I stood transfixed, in front of the mirror. The gray was starting to lighten. I rubbed my eyes, not sure if what I saw, was real or imagined. I looked again, and it was dull gray as it was before. Shaking my head I shrugged it off, and walked away. When I had reached the doorway I looked back. It was still the same. “I know I saw something”, I said to myself. It was getting late, and I had things yet to do. So I ended my sleuthing, and headed out. While driving, I kept thinking about the mirror, and tried to remember that moment. I even tried to convince myself, I hadn’t seen anything. But another part of me said otherwise.
That night l drifted off to sleep, and the mirror and that moment played over and over in my dreams. I awoke the next morning and knew then I had to go back to that house. My next day off from work, I planned to take care of a few things, and return to the house once more. Getting an early start would leave me, a good part of the afternoon.
I drove up to the house, got out of my old beater, and started for the porch. Entering the same way I had before, through a window, that had a loose board. Up those rickety stairs I climbed, once more. Now in the doorway, I looked to the far part of the room where the mirror stood. Slowly I walked over to it, and stood once more in front of it. For minutes I stared at this non reflecting glass. Nothing. I must have imagined it, I sighed. As I turned to walk away, the mirror started to lighten again. I stood back, my heart pounding, and frozen to my spot, it continued, till something vague started to appear. It was coming and going. I stayed rooted to my spot. I hadn’t imagined anything. This mirror was doing something!
After who knows how much time, still standing in front of the mirror, a fuzzy picture of a woman, was now showing. She appeared to be dressed in clothes fashionable, from perhaps the late twenties or maybe early thirties. Her hair was in a bun and she looked somewhat matronly. Her expression seemed sad and furlong. Then her lips moved. Her eyes were pleading. It seemed she was saying something. Then the words, she seemed to mouth, were Innocent…..innocent! With that the image disappeared.
I don’t know how long it was before I could get my composure, and drink in all I have witnessed. But one thing was certain, a voice from the past was reaching out. But who? Was it the convicted nanny?” Innocent”, she had said. It had to be I thought. Shortly after, I left the house, and did some research. I found some old articles on the trial. In one there was a picture of the nanny being lead to courthouse. The picture was the same woman in the mirror.
I took off from work, as I rarely did, and went back to the house. The mirror then told me the rest of the story, that day. An image of the the nanny sitting near a bassinet. A man comes in and quickly leans over as if to kiss her. She puts a quivering finger to her lips, as if to say quiet. A moment later the man reaches in the bassinet and begins to shake the baby hard, then drops infant back in bassinet, and stumbles out of the picture. The Nanny rushes to the bassinet, then the image turns to the nanny pointing to something. I follow her gaze, trying to understand where she is pointing to and why. I walk around the room, trying to figure out her message. Then as I step past a part of the floor a piece pops up. I lift it from its spot, and with my flashlight, I point it down where the piece of floor was. I could see what looked like a small book, and retrieved it. I carefully open it up. It’s old and faded, but the ink legible. After a short spell of reading I realized that what I had was a diary of some kind, and it was written by the nanny, whose name was Maggie Doyle
One faded page read “He forces himself upon me. I try to resist, but he threatens me with ill repercussions. His breath reeks of alcohol. The wife is unknowing, as she sleeps down the hall. It becomes an almost nightly horror. I cry myself to sleep. I am defenseless against this man, and know his wife would never believe my words.” The images became clearer to me. It was another night she tried to resist. He is drunk. Fearful of him awakening the sleeping child, she tries to hush him. In his drunken state, this angers him. He then picks up the child and shakes him, where the child dies from the trauma. There was no way this poor immigrant woman could prove she was not guilty. Even had the book been revealed, she could not defend herself against his wealth. All she could do was proclaim innocence, and take the truth to her grave.
Enough was read, to understand the truth, along with the images of the mirror. But even with the truth in hand, I could not vindicate this woman no more than she could have, had she revealed the book herself, I thought. “So why did this image of the past reach out to me?” I looked up from the book, and at the mirror again. The images, had vanished. I had the whole story, or at least enough. I went home taking the book with me. As I sat on my bed with the book in my lap, thinking about what I had learned, I began to wonder maybe I could help vindicate her, or try. It would never change what had happened to Maggie, but it would shed new light, and present another possibility, to the story. There was a museum in town that had among other things, a section on the history of our area. The Museum director there, Mrs Hayes, might know what to do with the book. Of course I could never tell her the whole story of how I come to have the book in my possession. But I was sure I could think of something. I then decided that was, what I would do, and then gently placed the old book, in my end table for the time being.
For the next couple of days, It still haunted my thoughts. And for some reason was still drawn to the old house and the mirror.” Why?” I asked myself. I knew I was still curious if the mirror would still do anything else, and thought maybe that was it. So as I did before, I made another trip. This time as, I stood in the doorway, I saw the mirror laying face down, and shards of glass were shrew about. I righted it up. The mirror was now devoid of glass. Maybe the mirror had done what it had intended. To at least let one person know, the truth of their innocence, so their soul, could rest in peace, or maybe hope that the one person reached, would let the truth be known, to others. I knew now it was time to take that book to Mrs Hayes.