Becky Moran has built a career claiming to talk to the dead. A successful clairvoyant medium, a Cambridge graduate with her own radio show ‘Medium Wave’ and a team dedicated to crafting the celebrity myth – because Becky Moran is a fake. Until, one night, something supernatural, inexplicable, breaks through live on air as she is broadcasting. Becky Moran discovers the paranormal is real, the dead can indeed speak and she is being pursued relentlessly towards a battle for her very survival.
‘This thing has no defined shape. Whatever energy exists within it, it cannot settle on a shape. The strands of darkness curl out and then wrap back inwards. The bulk of the shadow becomes concave, then bulbous, the height building in on itself but lacking any skeletal structure to wrap itself around. There are no eyes, no clearly defined head shape. It is creating itself from darkness, like a swirl of ebony ink dropped into a vat of putrid water, spreading silently….’
Becky Moran has built a career claiming to talk to the dead. A successful clairvoyant medium, a Cambridge graduate with her own radio show ‘Medium Wave’ and a team dedicated to crafting the celebrity myth – because Becky Moran is a fake.
Until, one night, something supernatural, inexplicable, breaks through live in air as she is broadcasting. Becky Moran discovers the paranormal is real, the dead can indeed speak and she is being pursued relentlessly towards a battle for her very survival.
Here, Becky has been called to look at an antique mirror which the owner of an antique shop in York has mysteriously acquired. He had tried to get rid of it, but it keeps coming back…..
‘God, indeed,’ thought Becky as she slowly approached the Mirror. The ebony wood was gleaming, the aged patina of the glass reflecting the interior of the shop. As she looked, she thought she saw something move across the surface. The movement was so small, a flicker, it could just have been a trick of the light. Becky stood in front of it, face on, seeing her own reflection stare back.
As she peered into the glass, a handprint formed on the bottom right-hand corner. It was forming from the inside and the glass itself seemed darker, more opaque. The heat of the print left a clear impression. As Becky stared at it, another started to form beside it, this time much smaller, and was then joined by its pair: clearly a child’s prints. The image started to fog, as though a mist was swirling from deep within. Becky caught her breath. Her own reflection was now indistinct. Yet another handprint formed, this one much larger and obliterating the first three. Then another. The handprints proliferated from inside the surface of the glass at astonishing speed, making Becky take a step back. Now the interior surface of the mirror was covered with handprints, the earlier ones fading slightly only to be replaced quickly by fresh ones. Her face disappeared. Becky looked at the Mirror, hazy with imprints, darkening with a shadowy mist. Time seemed to have slowed down, like the frames of a film – of reality itself – winding down and out.
She watched as the handprints faded and the mist boiled, swirling towards the surface of the glass, emerging from somewhere deep inside and towards her. It reminded Becky of fog in the headlights of a car when all visibility is obscured, when slivers of light cut through the mist and make the refractions of the electric light dance.
She stared, almost mesmerised, and saw the ebony frame moving, the fretwork expanding, the ebony roses, once closed and exquisitely carved on each corner of the frame, flowering, opening, twisting. They looked obscene in their blackness – death flowers, grotesque, deriding the beauty of their origin, flowers crafted to sit on an ancient coffin and mock the dead.
The Mirror appeared to expand, growing to fill the blank wall. The glass was now black and bubbling with mist and dark shadows. All the handprints had disappeared. There was no sound. The mist swirled, and Becky squinted as she saw a shape forming. With no haste at all, the dark shadows seemed to settle into form behind the glass and, as if by some unseen command, the wooden roses, now overblown and pulsating, their blackness deep and ripe, bent on their stems towards the glass. They stretched inwards from their anchor points on the outer corners of the frame. Becky knew that to be touched by them would be poison; their putrid sap dripping acid and deadly ichor would eat away her flesh. In the second she took to register that thought, an image formed in the glass.
There was a face, not her face – please not – in the mirror. A face of soft folds of flesh, built from layers of mist. A face of ancient, knowing, corrupt, heinous flesh. A face that was once female but from which age had erased anything feminine. The mist formed sparse wisps of hair, long and curling away, formed out of black fog, moving like the body of a snake out of the mist-formed skull into thin tails of smoke. The sexless features formed a mouth, which was speaking, chanting soundlessly.
The face was moving closer and closer to the surface, angry yet triumphant, yearning, seeing Becky – seeing her – silently shouting its mantra, commanding, inviting, wanting just to reach the surface of the glass and reach through to take Becky by the hand and drag her, screaming, down, down, down to where they all were… Becky leant towards the mirror, her hand raised. The glass rippled as Becky’s fingers hovered over the blackness.
About the Author
Her Irish grandmother first told Rose about the Banshee when she was just a small child. How the wailing sound of the spirit of the dead and dying could be heard when someone was about to pass.
It was family folklore that the women in the family had ‘the touch’, the ability to see spirits and other dimensions. Rose listened and grew up fascinated by those who claimed to have supernatural or psychic abilities.
Rose does not claim to have those powers. Take her to Venice in February when the mist swirls over the canals, walk by her side along the darkened streets of Greenwich Village in New York City in high summer, listening to a ghost walk tour guide tell the stories of death, murder and the unexplained – Rose would say those stories and our belief in them gives her a power to see into the shadows within our imagination.
As a journalist, Rose takes every opportunity to explore and investigate strange stories, myth and folklore. Living in rural Yorkshire, with a rich library of ghost stories and literary tradition, Rose also has a sceptical and forensic insight into those who peddle the stories which feed our imagination but of which we have yet found no proof. She has listened to the debunkers who argue against those believers who are convinced that sand the dark side exist.
Rose’s mind is open. Is yours?
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