Imaginary Friends pt 5

Kylie Rae
6 min readMay 30, 2023

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Looking back now, it was all so… clear. But in the moment, who would have thought much of it? I sure didn’t.

When Delilah was a baby, I loved holding her in front of the mirror. She would smile at her reflection and babble. It was adorable. She’d reach out and touch her own face and it was all so wonderful and new to her.

But maybe we shouldn’t have done that. Maybe no one should do that.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

When Delilah was a little older, she had a mini vanity with an arched mirror and it looked like a shrunk down version of my vanity. And when I’d sit down to put my makeup on or do my hair, she’d copy me. I loved it. It was our special bonding time.

But once in awhile, I’d walk past the room and she’d be sitting at the vanity and talking to the mirror. And I didn’t immediately think anything bad about it. She loved playing make believe games. I figured she was playing a game by herself. She’d been super into princesses and princess stories at that time and I thought she was talking to her ‘lady’s maid’ or something. It was cute.

Fast-forward a couple months and she put a blanket over her mirror.

I asked her why she covered her mirror and she said she put her friends in time out. When I asked her what her friends did to be in trouble she just shrugged. Yes, part of me wanted to know more about these ‘friends’ in her mirror. But I didn’t ask.

A little side-bar here. I’ve always known the whole ‘kids are more susceptible to spirits’ thing. But I didn’t want to scare Delilah. So, maybe she was seeing some spirits and would talk with them. But I didn’t want to draw more attention to it or make her think it was weird or anything. I figured she’d grow out of it and it didn’t have to be a big deal.

Anyway.

I don’t know how to talk about this next part.

Okay. So, one day we came home after work and I picked her up from daycare and our cat was gone. We looked all over the house. After an hour or two, Delilah frowned and walked into the room with our vanities and then came back out crying.

I said, “what, what is it? Did you find Shane?” Shane was our cat. But she kept crying and shaking her head and wouldn’t tell me what happened. That night when she was mostly asleep, I asked her again. I said, “What made you cry earlier?” Because we still hadn’t found Shane. I was thinking he’d gotten out somehow before we left and would come back. It happened on occasion. But then in her little sleepy voice she said, “my friends took him. He’s gone.”

So, then I obviously started to get freaked out. Right? Like, my daughter’s ‘friends’ in her mirror ‘took’ our cat? What did that even mean?

I called her dad and asked what he thought. We didn’t talk a lot in general, just parenting things. But this was creeping me out. I asked if she did anything like that when she was at his place. And of course he said, no. She was ‘totally normal’ over there. Which you know, didn’t make me feel great about the situation. As though she wasn’t ‘totally normal’ at my house. But then he said maybe get rid of the mirror. So, maybe he heard my fear enough to not make fun of me and take me seriously.

So, the next weekend Delilah was at her dad’s and I decided to get rid of both of our vanities. Because I knew she wouldn’t like it if I just took her’s away. I wouldn’t be able to explain what I was doing without freaking her out. Because I still didn’t think I should make a big deal about it to her.

I listed them on marketplace, they sold pretty quick because I priced them low. And then I went and bought a new desk that was big enough for both of us to sit at and a large mirror for over the back. I thought that was a good compromise. She was getting bigger after all, she wouldn’t fit at the little table for much longer.

But when she got home she freaked out. She cried and yelled at me for throwing away her friends. Nothing I did made her feel better. It wasn’t like I could call up the person who bought it and tell them I needed it back. Her dad witnessed the whole thing and asked if I wanted her to go back to his place for another night. I didn’t think it would make a difference, but she jumped at the idea. She was so mad at me.

But her dad said I shouldn’t take it personal. He said he’d find a way to get her calm down. Told me to go out and do something fun. Something for me. I don’t know why he was being so nice. Not that he was ever rude, exactly. He just didn’t think about other people very much. But I took his advice and made plans with a few friends to see a movie and get drinks. It had been so long since we’d done that.

So, I took a long shower — something I didn’t get to do as often as I’d like since Delilah liked to be attached to my hip. And then I sat down in front of my new mirror to do my hair and makeup.

Sorry. I don’t know how to talk about this part…

Okay. Well. So, I’m doing my hair and suddenly my reflection… wasn’t doing what I was. It was small at first… like the curling iron would stay near my face longer than I held it there. And then the hairspray can was at a different angle. And then… then my reflection pressed the curling iron against my cheek with this crazy smile.

And even though I didn’t do it, I felt the burn. And see? There’s the first burn mark right here.

So, I put the curling iron down obviously. But the burn was still there and it hurt really bad. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Or feeling.

But then it got worse. Because the reflection kept burning me. And here’s the rest of the burns. They go down my neck and chest and there’s even one on my shoulder here…

So I got up and ran away from the mirror. And that was the only way I could get it to stop. But by then it was too late. I was covered in these burns.

I called Delilah’s dad. Since he was the only one I’d be able to even sort of explain this to. He was nice about it mostly. I guess. But I heard Delilah in the background say… “she made my friends mad. They were punishing her.” And I just… freaked out.

So, no I don’t blame her dad for calling the police to come check on me. I’m not mad at him. And I did need to go to the hospital to be treated for third degree burns. I don’t know if I would have gone if he hadn’t called. And maybe he believes me, at least a little. Since Delilah chimed in.

But I don’t think you believe me. I know everyone here thinks I did this to myself. But I didn’t. Why would I?

It was my daughter’s friends. Inside the mirror.

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Kylie Rae

Independant author | Book lover | Whiskey Drinker | Mother of two crazy boys | www.kylieraewriter.com