The bedroom is an overabundance of riches, with floor-to-ceiling windows filling a rounded wall that faces the bay, a gold four-poster bed with fluffy white bedding, dozens of gold-framed photos on the wallpapered walls, sculptures, and various pieces of distressed furniture. I meet my own gaze in the vanity’s oval mirror. The ornate looking glass might just be the most beautiful piece in the room. With its intricately carved gold frame and hand-sculpted design, it stands out from everything else in the room by far.

My mousy brown hair is all knotted and windblown. I consider taking the gold-plated brush to it, wishing it were longer so I could pull it up into a bun and let my neck breathe. But while I’m in my grandmother’s home and this is my room for the time being, I feel like I’m an intruder.

I look back up at my reflection and consider my complexion. I think this is the first time I’ve really looked at myself in months. My skin is pastier than normal, and my dull gray eyes still hint at life despite being bloodshot from lack of sleep. My cheekbones are still too pointy, and the corners of my mouth are naturally turned down to the point where I’m always being asked to smile even when nothing is wrong.

“You’re young and beautiful, Katrina,” my mom once said. “Those thoughts inside your head that tell you you’re not are simply a lie. But you’ll never see the truth until you stop looking at your reflection.” She pinned my cheeks between her fingers and tapped my chest. “This is where your true mirror lies. Look here.”

Turning away from the mirror—and the painful memory—I watch as Charlotte crosses the room and steps in front of another set of double doors.

She pushes them open before turning to me with a smile. “Your bathroom. I’m sure you’d like to wash up before bed.”

I say nothing as my gaze slips past the petite blond woman and catches sight of an oversized walk-in closet and a pearl garden tub beside a giant glass walk-in shower.

“Well then,” Charlotte says when I still haven’t responded. “I’ll leave you be.” She steps past me, slips out my bedroom doors, and looks back at me with a hand on each door in preparation of closing them. “Breakfast is served at eight. Your grandmother is never late.” With a final look of playful warning, she closes the doors, leaving me to myself.

Not wanting to wait any longer to escape this overwhelming reality, I tear off my clothes and climb under the covers. It doesn’t take long for my lids to grow heavy with exhaustion.

 

 

The mahogany vanity in my dreams is a magnified version of the one I remember. Much like everything else in my new room, this one towers over me. If the objects aren’t generous in size, then they make up for it with their beauty and fragility. I’ve never felt farther from home.

Staring back at me from the large oval mirror is a reflection of a girl who looks like me. Her face is warmer than mine, like a nice olive-tone that reminds me of my mother. There’s almost a glow about it that I can’t turn away from. Her eyes are a bright, electric shade of silver. Her dark-brown hair is shiny and thick, flowing down past her shoulders. I take in her groomed features with awe. Physically, despite my mom’s warning, which enters deep in my subconscious, she’s everything I wish to be.

I reach out for the glass, and with every inch distance my arm creeps toward it, my reflection follows in perfect synchrony. I halt my movement, and she halts too. She copies me as I raise my hand to my face then move a strand of hair away from my eye. I gasp, and she gasps too. That’s when I realize… the girl in the mirror is me.

I’m almost afraid to lean in, but I want to get a closer look. My lashes are longer. My nails, now near my face, appear manicured and long. But that’s not all that’s different. There’s a necklace. The green stone reflects a shard of light from the glass chandelier, and I realize it’s not just any stone. It’s dainty, rare, and exquisite. It most definitely doesn’t belong to me, yet it sits perfectly above the swell of my breasts as if it were made for me.

I reach for the jewel to lift it from my chest and examine it, but the moment I touch it, the stone glows from within. I release it, my heart pounding like a steady drum. Glancing back up at my reflection, I widen my eyes in surprise. The image, no longer my own, smiles back at me with an almost evil glimmer in her eye. Fear erupts inside me, and I can feel myself shaking. Meanwhile, my image does not shake with me. Instead, she smiles brighter.

The girl’s eyes narrow on me then turn so they no longer meet mine. She’s now staring over my shoulder at a maroon-and-white antique vase laden with fresh flowers. The girl points her finger directly at it. It’s not until she begins to raise her arm that I realize what is happening. As her finger rises, so does the vase in the reflection, higher and higher until the vase is lingering in midair.

As her eyes snap back to me, the streaks of madness in them freeze me completely. She isn’t smiling anymore. The green necklace around her neck is glowing so brightly that sparks of light are spraying from its center. Then she opens her mouth into a grotesque shape just before letting out a terrifying scream.

I jam my palms against my ears in an attempt to muffle the horrible noise. It’s impossible. I know I’ll never shake the sound, and it seems to be only getting louder. As the girl’s pitch reaches a crescendo, the vase in the reflection shakes violently until it shatters in midair, spraying my bedroom with glass.

 

 

Still covering my ears, and with my eyelids pinched closed, I scream myself awake. I continue to scream until someone starts shaking me.

My eyes shoot open, my body stiffening in defense as if the girl in the mirror will attack me, but she’s no longer there. I’m in bed, covered from head to toe in sweat. It was all just a dream.

It’s Charlotte who woke me. She holds me, shushing me as I sob. “It was just a dream. It’s okay. Everything is going to be fine.”

“Fine?” I squeal. My eyes fly open, and I shake my head. The voice beside me is calm and understanding, and I feel anything but. “You think everything is going to be fine? My mom is dead. I’m living in this”—my eyes fly around the room—“ridiculously expensive mansion with a woman I’ve never met. And I’m having all these crazy dreams and visions, and—” I stop myself when my thoughts conjure up an image of the jogger in the black cap. I don’t know what that was, but that didn’t feel normal either. How he glared at me, like he already hated me after just one glance.

“Visions, you say?”

I turn to look at the short-haired blond woman and shake my head, deciding it’s best not to elaborate. “I don’t know what I just woke up from, but that was not a dream.”

Charlotte places her hand on my back. I turn to look at her just as she averts her eyes, causing a knot to form in my gut. Something in her face goes beyond the kind, gentle woman I first met. She’s hiding something. I can see it on her guarded expression.

“You’ve been through a lot, Katrina. I expect you’ll have many more unpleasant dreams.”

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