Archive for December, 2016

Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 173) Drifts

Viktor quickly changes into his clothes and heads to the back door. Upon opening it, he is astonished at the depth of the heavy wet snow. The railing around the wooden deck is barely visible due to the drifts that built up there. Stepping back, he looks behind the door.

“Ha, perfect!” He says to himself as he grabs hold of the snow shovel propped in the corner.

He takes a deep scoop of the snow at the back door and tosses it high over to his left. Repeating the process for quite some time, he finally has a clear path from the cottage to the neatly stacked woodpile. The further he gets from the drifts of snow at the back of the cottage and deck, the lower the snow level becomes.

“I hope the sun starts working on this stuff. I only have a few more days before I have to be back at work.” He mumbles as he takes a break to look out at the woods. “Wow.” He whispers. “It is really beautiful here.”

Each branch of every tree and the broad flocks of the evergreens are hanging heavy by the dense snow cover. The sky is still a pale color but more blue than the pink that drifted in with the sunrise. After standing still in the hushed silence of white drifts, Viktor turns and decides he better take the shovel back to the door before he gathers logs of wood in his arms. After all, he will need to clear a path out the front door of the little dwelling as well. But then again, maybe not, who would possibly come to visit in this thick layer of frozen landscape? Each step Viktor takes makes a crunching sound under his shoes. Now that he is on the back deck, he reaches for the doorknob.

“Oh you startled me! I was just about to go check on you.” Nadja says with a smile as she pulls the door open. “Here, let me have the shovel and I’ll grab my coat to help you with the wood.”

“Oh no you don’t. You can take the shovel inside but I can handle bringing in the wood.” Viktor says without waiting for her to respond. “Man the door for me, I’m going to have my hands full.”

Once he is back at the large stack of wood, he begins gathering various split logs in his arms. He loads up so many that they nearly hide his view making it rather hard to walk in a straight line. Slowly he heads to the back door but it is not yet open, so he begins to reach for the handle.

“Well this is awkward.” He mumbles as he tries to open the back door without dropping the stack of wood in his arms.

ex 173

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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 172) Racing

“What?” Viktor questions as he opens his eyes.

He has awakened in the cottage, sitting in the same spot where he and Nadja fell asleep. In his slightly reclined position, he can see that the fire is almost out but he does not want to disturb Nadja. She is still asleep with his arm around her and her head resting on his chest. The quilt is wrapped around them both keeping them very warm, but the chill in the little dwelling is breathing upon his face.

His mind is racing in all directions about what his dream might be telling him. The dark figure in the room of a place Viktor has never been to, what does this represent? The glass breaking, could it simply be making a mockery of feeling safe behind such a product? To be truthful, a glass window offers no safety from an outside intruder, but this dark mass in human shape was inside, hiding.

“Oh, good morning.” Nadja whispers as she slowly sits up in a straighter position. “Did I fall asleep on you? Oh, I’m so sorry.”

“It is okay, Nadja. I drifted off as well so apparently we were both comfortable.” He grins and then looks back toward the fireplace. “Oh, I better get that stocked up again.”

Viktor stands up, stretches by lifting his arms above his head and back a bit. He then lets out a long silent yawn, except for the end when he shakes his head and practically growls. Nadja is watching and as expected, she catches his yawn. With her hand, she covers her mouth as it opens wide.

“Ha ha.” Nadja laughs. “Why is it that yawns are contagious?”

With a laugh, Viktor lowers his arms and lets out a breath of air.

“I don’t know.” He grins as he picks up two pieces of wood. “Even if an animal yawns it causes the same effect on us humans. We are just an oddball species.” He tosses the logs onto the fire. “And what is up with our belly buttons? Have you found a purpose for those yet? Mine just collects lint from my clothes.”

“Ha ha!” Nadja laughs aloud. “So it’s a lint trap!”

“Well, I suppose you are on to something there.” He lets out a hardy laugh as he turns to face her.

Wrapped up in her robe and the quilt from the sofa, Nadja watches Viktor as he tips his head to the side, as if he asked a question. Her hair is a mess and she has no makeup on her face but to Viktor, she is a beautiful sight to see. In turn, Nadja is amazed at how relaxed she feels with him here.

“What?” He asks.

“I could ask the same of you.” She quickly replies.

“Well, you just look really relaxed.” Viktor says in a serious tone.

“I suppose I am.” She replies as she stands up and tightens the robe around her waist. “I’m off to take a bath. Do you need to go first?”

“To get in the bath with you? Heck yes!” Viktor teases and they both grin. “No, I’m okay.” He says as if he is terribly disappointed.” I will grab more wood from the pile outside so you will have a toasty cottage to keep you warm.”

“Well thank you.” Nadja says in a shy manner as she leaves the room.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 171) Hesitant

Viktor has always hated it, eye contact. It makes him nervous and he always feels as if he has done something wrong, even though he knows he has not.

“Narcissists, they do not give love, nor do they feel love. Their actions are solely to please themselves and there is no concern in how the other person, or their partner, feels.” Josephine says as they turn to walk back in the direction they came. “They do great harm to the self-esteem of others and are proud to have such an effect. They find great joy in watching others wither.”

“Oh, so now we are talking about Aaron.” Viktor says quickly. “That guy seems to have major issues.”

“Yes, and he will not back down until he feels satisfied with the situation.” Josephine says as she looks down. “I do worry that things will not end as they should.”

She reaches out as if to shake Viktor’s hand and as he glances up to look into her eyes, he realizes his hand is on a doorknob. The beauty of the woods has faded to black and this door is casting a soft cream glow to the darkness around him.

“Now for some reason I am absolutely terrified to open this door.” He mumbles as he feels his heart rate increasing.

Standing there, holding onto the knob for what seems like several seconds, Viktor finally musters up enough courage to turn it. With a faint click, the door is now hanging on the hinges freely as he slowly pulls it open. There it is, the backside of a mirror, or is it a window? It is suspended in the air as if not attached to anything. It is merely floating in place and Viktor approaches it in a very hesitant manner.

“I am really having a hard time with this one.” Viktor says to himself.

Stepping up as close to the glass as allowed, he peers out at the room of a cabin he does not recognize. A wood burning stove is glowing with bright red coals and standing in the corner, like a dark menacing statue is a man. His face covered with some sort of mask and he almost blends into his surroundings perfectly. In fact, Viktor blinks several times to make sure his eyes are not playing tricks on him.

“Is there really a guy there or not?” He questions to himself.

Viktor tries to get closer to the glass to gain a better view, but he is as close as is allowed in this odd world behind doors that lead to reflective glass and isolated mirrors.

“My own reflection is distorting what I can see!” He grumbles and then pauses. “I can make this stop, it is a dream, I can make the images clearer.”

Viktor begins to concentrate on seeing past the glare of his own reflection when very unexpectedly, the glass shatters into thousands of pieces scattering like marbles in all directions.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 170) Richer

Viktor now realizes the walls of the soap shop are charred and ash covers the floor. Boxes and ribbons have melted to the antique furniture once used to display the sweetly scented items. Looking back at the front window, there is no view to the outside for thick gray soot covers the glass. Going back to the main door, he opens it to exit and finds himself outside, but not in the village. Instead, he is standing in the woods, on a trail and Nadja’s aunt is with him.

“Hello old soul.” Josephine says softly.

“Hello to you.” Viktor replies as he walks toward her. “How are you?”

“I am good, but I am troubled.” She says as they start walking together.

This path in the forest is not current with the actual season, for the trees are glistening with light green leaves and little blue flowers dapple the ground below them. The sun is bright and the air warm, which is in complete contrast to the snowstorm that came in overnight. Before Viktor can ask his question, Josephine answers him.

“It is my favorite time of the year, so I maintain as much time here as I can.” She grins as she watches Viktor’s face for a reaction.

“So you can control that?” He asks as he looks around.

He does not want to add to his question by asking if she realizes she is dead. Yet, he would like to know how much control one has after they depart the material world. Instead, he decides to question the condition of the soap shop he just came from.

“So, what. . .” Viktor is unsure in how he should pose this question so he decides to simply blurt it out. “The soap shop, what happened?”

“You must remember, dreams are only interpretations of what you believe to be real.” She says as they stroll along the trail. “What usually comes from scorched land?” She does not allow Viktor to answer. “You see this building as rubble, destroyed by fire, but what could it possibly be telling you?”

Thinking on what she said, Viktor tries to come to some reasoning behind seeing the business, that Nadja and her aunt love so much, in a destroyed state. What can this possibly be a clue to? Why would it be something in his dreams when he has never even entered the place to begin with?

“Think about it like this.” Josephine stops and looks out at the beautiful forest. “If this forest was to burn, many wonderful living things would be lost.” She looks at him. “But new growth would soon sprout, beauty would return, wildlife would come back, and over time the land may be stronger and the soil richer.”

“So the shop is going to burn down?” Viktor asks with worry.

“You have a huge heart, don’t you.” Josephine states as fact. “You put others before you and she needs you.” She takes his hand in his as she looks up at him. “She may not realize it yet and may even deny needing anyone. Her path is to become strong and she already has made great strides.” She pauses as she continues to look Viktor in the eyes. “Out with the old in with the new, so to speak.”


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 169) Episode

Nadja sets the glass of water on the table next to her and rests her head on Viktor’s shoulder. She cannot explain how Viktor calms her but this is exactly how she feels around him. He is not pushy or overbearing and there is compassion within him that she has never felt from a man before. She has a true sense of safety in his arms as she begins to drift in and out of sleep. Viktor pulls the quilt up around both of them for warmth and laying his head back on the pillows, he too finds his way into the mysterious world of the sleeping mind.

With a light pink glow, the sun is beginning to rise in the east. After the strange episode that terrified Nadja and the wretched chill that took hold of her room, Viktor sat with her on the sofa the rest of the night. Holding her in his arms, they both fell back to sleep. Neither one is awake to see the pastel color reflecting off the thick blanket of snow as this part of the world wakes up to a new day.

It is now, in this pale twilight glow that Viktor finds himself at the door of the Soap Shop. The lavender paint is worn and peeling from the wood. It appears the lock is broken, so he slowly pushes on the door, opening it just enough to slip inside the building. Not yet realizing where he is or that he is dreaming, he steps onto the wooden floor and it creaks under the pressure.

“Hello?” He questions.

The empty room echoes in deep tones like one would expect out of a cave. There are no neatly packaged soaps sitting on the shelves for sale and the emptiness of the structure feels eerie. It feels cold, desolate, and is quiet as a great sadness flows through Viktor causing him to take in a deep breath.

“What has happened here?” He asks of himself as he looks around.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 168) Water

Not only does Viktor think Nadja will benefit from a drink of water, he also wants to check for entry through the broken window and the backdoor. Moving the curtain that hangs over the kitchen sink, he finds the window untouched. Glancing at the back door, the latch appears to be secure as well. He is positive now that Nadja must have been dreaming while in sleep paralysis. This is the only explanation for such a terrified reaction to a dream. The feeling of being held down while something sinister is walking toward you is horrifying.

As these frightening thoughts run through his head, Viktor fills a glass with water and returns to Nadja’s side. He sits down next to her, gently handing her the glass. As she begins to take a sip, her hands are shaking so much that she has to use both in order to steady the glass. Together they sit quietly for several minutes and then Nadja take another drink. This time her hands are much more controlled and her demeanor calm.

“Are you feeling better?” Viktor questions and Nadja smiles as she nods her head yes. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Nadja replies by shaking her head no and again, they sit in complete silence. Viktor cannot take his eyes off the doorway to Nadja’s room. He is not sure what is causing it but the feeling in the cottage has completely changed.

“I’m going to load up the fireplace and then we will just sit here until sunrise, okay?” He asks as he looks into Nadja’s eyes.

She nods yes to his question but then looks down at the glass of water in her hands. Viktor steps over to the fireplace and strategically places two logs on the flames.

“Do you feel that chill in the air?” Nadja asks in a soft voice. “I’ve never felt like this here, I’m almost scared.”

“Come here, I’ll make sure nothing happens to you.” Viktor says as he pushes the pillows up to the arm of the sofa, sits down next to her, and puts his arm around her. “I would say the snow is the main culprit for the cold feeling.”

He thinks his explanation of this could very well be plausible and if nothing else, his words may ease her worries. Yet, with the drastic change to their surroundings, he feels something more is at play here, but what? Is it just because he heard her crying for help, which startled him out of his sleep, that is causing the fright? She feels it too though, which her dream must have been bad from the way she came out of it. Unfortunately, she will not share the details but in the back of Viktor’s mind, he knows it was about Aaron. He has dreamt of this man’s actions before and if the visions are anything like the real thing, he knows they could be in trouble.

Ex 168

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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 167) Frigid

Standing up, Viktor slowly walks back to Nadja’s room. With the door standing wide open, it has the appearance of dropping off into a dark abyss. The air is frigid as if biting at Viktor’s hands and feet in an attempt to keep him away.

“Hello?” Viktor says from his place in the living room. “If anyone is in there, you better come out now!” He says in a forceful manner.

With a quick glance, he checks to make sure Nadja is still seated and alone, and she is. She is wrapped in her robe, knees pulled up and her arms around her legs as if trying to mimic a ball. Even at this distance, he can see she is shaking uncontrollably. With a deep breath, he enters the room, turns the light on, and steps out of Nadja’s sight.

Walking over to the side of the bed nearest the window, he looks around for any evidence of entry. Nothing is out of place and as he turns to look at the other side of the bed, he catches his own reflection in the mirror of the wardrobe.

“Oh shit!” He says under his breath as he jumps at his own image. “Ya stupid idiot.” He mumbles

Stepping over to the other side of the bed, everything looks to be in its proper place but the air is ice cold, which seems very strange to him. Yes, Nadja’s door was ajar so the heat could find its way in, so the room is cooler than the living room as expected. However, the way Viktor is feeling, the chill in the air tonight is far different from just a cold room. He wonders if there is a presence in the cottage other than Josephine’s.

“I believe we are alone.” Viktor says as he steps back into the living room and heads for the switch to the porch light. “I don’t see any tracks or disturbances in the snow.” He turns back to look at Nadja.

“Are you sure?” Nadja questions with a weak voice.

“Yes, we are buried in this stuff. Come look.” Viktor says as he reaches out to take her hand.

Nadja slowly stands up and the entire time it takes her to walk across the room she is staring at the entrance of her bedroom. With the last few steps, she quickly runs to Viktor and wraps her arms around his waist as he holds her in his arms.

“It’s okay, Nadja. I promise.” Viktor says softly as they stand at the window. “It has stopped snowing too.”

He can feel her trembling so he walks with her back to the fireplace and covers her with the quilt on the sofa.

“I’ll get you a glass of water.” Viktor says as he walks to the kitchen.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 166) Paralyzed

“Come on sweetheart, it’s time to get up.” A voice whispers in Nadja’s ear.

“What?” She questions as she opens her eyes.

She is lying in bed, on her right side, and the room is dark. Trying to let her eyes adjust to the low lighting, she blinks them several times but the heaviness of them cause this simple feat to be exhausting.

“Come on, let’s go.” The voice says in a louder and more demanding tone.

It is now that she recognizes the voice to be Aaron’s. The persistent manner, the lack of expression, there is no doubt in her mind it is him. As she tries to turn to look behind her, she feels paralyzed unable to move freely. Now with her mind and eyes fully awake, she feels the adrenaline in her body growing to a higher level. Glancing a few feet away into the mirror of her wardrobe, she can see a silhouette of him sitting on the bed behind her.

“No, this can’t be.” She murmurs to herself.

“Oh yes it can.” He whispers close to her ear, so close she can feel the breath from his words.

“No, I cannot go with you, this isn’t right!” She says loudly now wondering where Viktor is.

Trying with all her might to free herself from this paralyzed state, she wiggles her fingers and toes and attempts to roll over. To her amazement, nothing is working, she cannot move a muscle in her body and she begins to wonder if Aaron has drugged her with something and she begins to yell out!

“Viktor! Carl! Someone help me!” She screams as tears begin to run down her cheeks. “Please! I need help!”

“Nadja?” She hears from somewhere in the room but she does not see anyone.

“Please, help me!” She cries out with great fear.

“I’ve got you, you’re okay.” Viktor says as he holds Nadja in his arms.

“What?” She questions as she looks up at him.

She then quickly jumps out of bed pressing her back up against the wall of her bedroom as Viktor stands but keeps his distance.

“What is going on?” Nadja questions in a confused way.

“I don’t know, you were yelling out in your sleep, you sounded desperate and when I came in to check on you, I could hardly wake you up.” Viktor says as he stands still.

“Oh my god.” Nadja says as she begins to cry.

Viktor immediately rushes to her and takes her in his arms. Holing her tightly to him, he looks around the shadowy room for he feels very uncomfortable, as if someone is there.

“Let’s go to the fireplace.” He says as he holds her with one arm and grabs her soft robe with the other. “It is freezing in here.” He says as he kicks the door open a little more than it was, and rushes her to the sofa.

“What happened? How did he get in?” Nadja questions as if she is half-asleep.

“There is no one here.” Viktor answers but his senses tell him this is not entirely true. “I don’t see anyone, Nadja.”

“It was Aaron, he was here, on my bed.” She whispers and for some reason the way she is speaking frightens Viktor.

“Stay here, I’ll go check.” Viktor says in a low tone.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 165) Sparks

Walking to the sofa, Viktor straightens the covers and takes a seat near his pillows. Nadja walks to the fireplace and tightens the belt on her robe before sitting on the rocking chair across from him. The fire snaps several times sending tiny embers and sparks into the air.

“I love it when it does that.” Nadja says of the burning wood. “Why do you suppose that is?”

“Maybe it reminds us of fireworks or of roasting marshmallows at a campfire under a star filled sky.” Viktor replies poetically.

Nadja laughs while nodding her head that she agrees with his statement.

“You have an interesting way of looking at things, VikT1000.” Nadja says with a smile.

“Well soapsuds1920s, guess which building I found the door behind the door in?” Viktor quizzes.

“There is no way that was my Aunts soap shop.” Nadja replies with wide eyes.

“Yep, it was. I recognized it as soon as I got off the bus, lavender door and all.” Viktor says as he tosses his hands up in a questioning manner. “I really wanted to walk in and see if a door would appear on the wall, but it was still closed.”

“That is funny because I was there. I took the first train of the morning off the mountain. I was running from here like a scared rabbit left alone in the woods.” Nadja states quickly.

“Well. . . I took the first train of the day up the mountain.” Viktor replies.

“How did we miss each other?” They both question in unison, which causes an outbreak of laughter.

“Okay now we are just getting punchy.” Nadja giggles. “I haven’t laughed like this in years.”

“Well that is depressing but I can agree with you, I have been in a rut myself.” Viktor looks toward the front window.

“Maybe it just wasn’t time to laugh yet.” She states in a serious manner.

“Suppressing laughter is a crime. Someone must be punished.” Viktor grins but he realizes Nadja is sitting quietly staring into the fire. “You okay?” He questions.

“Oh, yes. Sorry.” She replies as she looks in his direction. “Maybe you were right, we should probably get a little more rest.” She grins as she stands up and starts walking to her room. “I’ll see you in a few hours, goodnight again.” She says without looking in his direction.

“You mean good morning, don’t you?” Viktor questions in a joking manner and he hears her laugh once again.

“Yes, good morning it is.” Nadja says with a grin and then pushes her bedroom door closed.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 164) Two

Viktor looks over at the sofa wondering if he will see his sleeping self there but it is empty with the bedding pulled back and pillows disheveled as if he jumped out from under the covers.

“So I’m awake?” He questions as the thin timber starts to pop and crackle as flames return.

Stacking two logs across each other on the fireplace grate, warmth returns to the room as the flames become steady again. He sits there, in the flickering light wondering if what he just witnessed was a ghost, or was he simply sleepwalking and tending to things while dreaming.

“Either way it’s cool.” He grins as he quietly brushes his hands together to remove sawdust.

He recalls the last words Josephine said before she left. Be sharp and on your toes, do not let your guard down. With this fresh in his mind, he walks over to the large window and looks out at the depth of the snow.

“Good grief that’s a lot of snow.” He whispers to himself as he looks left and right. “I sure hope Nadja has a snow shovel.”

“I have two.” Nadja says in a soft tone.

Startled, Viktor quickly turns around and sees his friend standing near her bedroom door. She yawns and runs her fingers through her hair before smiling at him.

“You okay?” She asks.

“Yeah, I. . .” Viktor is not sure if he should share his experience. “It was time to check the fire and I’m having a hard time falling back to sleep. Did I wake you?”

“No, I don’t think so. I’m a light sleeper so if a snowflake hit my window in just the right way, it would bring me out of a good night’s rest anyhow.” She laughs at how exaggerated her statement is. “How bad is it out there?”

Nadja starts walking his way and Viktor turns the porch light on so they can have a better view. The snow is incredibly deep for its depth covers half way up the picket fence. With the snow sticking to everything, even the top points of the wooden pieces are highlighted and noticeable.

“Wow.” Nadja says just under her breath. “I’ve never seen it this bad. No wonder Carl wanted to bring supplies up.”

“The deepest snow I’ve ever experienced was about mid-calf, but this. . . this is lower chest!” Viktor says with astonishment, complete exaggeration and a loud laugh. “And it’s still coming down!”

“Oh wow is right. By the way, what time is it?” Nadja questions as she turns to look at the clock.

“It’s around three thirty. We should probably get some sleep since we are going to have our work cut out for us tomorrow.” Viktor says as he nods his head toward the window and then turns the porch light off.

“No, I don’t really plan on worrying about it too much. Who would we be clearing a path for?” Nadja laughs.

After taking a moment to think that through, Viktor grins.

“You do have a point there.” He says in the tone of a snobbish professor.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 163) Interact

Lying on her side, Nadja logs a quick note in her journal:

“Found today, a good friend from far away. You know him my dear Aunt and I think you for bringing him here.”

Placing the book near her lamp, she turns the switch and the light goes dark. Nadja rolls over so she is facing the window and she finds herself in much the same drifting state as Viktor. The occasional popping of the fire sounds so much louder while in this stage of sleep and she too cannot bear to open her eyes any longer. The cottage has fallen into a deep and silent hush as snow continues to fall outside, creating insulation from the sounds of the quiescent forest.

“You are very good at building fires.” A woman says softly next to Viktor’s right ear.

Quickly he opens his eyes but does not see anyone. Thinking he must be mistaken and that his tired mind is playing tricks on him, he rolls over turning his back to the room.

“However, if you do not tend to them properly, the flames will soon die out.” The voice says again and this time Viktor sits up.

Sitting on the arm of the sofa, near his feet, is the older woman he has come to recognize as Nadja’s aunt Josephine. She is wearing a flowing cream-colored dress and her hair is pulled back from her face, but hanging long down her back. Small white daisies adorn her hair like a halo and she has a soft glow about her.

“It is time to put another log on the fire.” She nods in the direction of the fireplace.

Viktor turns to look and she is correct, the flames have eaten through all of the wood leaving red-hot embers in the ash below the grate.

“Oh no. The fire is about out.” Viktor whispers as he looks up at the clock on the mantel, it reads three o’clock. “I’m glad you got my attention, I must have been in a deep sleep.”

“Well you did have a very busy day.” Josephine says as she walks over to look in on her niece. “She likes you, Carl does as well.” She says softly as she watches Viktor tend to the fire.

“That is good to know.” Viktor says as he places fresh sticks onto the coals hoping they will catch fire. “Am I sleeping now or do I need to wake up and really work on the fire?” He questions as he look at Josephine. “I only see you in my dreams, right?”

“You will have time.” She says in a riddle kind of manner.

“So I am asleep.” Viktor says with disappointment. “No offence, but if the fire is really going out I need to get myself up.”

“Had you noticed how some of your dreams have slowly begun to interact with reality?” Josephine questions as she walks back across the room. “I never met anyone who could do that, even as hard as I tried, my worlds stayed separate.” She looks toward the front window and speaks in a gentle calm voice. “Be sharp and on your toes young man, do not let your guard down.” She whispers as she turns to look toward him once again and with a smile, she fades away.

“Josephine?” Viktor whispers.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 162) Heat

After tossing two thick pillows onto one side of the sofa, Nadja stands back to admire her handy work.

“You know, that’s not half bad.” She says to Viktor.

“Looks cozy and inviting, I appreciate the extra steps to help me be more comfortable.” Viktor says as he yawns. “I think I’m going to call this day done.”

“Yes, I agree.” Nadja looks at the fire. “I think you’ve got us taken care of for a few hours. Get some rest, I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Sounds great, goodnight soapsuds1920s.” Viktor says in a teasing manner as he sits down on the sofa.

“Sweet dreams to you, VikT1000.” Nadja grins as she walks to her room but pauses at the doorway and turns slightly. “I’m glad we finally met.”

“Me too.” Viktor replies from his seated position as he watches her.

“I’m glad you’re here.” She continues without looking at him directly.

“Me too.” Viktor chuckles for his answers seem to be lacking in diversity.

Laughing with Viktor due to his handicapped imagination at this late hour, Nadja gently swings the door shut just enough to offer privacy, but open enough for the heat of the fireplace to seep into her room. Sitting on the sofa and in deep thought, Viktor looks at the dancing flames.

He is still upset about his phone but he finds it amazing to be here, with the young woman he has been following in his dreams for months. Most of all, he is thinking of the visions that plague him. Aaron has been a menacing and negative force in his latest dreams and he cannot help but wonder if they are truly safe up here isolated from the world. Who could possibly come to help if your voice cannot travel the distance to the closest neighbor. Would their need for assistance be nothing more than a silent plea?

“I’ve got to get some rest.” Viktor mumbles to himself as he walks to the bathroom to brush his teeth and change into his pajama bottoms.

Once back in the living room, he tosses the sheet and quilt back on the sofa then slides onto the makeshift bed Nadja was so gracious to make. He pulls the sheet and quilt up to his neck and looks at the front door. As if taking inventory, he scans the room looking at the furnishings so if someone does attempt to break in, he will have a clear path to run up and counter attack. Or, so he hopes anyway.

Closing his eyes, a warm feeling comes over Viktor. Sleep has been calling to him for a few hours now and as he snuggles in, his mind begins to drift in and out of that strange void. It is an odd place, where sounds seem to be amplified and the eyelids are too heavy to move. A slight dizziness sets in and little dots appear to his closed eyes. They soon transform into black and white squares or lines of light and he knows this means sleep has finally arrived.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 161) A Scene

“It is getting late VikT1000.” Nadja teases as she stands up. “You have to be completely worn out. It’s been a very long day for you.”

“I am feeling a bit dense at the moment.” Viktor laughs.

Nadja walks over to the light switch near the front door and once again turns it on to view the wintry conditions outside.

“Oh my, look at that!” She says in a shocked manner.

Viktor immediately stands up and joins her at the window. The wintry precipitation is still falling at an extremely heavy rate covering everything in its path. The smaller shrubs and plantings are no longer in sight for they are under a thick blanket of heavy moist snow.

“Don’t you find it amazing to think that billions of tiny little flakes are creating such a scene?” Nadja looks out with amazement.

“I guess we will be building a snowman tomorrow!” Viktor grins.

“Maybe, if we can even get the door open to go outside. Wow, I never imagined it would get this deep and more is falling.” Nadja turns the light off and looks over at the fire. “We better keep that fire going all night.” She looks at Viktor. “I will set my alarm to check on it in a couple of hours.”

“No need to do that, I’ll sleep here on the sofa and make sure it stays strong.” Viktor replies.

“Oh, I thought you would sleep in my aunt’s bed. This sofa is not the most comfortable piece of furniture.” Nadja says as she walks over to her aunt’s bedroom and turns the light on.

“I appreciate the offer, but. . . I will be able to stay in control of the fire if I’m right here next to it.” Viktor says in a convincing way.

Sleeping in the bed of Nadja’s aunt makes Viktor uneasy. It is not because she passed away in the bed, but mostly out of respect. He has met the woman, or the ghost of the woman, and he cannot imagine how she would feel about him invading her space.

“Are you sure?” Nadja asks and with Viktor’s nod of the head yes, she looks back at the bed and then turns the light out. “Okay then, I am going to wash the wine glasses if you wouldn’t mind placing one of the bigger logs on the fire. They burn slower so hopefully you can get a bit of rest before you have to add more.”

“Sounds great to me.” Viktor replies.

He re-stacks some of the wood he brought in a few hours ago and then begins to rummage through his travel bag that he tossed onto the sofa shortly after arriving here. He pulls out pajama bottoms and begins to dig around for his toothbrush.

“Found.” He says with a low tone then looks up to make sure Nadja was not around. “Yes, I talk to myself.” He mumbles as he zips the bag up.

“Here I grabbed a few quilts.” Nadja says as she enters the room with an arm full of beautifully designed quilts.

Viktor jumps slightly for he was not expecting her to come into the room talking.

“Ha ha! Did I scare you?” She laughs.

“Nah, what in the world would give you that idea.” Viktor replies as he tries to hide his smile. “Okay yes, you got me.”

They both laugh at their conversation as Nadja tucks a fitted sheet over the cushions of the sofa. Next, she holds a top sheet and with a swift flick, it bellows over the back of the sofa and down the front.

“Are you a hot or cold sleeper?” Nadja quizzes.

“Hot, I’m always hot. My body temperature is slightly higher than the norm, so one quilt is enough for me.” Viktor replies.

“Really? So you’re a hot head?” Nadja asks as she holds onto her serious expression, she then giggles giving it away that she is playing.

“Well now that you mention it.” Viktor laughs for his thoughts have grown tired and he cannot think of a good comeback. “Wrecked. You win this round.”


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 160) Inner Peace

“The longer I was with him, the more I asked myself that very question.” Nadja replies and then takes a sip of her wine, her hands are shaking.

Viktor notices that Nadja is visibly shaking but he does not know if this is from the dampness of the house or from the subject matter. Nadja stares at the fire and Viktor remains quiet. He feels if she wishes to pursue the subject, she will. Watching her deep in thought, he cannot help but want to reach out and hold her, but he realizes this is not the time, nor the place to console her. In fact, he believes it would probably frighten her more than anything, but he wants to help her feel safe. It is now that she begins to speak.

“He always wanted my full attention and I lost all of my friends because of his neediness.” She says as she looks down at her fingernails. “I know I allowed it to happen, somehow he made me believe he was the only important person in my life.” She laughs. “He wanted me to be infatuated with only him, and I very quickly was. He wanted me to miss him and sit waiting until I would see him again, but then when I became so attached, he accused me of being too needy and smothering!” Nadja tosses a piece of bark off the log next to her in the fire. “I could not do anything to make him happy, no one will ever be able to. Then, somehow my need to be with him as much as possible became an irritant to him.” She looks into Viktor’s eyes. “He travels a lot for business and he started getting upset if I would leave him messages or ask about his day.” She looks back at the fire. “Thank god we never got married.”

“I’m sorry he hurt you.” Viktor says honestly and he is thankful she cleared up his question on marriage.

“Oh, I look at it now and do not even understand who I was. I gave up everything, it’s my own fault.” She grins to keep from crying. “I don’t think he ever felt loved by his parents and I absolutely hate myself for feeling sorry for him. He had an odd upbringing but all of us have skeletons in our closets.” Nadja pauses for a few seconds. “Even now it bothered me that at first, he did not come after me to win my heart back. He simple discarded me. This proves how confusing and distorted his control of me had become.”

As Nadja wipes a tear from her eye, the conversation dies off for several minutes. The fire is warm and the smell of the burning wood reminds Viktor of Christmas and fun moments as a kid. He wonders if Nadja can ever find her inner peace and he knows one thing for sure, he would like to help her get there.

“Nadja?” Viktor questions.

“Yes?” She replies.

“Did you ever think that when you felt you were not good enough, you were actually over qualified? Better than perfect and he was so insecure he needed to tear you down for it?” Viktor states in a calming voice and again, there is a long span of silence between them.

“Being a perfectionist is a curse, did you know that?” Nadja quizzes and then begins to flush with embarrassment for her voice sounds loud after such a long quiet moment, then she continues is a softer tone.

“We perfectionists beat ourselves up constantly for things no one, other than us, even remembers or thinks about. So no, such a synopsis was never raised as a thought within me.” She pauses as she looks into Viktor’s eyes, almost making him feel nervous. “What you just said though. . . that was beautiful.”


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 159) Fall Down

“I have a feeling you found Aunt Josephine’s wine cellar.” Nadja grins as she comes back into the room with the bottle of wine and two classes.

“She showed it to me, kind of.” He replies.

“Oh yeah?” Nadja giggles. “And how did that come about?” She grins as she pours the red liquid into each wine glass.

“Okay, so I was at your front door, then fell against the door, which caused it to hit the wall.” He replies.

“You seem to fall down a lot.” Nadja laughs.

“I don’t get it either. Normally I’m a very well-balanced guy!” Viktor laughs. “But yes you are right, I have not been lucky in staying upright these past few days.”

“Okay, so you fell against the door making it hit the wall, then what?” Nadja is fixed on Viktor’s eyes.

“Well, I noticed this crack in the wood, and upon further investigation, I realized it was a hidden door.” He says in a mysterious storytelling type of manner. “So I pulled it open and your aunt was there, she had me go down the steps.”

Viktor does not see any reason to tell Nadja that the man he believes to be Aaron was kicking the front door in and that her aunt basically pulled him to safety. No, he would rather not have to discuss anything about the guy since Carl was so adamant on knowing if the two knew each other. Yet, he would like to know the connection Aaron has to Nadja. Now this thought enters his mind, is Nadja married to Aaron?

“My aunt was very worldly yet never physically left this area. Most of the time, she was here on the mountain and would frequent the village for her shopping needs, or to check in on Carl, he was and still is the backbone of her business.” Nadja smiles as she pauses. “However, most of the time, Aunt Josephine preferred to be alone. And when I say alone, Carl was usually with her.” Nadja laughs at her statement as she looks around at the firelight flickering on the ceiling.

“Aunt Josephine was a little paranoid as well, I suppose that is why she built the escape tunnel you described seeing in your dream.” Nadja says in a soft tone. “You found her wine cellar.” She grins as she holds up her nearly empty glass of wine. “That was the only odd little room I knew about. Now I wonder how many other secret places she has incorporated within these walls.”

They both laugh and drink down the last drop in their glasses and then split the remaining amount in the bottle between them. The glassware sparkles with reflections from the amber flames that are snapping and sparking from the timbers in the stone fireplace. Aside from that, there are no other sounds inside or outside of the small cozy cottage.

“You are probably wondering where Aaron fits in to all of this.” Nadja states in a blunt manner.

“No. . . well yes.” Says Viktor as he snips off a piece of the stick he has been using to poke at the fire. “I haven’t heard anything here or witnessed in my dreams a single nice thing about him. How is it someone like you could get caught up with someone like him?”


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 158) Polietly

“What do you think about all of this?” Nadja asks.

“The fire?” Viktor laughs for he knows exactly what Nadja is referring too. “I don’t know what to think about the dreams. You just started showing up in them months ago. I would see this girl, you, off in the distance and I knew who you were but I could never get close enough to speak to you.”

“What do you mean, you knew who I was?” Nadja questions for she is now even more interested in what Viktor has to say.

“I don’t really know. It is hard to explain. You were just a familiar person but I have no idea why. Yet, I knew I had to somehow connect with you to solve the mystery.” He says as he pokes the stick once again at the embers on the burning log. “Then one day it all changed, the recurring dream was exactly the same but that crazy door appeared behind another door and boom! The next thing I know I am showing up at this cottage and you were in danger.” He winces for he wishes he had not just said that.

“Well, I’m glad you are here.” Nadja says softly. “I actually feel really relaxed around you.”

“I find it strange how the door led me to the mirror in your bedroom. I was behind it, trapped in this void where I could see the room but not touch anything and yelling did not grab your attention at all. Oddly enough, there were pebbles on the floor so I tossed a few at the glass to see if you could hear them.” He says as he watches a puzzled expression come across her face. “Oh trust me, I know. . . what in the world were pebbles doing on the ground if I was inside your cupboard. Hey, it’s a dream so nothing has to make sense, right?” They both laugh and then Nadja stands up.

“That is really odd.” Nadja says as she looks at Viktor. “For a while now, I think longer than when you have been seeing me in your dreams, I have been hearing popping or clicking sounds. They seem to come from the mirror of my wardrobe cabinet and the windows of my bedroom, but not just here at the cottage.”

“Maybe it was me all along and I just did not remember the dreams.” He laughs but it does seem strange.

“I just assumed it was a temperature change at night causing a slight shift or something.” She looks in the direction of her bedroom. “Would you like another glass of wine?” She asks politely.

“Yes actually, I think that would be great.” Viktor replies and he wonders if she questions where the bottle came from.

Viktor is very happy with the ease in which they are discussing this odd way of meeting. Plus, he cannot get Carl’s reaction to the phrase Nadja’s deceased aunt asked him to memorize. It was as if the older man had complete trust in Viktor from that moment forward. As much as Nadja intrigues him, Viktor also has many questions about her aunt. She is deceased and he seemed to know this from their first visit, but how is it that she is still interacting with the living?


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 157) Visits

“Oh wow, the snow is really piling up.” Nadja says softly as she turns to look at Viktor.

He walks over to stand next to her as they peer out at the silent storm. The snow is thick and with it being so full of moisture, every little thing has collected a band of white onto its leaves, branches and fence posts.

“You know we are going to be stuck here for a while.” Nadja says as she continues to watch the snow falling.

“I’m okay with that if you are.” Viktor replies but then the images from his dreams of Aaron kicking in the door pop into his thoughts. “Deep snow probably deters people from making the walk here, right?”

“Are you referring to your dreams?” Nadja questions quietly.

“Well, yes.” Viktor replies without elaborating.

“He was here, Aaron I mean.” She looks at Viktor. “But Carl got the authorities involved and they escorted him out of the village. Supposedly, they took him all the way to the airport.” She turns and looks out the window again.

“Oh, well that is great!” Viktor says with relief. “Maybe I won’t have to beat the hell out of the guy after all.”

Nadja laughs at Viktor’s statement and does not continue with the topic for she is more intrigued with the visits he has had with her aunt.

“So tell me, what does she say to you?” Nadja questions softly and there is a slight pause before Viktor speaks.

“You mean your Aunt?” Viktor finally questions.

His body is feeling drained from this long day of travel and mishaps that happened along the way. The fact that he just ate, and is feeling rather full, has him wanting to grab a pillow and close his eyes. However, he is excited to finally be here, with the mystery girl from his dreams, and to hopefully keep both Nadja and himself safe.

“Yes. What has she told you and is this normal? Meaning, do you tend to see the deceased in your dreams?” Nadja quizzes as she walks over to the fireplace and sits down on the wooden rocking chair just to the right.

Viktor steps over to the sofa and sits down as he thinks of how to open up about his nighttime conversations and experiences. It is not that he is afraid to discuss his wanderings, but there are several points the he feels would upset Nadja. He plans to tell her as much as he can and hopefully avoid discussing Aaron at all costs.

“From the few times she and I spoke, I do know I really like her. She seems wise and now that you and I have met, she sounds just like you. Well, I suppose you sound just like her.” Viktor grins as he watches the flames of the fireplace dance along the thick logs.

“Has she mentioned Carl? Or me?” Nadja looks down at her fingers.

“She is watching out for both of you. I can assure you of that.” He glances at the large window of the room. “It was because of her that I knew the path to the cottage so well, she made me memorize it.” He laughs. “You know. . . I wonder if she knew I was going to lose my cell phone.” He rubs his fingers along his chin. “Wow, this thing feels unkempt.” He says about his beard.

“I think it looks nice.” Nadja comments quickly.

“Thank you.” Viktor grins as he slips down off the sofa to sit on the floor in front of the fire.

“Are you cold?” Nadja questions with concern.

“Not too bad, just wanted to get a little heat on my shoulders.” Viktor replies as he picks up a thin stem of wood and stabs it at the fire. “I suppose I wanted to play with the fire as well.” He laughs at his own actions as Nadja joins him on the floor.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 156) Flickering

After walking over to, and looking out the terminal windows for several seconds, the man Aaron bribed to do his bidding begins to interact with the officer. He points to the windows and Aaron can hear their voices but not make out what they are saying. Next, the officer gets up to see what the man is looking at outside and Aaron slips through the door and down the escalator that takes him to the coffee shop near the airport entrance doors. While standing there waiting, several individuals begin talking about the weather and how the communication towers and power lines are down the closer you get to the western mountain range.

“Perfect, they won’t be able to alert anyone that I have escaped.” Aaron grins with delight.

“Alright, I did it, where’s my other bill?” The man says in an out of breath manner.

“Right here buddy,” Aaron slaps the second bill into the man’s outreached hand.

“Wow, seems awful expensive for a test but I’ll take it.” The man says with a smile. “That’s a damn good income.” He grins.

“Hell, this is nothing. I make more than that every thirty minutes.” Aaron states in his arrogant and nasty manner. “Oh, and you should work out more, you’re sweating like a pig.” Aaron then walks out the airport entrance undetected.

With wine in the glasses and the small flame from the candle flickering light onto the wall, Nadja and Viktor sit down together at the small table.

“Well this is an assortment of strange things.” Nadja laughs nervously as she stirs her soup.

In the back of her mind, all she can think about is how Aaron would react to such a haphazard combination of food and drink for dinner. He would never have it and would demean Nadja for it, then either purchase food for delivery or leave and have dinner by himself in a restaurant. No, this would have been a disaster with him and even though Viktor said it sounded fine, she is not sure how he will truly react.

“God I’m starving!” Viktor says as he picks up his wineglass and nods for Nadja to do the same. “Here’s to a warm house, warm food, and good conversation.”

As they tap their wineglasses together, Viktor’s laidback demeanor shocks Nadja. She feels an instant sense of relief and it is now that she realizes how hungry she is. Viktor picks up his half of the sub sandwich and takes a large bite out of it while Nadja sips down a spoonful of soup.

“Mmmm, that is one good sandwich.” Viktor comments before taking another bite.

“I’m glad you like it.” Nadja grins and shakes her head slightly.

“What?” Viktor smiles as he says this. “I’m a single guy who fends for himself and this is a feast compared to some of the things I’ve slapped together for dinner. Hell, I’ll eat the cardboard box pizza is delivered in if it has a little cheese on it!”

“Okay.” Nadja laughs aloud as she continues to eat.

With only a few things to wash up after the meal, Nadja tends to the kitchen while Viktor brings the fire in the fireplace back to a roaring flame. As Nadja walks into the living room, she goes directly to the front door, flips the outside light on and looks out the window.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 155) Excused

“May I be excused?” Aaron asks the airport security officer who has direct orders to stay by his side.

“Why?” The officer questions in an indifferent manner.

“I need to use the restroom.” Aaron replies as he stares into the eyes of the officer in a power play.

“Sorry, I have to stay with you. Let’s go.” The officer states as he stands up.

“This is ridiculous.” Aaron says in a mumble. “Look, the entrance to the restroom is straight ahead. How in the world would I slip out without you seeing me?” He says in a belittling manner. “Besides, I may be awhile.”

“Oh, okay then. But one false move and I’m going to cuff you.” The security guard says with a firm tone.

“Fine, whatever.” Aaron says as he walks to the restroom and enters through the heavy door. “We’ll see how long it takes this goofball to get distracted.” He mumbles as he stands just inside the door listing to the interactions of the other travelers outside.

“Excuse me.” A man says as he tries to exit the restroom.

Aaron turns around and looks the man in the eye.

“How would you like to make two hundred dollars?” Aaron questions as he blocks the man’s way. “Cash.” He says as he pulls two one hundred-dollar bills from his jacket pocket.

“It depends.” The man says.

“See that guard over there?” Aaron cracks the door just enough for this man to see the officer. “He’s not even paying attention.” Aaron snickers.

“What about him, he is airport security.” The man says nervously.

“Yes, but I’m with him, he is in my training program.” Aaron says as he pulls his business card from his pocket and allows the man to review it. “I am the senior vice president of the company and I want to see how easy it might be for me to get past him.”

“And you’re willing to pay me that much money for a test?” The man questions as if he does not believe Aaron’s story.

“I’ll give you one hundred now and the other if you are successful. Deal?” Aaron says quickly as he grabs the right hand of the man, pulling his fingers open as he drops one bill into it.

“Alright, yeah, I can pull this off.” The man says with a smile. “Where are you going to meet me for the final payoff?”

“Meet me outside the coffee shop, but you have to be fast, understand?” Aaron states in a very determined and serious tone.

This nearly frightens the man into backing out but with Aaron’s intense glare, he agrees.

“Okay, yes. I’ll do it, geez.” The man then walks out.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 154) Safe Haven

“I need to bring in more wood so it will be dry. The fireplace is the only way to heat the cottage.” Nadja says as she begins to pull her jacket on.

“No, let me get it. I meant to do that before the sun set, but it was pouring like crazy! See, my jacket is already trying to get out the door.” Viktor says in a light way as he takes his jacket from the handle of the back door.

This makes Nadja laugh for she adores sarcasm when used in a playful manner.

“Okay then, I will fix us something to eat. Oh, I forgot, I have a large sandwich from the local sub shop. Carl bought it for me for lunch, but I didn’t have time to eat it. How about we split that and pair it with two bowls of soup?” Nadja suggests.

“Sounds fantastic to me!” Viktor grins as he opens the door and steps out into the night.

“Hey, this will help!” Nadja yells as she flips the outdoor light switch on.

“Ah, yes much better, thank you!” Viktor yells back.

Out in this dark night, with heavy snow falling and the wind still, Viktor is amazed at how quickly the wintery precipitation is gathering on every little thing. The twigs of the low shrubs are holding bands of snowflakes and the steps he took to get to the woodpile are already beginning to fill in as if he never walked outside. The quietness of the woods seems almost eerie to him for he has never been to a place where the modern world was not humming with sound.

Smoke from the fireplace is falling with the snow for the air is thick with moisture. It smells good to him, this smoldering air, and he fills his arms with logs that have been kept dry by a thick tarp. Looking out at the blackness of the woods, he cannot imagine anyone stubborn enough to be hiding in a tent. He feels confident that this little cottage will be a safe haven for Nadja and him, at least for now.

Stepping back into the kitchen, the smell of soup has filled the room and the small table near the wall has been set for two. Nadja rushes over to the back door so Viktor will not have to shut it while his hands are full. A towel on the floor is an indication to him that he should tap the snow from his shoes before taking another step.

“What did you do, snap your fingers and everything jumped into place?” Viktor laughs. “You are fast, the food smells amazing.” He notices the bottle of wine he brought up from the cellar is on the table as well.

“Well thank you and no, I have wished for years the finger snap would work for multiple things, but I’ve yet to master it.” Nadja grins as Viktor walks past her and begins to stack the wood in the living room near the fireplace.

During this same span of time, the two officers escorting Aaron to the airport receive a call to return to the village for emergency assistance due to the storm. Just as they enter the airport terminal and hand Aaron off to airport security, the two officers leave without staying to confirm if he boards the plane or not. Walking Aaron to the flight gate, the security officer motions for him to take a seat in the waiting area near the windows but within seconds, Aaron becomes agitated.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 153) Quiet

Pulling on the lever to open the shelf and expose the ladder to the hidden room, Carl waves at Nadja as he places his feet on the first wooden rung. Soon the glow from the light below shines up through the opening and within seconds, the hatch begins to close. Slowly the lights fade into a slight sliver near the bottom of the shelving unit. After several seconds, which is enough time for Carl to walk over to the next switch as he enters the tunnel, the thin line of light under the door goes out completely. Taking in a deep breath, Nadja turns and walks back into the kitchen where Viktor is reading the cooking instructions on a package of Japanese noodles.

“I bet you are hungry.” Nadja says as she walks up to him. “Hey, why didn’t you answer the last message I sent to you, no service in this part of the country?”

“None at all.” Viktor replies. “I lost my phone on the way up here from the train station.”

“Oh no! Really?” Nadja questions a bit surprised.

“See, I fell into the trap of becoming a tourist when I should have stayed focused.” Viktor says in a joking manner. “But no, I just had to get a photograph of that awesome lake.”

“Well it is hard to pass up such an opportunity.” Nadja grins. “What happened to cause you to lose your phone? Did a rogue eagle snatch it out of your hand?” She laughs.

“Well damn, that would have been really cool but no, I slipped and fell. . . several feet.” He shakes his head as if disgusted with himself.

“Are you serious?” Nadja quickly asks. “Are you okay?”

“It was quite a drop. Luckily, I landed on a ledge and from what I can tell, I lost about four hours of time. It knocked me completely out!” Viktor says with an animated expression. “I had to climb up by hanging onto roots of the trees. Good think I’m a master contortionist or I might still be huddling down there like a little kid.”

It is now that the cottage grows very quiet. The rain has completely turned over to thick wet fluffy snowflakes and it is falling at a rapid rate. It is as if neither Nadja nor Viktor can think of anything to say which makes them both feel awkward, but not exactly uneasy either.

“I’m going to check the fire.” Nadja says as she walks out of the room.

Viktor goes back to reading the cooking instructions but he is not retaining the process. He cannot stop thinking of how nice it is to finally meet the girl from his dreams. She seems very sweet and is as beautiful as he knew she would be. On the same note, Nadja is intrigued by this man who traveled very far, just to meet her and protect her from harm. They both wonder if this is some sort of conglomeration of fate.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 152) My Word

“While we have a quick discussion,” Carl says in a firm tone, would you mind taking these two bags to the kitchen and put the items away? A few things need to go in the freezer and refrigerator.” Carl states as he looks at Viktor.

“Oh yeah, absolutely.” Viktor replies as he picks both packs up and takes them into the kitchen.

“Are you okay staying here?” Carl questions to Nadja.

“I am, after what just happened here, I know for a fact he is who he claims to be.” Nadja states in a whisper. “Are you planning on going back to the cabin? You should just stay here.”

“If you feel comfortable here, then I would rather sleep in my own bed tonight. I can use the tunnel again for at least the first half of the walk back.” Carl says as he starts to button up his jacket.

“I think what you and Aunt Josephine created was wonderful.” Nadja says without looking at the big yet softhearted man. “She loved you more than life itself, she always told me that.”

“Oh damn, you had to say that, I just got myself together.” Carl says as he wipes his tear filled eyes.

“I’m sorry.” Nadja says as she kisses his cheek. “You go ahead and head home and I’m sorry you’ve had to do so much walking in this horrible weather.”

“When you live on this mountain, it is just the normal way of life. No worries.” Carl says as he pats her on the shoulder and walks toward the kitchen. “Well young man, I’m heading back to my cabin and I’m trusting you to keep Nadja safe.” He is very stern with this statement.

“I understand and I will.” Viktor replies as he extends his hand again for a handshake.

“You seem like a nice fellow, don’t disappoint me.” Carl says as he squeezes Viktor’s hand a little tighter than would be considered normal.

“You have my word.” Viktor smiles for both men seem to understand each other perfectly.

While Viktor continues to put the supply of food away, Carl walks to Josephine’s bedroom with Nadja and they say their goodbyes at the bookcase.

“You call me if you need me, okay? For any reason and at anytime, be it day or night.” Carl says in a serious low voice.

“I will Carl, I promise.” Nadja says as she leans up on her tiptoes and kisses his cheek.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 151) Snow

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you, that’s just what she told me to say.” Viktor states in a calm tone.

“No son, I’m not upset, I’m just surprised and I guess I shouldn’t be.” Carl states quickly. “I always knew she was special, more in tune than the rest of us.” He sniffles again. “For you to know that phrase, I am confident Josie likes you and believes you to be a good person.” Carl releases his hug with Nadja. “It is nice to meet you, Viktor.” Carl says as he walks over to Viktor and shakes his hand.

“It is nice to meet you too.” Viktor says still a little on guard. “So I take it Josie is your aunt?” He looks to Nadja for the answer.

“Yes, to me she was and always will be Aunt Josephine. Carl is the only one who could get away with shortening her name.” Nadja laughs. “They were, and in actuality still are, soul mates.” She loops her arm though Carl’s arm and he once again clears his throat.

“She passed in her sleep two months ago.” Carl says as he looks in the direction of Josephine’s bedroom. “I woke up early, had a supply shipment coming in and I needed to catch the first train down the mountain.” Carl runs his finger along the corner of his right eye as he continues to look toward the bedroom. “Before I slipped out of bed Josie touched my face with her hand. She looked at me and smiled, then we shared our final kiss.” He looks down. “If I had any idea that was going to be the end,” Carl pauses and clears his throat.

“It is okay, Carl.” Nadja says softly as the big man steps into the shadows of the room and out of the light. “She is beautiful, isn’t she?” Nadja directs this question to Viktor as she steps closer to him.

“Your aunt? Yes.” Viktor says as fact. “You look just like her but younger.” Viktor then realizes how flirty that sounds and instantly feels embarrassed but Nadja laughs in understanding.

“It’s okay, I know what you meant. We were always mistaken as Mother and daughter and for those with bad eyesight, as sisters!” Nadja grins. “I would like to hear about your experiences with her and the things she has said to you. Aunt Josephine was one of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure to know. You are lucky to have connected with her.”

“The rain is turning over to snow.” Carl says as he steps back into the conversation. “Nadja, may I have a word with you?”

“Um, yes.” Nadja looks at Carl as she answers. “Excuse me Viktor.” Nadja says politely.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 150) Truth

“No, I don’t know anything about this Aaron guy, except that in my dream. . .” Viktor pauses for he knows how odd this sounds. “All I can say is that I have very vivid and controllable dreams. I have been here several times and talked to the older woman with the long hair who I believe is Nadja’s aunt.”

Viktor is frustrated and afraid they do not believe a word he is saying. However, with this remark barely out of Viktor’s mouth, Carl swiftly turns his eyes to Nadja and does not say a word. Looking up at him as if trying to read his thoughts, Nadja seems puzzled.

“What is it Carl?” She questions and with a quick glance, she looks at Viktor then back to Carl.

“Nothing,” Carl states as he looks at the photographs resting on the fireplace mantel.

“Oh, I just remembered, she said if I need to prove my innocence, and it appears I do, I should recite the following phrase.” Viktor looks from Nadja to Carl.

Carl and Nadja look at each other for just a second and then turn their attention back to Viktor. He stands silent and then looks down at the floor as he tries to recall the exact saying.

“I don’t have a clue how this will make any difference but here goes.” Viktor says in a mumble as if embarrassed. “Through lifetimes of days asleep and awake, I’ll always find my way to the place near the lake.”

Immediately, Carl takes one step back and then turns around to face the front door. Without a word, he walks over to the wet glass and looks out at the dark world that surrounds the little cottage.

“Carl?” Nadja questions as she glances at Viktor with wide questioning eyes. “Are you alright?”

“He is telling you the truth, Nadja. He is being honest.” Carl states without moving, he then sniffles and clears his throat. “I was never able to be free at night like Josie, she was so connected to the mysteries of the world.” Carl rubs his nose and sniffles again. “The phrase was one she and I created so that if we ever became separated in death, we would always remember to come here and find each other again.”

Nadja begins to tear up as she walks over and puts her arms around Carl’s waist. The big man immediately pulls her into a bear hug as they stand there silently weeping. Viktor remains alone in the doorway of the kitchen feeling awkward with this situation.


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