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First Dates With A Mirror
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale
Summary: Mira added a new mirror to her collection, and gets to know it.
The mirror's frame was artfully carved with sparrows, lifelike down to the feather textures. Mira had seen it, the craftsmanship, the patina…. She was certain it would be wonderful to work with.
Of course she would have to figure out its name first.
That involved setting up the mirror in a private parlour, her in a chair upholstered with velvet, the mirror standing in a little nest of silk, upper edge leaning against the wall. It was a quiet evening, and Mira had lit three candles. She sat there quietly for hours, occasionally sipping tea, contemplating the mirror until she got a sense of its presence. It felt like being close to a half asleep animal. Awake enough for her to probe its reaction to sounds.
Mira tried a few words the mirror’s design brought to mind. “Bird” and “flying” and “wind” left it cold, but “sparrow” caused a little stir. “Marrow”, if anything, made the mirror retreat into itself. “Shift” lured it back.
It seemed to like sibilants and unvoiced stops.
After a mere week of experimentation, first with dictionary words, then mixing her own from sounds that seemed to cause a positive reaction, Mira was getting close. “Chad” almost woke the mirror. “Tchat” succeeded.
Feeling watched by something a little curious and a little wary, Mira continued with shorter sessions. It was exhausting trying endless variations, concentrating on her instincts to read the mirror and trying to avoid too much repetition. Atchad, Etchat, Atatchat, Itchatix, and ever on. Tea worked to soothe her throat, but the needed focus gave her headaches.
At least the mirror was a patient one: never irritated, merely bemused. Mira gave herself part of the credit, too, since she avoided, for example, the r-sounds her first mirror had loved and this one seemed to fear.
“Tchatshux. Tchatchik. Tchatchet.”
When she finally got through, it felt like a sunrise flooding her heart. The same feeling she had seeing cranes take flight over the river in gilded morning mist. Wonder and elation.
No-one had tried to know this mirror before.
“Well,” Mira said, “I’m delighted to make your acquaintance.”
Followed by Research and Practice