By OJ Suban
Mackenzie sat in her bedroom alone, mascara brush dangling precariously in her hand as she gazed out of the window. The night was bleak; the clouds above were all merged together and would often light up as lightening crashed in the Gods. Rain cascaded down, smacking against the windowpane like tiny rocks. Of course it had to rain; it was Halloween night.
She had reluctantly agreed to attend the Drama clubs yearly Halloween Bash but now she was regretting it. It had taken her and her housemate, Emma, nearly two hours to get her ready She had felt comfortable in the hands of the soon-to-be hairdresser so had left her to it while she attempted her own makeup, trying to put enough emphasis on her eyes to ensure that they would stand out from behind the masquerade mask. Somehow, together, they had managed to transform Mackenzie into a decent looking twenty-year-old girl.
Snapping back to reality by the insistent chiming of the doorbell, the young brunette quickly applied the last touch up to her eyes, sheathed the brush and opened her bedroom window.
“Emma, those kids are still here!”
Half way through her cigarette, Emma glanced up at Mackenzie’s bedroom window and quickly blew out the smoke.
“And here’s me thinking they actually wanted those apples I threw at them.”
“Just give them the lollies.”
“What? The one’s that I just bought?”
Mackenzie nodded and Emma groaned as she flicked the last of her cigarette onto the floor and disappeared into the kitchen. Mackenzie grabbed her heels and handbag and headed out of her room. By the time she reached the bottom of the stairs, Emma was at the front door with a bag of lollypops.
“I can’t believe I’m listening to you. These are my favourites!” she said.
“Oh just do it. Otherwise they won’t leave you alone.” Mackenzie replied.
“I wouldn’t be alone at all if someone wasn’t going out tonight.”
As Emma rattled the keys in the lock, the doorbell quickly stopped. She opened it and once again, looked down at the children before her. “Right! You little terrors, all we have are these lollypops so if you all just form a nice neat line and – Hey!”
The leader of the group, Dracula, grabbed the sweet bag from Emma’s hands before she could stop him and sped away, his little group of laughing ghouls quickly following him. Emma slammed the door shut as Mackenzie came stumbling behind her. The last time she had worn heels was at her grandparents’ wedding anniversary, six months ago.
“I’ve just been robbed by a six year old.” Emma grumbled, kicking Mackenzie when she laughed. “You owe me sweets.”
“Deal,” Mackenzie replied, still giggling.
“When are you going out?”
“Erm, Jacob text me fifteen minutes ago saying he had just set off…so any minute now.” She started walking towards the door, double-checking her handbag for everything.
“You look hot. I’m really happy with your hair.” Emma said.
“I should hope so, you spent long enough doing it.” She replied. Mackenzie opened the door and yelped, jumping back as the door slammed back into the wall. Rogue leaves flew into the hallway, being carried by the foul wind and rain. “I forgot about that. Do you have a brolly?”
“Here.” Emma said without missing a beat, handing her black umbrella over. “I know you so well.”
“You do, thanks, Em.”
Mackenzie’s phone buzzed in her hand.
“He’s here. I’ll see you later on?”
Emma smiled. “I’ll be curled on the sofa under my blanket having a marathon of horror films, so warn me when you’re coming home.”
“Will do, you big softie.”
Mackenzie opened the brolly and stepped out into the rain, instantly feeling the cold. She scanned the street for a red car amidst the torrential downpour, nervously biting her red dyed lip until a car horn to her right caught her attention. There was no turning back now.
Admittedly, Mackenzie wasn’t a big lover of Halloween. She never understood why people adored this holiday so much; it encouraged children to go around knocking on strangers’ doors, pestering them for sweets. Mackenzie much preferred Christmas. The whole festive season just called out to her.
Mackenzie headed inside the drama studio, Jacob’s arm rested on Mackenzie’s lower back as they walked. The fake cobwebs made themselves known first, hitting Mackenzie straight in the face. She quickly detangled herself as Jacob guided her into the room, dodging around a pair of slightly drunk girls.
It was already crowded; many of them already in small groups, all talking animatedly, a few taking selfies. But it wasn’t the students that Mackenzie was looking at; it was the wall length mirror rested against the back wall. It was draped in paper bats and had skeletons stuck to it; yet even with all the cheap decorations, the mirror made Mackenzie feel uneasy.
A voice next to her pulled Mackenzie out of her thoughts.
“What?” she asked.
Smiling, Jacob repeated himself. “Try and enjoy yourself tonight, Kenz.”
“Oh. Yeah, of course I will. There’s alcohol isn’t there?”
“Duh, it’s a student party.” Jacob replied, looking around the room.
“Dude, go find your friends. I’ll be fine.”
With a brief hug, Jacob quickly disappeared into the masked crowd and Mackenzie made her way over to the alcohol table, eyes hunting for vodka.
An hour had passed, but despite being slightly more relaxed than she was when she had first arrived, Mackenzie couldn’t shake the odd feeling she got from the mirror. She stood directly in front of it, adjusting the mask on her face, trying to keep her disguise on. It itched relentlessly, but no one was allowed to remove them.
Happy with her appearance, Mackenzie started off to find some friends, but stopped when something caught her eye. She stared in the mirror, thinking at first that it was a trick of the light, but when she looked closer, she saw her reflection sticking out her tongue. Automatically, her hand shot to her mouth, just to make sure she wasn’t being stupid, but her reflection simply copied, with its tongue still out.
A quick flash of lightening lit up the room and all the lights went out, making some of the guests scream in a drunken panic. After a second they flickered back on again, some quicker than the others, and Mackenzie was now staring at her cup. She slowly glanced back at the mirror and could no longer see anything wrong but before she could dwell on the matter any more, one of her classmates, Amy, took her hand and dragged her towards the alcohol table.
Three shots and several drinking games later and Mackenzie was feeling the benefits of the cheap alcohol. She was looking for her phone, using Amy and the mirror behind them as leaning posts while she fumbled around in her bag, managing to drop half of the contents onto the floor in the process.
The two girls looked at one another and just giggled, scooting closer to one another so Mackenzie could snap a few photos of them. Several funny faces later and Amy was knelt on the floor, picking up Mackenzie’s belongings as the taller one flicked through the pictures, picking out the ones that would later be posted on Facebook.
“This is a lot harder when you’re not allowed to take these stupid masks off!” Amy groaned, readjusting the straps on her head. “Hey, are these condoms yours?” She held a few packets up. Wrinkling her nose, Mackenzie looked down.
“Gross no, put them down!”
As Amy practically launched them across the room, Mackenzie glanced back at her phone and did a double take. A selfie she managed to snap while Amy was chatting to a friend had changed from her smiling to her now sticking up a middle finger towards the camera. But a glance was all she managed to get of the picture because her phone was quickly taken out of her hands.
“I want to see the pictures, too.” Amy replied, scrolling through Mackenzie’s phone. After a couple of taps, Amy seemed satisfied and threw both her phone and bag, back. “Can we get some more shots now, please?”
“Yeah, one sec.” Quickly going through her pictures again, Mackenzie couldn’t see any trace of the one she was looking for. “Did you delete any of my selfies?”
“No, just some of me that weren’t very satisfying. Now, come on! I need more alcohol!” Amy said, grabbing hold of Mackenzie’s hand.
They mingled through the crowd but were separated quickly, pushed in opposite directions by the Universities football team as they headed towards a commotion on the other side of the studio.
“Stay out of the way, lil’ hottie.” One of them said, handing Mackenzie his glass of whiskey, before moving more people out of their way. It wasn’t until two exceptionally drunk boys stumbled from the crowd that she realised a fight had broken out.
“Amy?” Mackenzie yelled, her voice being washed away by the cacophony.
The fight took a vicious turn as Jacob’s head flew back, blood streaming from his nose. He stumbled backwards into a group of students and was roughly pushed forwards. There was no time for Mackenzie to get out of the way as Jacob staggered towards her, so he slammed into her and they both collapsed into the mirror and sunk to the floor.
The glass of whiskey Mackenzie had been holding smashed everywhere. Muttering an apology, Jacob was dragged from her by Zak and was thrown into the mirror, his bloody face smearing across it.
All the lights around the room exploded out.
Everything went silent.
A few phone torches lit up the room, all pointing in the direction of Jacob. He was stood straighter than he was before as he examined himself in the mirror, smiling at a personal joke. As someone flicked on the stage lights, Zak was hauled from the room while a few other lads cautiously went up to Jacob.
“Yo, party’s over!” A footballer called out, taking Jacob’s arm. A multitude of complaints followed but the students did as they were told and began to file out. Amidst the crowd, Amy managed to break free and quickly ran over to her friend where she quickly noticed an injury.
“Oh my God!” She nearly screamed. Mackenzie’s right hand was bleeding, trails of blood rolling down her fingers as a few pieces of glass stuck out of her palm. Only just noticing the pain, in a frantic state of panic, Mackenzie shook her hand; small spots of blood flew around the room.
“We’ve gotta get you to a hospital!” Attempting to help maneuver Mackenzie towards the door only succeeded in them both stumbling to the floor.
“I can’t do this alone, Kenz. I need one of the boys. I promise I’ll be back, please don’t faint on me now!”
Mackenzie nodded and watched Amy run out of the room, screaming for help. Awkwardly shuffling back, Mackenzie sighed and rested the side of her face against the mirror. With a frustrated huff, she removed her mask and threw it away, glaring at herself in the mirror.
It was then, with a start, that she noticed a pair of legs, splattered with her blood. Slowly looking up, Mackenzie gazed at herself standing before her.
“What the hell?” She shakily got to her feet while her reflection watched in triumph.
“Mackenzie!” Amy yelled from the hallway.
“I’m okay to walk, I’m coming!” Her reflection replied, never taking its eyes off Mackenzie.
Spinning around, Mackenzie attempted to walk towards the door but hit an invisible wall. She yelled out. The reflection laughed. “Oh, you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for this to happen.”
The reflection walked towards the door, its hand resting on the stage light. Mackenzie crumpled to the ground, fist striking the mirror as wordless cries of rage erupted from her throat.
“Try and behave now, Mackenzie, like a good reflection does.” With a wink, its finger turned off the light and left the room, leaving Mackenzie to dissolve into the darkness.
Olivia Jayne Suban is 21 years old and is a third year English and Creative Writing student, studying in Crewe. She has previously written another Halloween piece for Chronicle Live, which you can find here.