Chapter 1 One: Gregory

“Do you know what happened to the Winkers?”

“Who are the Winkers?”

“They were locked up in the mirror with the magical iron key. See that one over there.”

He wanted to do it. He was letting out the darkest and deepest agony that had been buried deep for quite some time, unlikely to be retrieved for years to come. Probably a murder; a suicide; an unknown. He was not sure: he did not want to be sure. But he wanted to do it. He knew.
Finally, his parents’ unrelenting bickering would come to an end. The devil twins would have their best with their parents, and he would be around to watch them rot. His parents would be fortunate for the rest of their lives. He could see the reflection of a ten-year-old grieving and taking his last breaths on an iron key as he headed for the caves. This time there is no turning back. He’d rather trip on a stone and slump to death than go back home, but there was also the uncertainty of death. His steps doubled, he could feel their presence, as strangling as belligerence. They would not know. They would not find him. When they do, he would have a villainous smile to watch them tremble for a lifetime of fortune. Maybe the gods had destined it to be.
He had a pretty decent perspective of the Repluff mirror from where he stood in the middle of the forest. The six-foot-tall mirror had a foundation, silver-coated at the edges, and concave a little above the foundation and the key insertion region. Once again, he saw the reflection of a ten-year-old blonde. This time his lip and nose were bleeding, and his face was muddy as black. He was standing before the Repluff mirror with the key. He wanted the seconds before his demise to be memorable. He could hear their screams, loud and clear, pointy and directed.
“You bastard!” the female voice said. “You knew! You knew where it had been! And you decided to lie!”
“Lie? Are you serious? I was lied to being in this marriage, you bitch!” the male voice yelled.
He heard a slap. Probably his mum slapped his dad for calling her a bitch, or his dad likewise after an exercise of anger. The wailings began, and the bickering continued. Hannah’s wail was the louder, Evie’s was light, high-pitched, and pesky. His ears were drumming, his hands froze, and he felt a cold rush of adrenaline through his nerves. The distance between his house and the cave was an estimated 9 miles. He still hadn’t received an explanation for his powers from his enemy parents.
He heard another voice, maybe his mind, telling him to stop for a bit and have a second thought about his decision. He closed his hand in a tight fist with the key buried within and sat on a gigantic rock that lay nearby. He sat down for minutes on the large stale rock, clearing his head, trying to recall pleasant moments with either of his parents, but he seemed not to remember much. However, the terrible memories outnumbered the good ones which he chose not to remember, compounding his grief and arousing endless showers to trickle down his cheek. He could hear them again; their voices were louder than before, the intensity rising to its peak, leaving him in a vibrating stance.
“Now, look what you’ve done, look what you’ve done!” his mother yelled again.
He didn’t hear a reply from his father, but his mother kept yelling at his father. Sometimes it seemed directed at the babies. He loathed his mother’s voice – it sounded more like a crow delivering an assignment, best for breaking bad news. Well, it was his mother who told him about the key; at least a little bit of good news for him. The fluctuation continued – their voices getting incoherent and then intelligible – back and forth.
“Where are the keys?” Henry asked.
“What keys?!” his mother asked.
“Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about,” his father said. “I’m done with your silly little games.”
“Do you seriously expect me to give you the keys to my car?” said Kyra.
“I told you, ‘I’m done with your silly little games,’” Henry said in a rather mild voice. “Give me the keys.”
“I’d love to see my heart out of my body, you know,” his mother said. There was a supposed silence between the both of them before the loud, “To see the number of parts it has been broken into!”
He could hear his father’s steps marching, the wooden floors crackling, the continuous wailing of babies, Kyla’s incessant complaints, and his heartbeat thumping as though he might seize a breath before he decided to.
“We just had these babies, and you decided to be a prick about it!” said Kyla.
“Give me the keys, for the last time!” he could hear his father’s angry breathing, “Or I’ll go get it myself.” He said in a rather calm tone with a resumption of marching.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Kyla said, running towards the master bedroom, he presumed. Meanwhile, Henry walked in the opposite direction to the veranda.
There was a peaceful silence between his parents for some time. His mother must have found out, they would search for him. They must find him. He could feel his mother tremble, her heart pound, her lips bleeding.
“Where is it?!” Kyla yelled. “Where is it?”
The wailing from the baby girls increased, creating an atmosphere of discomfort. His ears bled, it was as though he had lost so much blood and had forgotten how his legs worked. He wanted to stand up, but he couldn’t. He was paralysed. He heard his mother’s angry steps walking towards the garage screaming, “I know you took it… You took it… You bastard!” He heard a punch; it probably landed on his father’s chest.
“Where is it?” his mother shouted. “Where is it?”
The blue-eyed young man stood puzzled at the enraged, slender brunette lady. He wanted to say something but then shut his mouth.
“You know something about it, don’t you?” said Kyla. “Tell me….”
“You have to be kidding.” His father said in an astonished tone, “You can’t be serious.”
At first, she was calm a bit. “Do I look like I’m joking with you?”
The crackle on the wooden floors resumed due to intense marching by two people. They eventually reached the master bedroom. Henry kept whispering, ‘No, No, No,’ while they turned every jar upside down and unfolded the clothes. He knew what would come next. He summoned courage and stood up, although it felt worse than a broken leg. Gazing at the key, he could hear his parents searching for it, crying babies, fear in their voices.
“Have you seen it?” his mother asked his father. He didn’t hear a response. It must be a “No”. “Where’s Greg? Gregory?!” his mother shouted. His heart skipped hearing his mother shout his name in a frightened but harsh manner.
“He’s not in his room?” Henry asked.
“No,” Kyla said in a tremulous voice.
“You don’t think he took the key, do you?”
“What would he use it for?” Kyla said in a whisper. She knew he could hear them.
“Come on. We have to get to the cave. He might be there," Henry said as he walked quietly to the car.
He could still hear the babies cry, whatever was said between his parents did not dawn on him at that instant. He knew that they were after him; he knew they would stop him. The silver-coated key must be his rescue; walking into the mirror was like evacuating from a war-filled zone. He hurriedly but meticulously inserted the key in the slot. Gregory’s parents would be there any minute. They took the car; his mother was driving. She’d previously and currently been known as a reckless driver in Osinku where they lived. The mirror finally unlocked; the blue fog was pouring. It looked like paradise: a paradise of doom, paradise of joy, paradise of perplexity and astonishment. He needed to drop something, to tell them he was there and had vanished. He tore a piece of cloth from his shirt and left his slippers there for evidence. Then he dropped a curse on his parents and the devil twins, whose wails got more devilish. He spat on the floor three times, pulled out the mirror key and stepped inside. There was a swift return to the former appearance of the mirror but without its key. Breeze blew the piece of cloth at the trees while Gregory’s slippers lay there untouched.

"He’s not here."

“He was here. That’s his.”

“We must find him."