Adrianna Bristol stood before her grandmother's antique mirror and stared at the black velvet cloth covering it. She just couldn't believe her nana was gone. The mirror had hung in that exact same spot for the last twenty years, never once had it been moved from the alcove. Adrianna remembered the stern words of her grandmother when she was a child. Annabel Bristol had told her, "promise me Adrianna that you will never uncover the mirror. No matter what it may whisper to you, you must never remove the cover." Adrianna laid her hand against the cool velvet which covered the glass. As she walked away the mirror whispered to her, "you belong to me now. You belong to me." A four hundred year old curse has plagued the Bristol family since the 1600's. A curse born out of a love so rich and a betrayal so deep, that time itself has no power to stop it. Only Adrianna has the courage to find the truth behind the curse and set her family free. But will the Mirror release its darkest secrets?
My attention was drawn to a horn honking outside. Looking out the window, I could see Sam parked out front. I dashed down the stairs to meet him at the front door. Sam could help me make it through the day along with dad.
My brother wore a black suit with a grey shirt and a black, maroon, and grey striped tie. He looked so handsome in a suit it made me wish he would wear them more often as I admired how nice he looked. When will you ever find the right woman to marry? Although I don’t have much room to talk since I am just as fickle.
“Would you please zip my dress for me?” I asked.
“Sure. How are you holding up today? Did you sleep okay last night?”
“Better than I thought I would but I had the strangest dreams about nana and that mirror,” I said while pointing toward the mirror and wrinkling my nose in disgust.
“Do you remember when we were little and she told us the one thing we could never do was to uncover that mirror?” I asked.
“Yes, but I didn’t understand why. And to be perfectly honest sis, I still don’t understand what the big deal is about that mirror. Everyone acts as if it is cursed. Why would you keep something if it caused so much trouble?”
I smiled and raised an eyebrow. Our family always had an air of peculiarity to it. Most of the people in town were polite to us in an obligatory way. Our family founded Bristol Bay so it was expected that they show us some type of respect. However, I always felt like they feared us as well. They kept their distance, which didn’t bother me in the least. Being social with strangers has never been one of my strong suits. Perhaps that was the reason behind my career choices. Buildings speak through their design and do not need words to communicate with you. Their shapes and angles silently show their character.
Sam followed me to the kitchen and opened the pantry door to look for a lace tablecloth for the dining room table. I found a cream linen one trimmed with lace while rummaging through the linen closet. It would have to do. I spread it out across the table and began to bring in pickle trays, glasses, and silverware. We would not need to provide any food for after the viewing. Everyone would bring a covered dish, sandwiches, or desserts. With the last tray of glasses placed the phone began to ring.
I walked to the hallway and leaned against the doorway listening to Sam speak with the funeral director. They would be here within the hour. Our father would be arriving with them and would be followed by the funeral procession. Sam placed the phone back in the cradle.
“Are you ready for a houseful of company? They’re on their way as we speak.”
Sam knew how much I hated large gatherings.
Why couldn’t we say goodbye to nana alone? At least Leticia will be here and I can ask her about the ring.
We both sat in silence on the window seat until we saw them coming up the driveway.
We greeted each member of our family as they walked up the porch stairs to the landing. Inside we had arranged as many chairs as we could find for them to sit in. At last, I saw dad emerge from the hearse. It never occurred to me how much nana’s death would affect him. Sadness filled his eyes as he wrapped his arms around me. He had grown to love her as he did his own mother and her death had left a mark on his soul.
“I am so sorry daddy,” I whispered while wrapping my arms around him.
“I am too Adrianna. She just left us so unexpectedly. At least she did not suffer. All you can ask for is to slip away peacefully the way she did in her sleep. I could not bear to see her suffer. She was too proud a woman to have endured an injustice like that.”
Once everyone took their seats, Father O’Malley began the service with a prayer. Attending mass was a rarity for me, so it was difficult to sit still for such a long time. I listened as he spoke fondly about her. He told them about her good works, the time she donated so freely to help others. He ended the sermon with the crowning achievement of my nana’s dedication to Our Lady of Penance.
When my grandfather passed away, he had left nana a very substantial amount of money in the form of a trust. He kept it hidden from her the entire time they were married. She used the money to build one of the largest secular libraries in Maine. I smiled and kept my head down. If only Father O’Malley knew the truth. Nana was so angry with him for hiding the money; she used it to build the library because she knew it would infuriate him! I barely heard Father O’Malley ask me if I would like to say any words about her. My hand trembled against the lid of her casket while I gathered the words.
“Annabel Bristol was an unusual and caring woman. She loved her family with the same exuberance that she loved life. She enjoyed the simple aspects of everyday and lived every moment of her life to the fullest. Whether building a library simply to infuriate my dead grandfather as he looked down on her from heaven or tending her teacup roses, she did it with pride. My nana did not care what anyone thought, and she did what she wanted. She did what she could to ease the pain of others and shared her simple joys with them. She will be deeply missed. As long as I live, I will make sure Annabel Bristol is remembered for not only the woman she was but also the woman she was to me.”
An avid writer, Candace works nearly every day on one of her manuscripts. Though she predominately composes works of horror, she also writes mystery, suspense, and adventure. During the 1990’s she was a featured columnist for PRS in Kansas City. In 2011, Candace was honored by being voted one of the Top 20 Most Prolific Authors by AKG mag.. Her books are an unusual blend of historical places and events, along with fictional and non-fictional characters, which she seamlessly weaves into the story .Originally from south-central Pennsylvania, she currently resides in Kansas City with her husband Todd.