She was back. Back from the Mirrorworld. Back home. Everything Jenn had been through in that place, the place of the dead, was still with her. But she was back.
Simon was still there. He always would be. She couldn't bring him back with her, he was dead. He didn't exist here, he only barely existed there.
But she was alive. She wore the evidence of that on her right arm, which was as it had been within the mirror. Stripped of flesh, muscle, tendons and blood, her arm from the shoulder to fingertips was just bone. Only those magically gifted or who had interacted with the Mirrorworld would be able to see it, but she always would. Her hand held the little bag of tears -of salt.
She stood, and heard a gasp. Her eyes shooting to the source, she locked gaze with AnnaBritt. "Anna... What are you..."
"Oh my God! What's wrong with your arm?!" She squeaked, sitting on the ground as if she had fallen back, eyes locked on Jenn's right arm of bone.
"What? You..." She lifted her arm, "you can see this?"
"Eeek! That can't be real, right?" AnnaBritt looked up at Jenn. "...Right? And... You just came out of there, right? Am I high?" She pointed at the standing mirror behind Jenn.
Jenn scratched her head. Did AnnaBritt see her come through the mirror? That must have counted as experiencing something related to the Mirrorworld. Damn. How was she supposed to explain this? And to AnnaBritt of all people.
She recalled the last time she had really interacted with AnnaBritt. They had both been vying for Cheer Squad Leader, and AnnaBritt had gotten vicious in her campaign. It hit it's worst when AnnaBritt spread a rumor that she had caught Jenn giving a pair of JV football players head in the locker room after practice. It wasn't true, but suddenly Jenn was getting catcalled in the halls and given the cold shoulder by her so-called friends. Jenn left cheer after a screaming match between the two of them got them both suspended.
After that, people seemed to stop believing the nasty rumors, but Jenn refused to talk to AnnaBritt. Once, they had been best friends. Inseparable. Now... Jenn could barely stomach looking at her. Apparently, with her arm as it was, the same could be said for AnnaBritt.
"AnnaBritt..." She clenched her fist. "Yes, it's real. This," She held up her arm, her skeletal hand still holding the bag of tears she had worked so hard to get, "this is me."
"That's.." AnnaBritt turned away, vomiting.
"Yeah, that was my reaction too." She turned to look at the mirror behind her. She was a sad shadow of herself. What was she supposed to do now that she was back? She grabbed the sheet from the floor and threw it over the mirror. She didn't want to risk ending up there again.
"AnnaBritt? Are you alright?" She would have to explain, wouldn't she?
AnnaBritt looked at her, eyes wide, trembling. "How? How can that be real?"
Jenn sighed. "I was pulled into another world, a world where the dead reside. It cost me to pass through. It cost me this." She lifted her arm. "Most people won't be able to see it, but you saw me pass back through, didn't you? Because you saw that, you'll see my arm as it truly is. Sorry. I know it's gross."
"The mirror... Yeah. I was here to get a gift for my dad, looking around, when I saw this mirror light up and you came through, looking like that... How did it do that? Is it evil?" Her eyes were still huge.
"Is it evil..? Maybe. I guess it might be. Last time, it activated because there was a guy who came in..." Jenn shuddered, remembering the man who had tried to rape her here, in front of the mirror. How she had grabbed an antique sword and struck it through him, how the mirror had been splattered with blood and come alive, pulling both her and the would-be rapist in. He was already dead, but she ended up trapped in a world of dead while still living. And then she had met Simon.... "And some stuff happened, so it pulled us in. I covered it up, just in case."
"So, the mirror came awake, did it?" A voice came from behind her. Turning, she found herself reunited with Andrew, the owner of the antique store, and her former boss.
"Andrew. So you knew? You kept something so dangerous out?" Jenn was incensed.
"It's just an antique mirror. Or at least, it was. I don't know what could have changed it. In any case, you should call your parents. You've been missing for a day and a half."
Jenn was aghast. "Only a day? Really?" It had been so much longer inside the mirror. Months. And now she was back, torn up, different, but the world was the same. Jenn looked at AnnaBritt. "Don't tell anyone about this. Not that they'd believe you, but just... just keep it a secret, will you?" Then, to her boss, "Sorry Andrew, I quit." She walked out, to her home, to a bath and a warm bed and her family. She didn't know what to tell them yet, but with a single, bloody night, the trajectory of her life had shifted. Nothing would be the same. She would never be the same.
Unedited. I'll go through it later and clean it up. Admittedly, not my best work. I know pieces of what I want to happen in this story, but connecting the dots is harder than it usually is. Somehow, I have to get AnnaBritt pulled in so she can get a cool black and red eye. Somehow.