It was October and everyone was talking about getting costumes for Halloween and all the Halloween parties they were planning on attending. Sandra was no different and wanted to find a costume that was completely unique but she had no idea what to get. She really didn’t want to buy a costume because she knew that, sooner or later, she would probably run into someone wearing the identical one.
In all honesty, she wasn’t much of a seamstress either so whatever outfit she chose had to be something already made or else she’d be dressed as a burlap bag; not that she had anything against looking like a burlap bag ---well, actually she did, but that’s beside the point. The thing was she didn’t want that scratchy material anywhere near her skin lest she’d be in misery the whole time she was wearing it.
As luck would have it, Sandra’s dilemma changed in one trip to the thrift store where she found a scruffy dress; a dirty tattered coat; a grungy pair of boots and a scraggly looking wig. She was thrilled. That is, until she got home and tried everything on. The clothes were exactly what she was looking for with the exception that they just weren’t powerful enough. She wanted a real dramatic effect and wasn’t getting it no matter what she did. She had no choice but to get help so she called her friend Barbara and asked her to come over.
“Well, whatta ya think?” Sandra asked when Barbara stepped into the living room.”
Barbara took a moment then said, “You look great! That is so cool. What’s your problem with it?”
Sandra frowned. “That wasn’t the answer I was looking for,” she said flopping down on the couch. “I wanted it to look real. You know, really dramatic like Hollywood does it so it makes people react.”
Barbara threw her hands in the air. “Honey I don’t know what you’re looking for because you have it. I mean you don’t look like you. Maybe just a bit of different makeup, but that’s all.”
Sandra let the subject drop and she and Barbara spent the rest of the evening having coffee and muffins and talking about many of the past Halloweens they had shared.
When Barbara left, Sandra tidied up and before she took the outfit off, she looked one more time in the mirror. The image staring back at her did look dramatic but she wanted something more. She changed, showered and climbed into bed.
What happened next cannot be explained. During the night, she had a dream that she had donned the outfit and went into the bathroom to look into the mirror. She gasped at the wicked, hideous looking creature staring back at her.
She moved closer and studied the image. She was satisfied it was herself, but couldn’t believe the change. It was exactly what she wanted to look like so she could scare people and make them remember her.
Staring into the mirror, she wished she could copy what she was seeing in real life. “Yes, you’re exactly what I’m looking for,” she whispered as she stared into the eyes of the image in the mirror. Returning to bed, Sandra realized she hadn’t dressed in the costume nor had she put that kind of makeup on to make her look as she did and deduced it was all part of the dream.
She snuggled under the covers and drifted off to sleep. When she awoke in the morning and went into the bathroom, she practically jumped backwards at the sight of herself in the mirror. The face staring back at her was the one from her dream. “No, you can’t be,” she said both to the image in the mirror and herself. She reached down and touched the clothes. They were real.
Sandra hurried to wash the makeup off because it was scaring her. When she glanced into the mirror again, nothing had changed---- she was still hideous. In desperation to be rid of the mask or whatever it was, she scrubbed and scrubbed and tried everything she could but to no avail. Sandra rushed into the kitchen and immediately called Barbara.
“You’ve go to get over here now!” she exclaimed.
“I can’t explain it. You just have to get here and quickly,” she commanded when Barbara started to ask questions. Sandra hung the phone up and paced nervously back and forth until Barbara arrived.
When Barbara knocked on the door, Sandra turned and faced the doorway leading from the kitchen and yelled, “Come in,”
As soon as Barbara walked into the living room, she rattled off a flurry of questions. “Oh my god, you look fantastic! How did you do it? How…. I can’t believe it? Did you pay someone? Did it take long?”
Sandra finally managed to stop her. “Barbara, stop and listen to me. It’s not makeup. I don’t know what it is but it won’t come off.”
“Yeah, right,” Barbara snickered, disbelief dripping from her words.
“It’s true,” was all Sandra could manage to say.
“What the heck are you talking about?”
Sandra walked up to her. “It’s real Barbara. I had a dream and was wishing I could look like the image in the mirror and when I awoke this is how I looked.
Barbara’s expression was that Sandra was crazy, but then she slowly reached up to rub Sandra’s face and pull her nose. Sandra waited for Barbara to reason things out. When it finally registered in Barbara’s mind, she stared into Sandra’s eyes with heartfelt sadness. “How can this be? What are you going to do?”
As tears trickled down Sandra’s cheeks, she whispered, “I don’t know. You’ve got to help me. Please.”
Barbara lowered her eyes. “Okay, okay let me think.” Moments later she offered, “I’ve got an idea. We have the party to go to tonight. Keep this on until the party's over. Maybe when it’s done it will have served its purpose and you’ll go back to normal.”
“That’s helping me!” Sandra practically screamed at her. “That’s the best you can come up with?”
Barbara grabbed her friend’s shoulders. “Yes, it is. What else can we do? We can’t go to the hospital or anything. What would we say? Do you know how crazy this is? Besides, it will give us more time to think of what to do.”
“I can’t go out looking like this.”
“It’s a Halloween party, who’s going to know?”
Somehow Sandra knew Barbara was right. Through the misty haze in her mind, she knew she had to hold up and concentrate on finding a solution.
In the midst of her thoughts, she heard Barbara saying, “I have to go. You going to be all right?”
It took a couple moments before Barbara’s words actually penetrated. Sandra shot her a look, panic sweeping through her body. “No, you can’t go. You can’t leave me like this.”
Barbara held Sandra’s hands in hers. “I have to go. I’ve got my mom to take care of. You’ll be okay. Why don’t you lie down and rest.”
Sandra’s shoulders slumped. When she looked into Barbara’s eyes, she could see genuine sadness in them and realized Barbara was hurting just as much because of her inability to solve the dilemma.
Sandra took a deep breath and had to reach deep within until she mustered enough courage to say, “Okay. I’ll be okay. Call me though.”
Barbara hugged her. “Yes, I’ll call in to check on you. You’re going to be fine.”
“Promise you’ll call.”
“I promise,” Barbara reassured her.
The door no sooner closed and Sandra’s heart started beating faster. She was scared. It took another twenty minutes before she was calm enough to lie down. Her whole body was trembling so she pulled the covers over her and when the warmth seeped into her, she closed her eyes and started to drift off to sleep.
“How does it feel? Are you happy now?”
Sandra jumped. “Who’s there?”
The voice came again. “Are you happy?”
“Who’s there? Where are you?” Sandra demanded, her body shaking again. She wanted to get up from the bed but was frightened of what she’d find. “Leave! You hear me? Leave me alone”
“You want me to leave you alone? Are you sure that’s what you want?” the voice queried ominously.
The meaning of the words sunk in and Sandra replied, “No. No, don’t leave. Change me back to myself.”
A maniacal laugh pierced her ears. “Change you back to yourself? You fool. This is your true self.”
“No…..no,” Sandra argued. “No, you don’t understand. This was just a crazy wish for Halloween, that’s all. It was just supposed to be a costume.”
“You didn’t wish for a costume. You wished to be exactly as you are. This is what you wanted.”
“No! No! No!” Sandra screamed and passed out.
A couple hours later, Sandra heard the phone ringing and opened her eyes. She slowly made her way to the table and picked it up. “Hello.”
“It’s Barbara. You okay Hon? You sound terrible.”
Sandra looked around. “I had a nightmare when I fell asleep. It was terrifying. When can you come over?”
“I won’t be able to get free for another hour. Hang in there, okay?”
“I think I can,” Sandra replied and walked into the bathroom. Staring back at her from the mirror was the hideous face and written in lipstick were the words----
“Your wish has been granted.”
October 27, 2013