Image from WikiMedia, by Martheau.

Thousands of shards littered the floor, shattered pieces of silver light, marred by a splatter of red.

She shouldn’t have hit the mirror. Her aching knuckles dripped on the floor, and when she examined the damage, yes, she did have a sliver embedded in the skin. With a sigh, she went to the window for the best light. Several painful moments later, she had three slivers extracted, stopped the bleeding, and properly wrapped her hand.

A glass of wine fortified her enough to deal with the mess. The broom chased glass, skittering across her solar floor. She swept and swept and swept, and each time she paused to check her work, glass glinted from a crevice in the wood.

Eventually, she surrendered. The damn mirror had won, again.

Large shards clung to the ornate frame, a spiderweb of lines radiating from that single, satisfying, ill-planned punch. She draped the dark purple shawl she habitually employed between uses over it, to hide the evidence of her temper.

With the glass mostly swept up, and the remains covered, no one would notice what she’d done. That was for the best, because she didn’t want to explain. Didn’t want to describe how the enchanted mirror had showed her the future–her deepening wrinkles, graying hair, and sagging breasts. And her stepdaughter, currently a skinny girl of seven, blooming into a beauty with creamy skin, lustrous jet hair, and limpid blue eyes.

Everyone aged. Even her pretty stepdaughter someday would be a crone someday. If she lived that long, unlike her mother, carried off on a child bed fever trying to bear a son.

The king had proved too old and infirm to sire another child, for which she was grateful. She’d seen cousins and friends swept away in silence, replaced without a second thought. Just as the former queen had been.

Glaring at the hidden, formerly mouthy, looking glass, she sat at her vanity, with its blessedly unenchanted glass, and set to repairing the damage her exertions had done. When she was as perfect as she could be, she pulled her long sleeves over her hands, and went in search of the princess.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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