Her breath caught. Resting on a scarlet plush lining was a mirror. One unlike any she’d seen.
An impossibly perfect image of her face reflected back. Yuki’s own mirrors were the best in Japan, of the finest polished bronze, but this was like gazing upon a twin. The oval surface captured every detail with clarity, from the luster of her jade hair ornament to the rosy tint of her lips.
“Magic,” she murmured. It was the only explanation.
A warning clamored inside her head. If Stepmother possessed an enchanted object, who knew what else Yuki might encounter? It was best to withdraw until she obtained a protective charm against evil spells.
Yet Yuki lingered, captivated by her reflection. For once she could truly admire her complexion, fair as the snow for which she was named. Vanity outweighed prudence, and she lifted the mirror from its case. Just a little while—
“Mistress, welcome home.”
Yuki jumped at the chorus of greetings coming from the front gate. Stepmother was back. The girl hastened to return the mirror to its case, but it slipped from her grasp and shattered against the trunk lid.
Fear sliced through her. She reached to put the mirror back together, but the shards bit her skin.
Footsteps thudded down the corridor. Yuki’s eyes darted from her bleeding fingers to the broken pieces. She couldn’t hide what she’d done, had neither Father nor talisman to protect her.
Yuki fled out the garden door.
S. Q. Eries lives with her husband of fourteen years in Silicon Valley, where she writes book reviews for The Fandom Post website and young adult fiction. Prior to moving to Northern California, the couple lived in Los Angeles for ten years, and she is forever grateful the Holy Spirit connected them to the community known as Mosaic (mosaic.org), which continues to be their Southern California tribe and source of inspiration. “Yuki and the Seven Oni” is her sixth short story. For more about S. Q. Eries and her writing, drop by her blog: sqeries.wordpress.com.
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