On a map, if you look very closely, somewhere lies the town of Mirrorville.
It’s usually overcast and dewey. The sun doesn’t shine much.
It’s very green however, rich with moss and ivy crawling over everything.
It is a small town of young families, and of course Miss Dead lives there, too.
She always has, she likely always will.
Nothing is green or grows at Miss Dead’s house.
Miss Dead lives alone at the end of River Street.
No one has ever gone beyond the end of River Street. It’s the only road in and out of town.
But no one has ever dared to pass her house.
The whole town lives in fear of Miss Dead.
They don’t speak to her.
They don't speak of her.
Lily often wonders what’s beyond the end of River Street.
She wonders why no one dares to pass Miss Dead’s house and see what else the world had to offer.
Lily is 10 years old. She is an old soul.
Lily is well liked in class by her teachers and students alike.
Lily really wants to explore beyond the end of River Street, but whenever she tries to bring it up to friends they tell her not to talk about it.
“No one has ever left Mirrorville because Miss Dead won’t let anyone leave. She’ll kill you if you do!” exclaimed Jenny, one of Lily’s best friends.
“My parents said not to talk about Miss Dead or leaving Mirrorville.” said Timmoy.
Timmoy is Lily’s boyfriend, though they don’t kiss or hold hands which confuses her as to what a boyfriend really is.
Lily isn’t like the other students. She is curious about life, and about death, too.
She doesn’t live in fear of the unknown, rather she is drawn to it like a kind of shadowy magnet.
She lives with her father.
Her mother died 5 years ago. It was a mysterious death. There were no answers.
Even though Lily lost her mother, she is full of love and wonder.
Her father, not so much. But Lily sure is.
Lily’s mind fought sleep that night, tortured as to why no one has left Mirrorville.
She wondered about this often.
But there was no relenting from the thoughts now.
She called Timmoy to vent about her feelings.
He was her boyfriend after all. Isn’t that what they were for?
“Lily, it’s almost 1 am. Why are you calling?” said Timmoy.
“I can’t stop thinking about what’s beyond the end of the road. I want you to come to Miss Dead’s house with me and we can find out once and for all!” Lily said excitedly.
“Lily, have you lost your mind? Please stop trying to talk to me about Miss Dead or the end of the road. It doesn’t matter” said Timmoy.
“But don’t you find it all so strange? No one has ever left, and no one has ever even tried to talk to her or bring her cookies? Maybe then she’d let us pass?”
“She doesn’t eat cookies, Lily. She eats cats and dogs, and she’ll probably eat you too if you dare go over there! There is no leaving here! She won’t let you.”
“You think she would eat a child?”
“Well I’ve invited you because you are my boyfriend and I thought that would be the nice thing to do, but I see I’m on my own here.” said Lily.
“You don’t mean you’re going over there right now do you?! Lily, don’t go to her house. It’s late! Promise me you won’t. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Lily rolled her eyes.
“Timmoy, you’re a 10 year old boy. If I died tonight you would have the whole rest of your life to find love, and I’m sure you will. There are very nice girls here in Mirrorville.”
Timmoy sat silent on the phone. Sometimes he wondered why he was so lucky to date Lily. She’s so brave, smart, and wondrous.
“Lily if you die - I’LL DIE! If you go in there you’re not only endangering yourself, you’re endangering me and everyone who cares for you, and that’s selfish.” exclaimed Timmoy.
Lily sat silent on the phone. She wondered why she dated Timmoy. He’s such a twat. No drive, no ambition.
“Timmoy, look… I don’t want to be with you anymore. I really honor you as a person, and I wish you all of the best. But my life doesn’t belong to you. It doesn’t even belong to me. I’m going to die one day regardless of which day it is. I’m going to her house tonight, and if you never see me again you can write Selfish on my tombstone for all I care. Goodbye, Timmoy.”
Timmoy began to cry. “Lily please, this is crazy! What’re you saying?!”
Lily was an oddity in this town of illusions.
Lily always knew life was ending. She saw her mother die, after all.
Each moment, every second we are on our way to death.
But she didn’t fear it.
She knew life and death are but two sides of the same coin.
Everyone else feared death.
They avoided it like the plague.
They didn’t speak of it.
They didn’t acknowledge it.
They dare not go knock on death's door in the middle of the night.
Lily put on her boots. She grabbed her favorite hoodie and looked in the mirror.
“Your life doesn’t belong to you. Death is always coming back for it.” she whispered.
She smiled a big, cheesy grin.
She had a smile that could warm a whole room. She knew this about herself.
She walked down the stairs quietly not to wake her father.
He sleeps on the couch next to his empty vodka bottle.
She turned the T.V. off for him and kissed him on the forehead.
Before leaving she set a glass of water on the coffee table with some ibuprofen for whenever he’d wake up.
Lily loved her father even though he struggled to love anything since her mother passed.
Lily closed the door behind her.
She could see a light on at Miss Dead’s house at the end of the street.
Mirrorville only had four streets.
River Street, the only road in and out, and where all of the houses congregated.
Bend Street which took you to the school.
Round Street which had the grocery store.
And Flow Street which had the cemetery, and took you back to River Street.
Lily took a deep breath.
“Your life doesn’t belong to you. Death is always coming back for it.”
She started walking.
The night was chilly like it always was in Mirrorville.
She wanted a sunny day, she hadn’t seen one in a while.
But she also loved how the crispy, coolness of the damp air made her feel.
The cold always reminded her she was alive.
You can feel it with your whole body - the cold.
She shivered, but she didn’t do anything to warm herself.
She just let herself be cold as she walked to Miss Dead’s house.
It wasn’t long before she arrived at the steel gate around Miss Dead’s house.
She stared for a moment.
Everything looked… dead.
Her heart raced.
Her hands shook.
Not just from the cold, but from the fear of the unknown.
She didn’t fight the shaking.
She trembled as she pushed the squeaky gate open.
She walked slowly through the yard towards the front steps of Miss Dead’s house.
There was the dank smell of rot hanging in the air.
She noticed some dead rose bushes.
She stopped and leaned in to smell one.
She could only smell the absence of life.
Like wet leaves on a fall day.
Not a bad smell.
She kind of liked it.
She walked up the steps to the front door.
As she went to knock on the door, the door creaked open.
Her heart fluttered.
This is it.
“Hello? Miss Dead? I’m Lily. I’ve come to speak to you.” she said carefully.
“Come in.” a voice said. “I’ve been waiting for you, child.”
Lily stepped into the house.
“Shut the door behind you.” a deep, raspy voice muttered.
She followed the request.
When she turned around she was met with a disturbing sight.
Miss Dead stared at her from across the room.
Lily's jaw dropped as she gasped.
Miss Dead's eyes were black. Like holes in her head.
Her hair, long and grey.
Her armpit hair, also long and grey.
Her teeth like fangs.
Her lips blue like blood.
Her skin was wrinkled like leather.
She was missing an arm and some of her skin was coming off in different places on her decrepit body.
Her smell was the absence of life.
Like wet leaves on a fall day.
“What have you come to say?” asked Miss Dead. “Sit, sit.”
A chair scooted from behind Lily until it reached her knees, forcing them to buckle.
“I’ve come to ask what is beyond your house. No one will leave this town for fear of passing your house, and I want to know why. Why do you stop people from leaving here?” Lily asked.
Miss Dead began cackling.
She started cackling so loud the house shook.
Lily covered her ears as pictures on the wall began smashing to the floor from the thunderous laugh.
“I don’t stop them from leaving!” Miss Dead screamed.
Lily could feel tears welling in her eyes.
She was genuinely scared.
“They stop themselves.” Miss Dead calmly stated.
Everything quieted down.
“They say that you will eat them if they try to pass. That’s what everyone says.”
“Well my sweet child, they aren’t lying. One day I will swallow them whole. It’s just they think by ignoring me, somehow I won’t notice them. That somehow they’ll escape their fate. But their lives belong to me whether they speak of me or not. Whether they walk by my home... or not.” Miss Dead said through a smile.
Miss Dead began to move towards Lily.
She watched as Miss Dead hovered over the floor. Her feet hanging limp.
Lily noticed her own hands grasping the arms of the chair so tightly they left an indent.
She remembered to breathe.
She relaxed some.
“But you child… you know this don’t you? That ignoring me will do you no good. That ignoring me only robs you of what little life you have.”
Lily thought about this.
“Miss Dead, I want to leave this town. I want to go beyond River Street into the world.”
“It’s dangerous out there, child. There is much that could harm you. Are you sure you want to leave this town? Once you leave there is no coming back.”
Miss Dead came face to face with Lily.
Her dark piercing eyes met Lily’s bright green eyes.
Lily could see eternity in Miss Dead’s eyes.
Miss Dead’s eyes were the whole Universe, stars and galaxies, everything and nothing.
Lily smiled at Miss Dead.
“What lovely eyes you have.” said Lily.
Miss Dead smiled a great big smile, showing her sharp teeth.
“My eyes are your eyes, and your eyes are my eyes. We are but one sweet child. I will come for you when I’m ready. But you may pass. You always could. Don’t let the fear of me stop you from being in this world. I’ll find you wherever you are.” said Miss Dead slyly.
“I know.” said Lily through a big smile.
Outside the sun began to rise.
Time and space felt different in Miss Dead’s house, like they weren’t real.
For the first time in a long time Lily could see the sun behind the grey clouds.
Like it had always been there.
Waiting to be seen.
“Will you join me on the porch, Miss Dead?” asked Lily.
“Sure. No one has asked me to do anything in eons.” said Miss Dead.
They sat on the porch and watched the sunrise.
Lily thanked Miss Dead.
Miss Dead thanked Lily.
“Just remember child, I’ll come for you when I’m ready.” said Miss Dead.