Chapter Eight: Eisoptrophobia
For a few weeks every year, the carnival was in town. Faye and B's tradition was always to go on the last weekend, because the lines were short, and the place was never as crowded. Sure, most of the shows happened before then, but they mostly preferred the rides anyway.
Faye… Hadn't been sure she wanted to go, though. Not with everything else that happened so far that year, anyway. Images of killer clowns flashed through her mind, and she really didn't want to deal with that. Sure, she enjoyed horror, but clowns…
Those were the really creepy ones.
"So, why are we doing this again? … I mean, I know it's tradition, but-"
"Exactly!" Her friend cut in. "And if we give up on tradition, then they win. And I refuse to let them win. And you should too. I mean… We could spend all our free time cowering in fear in our homes, but do you wanna do that?"
"B, how much jam have you had today?"
"Oh, look," the other girl completely avoided the question, "it's one of this Viking boats. C'mon, let's check it out."
At least two jars, then. Faye sighed and shook her head as she chased after her friend.
One might think that after being in a life or death experience, roller-coasters wouldn't have the same thrill. Those people would be wrong. Roller-coasters, horror movies, haunted houses, Halloween- The holiday, not the movie, that was already covered- those were all forms of safe fear. Sure, they were scary, but… Getting really seriously hurt was a rare occurrence.
Lately, though… Well, what could she think? She had been getting hurt, because things had been real.
The point being, she still enjoyed the thrill of safe rides that got her blood flowing.
The first two days they went there, Friday and Saturday, were fine. Everything went great. They road rides until they got sick, explored a few booths with interesting things like colorful sand in jars, little boxes with mechanical bugs that wiggled around when you opened them, and canvas bags that the booth owners kept cloth paint next to, as a pay to decorate thing. They played a few games and lost almost all of them, though Faye did manage to get a giant blow up hammer despite that.
It was fun!
Sunday was… different.
The first half of the day had been going through the highlights of all their favorite rides, followed by a funnel cake, which was messy, but delicious.
"… So now what?"
"Hm." B leaned back against the bench they were sitting on. "Well, we haven't really seen any attractions yet, have we? I think they have a haunted house, a hall of mirrors… stuff like that. I think there's even a pirate one?"
"Eh. I feel like I'd punch the people in the haunted house," she responded. "So… Mirrors, then pirates?"
"Sounds good to me!"
It was a short walk over to the hall of mirrors, though… They were disappointed to see a 'closed' sign on it.
"Well, that bites." B muttered. "What, you think they're already taking it down?"
"Seems a bit early, but… I guess? Ah, well. Race you to the pirates?"
"I'm gonna kick your ass to the pirates."
B raced off, but before Faye could follow her, a hand reached out from the curtain covered opening, grabbed her by the wrist, and yanked. The only reason she stumbled in with the pull was because, well. Everything had been going so well, that she hadn't actually expected anything. She tried to pull away. She wiggled her arm free, brought it back, and-
"Faye! Woah, hold on!"
She lowered her hand as she recognized Charlotte. She… was surprised to see the other girl. The last time she saw her had been the sleepover- No, the last time she saw the girl, Charlotte had been accusing her of killing Melanie.
"… So, what are you doing? I mean, if you wanted to apologize, kidnapping me wasn't the way to do it."
"What? I'm not kidnapping you!" She forced a laugh and stepped to the side, a bit closer to the door. "I'm just… leaving you here for a while, that's all."
"Leaving me here? My friend is waiting on me, and if I don't show up, she will come looking. I hope you know that."
"Oh, don't worry about her."
B turned around the moment the pirate ride came into view, to gloat at Faye-
Only to find there was no Faye, which was… Really disappointing.
Instead, there was a medium height blonde that B was pretty sure she had sat next to in English last year. Her name was…
Alison. Riiiiight. One of the bitches who had been spreading rumors about Faye. And she was smiling, in an evidently trying too hard manner.
"… I'm waiting for a friend. Can you move?"
"Oh, well, Faye is a bit caught up with our other friend, but if you want someone to sit with, I'd be happy to join."
Alison was… a strange case. B pretended not to notice the obvious crush that she had, but… Well, it was getting harder with every interaction they had. Not only was it unrequited, but Alison had been treating Faye, someone who was supposed to be her friend, horribly. B was… Not about that. Not at all.
"You go ahead. I'll wait for my friend."
Alison frowned and pulled out her phone as B looked over her shoulder. Where was Faye?
Charlotte glanced at her phone, while Faye leaned against the wall. The hall of mirrors was in a building with curtains all around the outside, to keep the mood lighting.
"… We used to be friend, Charlotte. I mean- … Come on, you really think I did all that? I told you guys I was attacked the same way before."
"Right," the other girl looked back up at her as she finished her text. "You totally didn't go back there and kill everyone to make your story seem plausible either. And B isn't helping you hide it, right? Tooootally not. What Alison sees in that crazy bit-"
"B is not crazy! And no, they were all killed by Jason Voorhees. Not me. You realize Conner was like, twice my size, right?"
"So? Two people could take out a lot without /that/ much effort. If they're smart."
"Thanks for calling me smart." Faye laughed, and the other girl narrowed her eyes.
"You've become a real bitch, you know that?"
"Me?" All of Faye's humor vanished. "What about you? You know, you and your stupid boyfriend are the reason everyone hates theatre, right?"
"Oh, fuck off. You know, I was just going to keep you here for a few minutes to let Alison spend some time with B, but-"
"What? You gonna keep me in here for longer? B's gonna come looking, and then you're going to be so screwed."
Charlotte shoved her, and she fell back, landing hard. Hard enough that by the time she got back up, the other girl had run outside and shut the doors. Faye rolled her eyes and walked over, pressing on it.
… The door didn't budge. She tried again, pushing harder, and when it still didn't move, she tried pulling. It locked? She pounded her fists on the glass. Charlotte laughed and waved. She pulled out her phone, sent another message, and turned to stalk away.
Faye pulled out her own phone and checked, but… The building must have been mostly concrete. She didn't have any signal on it, anyway.
Of fucking course. She slammed her hands against the door and screamed, but the glass was thick, and it was hard to tell where the noises was coming from over all the rides. She turned and stared at the dark mirrors, then sighed and made her way in. Maybe she could find a backdoor or something.
"Oh, looks like Faye wasn't feeling too good." Alison turned her phone to B, to show the messages from Charlotte. The newest one read that Faye had thrown up the cake they'd had, so Charlotte was going to take her home.
Because that was a totally plausible story. What kind of idiot did this girl take B for?
"Well, I don't mind hanging out on my own," B muttered. "But… I came here to hang out with Faye. If she's not here, then I'm not either."
Alison was stupid to think that she was even B's type, even with all the signals. She was nothing like Tish, nothing like-
… Maybe they did have a few things in common, actually. Then again, B really didn't like thinking about Tish anymore.
There was no back door. There was no goddamn back door. What kind of fun house didn't have a back door?
… Unless there was one, and it was locked too. She hadn't been able to find it, though, which meant… She was trapped. On the last day of the carnival. Sure, people would come to clean it up eventually but that didn't leave her much hope. It always took ages for them to clean the place up and even then, the buildings were saved for last. If nobody found her, she'd be stuck there for god knew how long/
The doors were glass, but they were a very thick glass, one that even a few swift kicks didn't scratch. God, did they use bullet proof glass or something?
What did she have? … A bunch of mirrors. That was it. And that was not nearly enough for her to actually get out of things. She had her phone and her house key, but they couldn't get out of there with those.
She pressed herself against the wall and slid down, until she was sitting on the floor. It had been a long and mostly fun weekend, right up until her ex friends had pulled this shit. She had to seriously think, though. How could she get out of this?
B was… Well, furious was almost too gentle a word.
After finally ditching Alison, Faye was nowhere to be found. And oh, B had searched and texted, but none of the messages went through. They were stuck in eternal sending mode.
By the time the place was closed, B… still hadn't been able to find Faye. Alison could have been telling the truth, but the girl had done little to earn any sort of trust. Besides, if that story was true, then Charlotte shouldn't be there either, and that girl had still been around.
They had done something, but… the carnival was shutting down, and it was time to go.
… That wouldn't last for long. Maybe a quick trip home to gather whatever it would take to get back inside and find Faye, and if those two had done anything to hurt her…
Another trip to Crystal Lake would be in order.
She wasn't sure what time it was when she woke up, nor did she realize she had actually fallen asleep. She heaved herself up to her feet, flinching as her stiff muscles stretched out. Where was she? She hadn't been in bed-
… Right. The mirror hall.
Her eyes were adjusted to the dark, thankfully, so navigating was easier then it could have been. She still felt groggy, though. The grogginess of an oddly placed nap that left the napper wondering what day it was.
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and went over a mental checklist.
My name is Fayora Christoph. I am fifteen years old. I am a freshman at Amaryllis High School. Today is Sunday. I know where I am. I know how I got here. I do not know how to get out of here. I need to figure out how to get out of here.
How could she? All she had was a bunch of mirrors, and those couldn't do anything to help-
… Could they? Maybe they could.
"Yeah, Mrs. Christoph, Faye was just sooo tired when we got back, she crashed as soon as we got here." B stated into the cell phone, with some well-practiced lies. "I just figured I'd call and got official sleepover permission. My mom is okay with it, so…"
"If your parents are okay with it, and Faye's all right… I was expecting her back almost an hour ago."
"I know, and I'm sorry. We just had so much fun, and we're both really tired."
"Does she need me to bring her by some clothes? Or should I just-"
"Nah." B laughed, a sound that was as natural as any real one. "Faye's been over here so many times that she's left at least a couple outfits on accident. She can just wear one of those tomorrow. I'd let you talk to her, but she passed out hard."
"Alright… Well, I'll talk to her in the morning, then."
B sighed internally and set the phone down. Faye's mother really could talk, and she had wasted quite a lot of time that B could have been using to prepare and go. It had done one good thing, though. It had proven to B that Faye had not gotten home, which meant she was still at the fairgrounds, or… elsewhere. Now that the phone call was over, though, it was time to get to work.
It would take a lot of supplies for some good old fashioned breaking and entering. Wire cutters, in case they had already put the fence up. Lock picking tools, just in case. Never know when a locked door might present a problem.
Of course, it was going to be a hassle collecting all the stuff. The lock picking kit was the only thing kept in the bedroom. Everything else was spread out through the huge house. If B's mom or step-douche ever found the stuff not only would it get taken, but B would be locked in her bedroom for at least a couple of days.
No, the supplies had to be kept hidden, even if it was a pain in the ass. It would only take twenty, thirty minutes top to get the stuff, then…
Hopefully Faye wasn't in too much trouble.
It took a long time to build up the nerve. Her phone still wasn't getting signal, the carnival was closed, and she only really had one idea for how to get word to B that she needed help. All she had to do was put her plan into action.
She had run several possibilities through her mind, and all of them had come up short. But… she had plenty of mirrors, and it was certainly dark enough.
She wasn't summoning the Candyman; that would be about the worst thing to do. There were a number of other mirror beings though, and after going over them in her head, she figured that if would listen to her, Bloody Mary might. Maybe. If she spoke quickly.
The girl was ready to shine her phone light in the spirit's face if not.
She stood in front of one of the mirrors and took a deep breath. No time like the present, she supposed.
"Bloody Mary… Bloody Mary… Bloody Mary…" She kept her voice slow and steady as she chanted, the name slipping out easily in a smooth rhythm. She wasn't sure how many times she had to repeat the name, but she forced herself to keep going even as doubts peppered her thoughts. What if Bloody Mary was just as or even more hostile than Candyman had been? What if she didn't hesitate before trying to attack her?
But… Beyond that surface doubt, she felt almost calm. As if some other instinct was reassuring her that this was a good idea. Or, at least, that it wasn't a bad idea. Something told her that it was going to work, all she had to do was-
She wasn't sure how many times she said the name, but she stopped once the image in the mirror slowly shifted from her own. Her silhouette changed shape, shifting, and almost brightening until it revealed a young woman. She stood at a couple of inches taller than Faye, with long brown hair that hung limply around her frame. She wore a white dress that was spattered with damp blood. She was deathly pale, which made her dark eyes and downturned mouth stand out all the more.
"Why did you summon me? I will warn you know, if it's not a good reason, I will not hesitate to claw your eyes out. I'm not a fan of my time being wasted, you know." She sounded more bored than anything else, until she added, "the hall of mirrors is a nice touch though. Much better than being summoned into a bathroom."
Faye could see sharp nails filed down to points, and it wasn't hard to take the threat seriously. The spirit eyed her with all the thrill of a student during finals week.
She explained. She told the spirit that she and her friend had been there for a carnival, and that some really bitchy ex friends had stuck here in there, and… she didn't know what else to do.
"I just want to get out of here… To be able to go home. I can't on my own, and I thought- It might not hurt to ask."
Bloody Mary stared at her for a moment, and after a moment, a small smile spread on her lips. The first show of genuine emotion she had gotten. "You certainly didn't bore me. So… I will help you on one condition."
"I can… I think it would be better if I knew what that condition was before I made any promises. If that's okay, I mean."
"… Smart girl," the spirit stated, which Faye took as a good sign. "I will help you if you promise me this; You will find out who I was." The smile on her face had gotten a little bit wider, and it… honestly did wonders to show she wasn't quite as terrifying as her first impression led Faye to believe. The smile itself was genuine, not filled with malicious sadism like she had expected it to be."
"I can… I can promise that I will do my best." The ghost reached her hand out of the mirror and, before Faye could do anything to reaction, she made a shallow cut on the girl's arm. Blood bubbled to the surface and scabbed over in a matter of seconds, inhumanly fast.
"That is a promise you cannot break. If you do… Well, no need to worry about that unless it happens. Now… How do you want me to help you? I could simply bring you somewhere else, if you would like. As long as there is a mirror, it will work."
"Oh." Well, that worked out pretty well. "My best friend's room. She has, like, a wall of mirrors. Could you take me there?" That was better than a simple message. Way better.
"Picture it in your head. And… you may wish to close your eyes. The Mirror Realm is… not like yours. It may or may not adversely affect your mind. She held out her hand, and Faye hesitantly took it, giving a slight yelp as the ghost yanked her into the mirror.
It was nothing like she had expected. It was not one solidified land, but several, patchworked together in a nonsensical pattern. As the blood dripping spirit led her through lands, she learned that they weren't just appearances- One snowy land bit her face and arms with cold winds, while the next drew sweat and stung her eyes with smoke. Some were vast lands of a loose, powdery red sand, and others were lands that didn't make sense at all. Places where gravity worked upside down, and everything was tinted blue and green. And everywhere, everywhere floated hundreds of thousands of mirrors.
"Just keep holding on," the spirit stated, "and you'll be safe. You might feel the effects of the lands, but you won't be harmed."
Faye was… starting to get nervous, admittedly. Sure, the spirit said she would help her, but… They had been wondering around for a long time, and she felt like walking to her friend's house would have been quicker-
Something sharp touched her throat and she froze. The only part of her that moved was her eyes, which slowly traveled down to see a familiar hooked hand.
"I didn't expect to see you here. It has been a while, but I'm sure you remember-"
"Danny! Stop that. She is here as my guest."
The hook removed itself, and Faye stepped slightly closer to Mary to turn and look at the Candyman, who towered above her. In his none hooked hand, he balanced three jars of… what she assumed was honey. It looked like honey, at least.
"I wasn't going to harm her. I just wanted to give her a little scare. She did spray me in the face with hairspray."
"… Wait, this is the girl who did that? … She's shorter than I thought."
Faye was beginning to wonder if she should cut and run, but before she built up the nerve, Mary continued.
"She is helping me now, so could you please let her off the hook? Please?"
"… That is a horrible joke, Marilyn."
"Then why are you smiling, Daniel?"
He laughed at the statement. It was a surreal sight for the living girl. She hadn't realized that killer could seem so… normal.
"I suppose I can keep from harming her," the man stated as soon as he stopped laughing. "If she does help you, she'll have my gratitude as well. Though I've told you before-"
"Knowing isn't always a good thing. I know, Danny, I know. But I'd rather know, no matter how horrible, then have to spend the rest of my afterlife not knowing. Now, I have to take her home, like I promised. And it looks like you're paying a visit to Felicity, though that is two more than usual."
"I just finish collecting these, though I am bringing one to Felicity, yes. Do you want one for your new… friend?"
The two spirits looked at her, and she held up the hand that wasn't holding onto the spirit's. "Hey, I don't- I mean, I wouldn't want to take it if it's yours, and-"
"He's offering because he's running out of space to store the jars," Mary piped up. "He has a lot of bees."
"And if we are going to be playing nice from now on, I suppose it might make a good peace offering." It would be rude to deny that kind of offer.
"… S-sure, then."
Another few minutes later, and the spirit gave her a light shove through one of the mirrors. She stumbled out, feet hitting the familiar hardwood floor with a loud clunk.
Almost immediately B was out of the bathroom connected to her room and she froze when she saw Faye.
"… How the hell did you get here? And why do- Is that a jar of honey?" B was dressed in dark clothes, with a backpack over her shoulder, and hair tucked up underneath a cap.
"… Hi. I, uh… made a deal with a mirror ghost for a ride home. Bloody Mary, specifically. And… We saw Candyman, and he gave me this? As a… peace offering?"
"Don't forget about your promise," came a quiet voice from the mirror. Both she and B looked back at it to see Mary hovering in the reflection. "I will not be pleased if you do, and both my brother and I will make sure you regret it." She smiled, and this time the expression sent shivers down Faye's spine. Ah. There was that malicious sadism that had been missing earlier. She stayed quiet as the spirit vanished, the faint glow around her fading away.
"… I guess I have some explaining to do, huh?" Faye laughed sheepishly once the ghost was and set the jar of honey down on one of the desks in B's room. Her friend just sighed and tossed her backpack back on the bed.
"Just a bit, Fairy. By the way, we're having a sleepover, so that'll give you plenty of time to explain all about it."