Miss Cornice P. Reflecto, of Boinky Toad Tower, strode about her living room. She circled the floral patterned chintz sofa. She tapped her fingers on the lace lampshade. She kicked the legs of the ancient pink damask armchair.
“How can they do this to me? How can they?! I have always paid my dues, every year, and I’ve never been fined or written up or anything. I’m a member of the Mirror Society in good standing, I am! I don’t deserve this!”
The letter from the Mirror Society had arrived that morning. Miss Cornice had been quite surprised when the silver rectangle came through the mail slot. It had been years since she had received any mail. Many many years. Sometimes she wondered how many mirror people were left, if all her friends and acquaintances and enemies had been broken or clouded or turned to the wall. But still, she had paid her dues. Every year.
She hadn’t cleaned the mirrorway platform outside the tower’s mirror network for months, not since she’d last sent her dues. She hoped the delivery person had choked on all the dust.
The envelope was stamped with a logo of a stylized mirror, an oval outlined in flowing black lines, and beneath it was the motto of the Mirror Society: Reflect the truth, always.
She had always reflected the truth. Always. She’d worked her way up from a girl’s hand mirror to this place, this tower full of mirrors, by always following their rules and regulations. She’d never once slipped up. There had never been any questions, never any problems. She was good at what she did. Damn good.
It wasn’t her fault that there’d been that fire. It wasn’t her fault that the tower was abandoned. She still managed to pay her dues. Every year.
She picked up a heavy glass ash tray and threw it against the shutters. It made a delightfully loud crash as it hit the wood. She hoped there’d been a disturbance on the other side, in the mirrorspace. If she was going to be stripped of her tower and knocked back down to some ugly faded hand mirror somewhere, then she was going to do something to deserve it, by Sussicran!
The silver envelope lay on the white end table next to the pink damask chair. It mocked her.
Dear Resident, it’d said. They hadn’t even bothered to use her name. She was a certified Veritas Grade MirrorKeeper, and they hadn’t even used her name.
She took up the letter and read it again.
We are sorry to inform you that your mirror network has been scheduled for retirement on Vitae 17th, 3094. The Reflecteds have plans to demolish your current location. We will relocate you. A position is available in a Verax Grade hand mirror, if you so desire.
The Mirror Society
She did not so desire. She did not so desire at all. She would not leave Boinky Toad Tower. Not even if the Reflecteds tore it down around her. She’d find some way to stay. This was her home. Not some tiny stupid hand mirror, where the only thing she’d see all day was some mildewed bathroom ceiling and a pimply preteen Reflected.
There had been grand balls in the tower once. She had loved the bright colors, the dazzling jewelry, the beautiful gowns and the smart tailored suits. The Reflecteds could clean up pretty well when they wanted to. Sometimes, when no one was around, she would go out into the mirrorspace and she would reflect the balls to the burned out hulk of the tower, replaying the events of decades ago.
Surely the Mirror Society couldn’t have known about that little indulgence. And anyway it didn’t count, because hardly any Reflecteds came into the tower anymore. A few did, here and there. Enough for her to pay her dues. And the balls had really happened. They were a truth, if not the current truth. That would be her defense, if anyone asked any questions. Which they probably wouldn’t. And she wouldn’t bring it up. Best to let sleeping gods lie, and all that sort of thing.
Actually, a nice ball sounded like just the thing to calm her nerves. One ball replay, and then she’d have a warm bath and think about what to do.
She squared her shoulders, opened the shutters, and stepped over the remnants of the ashtray into mirrorspace.
Miss Cornice P. Reflecto melted into light. She spread out over the tower, filling all its mirrors. She curved herself into the shapes she remembered, the gowns and the suits and the faces of Reflected who had long since died. Candles flickered. A large chandelier swayed in the ball room mirror. Reflecteds danced and laughed.
She didn’t hear the car doors slam. She didn’t hear the men talking on their phones. She didn’t hear the boards over the tower’s main entrance being wrenched apart. She didn’t hear the Reflecteds walking over the rubble and trash. But when they looked into her mirrors, she heard the curses and the screams.
Yes. Oh, yes. She’d show the Mirror Society. She’d show the Reflecteds who wanted to tear her tower down. She would not leave here.
Light bent out of the mirrors. The tower glowed, white and purple and red, and then there was only the dark, and silence.
Miss Cornice flowed through the shutters. She took on form again, became solid and substantial. The envelope still sat on the white end table, but it didn’t seem to mock her so now. She pulled three ovals of light from the pocket of her dress and sat them next to the envelope. Then she located a piece of paper and a pen, sat in the ancient pink damask chair, and started to write.
Dear Mirror Society,
Enclosed you will find my dues for the next three years. I believe you will find that you are mistaken about the Reflecteds having plans to tear down my tower. I will remain here.
Your ever humble and honest servant,
Miss Cornice P. Reflecto, of Boinky Toad Tower
She folded the note and placed it next to the three ovals of light. She would dust the mirrorway platform in the morning.