Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 216) Complete

“Hey wake up!” Another passenger on the bus says as he shakes Viktor from his sleep. “We are at the airport and I didn’t think you wanted to ride this thing all the way back.

“Oh, yeah. . . thank you.” Replies Viktor as he stands up from his seat and steps off the bus and then mumbles to himself. “So how did you spend your vacation Vik?” Viktor says in a mocking manner of his boss. “Oh yeah Travis, you’ll get a real kick out of this one.” He snickers to himself as he walks up to the ticket counter.

“Flights have been delayed about thirty minutes.” The woman at the booth says as if she cannot bear to say this phrase one more time. “You might as well have a second cup of coffee for the day.”

Viktor tips his head back in frustration and looks up at the time on the clock. As he turns to meander his way to the airport restaurant, there in front of him is Nadja. She is grinning with a wide smile as she quickly walks toward him.

“I have a job offer for you.” She says as she stops in front of him now trying to be more serious.

“Do you now.” Viktor replies trying to be even more serious than her and this makes her grin.

“Please stay.” She says in a soft tone, her eyes focused and sincere as she takes hold of his hand. “I need a good manager. Someone who can propose sales ideas, assist in structure changes, keep a small factory booming with product and to be there to share a bottle or two of wine with.”

Viktor stands there quietly, trying not to laugh at Nadja’s dry humor. Looking at the young woman from his dreams, he feels at ease in her presence. He knew she needed his help, but never imagined things would have turned out as they did.

“I am serious Viktor, we can do this.” She touches his face gently before they fall into a passionate kiss.

Time seems to have stopped and the voices around them muffle as if the world belongs only to them. People passing by do not seem to notice the warmth of their embrace and first kiss. To Viktor, this is a wish come true, the realization of a premonition and a new life path with the young woman of his dreams.

Nadja feels at home in Viktor’s arms, his lips pressed against hers and the warmth of his touch serene. Only minutes after he boarded the bus to leave the village, she knew in her heart, she made the wrong decision in sending him away.

“Only once in a lifetime is the perfect connection made.” Her aunt Josephine stated on more than one occasion. “You will know it because together your hearts will fill full. There will be a sense of ease with one another, an understanding with absolute respect and a passion that does not compare to any other. It never fades.” Nadja remembers her aunt smiling. “Once you find this incredibly special person, be true to your heart and love with every part of your being.”

“So what made you change your mind?” Viktor questions as he and Nadja hold their close embrace.

“The hole you instantly left in my heart.” She responds softly and Viktor pulls her even closer.

“How does it feel now?” He questions.

“Complete,” She replies, “absolutely complete.”

“Viktor?” She whispers. “Pinch me so I know I’m not dreaming.”

“No,” Viktor replies softly. “I’m afraid to.”


The End

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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 215) Forward

As the sun begins to rise from behind the eastern mountain range, it is time for Viktor to board the bus for the airport. The sign on the factor door stays in the closed position and any workers arriving for the day have been asked to return home. With his bag across his shoulder, Viktor stands with Nadja in the darkened room full of barrels of soap and lotion.

“I’m proud of you.” Viktor whispers in Nadja’s ear as he gives her a hug, she does not reply. “I wish I could stay, I would, if you wanted me to.” He says while looking into her eyes.

“I need to learn to be alone.” Nadja says as she looks down and backs away a step.

“Wrecked again.” Viktor says, trying to get her to smile, and she does.

“Thank you, for everything Viktor.” She smiles as she leans up and kisses his cheek. “Somehow, I think you gave me a little bit more strength.”

“Well I like to share, what can I say?” He grins. “I have to go or I’ll mess up the entire trip but if you want me to stay. . .”

Nadja places her finger across his lips to shush his words and he nods his head yes.

“I understand.” He says softly. “Bye Nadja, I’ll see you in my dreams.”

The bus ride seems like a long drawn out nightmare smelling of old leather, oil and odd vibrations from the road. Looking out the window Viktor holds back his own tears as he watches the small village, this place of nightly trips, disappear from view as the road curves around a forest. Again, he wonders why. What was this for? What did he gain other than an adventure during his vacation that was more exciting than playing video games all day or listening to his neighbors slam their apartment doors.

“What a waste of time.” He mumbles as he reaches into his pocket for his phone. “And I lost my damn phone!” He grumbles as the last two night’s lack of sleep begins to catch up with him.

He feels empty, alone and frustrated with himself. The time spent with Nadja was interesting and fun, and they understood each other well, as if they had been friends for years. Now his heart aches for the friendship lost. He feels the distance and travel time between them will eat away at any connection they may have. Leaning his head back to rest between the window and the seat, he begins to drift in and out of a dream.

“Courage.” A woman’s voice says softly.

“Excuse me?” Viktor questions as he steps out from a grove of trees into the sunlight.

“She showed a lot of courage. Don’t you think?” Josephine says with a smile as her hair glistens with sunshine.

“Yes, it took a lot to do that, shooting Aaron I mean.” Viktor says. “That is what we are talking about, yes? You know, I do wonder where she got the gun.”

“It was mine, I taught her how to use it.” Carl says as he takes hold of Josephine’s hand and pats Viktor on the back with the other. “I really like you.” Carl grins.

“You are together, this is wonderful!” Viktor says with true emotion.

This encounter fascinates him, if it is true. Are these two soul mates really truly together forever as they wished to be? Is the afterlife simply another step, another level of existence?

“I do not understand why I was involved, I did nothing and I’m walking away empty-handed.” Viktor says as Josephine places her hand on his cheek. “You did more than you think my dear. You are a fascinating man who has yet to realize his own potential. Keep moving forward for around every turn is a new realization.”


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 214) Intruder

“Does Aaron know about this room?” Viktor asks.

“No, he doesn’t know anything about the factory.” She replies as she watches Viktor walk to the window to peer out.

“Except where it is, apparently.” Viktor adds. “The police are down there, they probably got him.

It is now that the horrific sound of a single gunshot echoes as if traveling for miles. Viktor looks at Nadja as she backs away from the locked door. More yelling can be heard followed by a crashing sound as if the door to the building has been kicked in.

“Okay, that does not sound right.” Viktor whispers to Nadja as he pulls her to the back corner of the small apartment.

The officer on the train had asked him if he knew how to use a gun, but never handed him one, which Viktor now realizes was a mistake.

“We need something we can use as a weapon.” Viktor looks next to where they are standing, but then hears talking near the bottom of the spiral staircase. I have to see what is going on, stay here.”

“No! Don’t go out there!” Nadja tugs at his arm.

“It’s okay, I recognize one of the officers voices.” Viktor says with a believable tone, even though he knows this is not true. “Bolt the door behind me.” He whispers as he looks into Nadja’s eyes.

Stepping out onto the metal catwalk that runs the length of the factory, he places his footing carefully to make as little noise as possible, but this still alerts the officers.

“Stop!” One of them commands.

“It’s me, Viktor.” He says cautiously. “What’s going on?” He questions as he looks down at the officers standing on the factory floor.

“We have an intruder, step back into the room.” The officer commands.

Just as Viktor turns to follow the orders given, movement to his left catches his eye. Somehow, Aaron has managed to make his way to the catwalk. He is now only a few feet away from the door to the apartment.

“Stop where you are, both of you!” Yells one of the officers as he moves closer to where Viktor and Aaron are standing. “Put your hands up where I can see them!”

Aaron begins to slowly walk closer to the door and again the officer yells out.

“I said stop and put your hands up!” He commands.

Aaron dashes to the door of the apartment as gunshots are fired from below and Viktor takes cover as close to the wall as possible. With the door swinging open, it completely obstructs Viktor’s view of the walkway. With a sudden loud ringing jolt, Aaron falls back against the catwalk railing causing it to shake back and forth knocking Viktor to his knees.

“Nadja!” Viktor yells as he tries to gain his footing.

Aaron falls down, face first onto the metal walkway and does not make another move. Rushing up the staircase, with guns drawn and pointed at Aaron, the officers make a slow approach.

Viktor stays on his knees as they pass by him and the first officer near Aaron watches him for movement. Slowly pushing the door all the way open, Nadja is there, her arms straight out in front of her with a pistol in her hand. The second officer steps behind the first and gently pulls the gun from her fingers as she turns and looks at Viktor. A flood of tears begin to roll down her cheeks as she steps in his direction. Viktor stands and meets her halfway as he takes her in his arms.

“He is dead.” The officer kneeling down near Aaron’s body says to the group.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 213) Voices

Standing atop the hill, Viktor finds himself in that all too familiar place of cobblestone roads and tall colorful buildings. The weather is warm, steamy like a muggy summer night. No moon is shining and the stars seem shy as the dark sky looms above him.

“I know this place well.” Viktor says to himself. “It is a bit off-season though.”

Slowly he begins to walk down the hill, the soap factory in easy sight since he knows exactly where it is now. A hot wind blows through the alleyways between the buildings causing the hanging signs of the shops to sway and squeak. There is tension here unlike he has felt before and it worries him.

“So what does this all mean?” He questions to his dream self as he looks around suspicious of everything that moves.

Up to the right is the shop with the lavender door and as he enters the building and steps inside, he finds himself looking through a massive mirror. It is two stories high and several feet wide, tall enough to see the tops of trees and wide enough to lose sight in both directions.

“Vast possibilities.” Viktor says in a mumble. “A mirror or window this size can only mean that. Apparently I am doing some soul-searching.” He snickers. “Tell me something I don’t know.”

The image he is witness to is of the woods near the cottage just before dawn. Twinkling glimmers of dew appear to dance about and there is a peacefulness emitting from the view.

“I’m not sure what it is I am supposed to gain from this.” Viktor says in a frustrated manner. “Show me where Aaron is, that would be helpful.”

The mirror begins to darken and the twilight scene from the mountain fades away to a deep gray haze. Flashing through this murky mystery are the colorful lights atop a police car. The vehicle is not visible, only a hint of the lights can penetrate this deep coating across the mirror.

“That’s it, show me where he is.” Viktor whispers.

Suddenly Josephine’s face appears larger than life as she yells, “Look behind you!”

With a loud pop Viktor and Nadja both sit straight up from their sleeping positions upon the bed!

“What was that?” Nadja questions in a shaky voice.

“I don’t know.” Viktor is trembling slightly from the stressful dream and abrupt awakening.

“Are you okay?” Nadja questions as she stares at the closed door of the room.

“I was dreaming,” he starts to say but is interrupted by yelling voices from somewhere outside.

“Oh god, it has to be Aaron.” Nadja leaps off the bed and runs over to the door quickly bolting its lock.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 212) Secure

“It’s past dinnertime and we are closing up the shop soon.” Regina says as she sets two to-go boxes on the small dining table of the apartment. “I thought you might like something to eat.”

“That is very thoughtful of you, thank you.” Nadja says as she stands.

“There is a police officer at the front door, I think he is standing watch for the night. Are you two in danger?” Regina questions and it is obvious she is not aware of the Aaron factor.

“It is just a precaution.” Nadja says quickly. “No need to worry.”

“Oh. . . okay then.” Regina says with suspicion. “I will see you in the morning then. Have a good night.”

“You too.” Nadja and Viktor reply together.

“I feel like we have lost the entire day.” Nadja says as she begins to unpack the food.

“It’s not exactly how I pictured our last few hours together, that’s for sure.” Viktor replies as he places straws in the drink cups.

“Oh? So how did you think our last day would have been?” Nadja grins as she sits down.

“I was thinking it would be more of a stroll in the woods, wine near the fire, stolen kisses here and there.” Viktor says with a grin and as he sits down across from her, they make eye contact. “After all, you are the beautiful girl from my dreams.”

“Now you are making me blush.” Nadja smiles as she leans across the table and kisses him. “There has to be a time for us, Viktor. I just do not believe now is it.”

Looking back at her food, she works very hard at controlling her tears. It angers her that she is in this position of fear and that it is affecting what may very well be a beautiful relationship with Viktor. Her mind and heart seem to be hard and cold and as much as she hates to hurt Viktor, she knows for him, it is the best thing to do. He does not need to be the one picking up the pieces for her. No, this is a lesson she must accomplish by herself, even if it means she is alone the rest of her life.

As night approaches and the conversation slows, Nadja and Viktor sit back on the bed, pillows propped up on the headboard creating a thick and comfortable relaxed position. The room is aglow with the light from Nadja’s laptop as they look up the flight schedules and print off the information Viktor will need for his trip. Their stressful day catches up with them and before long they soon fall asleep, the laptop at their feet, Nadja’s head resting on Viktor’s chest, his arm secure around her.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 211) Confidence

“I know we were supposed to be closed and stay home for the day, but once the snow started melting away, I knew we better get those doors open for business.” States Regina as she pulls Nadja to her for a hug. “I can’t believe he is gone.” She says at a whisper.

“I know and thank you for everything you do, Regina.” Nadja says with an understanding but forced smile.

Nadja knows the staff will be worried about the company and if their job is secure. It will be her duty to keep the confidence level up and make sure the soap factory is as robust as ever. Nadja thinks of what the voice of her aunt stated in her dream, “Let your true senses guide you. You have all the control you need my brilliant shining starlight, follow your heart.”

“This factory will continue on and be stronger than before. You have nothing to worry about, okay Regina? We will get through this together.” Nadja says in a reassuring manner that somewhat surprises herself.

With tears welling up in her eyes, Regina hugs Nadja once again and then quickly leaves the room.

“Nicely done.” Viktor says in a positive manner yet at a whisper.

“Thank you.” Nadja replies as she starts up the staircase to the small room. “This is the way to the apartment.” She motions for him to follow.

Each step on the spiral staircase makes a metallic sound under their feet as they round their way to the second floor. Once inside the apartment, they both set their belongings next to the door and take a seat on the bed.

“The factory is bigger than I imagined, but then again, each time I visited in my dreams, I was only in the little shop out front.” Viktor says with a laugh.

“Should we inspect the wall that exposed the hidden door that brought you to me?” Nadja grins as she makes an attempt to be upbeat.

“Nah, I’m pretty sure that is just a doorway for my dreaming self.” Viktor looks down at the floor. “I guess I will be leaving tomorrow around eight.”

“That does not leave us with much time, does it.” Nadja says with a low tone. “I will miss you.”

“If I could, I would stay. Aside from all the Aaron stuff, I really like it here. . . with you.” Viktor says as he places himself in what he considers a vulnerable position.

“As much as I would like that too, I have to learn to go this road alone.” Nadja says as she looks at her hands. “I need to learn to live my own life.” She looks up at him. “Sometimes I wonder if I truly know who I am.”

“Well, I know who you are,” Viktor smiles, “and you are very likable if not downright lovable.” He nudges her with his elbow and they both laugh.

Regina interrupts this conversation by knocking at the apartment door. She brings in two boxes from one of the local restaurants.

ex 211

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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 210) Uncertainty

“Do you plan to stay around the area much longer?” The officer questions Viktor.

“Unfortunately no. I have to fly out tomorrow, I think sometime around noon. I lost my phone and need to check with the bus station too, I can’t remember the time the bus leaves.” Viktor replies. “Why do you ask?”

“I was just curious.” The officer states quietly as the train begins to move. “I was hoping you might know how to handle a gun.”

“I’m sure I can figure it out.” Viktor replies. “I can really kick some ass in video games.” He says in a joking manner to lighten the mood, but the officer simply nods his head and motions for Viktor to go back to his seat.

“Oh, sir?” The officer says quickly. “The bus leaves at eight o’clock tomorrow.”

“Okay, thank you.” Viktor replies.

The clacking of the wheels upon the rails lulls Nadja into the sleeping world. A veil of gray hovers over her as she begins to hear voices echoing in from all around.

“Hello?” She questions as she walks through this strange mist like substance. “Who is there?”

Swirls begin to form in the gray matter yet all things remain concealed to her. She begins to realize this dense fog is a reflection of her current situation. Deception, confusion and uncertainty are all represented here and she feels as if she has lost her direction in life.

“I am interpreting this dream as I’m in it.” She says to herself. “I know I am lost.” She mumbles as she places her hands out in front of her hoping to feel something, anything.

“Oh dear girl, you will find your way.” Says the familiar voice of her aunt. “Close your eyes and let your true senses guide you.” Her tone is sweet and calm. “You have all the control you need my brilliant shining starlight, follow your heart.”

Abruptly she is shaken awake as the train comes to a forceful stop at the village station.

“Are you okay?” Viktor questions as he puts his arm around her.

“Yes, I think.” Nadja replies quickly wondering how badly she jolted awake.

“Okay, we had the building searched and all is clear. My partner and I will take you there now.” The police officer says in a polite manner. “Do you have everything you need?”

“Yes, we should be fine for a day or two.” Nadja looks up at Viktor.

Since the horrific weather that was predicted did not exactly cause the halt to business as expected, the village is bustling with energy under the late afternoon sun. Shoppers are out and about carrying loaded bags, deliveries are being made at the various shops, and the soap factory is no different. As soon as Nadja walks through the back door of the factory, workers greet her with hugs and tears. They made the decision to come in and open the business, and only recently were they told of the events taking place on the mountain.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 209) A Word

Just before arriving at the depot, several officers meet Nadja and Viktor on the path as they are out scouring the area for Aaron. Two of them give Nadja their condolences for they were good friends with Carl and know how close he and Nadja were. As they round the bend, it is quite a scene at the train station, where many police and forest ranger vehicles sit idle after making a quick arrival. Stepping up onto the porch of the building, another officer quickly greets them.

“I need to get them safely into town.” The officer with Nadja and Viktor states to the other man. “Keep me posted on the events as they unfold. We have to get this guy.” The officer says to his colleague.

The station smells of wet wood and cigarette smoke and Nadja is beginning to feel the effects of the morning. She sits on a bench near the tracks and leans back with her head against the wall.

“It’s catching up with you, isn’t it?” The escorting officer questions in a low tone as he looks at his watch.

“Yes, I believe it is.” She replies as she looks at Viktor and reaches for his hand.

Giving her hand a gentle reassuring squeeze, Viktor looks up the tracks wondering when the next train will arrive. As if reading his mind, the officer explains the schedule shows it is due to arrive in about ten minutes. Just as he says this, another person of authority pulls the officer aside for a hushed conversation.

“There is a small apartment inside the soap factory where we can stay.” Nadja says to Viktor without opening her eyes. “Are you sure you have to leave tomorrow?” She asks as she leans up to look at him.

“If I plan to keep my job and pay my bills, yes. . . unfortunately.” He replies and thoughts begin to race about in his mind.

“What was the purpose of this trip?” He wonders. “Yes, he helped Nadja the best he could, but what did he gain? Why does it seem as if they will now part ways and never speak again?”

Soon the whistle of the approaching train sounds in a clear tone and within seconds of it stopping, Nadja, Viktor and two police officers board.

“It won’t be long now Nadja until you and your friend here are safe and sound in town.” The officer says with a smile. “Are you planning to stay at the hotel or the factory?” He questions.

“I just assumed we would stay at the factory, in the small apartment.” She replies softly.

“Okay, I’ll have someone go by and secure the area since we still haven’t pinned down the goon we are after.” The officer says as if disgusted. “But we will get him, one way or another.” He says with authority, he then leans in close to Viktor. “Can I have a word with you for a moment?” The officer mumbles.

“Uh, sure.” Viktor replies. “I’ll be back in a second.” He says to Nadja before joining the officer at the front of the railcar.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 208) Hatred

The officer clicks the radio on his sleeve and begins talking. He issues an alert to the other officials in the area that he needs assistance.

“Backup officers will be arriving soon, I need you both to stay put.” He says in a serious tone as he follows the faint dirt tracks back to the living room.

“This means Aaron is still alive.” Nadja says in a low whisper.

Viktor does not speak a word. He continues standing while Nadja sits down on the corner of her aunt’s bed. He wonders if this makes her happy or sad. Is there still a piece of her that wants Aaron in her life, even after all of the horrible events that have taken place? Toxic relationships are like that, a few of his friends live with their battles and the acid continues to eat away at them.

“What are you thinking?” Nadja questions as she looks up at Viktor.

“Nothing really, I just hope they find him so you can live peacefully.” Viktor replies.

He does not want to hang his heart out on the line and say how he truly feels. If he had his way, he would stay here, either on this mountain or in the village below, just to be near her, to learn more about her, and to see where this friendship takes them. Reality shows that long distance relationships do not last and if he leaves now, he knows this will be the end. One thing he does realize as fact though his flight leaves midday tomorrow. He remembers from his itinerary, he must board the bus in the early morning hours to make it to the airport on time. Today and tonight is all the time they will have left together.

Nadja is in deep thought as well. Her mind takes her to Carl, such a kind man, thoughtful and loving, a man no longer living because of Aaron’s arrogance.

“I hate him.” She says aloud, Viktor looks in her direction. “I always wanted to get to the point that I no longer had good thoughts about him. A time when I could care less about where he is or what he is doing.” Nadja’s voice is strong. “I am there. He finally pushed me to this point. I am void of any emotion for him other than hatred.”

“Don’t let that hatred become an addiction though, that too can harden your soul.” Viktor says as he looks out at the living room just as the officer steps into sight.

“He has been spotted near the train station.” The officer states firmly as many voices of individuals communicating with the police station cause a static on his radio. “Gather what you need. Until he is locked up, it is not safe to stay here.”

Once Viktor and Nadja have packed up, they lock the doorway to the underground room as well as the doors to the cottage.

“I noticed a hole cut in the glass of the window of the kitchen, I made a note to have that repaired.” The officer states as they begin the walk along the snow melted and muddy trail. “It made for an easy entry into the place.”

Viktor does not try to explain that he was already aware of this. The last thing he wants to do is try to explain to a logical thinking man that he dreams of current and future events. Even worse, that he too found the hole and chose not to tell Nadja. That alone would make him appear dishonest and he never wants this to be a word used in association with him. Together the three of them continue down the path in silence.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 207) Numb

Nadja feels responsible for what has happened. Due to his twisted thinking, she knows Aaron murdered Carl simply because he got the better of him. Carl stopped him on the trail, had the police escort him out of town, and this no doubt triggered extreme anger within Aaron’s sickened mind.

“Here sweetie, I made fresh cinnamon rolls. You need to get something in your stomach.” Martha says softly as she hands a small plate and napkin to Nadja.

Nadja sits at a small table and looks down at her plate. She feels numb, disconnected, and she even begins to wonder if this is simply a nightmare that she can wake herself up from.

“How would I know if I was dreaming?” Nadja questions in her mind. “What if I simply need to wake up?” She pulls a small piece from the roll and places it I her mouth just as Viktor sits down across from her. “Where does the active and sleeping mind wander once we die?” She quizzes to him.

“I’m not sure.” Viktor replies honestly. “I’ve often wondered if we are just that, dreamlike, not really existing at all.” He has a questioning look on his face. “I know in most cases, my dreams are far more interesting than what I experience when awake. The events of today though, I would rather wake up from.”

“Me too.” Nadja mumbles as she glances out the window.

Many hours pass before Nadja and Viktor are notified by local authorities that they can return to the cottage, with a police officer, to gather their things.

“It will take us some time to recover the body you believe is in the collapsed tunnel.” The officer states to Nadja and Viktor as they walk the path along the ridge of the mountain.

“I have to leave for home tomorrow.” Viktor explains. “I don’t know that you should stay up here alone, at least not until they find. . . well you know what I mean.”

Nadja shakes her head yes. She knows exactly what Viktor is saying. Until Aaron’s body is recovered, and there is proof of his demise, she should not be alone.

“We will be staying at the soap factory, in the small apartment.” She explains to the officer.

“Good, I believe that is a wise choice.” The officer responds. “Now, let’s see what took place here.” He says in a low tone as he slowly pushes the unlatched door of the cottage open with his hand.

The living room chairs are overturned, blankets from the sofa thrown onto the floor and many delicate items in Josephine’s bedroom have been destroyed. Debris clutters the floors of both rooms and the doorway to the hidden room is wide open.

“I assume this is the entrance to the tunnel?” The officer questions as he steps over to look down the ladder.

“Yes, it is.” Nadja replies.

“And you both left the crumbling tunnel at the other end?” The officer asks.

“Yes.” Viktor replies.

“Then we have an intruder.” The officer says as he shines his flashlight at muddy footprints on the floor of the room below.

He then steps back and shines the light at the wooden flooring of Josephine’s room and very fine prints can be seen there as well.

“Stay here.” The officer commands.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 206) Removed

Walking past the front of Carl’s cabin, both Nadja and Viktor look in through the open door. The small wood stove is exactly what Viktor remembers seeing in his dream and his heart sinks.

“I could have saved him.” He mumbles and Nadja stops to look up at him.

“What did you say?” She asks.

“I could have saved him. I saw this in a dream, I saw a tall dark figure standing next to that exact wood stove and I just knew something was wrong.” Viktor says.

“No one could have predicted this, Viktor. So don’t say that.” Nadja slides her hand in his as they follow Martha to the shop next door.

He thinks in his mind about all the other visions he has witnessed. What has come true and what other hints has he brushed off? The burning of the soap factory, the authorities said there was a break in or something happened for the alarm to sound, but it is still standing. He hates the fact that he cannot differentiate between what is to be and what is simply the subconscious mind working its way through the events of the day.

Once inside the store, Martha retreats to the back room to find both Nadja and Viktor a change of warm clothes. Standing there in silence, Nadja walks over to the window and watches as the vehicle of the coroner’s office arrives. Two men step out and enter Carl’s cabin.

“They will be together again.” Nadja says in a low voice.

Viktor hears what Nadja says and walks over to her. He recalls a statement Josephine said during one of her visits to his dream. It was the one where he feared the factory was gutted by fire. What he got from her statement was that once something is destroyed, like a forest in a fire, new growth will sprout and the forest may grow even stronger than before. He wonders if all the events happening now are for Nadja’s rebirth into a world of better things. He wraps his arms around her as they both watch the events outside.

“I went through our latest shipment and found clothes that should fit you well.” Martha smiles as she enters the room. “I tossed them in the clothes dryer so they are nice and warm.

“Thank you, Martha.” Nadja smiles as she takes what Martha has offered and walks to the restrooms at the back of the building.

“I cannot believe this has happened.” Viktor says to the older woman.

“Carl really liked you, he told us all about you coming here to find Nadja, very romantic.” Martha grins. “We knew you were a good man when we met you.”

“Thank you.” Viktor replies in a shy manner.

He is still unsure of how to respond, even at his age to such a compliment. He meets Nadja halfway through the store as she returns in warm dry clothing. As they pass, and without pausing in their steps, they touch fingers in a mutual reassuring way. It is a small gesture of support for one another they both felt was necessary.

“He was like an uncle to you, I know.” Martha says to Nadja as she walks back to the window.

“Yes, that is exactly how I felt about him.” Nadja replies as she watches his body being removed from the cabin across the way.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 205) Tears

“I want to talk to him.” Nadja says as she starts to release her hug with Martha but the older woman does not let her go.

“No honey, he didn’t make it.” Martha says as tears form in her eyes.

“When Carl didn’t show up for breakfast we popped over thinking maybe he overslept but. . . we found him face down on the floor.” Sam shares with Viktor as he pulls him to the side. “Looked like someone hit him on the back of the head with a heavy object, they haven’t figured out exactly what yet.” Sam Points to the police officers who are taping the area off to keep everyone out of the crime scene. “Police said the alarms went off at the soap factory last night but they didn’t find anything when they checked it out, well except for a few things that were knocked onto the floor.”

Viktor looks over at Nadja and he is sure she heard every word Sam spoke. His voice is loud and with his hearing gone due to age, his whispers are that of a normal speaking tone.

“Nadja?” Viktor questions as she turns to look at him. “I’m so sorry.” He says and she immediately runs into his arms burying her head in his chest.

“It was Aaron, there is no doubt in my mind it was him.” She says as tears begin to flow freely.

Is that the fellow who showed up here the other day, the big guy with the smug attitude?” Sam questions of Viktor.

“Yes.” Viktor replies. “He came to the cottage, chased us through the tunnel.”

“Tunnel? What tunnel?” Sam seems confused. “Well, where the hell is he now? Officer!” Sam yells to gain the police officers attention.

“The tunnel collapsed, we think he is still in there.” Nadja states and then pauses as she looks up at Viktor. “I hope he is dead,” she says with pain in her eyes, “and I want him off this mountain.”

“The man responsible is trapped up the way, in a tunnel that leads to Josephine’s house.” Sam says as the officials step up to the group.

“Who is this?” One officer questions as he looks at Viktor in a suspicious manner.

“This is Viktor, a good friend of mine. He has been with me the past few days.” Nadja states in a direct manner.

“Did you know about the tunnel?” Viktor questions of Sam.

“No, never heard of it.” Sam replies and then the officer speaks up.

“We are aware of it. I’ll call in that we may have a man trapped.” The officer states as he walks away while speaking into his radio.

“Come along to the shop, we need to get you both into dry clothes.” Martha states as her motherly instincts kick in. “I still have breakfast on the warmer as well.”


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 204) Someone

Wet and cold, Nadja and Viktor begin the thirty-minute walk from the now condemned entrance of the tunnel to Carl’s cabin and the train station. With the sun rising, the sky turns a shade of yellow and the birds begin to flutter along the treetops. Nadja shivers and leans toward Viktor who puts his arm around her. There is no conversation, no laughter or questions, just the crunching of the snow under their shoes and the occasional clearing of the throat.

“I saw my aunt down there.” Nadja says out of the blue.

“In the tunnel?” Viktor questions and he thinks of what he witnessed with her peering out at Aaron from the broken mirror.

“I think I was knocked out, it was while you were still on the other side of the blockage.” She says as she watches her feet. “Honestly, I thought I had died.”

“Oh, well thank goodness you didn’t.” He squeezes her hand.

“It was spring, the trees and flowers were in bloom.” She says as she looks up at the canopy of branches overhead.

“Do you remember what you talked about?” Viktor questions as a cold gust of air blasts at them as they round the corner.

Up ahead, parked near Carl’s cabin is a police vehicle with its light still flashing red and blue. Sam and Martha are standing outside the small dwelling talking to an officer when they look up and see Nadja and Viktor walking in their direction. Both of them respond in an odd way by ending their conversation and slowly walking toward them.

“Is something wrong?” Nadja questions with a quiver to the older couple.

“Oh dear girl, its Carl.” Sam states as he and his wife meet them on the path.

“What do you mean?” Nadja questions, as she looks Sam in the eyes.

“Someone hurt him sweetie.” Martha says as she opens her arms and gives Nadja a hug.

“Is he okay?” Viktor asks but he fears he already knows the answer to this question.

The dream he had, the one with a cabin and the shattered glass, the dark figure in the corner near a wood stove. It had to be Aaron. He got revenge on Carl no doubt.

“No son, he is not.” Sam says as he runs his hand across the back of his neck in a nervous way.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 203) Toppling

Snow is still in the melting phase as the first hint of twilight glows in the sky. Stepping to the side of the south opening of the tunnel, Nadja and Viktor can hear crashing sounds as the tunnel continues to fall apart. Turning back to look behind them, the heavily wooded area above is shifting as the quake rocks the tall trees in all directions. Fearing a collapse under their feet, they decide to step away from the immediate area and run toward the gravel path.

From the main path along the side of the mountain, Nadja and Viktor hold each other tight. Neither is speaking and it is obvious they are both wondering about Aaron. Is he now buried forever inside this once safe and useful tunnel?

“I’m Sorry, Nadja.” Viktor says as he holds her closer not sure how she feels about the possibility that Aaron has lost his life.

“You did all you could, even more than you should have.” Nadja replies as she rests her head on Viktor’s shoulder. “I don’t know what to say.” She looks into his eyes but neither one speaks a single word.

A low rumble continues from underground as trees begin to slant to the side with some toppling over from their once upright positions as the roots easily slip out of the soft soil. It is obvious now, in looking through the woods, to know exactly where the tunnel once stood. The morning light reflects off the branches of the trees as snow shakes from them as if snowing once again. During this time, Nadja and Viktor stand in silence until the grumbling ground goes quiet.

“Stay here, I’ll go look at the opening.” Viktor says softly.

Very slowly, he walks from where Nadja stands back to the opening to the tunnel. The door frame, bent and twisted, stands in an odd manner. Dirt, rocks and roots are the only visible items where the opening to the tunnel once stood. As much as he grew to despise Aaron, he cannot agree that this is a good ending to the mystery of his dreams. Yes, Aaron would have killed both he and Nadja if he could, but Viktor cannot fathom having behavior like this. Even at the end, he wanted to help Aaron out, and is now kicking himself for not being successful.

“Viktor, we should go.” Nadja says just loud enough for him to hear her.

“I know.” He replies as he starts walking in her direction. “We need to get to Carl’s cabin so we can report this.”


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 202) Collapsing

Just as Aaron once again turns back to view the mirror, the face of the woman appears closer. As if reaching out, extending beyond the frame of broken glass she is reflected in, Josephine’s eyes are focused on Aaron’s. There is fear there within him and she grins in a sly manner.

“Boo!” Says Josephine as her image lunges from the mirror toward Aaron.

Suddenly, the walls of the tunnel begin to shift and more water pours through the crevice in the wall. Quickly, Viktor climbs down from the debris to be with Nadja but then he turns back.

“Aaron, get out of there, it’s going to collapse!” Viktor yells as he watches for Aaron to appear in the opening.

Struggling with the image he has seen in the glass, Aaron finally realizes everything is falling in around him. The tunnel begins to collapse and it starts near the house. The sound of splintering wood, rocks tumbling and concrete folding becomes louder as the mountain starts the process of reclaiming the area.

Aaron climbs up the side of the cave-in and as soon as Viktor sees his hand, he reaches for it to assist.

“Come on man! You have to move!” Viktor yells as he wraps his fingers around Aaron’s wrist to help pull him through.

At this moment, an enormous amount of water floods in from the wall collapsing the ceiling and blocking the path to Aaron completely as his hand slips out of Viktor’s.

“Oh my god!” Nadja yells.

Both shocked and frightened, Viktor and Nadja begin digging with their hands to save Aaron, but with the force of the water growing more intense, it pushes them back. The rumbling sound begins to increase once again and Viktor grabs Nadja by the hand.

“We have to go, now!” Viktor yells as he and Nadja begin to run south with the hope of reaching the southern opening.

The decision to leave was the correct one, for the walls are folding in as if chasing to gobble them up. Just as the lights flash for the last time and go out completely, they round the final corner and find themselves at the entrance. Practically crashing through the wooden door, they free themselves from the dark tomb that nearly swallowed them up.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 201) Comprehend

A loud hissing sound fills Nadja’s ears and the sensation of spinning in circles begins to make her ill. With heavy eyes, she tries to see what is happening and then with a loud pop, she feels the cold wet floor of the tunnel.

“Viktor?” She barely whispers.

Sitting up she can hear the water flowing heavily across the tunnel on the other side of the cave-in. Pulling herself along, she climbs just high enough to peek around it. To her dismay, she sees Aaron, his knee at the back of Viktor’s neck, pressing him further into the mud. It is obvious Viktor is struggling to break free and she takes hold of a large rock. With both hands, she forces it down on Aaron’s head and immediately he staggers back, tripping over Viktor’s feet.

With a heavy gasp of air, Viktor pulls himself out of the impression made in the mud as cold water sprays across his face and body.

“Give me your hand, hurry! Aaron is about to stand back up!” Nadja screams at Viktor who is still trying to regain his footing.

Watching from atop the rubble, Nadja begins to panic as Aaron once again stands up. Viktor, frantically climbing up the slippery mess of mud, stone and freezing water, finally slides through the opening and is safely on the other side.

“I will kill you both!” Aaron yells as he begins to climb through the debris

Viktor steps in front of Nadja ready for the next attack but Aaron slips and falls back down into the water.

“You are a real life monster, Aaron!” Nadja says loudly. “One day, you will fall victim to your own nasty deeds!”

Seconds after these words leave Nadja’s lips, the ground begins to shake and the flickering lights of the tunnel turn off and on as if shorting out. Top sections of the tunnel begin to fall in pieces around them, as the rumbling sound grows stronger.

“The tunnel is caving in on us!” Viktor yells above the deafening sound.

As Aaron stands to start the climb again, the mirror to his right begins to sway as more water forces its way through the underground stream. Something catches his eye and as he steps closer, he realizes a woman, standing directly behind him, is in the reflection.

“What the. . . ? He questions as he turns around to look behind him.

Aaron does not find anyone next to him in this murky wet place and he is unable to comprehend what is happening. Looking back at the glass this woman is walking closer to him and as his fear rises, Aaron turns again to find an empty tunnel.

Watching this odd behavior from the opening at the top of the rubble, Viktor leans up to regain his footing and then sees what it is Aaron is focused on. Reflecting in one small broken shard of the mirror, or perhaps from inside or behind this reflective glass, is Josephine.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 200) Her Elder

“I am proud of you.” Josephine’s voice is clear and soft.

“Aunt Josephine?” Nadja questions as she opens her eyes and finds herself sitting under a cherry tree as loose blossoms gently drift down to the ground.

She looks up at the beautiful pink canopy of spring flowers, the brilliance of the sky beyond them, and she smells the scent of sweetness in the air.

“You were very strong in standing up to Aaron.” Josephine says as she sits beside her niece on a soft bed of white and purple violets. “I always knew that one day you would recognize the power within yourself.”

Nadja is slightly confused as to where she is and why? She looks around at the landscape, which she does recognize as the mountain she now calls home, and not with the first taste of winter. Here now, with her aunt, it is spring.

“Wasn’t it snowing?” She quizzes to her aunt. “Why has so much time passed? What has happened?”

Nadja does not recall the last few moments before she began speaking with her aunt nor does she realize Viktor and Aaron are still at battle in the belly of the tunnel.

Bloodied and bruised by Aaron’s assault, Viktor turns at just the right moment, when Aaron’s footing is off-balance and kicks him in the stomach, causing him to fall backwards, nearly dropping into the spacious hole next to them. All Viktor can think about is Nadja and he hopes she kept running once she made it to the other side of the rubble from the cave-in.

“You are going to die today!” Aaron grumbles as he stands towering in the crumbling depths of the tunnel.

“No, not if I have anything to say about it.” Viktor responds but doubt is in his mind at this point.

Trying to see around the rapid increase of water spraying within this grotto, Viktor does not notice Nadja is still on the other side of the landslide. His hopes increase that she is safe and sound possibly trying to contact someone, Carl or the authorities, for help. This positive thought is soon destroyed as he attempts to climb over the path of debris. Just on the other side, lying in the wet mud he realizes Nadja is still there and unconscious. He does not have time to see if she is breathing before he is shoved, facedown into the cold wet collection of earth and stone.

“This is your end.” Aaron says with gritted teeth as he holds Viktor’s face firmly in the mud.

“You have more choices to make dearest girl.” Josephine says as she looks up at the branches of the tree. “Be wise in which direction you grow. Be sure to protect your heart but not to the point of losing yourself or missing out on someone wonderful.”

Nadja watches as her beautiful aunt tips her head down and looks at her. There it is, that understanding smile she knows so well of her elder. The sun glistening in her hair as tiny blossoms float by like feathers.

“Can I just stay here with you?” Nadja questions as she reaches for her aunt’s hand, but as the words leave her lips a blanket of fog separates her from this beautiful scene.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 199) Time

“This needs to end now, Aaron.” Nadja says in a strong tone. “Have you any idea how much strength it takes to stay calm? Do you know what it is like to love someone more than yourself? No! You do not and you never will!”

Viktor continues to toss the rocks from the path, but is intently listening to the conversation taking place several feet away. It is hard for him to hear above the rushing sound of the water, but he is catching the majority of it.

“Oh you are so naive to the world little one.” Aaron grins.

“Your selfishness and need to dominate everyone you are around overplays any compassionate qualities you may have. You thrive off the fear you place in others and have no conscious at all about it. Your father loved your mother and stayed quiet when he probably wanted to yell back at her. But he didn’t because he had great strength and compassion and somehow that is not in your cell structure.” Nadja states firmly. “You are so very weak and that is why you bully everyone you come into contact with. You know what? Not anymore, I’m not afraid of you anymore! I actually feel sorry for you now, but nothing more than that.”

“Okay, fine, we are through!” Aaron says in a sarcastic manner. “But I will not carry a scar because of you. I will not allow you to embarrass me.”

“You are so afraid of women, Aaron.” Nadja laughs. “I finally see through the façade you created for yourself. You are nothing but a little boy, curled up in the corner, afraid the female may frighten you with her strength.”

Viktor cannot believe this tactic of countering Aaron is actually working, but the man is staying very quiet as Nadja begins to walk away. She looks at Viktor and as she gets closer to him, she smiles.

“That felt good.” She grins as she glances back to see if Aaron is following. “This won’t last, I know he is just thinking about what I said, but it bought us some time.”

“It sure did, come on, we can get through now.” Viktor says as he climbs up onto the rocks still on the floor.

Looking down at the cavernous hole that is gobbling up rock and water in great amounts, Viktor does feel a bit nervous. The last thing they need is to slide into this bottomless pit. Firming up his stance and leaning back on the pile of debris, he feels this will hold things back, at least long enough for Nadja to pass through.

“Here, you go first.” He says as he takes hold of her wrist. “Grab my wrist so we have a better grip on each other and stay as close to this pile of rocks as possible.” He no sooner says this when she looks down at the gaping hole. “No, just focus forward, please.” Viktor says quickly.

It is now, during this conversation between Nadja and Viktor, that Aaron takes advantage of their distractions. Just as Nadja is safely past the cave-in area, Aaron rounds the corner and bolts directly into Viktor, knocking him onto the ground. Water is gushing out from the side of the wall and the impact of the two men breaks another section of concrete off. The large piece drops into the deep hole to the left as more water begins to flow across the tunnel from the right side bringing in more earth and stone. With rubble once again blocking the path, Nadja can only see through it near the top just as Viktor is slammed up against the loose wall between them.

“No Aaron! Leave him alone!” Nadja screams as she reaches over the stones and pushes at Aaron’s face.

Aaron’s movements do not change as she pushes and pokes at him. With rocks cutting at her skin and cold water biting at her hands, she pounds her fists at Aaron’s face and shoulders. It is as if she is not even there, she has no effect on him what so ever. Swiftly Aaron reaches up through the small opening, grabbing Nadja by the throat and soon she begins to realize the air her body needs is not coming. Warmth fills her skin and the sounds around her begin to muffle, as the pressure on her neck grows more intense. Shaking her as the muscles in his arms begin to quiver, Aaron applies even more pressure.  A dark shadow covers Nadja as she falls to the ground and she no longer feels the power in Aaron’s grasp.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 198) Stop

Up ahead in the dim lighting are large rocks mixed with mud blocking most of the tunnel. Water is rushing in from the large opening in the wall to the right, crossing the path, and plummeting down into a massive opening across from it. Beyond that point, visible along the top left side, the lights in the next section are flickering in a haphazard manner. A mirror of four squares, much like a window, is hanging sideways, shattered amongst the debris. This reminds Viktor of his latest dream and the meaning behind it. Vulnerability, he states in his mind.

“Now what?” Nadja questions nervously as she looks for a way to pass this obstacle.

“We may have to start digging.” Viktor says as he steps through the rushing water.

Pushing a large rock off to the side, it tumbles into the cavernous hole pulling with it several other large rocks as well as gravel and portions of concrete from the tunnel wall. He steps back quickly, fearing the entire section may give way. Wet and muddy, he passes back through the spray of water and wipes his hand on his pants.

“I’m worried that if we do too much we will collapse the entire wall.” Viktor states quietly as he watches the corner of the tunnel they just passed through. “Using that mirror, will we be able to see Aaron approaching?”

“I don’t know. I’ve only been down here one time before.” Nadja says in a shaky voice.

She is angry, fearful, and worried about Aaron’s mental state. The last thing she wanted was for anyone to be hurt, mentally or physically by the man she once thought she loved. Just as she has done in the past, she questions herself, her own judgment on how she could have been fooled by someone like Aaron. When at anytime did she think the relationship was normal? Why did she continue to go back to him time and time again? Viktor is warm, funny, caring and intelligent. He is a complete opposite of the man following behind them in the tunnel. Most of all, she does not want Viktor to be hurt in any way.

“You go.” Nadja says as she takes Viktor’s hand.

“Excuse me?” Viktor responds as he looks into her eyes.

“Keep going, I need to put an end to this.” Nadja says as she turns to look behind her.

“Oh no you don’t. I didn’t come all this way to let you stand here alone.” Viktor says in a strong tone. “Just let me get some of this moved and we can get out of here.”

As Viktor begins to remove the rubble before them, there is a sound that catches his attention. Nadja has walked back up the tunnel toward the next turn and it is Aaron’s voice that causes Viktor to pause.

“Fine then, let’s talk this through!” Aaron says loudly.

“Just stay where you are, we can see you in the mirror!” Nadja says in a more commanding voice than Viktor has heard from her.

In using the reflection of the mirror, Viktor can see that Aaron is nearing. Nadja is standing still as she holds her hand motioning that Aaron should stop where he is.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 197) Darkness

Breaking through the door to Josephine’s room, splinters of wood fly in all directions and Aaron stops in his tracks. The room is empty and the window securely locked with the screen still attached. Because of this, he knows they did not escape in that manner.

“Come on, I know you are in here.” Aaron says in an angry tone as his rage continues to build.

He turns the light switch to brighten the area and begins to check the large wardrobes on each side of the room, but he finds himself alone. Extreme frustration grows as he swipes his arm across the dresser knocking items to the floor shattering delicate trinkets that have set there for years.

“What is the trick?” He quizzes to himself surprised that Nadja could have made such detailed choices. “Looks like somebody thought this through, I have to give her credit for that.” He smirks.

Just as he turns out the light and begins to exit the room, a sliver of a glow from under one of the bookcases catches his eye.

“Well well well, not so smart after all.” He says as he turns the light back on.

Making his way to the bookcase, he topples even more items to the floor hoping this will aggravate Nadja. That is if she is listening and he is sure she must be. Quickly, he begins to work on opening the doorway to the secret passage.

With water dripping in though the crevices of stone, the inner mountainside tunnel is wet with mud. The heavy snowfall packed high on the ground above, but with the warming of the day, has the melting process was well under way. Underground streams have filled to capacity causing this flooding effect in the tunneled route to the south.

“Watch out, there is a huge crack in the wall up ahead.” Viktor points out as they make their way along.

“There on the wall is the next switch to light our way.” Nadja says as she points to the right.

Viktor flips the top one up but it works the lights that are already on and this casts them into complete darkness.

“I can hear you!” A voice yells from the black abyss behind them.

“Oh god, it’s Aaron.” Nadja whispers as she begins to tremble. “The lock didn’t hold on the bookcase.”

With his hand now on the bottom switch, Viktor flips it on and the tunnel ahead brightens. It also reveals a mirror hanging on the wall at the next curve, which causes both he and Nadja to jump.

“I thought that was a person, it’s only our reflections, keep moving.” Viktor states as he gently pushes Nadja along.

He wishes he had thought to bring a flashlight. This way if the lights in the tunnel go out, or they want to keep Aaron in the dark, they could have. He is angry at himself for not thinking this through, after all, his dreams have been filled with this intrusion aspect. He should have created an escape bag.

Looking back from where they came, Viktor imagines Aaron catching up to them. He can almost envision the huge man sprinting their way. Thankfully, he does not become visible and that portion of the tunnel is still dark. He is hopeful this means Aaron has not made it that far yet, meaning they still have a good distance between them. Pressing forward and nearly running, they come to the next turn in the tunnel.

“Oh no, it’s a cave-in.” Nadja whispers


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 196) Hurry

“You claim that all of your personality issues stem from your parents, but it is not their fault, you have a twisted line of thinking. Your father loved your Mother, who by the way knew she was slowly dying. Have you any idea how afraid she probably was? How frightened your father was for her? Would that make you angry? Wouldn’t the thought of losing your future leave you depressed?” Nadja questions of Aaron.

“Shouldn’t I be asking you that question?” Aaron says as if she should be afraid of losing her life.

During this conversation, Viktor continues to tinker with the lock that up until now has never been stuck like this. Finally, the latch opens, exposing the room below. He looks over at Nadja, who is standing with her back to him. She pulls her night slip off and takes a sweater from the stack of items inside her aunt’s wardrobe, and quickly puts it on.

“I know what you are trying to do Aaron, but you’re not going to twist this around on me.” Nadja replies without giving Aaron a chance to interject. “Your mother couldn’t help herself for being who she was. Her anger was stronger than her soft side but your father knew that. If anyone in this world is weak it is you, Aaron. You made me change my hair so it suited you, I had to memorize things to say to you, did you think I could not say loving things on my own? No, you had to make sure I was brainwashed into thinking only of you, to do things only for you, to be on this planet only for you!” The tone of Nadja’s voice is confident and sound. “I’m done, Aaron! We are over and I need you to leave now.”

“Hurry Nadja, we have to go.” Viktor says in a whisper as he tries to keep his composure.

“I know, I know.” She replies by mouthing the words as she pulls on a pair of pants.

Finally, after several minutes of silence from the other side of the door, Nadja is dressed and slips on a pair of shoes.

“Does he know about this?” Viktor questions as Nadja joins him at the secret doorway.

“I don’t know.” She replies.

Bang! Heavy kicks begin to hit the door followed by what sounds like a piece of furniture being thrown around the living room.

“Hurry!” Nadja whispers as she rushes down the ladder.

She flips the switch to light the secret room that leads to the tunnel and the sound of water can be heard flowing from somewhere deeper in the system. This worries them both but they realize this is their only hope for escape. Viktor barely touches the rungs of the ladder as he drops to the concrete floor and immediately begins pushing the secret door shut.

“How do we lock it?” He questions as he looks around the area.

“I don’t know, maybe this lever?” Nadja states as she reaches up and pulls the metal handle down, but it stops midway. “Viktor, help.”

Pulling down hard, the lock slides into the casing but not all the way. It feels jammed or warped and even pulling himself up, using all the weight of his body, the bar does not press down into its resting place correctly.

“It’s caught on something, we need to leave it and get moving. Maybe with just this little section in it will still hold him back.” Viktor says as he grabs Nadja’s hand and they dash into the tunnel.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 195) Express

Picking up a heavy iron vase from Nadja’s dresser, Viktor charges at Aaron. Slamming it down on his arm, which releases Aaron’s hold on Nadja’s wrist and she dashes toward her aunt’s bedroom.

Full of anger as he holds his hand over his arm, Aaron charges at Viktor who swings once again. This time it connects with Aaron’s head and the man begins to stagger around, falling onto the sofa as he reaches for Nadja.

“Go, go, go, go!” Viktor yells as he grabs his shoes and shirt then runs to where Nadja is, slamming the bedroom door shut.“Get that thing open!” He orders Nadja to work on the entrance to the secret room. “We can lock it behind us, right?” He questions as he bolts and locks the bedroom door.

“I think so, I don’t know.” She says in a terrified voice.

With shaking hands, Nadja is fumbling with the latch to the tunnel and is taking longer than either expected. Bang! There is a kick to the bedroom door as Aaron continues his wrath upon them.

“Hurry Nadja, we have to go!” Viktor says as he tries to keep his composure while getting dressed and keeping pressure on the door.

“I know, I know!” She cries out in fear but then after a few seconds, she stops and looks up at Viktor.

“What?” Viktor whispers.

Nadja gets up from her position on the floor and walks over to the closed door of her aunt’s bedroom.

“Go work on the lock.” She says barely audible.

“Whatever you do, do not open this door.” Viktor says quietly as he looks into her pooling eyes.

“I won’t.” She replies and then she begins to speak in a clear loud voice. “Aaron! Listen to me!”

“What is it Nadja?” He questions from the other side of the door in a sarcastic manner.

“I’ve had enough with sitting here, letting you make the decisions and directing the situation. You and your controlling personality, somehow you think that makes you a big man but what I see is a shallow man.” Nadja says firmly. “You despise your father for being kind to your mother, but in reality, he has to be one of the bravest and strongest men I’ve ever met. Yet, you see him as weak. You are the weak one, you’re a coward Aaron, an oppressor with no concern for others.” She says as fact as she quietly opens the wardrobe closet of her aunt’s room.

“Well now Nadja, I am glad you feel the need to express your opinion of my parents and myself but I don’t care what you think.” Aaron replies as he punches at the door.

It is obvious this conversation is irritating to him and even though Nadja does not want to make matters worse, she cannot help but feel now is her time to be honest. Now, behind the protection of this door, is the time to express what it is that needs to be said to end this toxic relationship.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 194) Wake Up

“Oh god, Aaron is here.” Nadja whispers as she steps closer to the glass. “Viktor?”

“Yes?” Viktor responds.

“I am still in bed aren’t I?” She questions in a mellow tone.

“Yes.” Viktor replies as he holds her hands tighter. “We need for you to wake up Nadja.”

The early morning light filtering in the window makes it easy to make out the details of the room. Both Nadja and Viktor stand in silence as Aaron slides his hand down the post of the bed and gently takes hold of the blanket and sheet. He crumples it in his hand as he slowly begins to pull it down toward Nadja’s feet.

“What is he doing?” She asks as tears begin to form in her eyes.

Pushing his fists up, Viktor again tries to pound at the glass but just as before, he is blocked by a thick invisible layer of silence. No matter how hard he tries, his movements do not create a sound or a response nor does he feel the pressure point that stops him.

“Damn dreams!” He yells. “Nadja, you have to think hard, you have to get yourself out of there!”

“I don’t know how!” She responds as tears begin to roll down her cheeks as she watches Aaron pulling the blankets from around her.

This menacing man gently sits down on the bed near Nadja’s exposed legs and as if outlining her position, he drifts his hand up along her thigh to where her nightdress covers her. His hand hovers above her body as he glides it along the curve of her back and then follows her legs back down to her toes.

“What is he doing?” Nadja’s says, now physically shaking.

“Wake up, wake up, wake up!” She screams as she lunges at the glass, her fists up in the air and her voice loud and powerful.

The sound of glass breaking and wood splintering causes Nadja to leap out of bed just as Viktor comes crashing through the wardrobe closet into the room. Aaron grabs Nadja’s arm as she attempts to run for the bedroom door and pulls her back behind him like a rag doll.

“Let go of her!” Viktor yells as he gains his footing.

“She belongs to me.” Aaron states in a grumble as he twists Nadja’s arm causing her to yell out in pain.

Viktor cannot see Nadja’s face as she is held captive behind Aaron’s stature. However, he did hear her painful cry and knows he must get her free before she is victimized any further. Oddly enough, Aaron remains calm as if nothing can touch him, as if he is able to control everyone in the room. This is intimidating to Viktor for he knows firsthand the power this man can wield with his hands but he cannot stand by and let this situation mature.

“Aaron, let her go.” Viktor says calmly.

“Don’t tell me what to do.” Aaron responds as if Viktor is beneath him.

“Aaron, we are through, you know this. You have to stop.” Nadja speaks out just before she winces and cries out again as her arm is twisted by Aaron.

“Stop hurting her!” Viktor says as he watches Aaron closely.

“You can go to hell.” Aaron says in a calm tone as he pulls Nadja along with him toward to the door to the living room.

“No Aaron!” Nadja yells as she fights back but a slap across her face from Aaron causes her to stop completely.

“You can’t do that!” Viktor yells as he starts looking for anything in the room he can use as a weapon.

“I can do anything I want.” Aaron replies as he kicks the front door open hard enough to break the handle off into the wood panel on the wall.


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Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 193) Witness

Feeling around in the dark for something to throw at the glass, Viktor finds there are pebbles at his feet just like before. Picking up a round white stone, he tosses it at the glass with force. It makes a clicking sound, but there is no response from Nadja, who remains curled up and sound asleep in her bed.

Movement to his right catches Viktor’s attention. The door is opening, very slowly and upon the handle is a large hand. A hint of a glow washes into the room and the silhouette of a man appears in the doorway.

“No, this cannot be happening.” Viktor mumbles. “Nadja!” He yells at the top of his lungs. “Nadja, you have to wake up!” He hears the frantic nature of his own voice.

Slowly, one step at a time, Aaron makes his way to the foot of Nadja’s bed and then around the corner of the bedpost. His stature is massive, blocking out most of the window, and Viktor feels this is a dream exaggeration. Yet, he just went one round with him and he proved to be more powerful than Viktor expected.

Reaching down, Viktor grabs a handful of stones and leaning back, he builds up momentum and pummels the stones at the mirror! The sound is expansive but only to his ears for neither Aaron nor Nadja stir from the loud noise.

“Nadja!” Viktor screams. “How can I make her hear me?” he questions to himself. “There has to be something here I am missing, I need to break the glass.”

Bending down and searching in the dark with his outreached hands, he feels around for anything large, like a rock or piece of furniture. Suddenly there is a tap on his right hip, which causes him to twirl around quickly.

“Nadja?” He says as he sees her smiling face behind him. “What? How?” He fumbles with his words.

“Is this what you have been talking about all this time?” She questions as she takes his hand. “I was dreaming and heard you calling my name.” She steps up closer to him. “I was sitting atop a hill, looking at the stars and when I closed my eyes, I found myself here.”

It is at this moment Viktor is pulled back into reality. Not in a physical manner, but with the reality of knowledge, he knows Aaron is here. Not only here, on the mountain, but in the room with Nadja’s sleeping body.

“We have to wake you up.” Viktor says as he holds both of Nadja’s hands in his.

“Why? I find this fascinating.” She grins as she leans in for a kiss but Viktor backs away.

“No, Nadja. This is not just a dream.” Viktor says. “I need you to understand this.” He says forcefully.

“Oh stop teasing me.” Nadja laughs as she looks to her right.

It is now that she can see the backside of the mirror in her wardrobe closet. Stepping up closer, she is witness to the events playing out in the room. Aaron’s massive presence is the first catch of her eye and she quickly covers her mouth with her hand.


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