There were no mirrors in Mr. Pritchard’s house. The grown-ups waved it off as inconsequential – just a bit of eccentricity – but Ally and her friends knew better.
“He has to be a vampire,” she insisted. “They don’t show up in mirrors. Why else wouldn’t there be any?”
“I dunno. But that’s why we should investigate.” Zach was the only one the group who was still holding out on Mister-Pritchard-was-a-vampire, but he was adamant about not jumping to conclusions.
“How’re we supposed to do that?” Mila frowned. “We can’t just ask him.”
Ally rolled her eyes. “Because, Zach, he obviously isn’t going to admit to being a vampire. Obviously. Besides, I already asked.”
The other three gasped. “No way!” David’s eyes were wide. “What’d he say?”
“He just smiled at me all patronizing and said ‘do I look like a vampire?’ before showing me his teeth. Like I don’t know vampires can’t use disguises.”
“Or maybe he really isn’t a vampire,” Zach pointed out.
“You still haven’t said what we’re supposed to do to find out,” protested Mila.
“I bet he doesn’t know,” David said.
Zach was quiet.
“See? I told you.”
Ally frowned thoughtfully. “Well… what if I brought a mirror with me, next time my parents visit?”
Her idea was greeted with a chorus of enthusiastic agreement.
“Do you have a good mirror?” asked David.
“This won’t prove for sure if he’s a vampire…”
“Oh come on, Zach.” Ally folded her arms in front of her. “If he doesn’t have a reflection, just admit it.”
Zach sighed. “Okay, if he doesn’t have a reflection.”
Before the next time her family was to visit Mr. Pritchard for tea – which they did every week or two – Ally snuck into her mother’s room and, after quickly digging around in her dresser, pocketed a small compact mirror. She could easily flip it open while Mr. Pritchard wasn’t looking and aim it at him – she’d have the answer before anyone could notice.
Much to her surprise, the mirror flipped open at the appropriate time and on its surface was a perfectly normal reflection of Mr. Pritchard. She frowned at it, then looked at Mr. Pritchard, then back at the reflection.
It was gone.
Where there had been a normal reflective surface a moment before, there was instead… nothing. A dark, swirling sort of nothing.
“No!” Mr. Pritchard lunged at her – no, at the mirror – at her?
Ally snatched the mirror away, stumbling backwards in sudden terror. Was he a vampire? Was he going to kill her? Was–
A sudden gust blew past her, knocking her over, and she stared into the abyss that had been a mirror before everything went black.