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Mirrors by Pyro

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Story Notes:
This is a "Non-Self Sert" story starring my fellow writer and forum member, PythonPrincess.
Author's Chapter Notes:
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. Victoria and Tyler are © themselves. ;-)
Chapter 1
First Meetings

Victoria knelt over the edge of the bathtub, watching with satisfaction as the rat disappeared down the throat of her one-eyed python, Paulie. The snake lay still for a few moments, eyes glazed as the meal worked its way into his belly. Then he lifted his head and flicked his tongue inquiringly up at her. Setting her pair of tongs on the rim, Victoria leaned in to pick up her pet. As she did so, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye, noticing for the first time the figure that stood in the bathroom doorway.

"Tyler--" she began, then turned and realized it was not her son at all. "Who are you?!"

He was probably only a few years older than Tyler, and would have looked a lot like him--if it weren't for the sharp angles of his face, and those burning yellow eyes. The stranger's lips parted in a grin, revealing long pointed teeth. He asked, "you're Victoria, aren't you?"

Victoria nodded slightly, unable to take her eyes off his face. She knew it was only make-up, but it looked so real. Not at all like the crappy make-up kits most stores sold for Halloween.

"Who are you?" she asked again, curiosity momentarily overriding her suspicion.

The teen's smile widened. "I'm Peter Pan," he told her cryptically.

She raised her eyebrows, looking him over skeptically, and he nodded toward something over her shoulder. She turned to look, but saw nothing except the mirror. And in the mirror, nothing at all... he had no reflection...

Victoria couldn't help it: she sank to the floor in a dead faint.

It was a couple minutes before her senses finally returned to her, and she sat up with a groan. She was alone in the bathroom, except for Paulie, who had easily escaped from the tub and was now crawling off of her stomach, disturbed by her sudden movement.

She scooped up the snake and cautiously exited the bathroom, taking in every corner of the house as she made her way to the terrarium. She deposited Paulie in his cage and went in search of her son. He was easy to find; planted in front of the computer, as usual.

"Did you see anyone come in here earlier?" she asked.

He shook his head. "Nuh-uh. Why?"

"I'm not sure," she replied, perplexed.

He gave her a funny look, but went back to playing his game. She checked the clock on the computer, realized that she ought to be making dinner for them both, and headed into the kitchen. As she approached the fridge, thoughts of the teenager--apparition? vampire?--came rushing back to her. She shook her head to bring herself back to reality, and realized that she was standing in front of the sink with an egg in one hand and a potato peeler in the other.

She shook her head again, this time in exasperation, but winced at the headache brought on by the motion. She set the egg she'd been holding on the counter so that she could rub her forehead. She must have hit her head when she fainted.

With nothing to hinder its progress, the egg rolled off the edge of the counter, hitting the floor with a wet smack. Victoria groaned. Alerted by the sound, her cat Sunni trotted over from the other room and began licking at the mess.

"Tyler?" Victoria called.

"Yeah?"

"How does pizza sound for dinner?"

--------

Nothing out of the ordinary happened for the rest of the night or the next day, and by the time she was off work Victoria was starting to think of the teenage boy she'd seen in the bathroom as some kind of hallucination, or an apparition brought on by all the writing she'd been doing lately. After all, he had left no trace of his presence, and Tyler had been pretty sure that no one else had been in the house--although he had been very curious to know why she'd asked.

By the time she finally got off work she had forgotten all about the incident. On her way home, she stopped off at the grocery store to pick up something to eat for herself and Tyler. Then she remembered that they were starting to run low on a few things back at the house, and the brief stop ended up taking longer than she'd expected; by the time she pushed her cart out to the parking lot to try to find her car, the sky had become a deep ultramarine.

She wheeled her cart up to the trunk of the car, pursing her lips in slight annoyance as the streetlight overhead flickered a few times but didn't turn on. She popped the trunk door open and heaved a box of cat litter out of the cart. As she placed it in the trunk, she felt the car sink down as though weighed down by something much heavier than just the litter. She glanced upward, and yelped in surprise as she came face to face with a figure perched on the edge of the trunk. It was the same teenage boy from before, grinning at her wickedly with his long, sharp teeth.

"What do you want?"

"I want your help."

"Oh. Well, how can I help you?" she asked sarcastically.

"I've got a deal for you."

"Really. What is that?"

A strange gleam came to his eye. "There's something I want, but it's very far away and I can't get to it. Not many people know where it is, but I know that you do. I really need your help with this, and I think you'll be eager to help once you hear where I'd have you go."

She raised her eyebrows. She was still suspicious of the teen, but his odd, almost riddle-like statement had sparked her curiosity.

"What do you want me to get for you?" she asked.

"A key."

"And where am I supposed to find this key?"

His face twisted into a knowing smirk as he replied, "in Santa Carla. The real Murder Capital of the World."

Any surprise she might have felt from this revelation was immediately replaced by annoyance. "What are you talking about? This is some kind of joke, isn't it? I'll bet you're one of Tyler's friends. And this is just make-up--"

She grabbed him by the front of his coat and began rubbing furiously at his face with her thumb.

"Hey, cut it out--!" he protested.

Victoria pulled back as suddenly as though she'd been burned, eyes widening in shock and breath catching in her throat. Not because of the fact that she hadn't been able to get any of the make-up off, but because he wasn't wearing any. She had just touched a real live vampire. And that vampire was now looking at her with a very annoyed expression.

"I--" she began.

"Didn't think I'm a real vampire?" he finished, scowling. "What did you think when you looked into the mirror and didn't see me staring back at you?"

She didn't answer.

"Santa Carla is real," he told her. "As real as I am. And I'm offering you the opportunity to go there. Are you going to take it?"

"Why me?" she asked.

"Because you are familiar with the film, and you were in Santa Cruz at the time it was made. You already have some idea of what the place is like. You're the best person I've been able to find."

"And why can't you just go yourself?"

"I'm... different, than I was when I went through the first time," he responded, a look of sadness coming over his face as he talked. "I was just a half then. I can't go back now. I don't really know how to explain it, it just... it doesn't let vampires through."

Her alarm was beginning to fade now. He wasn't frightening anymore; he was just a kid who'd been stranded away from his home.

"So are you going to help me or not?" he asked finally.

The prospect was very tempting, but she was still cautious.

"How exactly would this work?"

He leaned back against the trunk of her car, ignoring the look she gave him. "If you agree to help me, I'll show you how to get there, and tell you where the key is and how to get back once you have it.

"You'll arrive shortly before the events that took place in the movie. Once you have the key, you'll have until those events are concluded--the end of the movie--to goof off and explore and whatever else you want to do. Once it's over, you'll be able to come back."

"What happens if I try to leave before then?" she asked warily.

"Nothing," he replied simply. Then, "It's really quite safe. Like I said, I've used it before, myself."

Victoria chewed thoughtfully on the edge of her lip. It was a very alluring prospect, and she was sorely tempted to take it. The movie covered somewhere between 5-7 days... she would have a whole week to explore the Boardwalk and the rest of the town, and reminisce on how things were when she was growing up in Santa Cruz.

"Would I be able to take my son?" she asked.

"If course," came the reply. "But no one else. Word of this can't get out."

She nodded, the gears churning in her head. If she took his offer, she could show her son exactly where she grew up, just the way it was when she was growing up. That was a definite bonus. She took a breath, forcing down the excitement that threatened to smother her sense of caution.

"Give me some time to think about it," she told the vampire. "I can't just drop everything and go."

He nodded. "All right. I'll be back tomorrow evening, how's that?"

She nodded in reply. "Where should we meet?"

"Don't worry about it; I'll find you."

He crouched momentarily on the trunk of her car.

"Wait!" she said suddenly.

He paused to give her a questioning look.

"Who are you?"

"My name's Niko Vasilica," he replied, and promptly leapt into the air, streaking upward into the darkness, where he was lost from sight.

Victoria stared after him for a long time, until a wet feeling interrupted her thoughts. She looked down and realized she'd just put her hand on a tub of ice cream that was beginning to melt in the warm night air. She sighed and got to work putting the rest of the groceries into the trunk, but as she did so she thought about the teen, Niko, and his unusual offer.

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