Fan Fiction

A Mirror Darkly
by Darker

Sandra groaned as she woke up. For the third night this week, Chalk had tormented her in her sleep. And it was only Wednesday. She glanced about. Why was it still dark?
Then she realised her pillow had got tangled up in her horns. Again. At least she hadn't cried while asleep, so her mattress wasn't a dissolved puddle with some forlorn bed-springs poking out of it.
She couldn't remember what Chalk had been going on about, but it wasn't nice. Mr. Chalk's only defining characteristic was his fixed grin, the rest was like a hole in space, complete darkness.
She swung her double-jointed legs off the bed as she sat up, bringing her hooves down with a clunk on the wooden floor in one smooth movement while tugging the pillow of her head with the talons on the ends of her fingers. Walking over the floor, she looked in the mirror as she passed it. It was smashed, but her fractured reflection stared back at her white skin with the black stripes. By itself, her tussled hair slowly moved back to its original shape, a series of points along the back of her head and two curly bangs framing her face. The face with the extra eye in the forehead. It made her feel taller, and she was a good few feet taller than when she had been human.
She sighed at the memories, and opened the door into the hall with her tail while she pulled her dressing gown on. Last year, a magical explosion had transformed her physical body into that of a demon. The explosion was an accident caused by her friend Crystal's brother Jack. He was a pervert and a slacker. He still was, but now he had the added aspect of being a fully fledged wizard.
He had been trying to find a way to change her back, but magic slid off demon skin as easily was water off a duck's feathers. He was being helped by the magic book that caused the explosion. Jack called it Tomie, and said it talked to him. Maybe it did. It certainly seemed to watch you while you did things.
Jack was probably asleep. He would wake up, then get up an hour or so later. Crystal generally woke up first to make breakfast, but sometimes it was Sam who got up first. Jack had changed when he became a wizard, because he suddenly had an enemy in the form of Harold DuVase, a very powerful wizard of unknown age. Harold had been banished by Jack when Harold had attempted to do really evil stuff with thousands of other wizards' souls. In this respect, Jack had as much pressure as Sandra, possibly more.
Sam was a cartoon character. Not an imaginary friend, because he really did exist. He had been brought here by accident when Sandra and Crystal had been transported to another dimension. It was hard to explain. That dimension had been under the control of a maniac called Tool, and he ruled with an iron fist, as well as an iron everything else. That was the time Sandra found out about her power of flight, via a pair of wings that were there only when she wanted them to be, while she battled the insane cyborg atop a skyscraper.
The final member of this bizarre family of sorts was Wally. He was a werewolf from the pack that had taken up residence in the small town of Miscellaneous last Halloween, a pack that was lead by a female werewolf named Doyenne. Boy, had she caused problems. Now Wally was the boyfriend of Crystal, and the pair could be sickeningly cute when together, especially since Wally looked more like a St Bernard that a proper wolf when he was changed. Wally was odd, apart from being a werewolf, in that his eyes were different colours, one blue and the other green.
Anyway, somebody was moving around downstairs. She could sense it somehow. It was a demon thing.
Clumping down the stairs on her hooves, she thought how strange it still felt, to feel the impact of walking, but not the actual feel of the carpet under her hooves. Her tail swished from side to side as she walked.
Last week, Jack had raised the subject if Sandra had used her tail for...that. This resulted in Jack being burnt to a crisp. Early in her 'career' of being a demon she had discovered she could set stuff on fire if she thought hard enough. Setting Jack on fire didn't take as much concentration as anything else though. She frowned when she thought about Jack for a second.
A piercing scream rung out, telling the house that Jack had woken up and then went up in flames. Didn't matter, because Jack had absorbed the healing spell found in Tomie's covers so many times it activated without any intervention at all.
The fire alarm didn't go off, because there wasn't one. In a house where spontaneous combustion happens often and water can be conjured from nowhere fire alarms weren't needed.
Sandra walked into the living room. This was Sam's spot, and he wasn't here, so he was still asleep. Something was nagging at her at the back of her mind, trying to tell her something. Crystal should have been running about because of Jack's scream, but she wasn't. Maybe she had gotten so used to Sandra's demonicness she hadn't reacted. In fact, it seemed Sandra was the only person in the house who hadn't got used to her condition. What ever was trying to get her attention was really jumping up and down now.
Then she realised. Jack's scream had come from the kitchen, and it had been cut off before he could finish. Something was not right. She could sense it.
She walked as stealthily as she could into the kitchen, and gasped.
'Good morning, Sandra,' said Professor Broadshoulders.

* * *

Mr. Chalk sat back and thought. He was still in Sandra's dream realm. Just because she was awake didn't mean this place didn't exist. He grinned at nothing and everything. All going to plan, he thought.
There was a voice, just on the edge of hearing, and growing louder.
'Chalkie, Chalkie, Chalkie, Chalkie...' it went on and on.
Mr. Chalk sighed. He did not expect his...associate to be back this soon.
'Have you set it loose?' he asked, his voice like...well, how could you get that many nails on one blackboard?
'Heehee, yeahyeahyeah!' it gabbled. Then its owner appeared. It had scraggly black hair and wide-open, bright blue eyes. It stood in the hunched manner of the clinically insane, and wore a grubby straight jacket under its short, dull green robe. A pair of thick leather straps, one at the end of each arm, lazily swung in the air. Its mouth and nose were hidden behind a white face mask, stitched on tightly enough so you could make out the grin of a manic behind it. It was dancing a mad little jig as it waited for Mr. Chalk to reply. This was one of the six incarnations, the physical embodiment of madness.
'I trust it is attacking them as we speak?'
'Mmmmh-mh yep.' Insanity gasped between random outbursts of gibberish. 'It's on the other handle...meh, they'll find it. Pur-pur-purlish Despair an an and the rest of us wanna wanna help, see? Wrath in partic'lar.'
'Wrath is not the best at covert operations,' Chalk said, standing back to avoid what little spittle escaped through the mask.
'Gah? If we c-c-could just get to the mind of the demon girl, she would be turned so easily, make mine a double? There's a bit of us in her, see? Especially Wrath an' Sorrow an' Despair.'
'No. She is mine. Anyway, the resident wizard could tear you apart.' Chalk started to walk away from Insanity, who followed him in a series of bounding leaps. 'Jack has becomes quite powerful in such a short time. Another thing strikes me, why are you so interested in her? I thought you were attacking the Earth with the primals.'
'Uh...about that...'
Chalk sighed again. 'You failed, didn't you? This is why She lets me have full reign over this parallel.'
'E-e-e-easy for you to say, Chalkie, but you've got only four or five to get. We had a whole-le-le mob of the buggers at us. Wibwibwibwib.'
'Pay in peanuts, you get monkeys.' Chalk realised what he just said made no sense. Insanity had a habit of leaking madness into other minds. Chalk left Sandra's dream realm. She wouldn't be sleeping for a while yet. After looking around, Insanity left as well.

* * *

Broadshoulders. This man was a demon hunter. Sandra had hoped he would cure her, but he nearly killed her. She survived because she still had a human soul. The next time they met, he had sent her and Crystal to Sam's dimension. Hell, that had been confusing.
Jack had got them back eventually, which was about the same time Chalk had showed up. Things just went from bad to worse for her. Now Broadshoulders was back. His name fitted his build, oddly, and his build had, well, broad shoulders. He was partially bald, with tufts of grey-white hair sprouting from behind his ears. He hid his eyes behind a pair of Ozzy Osborne style sunglasses, but these weren't his weirdest characteristic. He had a yucky face tattooed onto his forehead. He said it was a demonic brand. Sandra suspected it was the remnants of a frat boy college prank.
At his feet, tied up, were Crystal, Jack and Sam. Jack was smoking gently as the healing spell to effect, replacing burnt flesh. Whining in the corner was Wally. Somehow Broadshoulders had snuck up on him and placed a silver collar around his neck.
Sandra's surprise was overtaken by her demon instincts to rip flesh and cleave bone. She hated the feeling, but a tiny, tiny part of her revelled in it.
Unfolding her bat-like wings she leapt at Broadshoulders, talons extended.
Suddenly, Broadshoulders was holding a shotgun. Sandra's human side forced the rest of her to act and ducked just in time.
She felt the hot blast of air as the shot flew over her head and buried themselves in the wall. Where had Broadshoulders produced the shotgun? One second his calloused hands were empty, the next she was staring a barrel in the face. Instead of hitting his face, she caught him in the waist, knocking them both to the floor.
The gun disappeared. Broadshoulders was wearing a bulky trench coat to possibly hide the weapon in, but Sandra would have seen him move to get it. Striking down with her talons, she gasped in surprise as he lifted a dagger to block her attack.
There was another dagger in his other hand. He hadn't even moved his arms; they just appeared as Sandra's wings did. She had to let go of his throat, she didn't even remember putting her hands there, to stop him stabbing her stomach with the cruel daggers.
Grappling about, they rolled over. Then there was a blinding flash, and Broadshoulders was thrown off Sandra, over the kitchen counter and into a wall.
Jack pulled Sandra to her feet...hooves.
'You okay?' he asked, face radiating concern. The healing spell had yet to replace his left eye yet.
'Fine,' Sandra growled. 'How did he get in?'
'Dunno. None of my alarm wards were broken. I just woke up when you torched me. That also got my ropes off.'
'Just get the others free. I'll deal with Broadshoulders.'
'Just don't kill him, the last thing we want is a murder on our hands,' said Jack, brushing the ropes around Crystal's wrists with his finger, making the ropes disappear. Crystal jumped up, pulled the duct tape off her face and rushed over to Wally.
Meanwhile, Broadshoulders had stood up.
'Where the hell did you get that?!' Sandra yelled, as Broadshoulders levelled the assault rifle at the confused young demon. 'He's making guns outta nothin'!'
'It's not Broadshoulders!' yelled Jack as he cut Sam's bonds.
Sandra was too scared to move. She'd survived fire, blades, Tool's giant machines, magic, but bullets? She'd never been shot before. Would the lead pellets bounce off or go straight through her?
But Jack was right. Broadshoulders wasn't the type of villain to use guns. Still, he pulled the trigger and gave the room a liberal spraying.
Luckily, Jack was a wizard, and Jack had seen The Matrix multiple times. Raising a hand, he uttered a word of power, and the bullets stopped in midair.
'Sam, get Crystal outta here!' hollered Sandra. Broadshoulders leapt over the counter, far faster and stronger than a normal human, sending both him and Sandra into and then through the wall behind her.
Then it got even weirder. On one side of the wall he was Broadshoulders, on the other side he was Doyenne the alpha werewolf.
'Wha- ?' Sandra managed before Doyenne clamped her powerful jaws around her throat. The world started to fade.
She was blacking out. Doyenne was as equally strong as she, but how could Broadshoulders become Doyenne? It was impossible.
Just before she passed out, Wally was there, knocking Doyenne off Sandra just in time. Leaping up, Sandra saw Wally growling at Doyenne, still in her human shape, who was laughing. Jack came through the wall behind Sandra, Tomie floating after him, pages riffling. Jack had levitated some rubble from the wall and pelted Doyenne with it.
Except it wasn't Doyenne anymore. As soon as she had seen Jack, she melted into a thick black sludge, which grew a tentacle with which it threw Wally away like he was a toy. Crystal shrieked; Sam had been having trouble keeping her out of the room.
The sludge stood up, taking a more defined shape until it resembled...
Sandra realised she was screaming. She stopped; she thought it wasn't the demon thing. Damnit, I'm still thinking like a demon. I'm HUMAN she thought hurriedly.
Jack had merely gasped in shock, for the sludge that had been Doyenne and Broadshoulders had become...Jack, right down to the PERV logo on his shirt. Jack's, the real Jack, plaid jacket billowed in wind that wasn't there. The fake Jack even had a replica Tomie hovering next to him.
Jack blasted his carbon copy with a lava spell, but the fake just formed a counterspell and shot some lightening at him, sending Jack back into the kitchen.
Before Jack blacked out, Sandra heard him say; 'Be careful...it's a mimic...'
Sandra growled as she turned to face the "mimic," and another Sandra growled back.
Sandra hesitated a moment too long, and the mimic was on her. It had mirrored her exactly, right down to the pattern of stripes on her stomach. But the eyes weren't right. They were purple, just like hers, but these eyes were the eyes of a real demon, one not bound by the human restrains of morality. The horns somehow looked sharper as well.
'Gonna be fun,' the mimic said in a chillingly accurate copy of her voice.
A chair hit the back of the mimic's head, a chair hurled by Sam. Faster than the real Sandra had ever been, it leapt up, snorted, and spat in his face. Of course, all of a demon's bodily fluids were acidic, so Sam swore loudly, stumbling backwards with his hands on his face.
'YOU!' shouted Sandra, on her hooves again.
'Yer?' said the mimic.
'FIRE!' Sandra pointed. It was all for show, she knew. It was just easier this way. The mimic wailed as it burst into an inferno. The wail was nothing like Sandra's. Then it stopped wailing and thrashing. The fire stopped.
'I'm just as good as you are, little girl.'
Sandra screamed in agony as she erupted in flames this time. She finally managed to put the blaze out by thinking hard, then she fell backwards, smoking. Apparently her fire proofing was different for hellfire. Is this what Jack has to go through? She made a mental note to lay off Jack unless he really deserved it.
Scrambling off the floor, she looked around for the mimic. It was gone. She couldn't see it anywhere. Her third eye picked out anything that thought, she knew. Then the memory struck her too late. Then something really did strike her, a something hard and metallic.
'Sandra, close your third eye!' she heard Crystal yell through the blows raining down on her. She had finally started to bleed her dark purple blood now. Closing her eye, the one on her forehead, the mimic came into view, with the manic visage of Tool. Tool didn't have a soul; therefore Sandra couldn't see him with all her eyes open. The arachnid cyborg filled the entire room, and it smashed to her with mechanical arms.
How did I beat Tool? Oh, that right, I didn't. He just...found his soul and went away to some other place, Sandra thought while dodging hammer blows.
This was serious now. The mimic was practically unbeatable. If it was you, it was just as good as you were, and how can you beat yourself? If you could just about do it, it switched at the last moment and caught you completely off guard. Sandra just hoped it wouldn't change into Mr. Chalk; she had no idea of what he could really do.
A pincer grabbed her leg and flung her onto Jack, waking him up.
'Banish him to a hoary netherworld, you moron!' Sandra roared, pulling Jack up. His hair started to singe.
'Sorry, sorry, sorry!' she yelped, putting the embers out, remembering the suffering she could cause and the promise she made.
'With pleasure,' Jack grinned, and started to weave a spell.
A screaming portal opened up beneath the mimic's hooves, which were suddenly feet. It had become Harold, and was trying to create a counterspell, but it was too slow. It was slowly being drawn into the netherworld, and as it reached its waist, it switched to Crystal in a last ditch attempt.
'Help me...' Crystal's face said. But Jack knew it wasn't Crystal. It could never be Crystal, or anything. Sandra looked on at this pathetic creature, who's only talent as copying what it saw. It could change shape, but it didn't have enough imagination to try anything new. It could only copy. The face began to melt, and twisted to other faces Sandra and the others knew.
Tool. Doyenne. Sam. Mike, a boy who saw Sandra as a demon. Sam's old girlfriend Tawny Tiger. The werewolf Berserk. Wally. Harold. Sam again. And just before it was completely enveloped by the portal, Sandra. Sandra as she looked as a human.
Then the portal closed, containing the mimic, hopefully for good. Jack sagged; the spell had taken a lot out of him, Tomie thumping to the floor. Only Jack heard the 'Ow...' Crystal rushed over to Wally, still unconscious. Sam staggered over, wiping the acid saliva from his face which wasn't as furry anymore. What fur had been burned away showed bloody skin.
'You okay?' he managed.
'I...I don't know...' the final image, her human face, had shocked her into silence. She couldn't remember what she used to looked like with out a photo anymore. 'You?'
'I'll heal. Well, get Jack to.'
'Where did that thing come from?' Crystal mused, nursing Wally.
'God knows,' Jack said simply, applying a healing spell to Sam's ravaged face. 'But the way it acted. That's what a real demon is like.'
Sandra clutched at her shredded and burned dressing gown, and sighed. 'I'm never becoming like that.'
'I don't think you will,' comforted Jack. 'You're still a human inside, where it counts, or something.'
Sandra smiled. She was glad she still had friends, even though only one was truly human. 'I'm sorry for burning you, Jack.'
'It's al'right. I've got used to it.'

* * *

'W-w-w-one of then wasn't supposed to be a wizzzzard. You never said nowt 'bout a wiz-wiz-wizard, gibbly.'
Mr. Chalk despaired. It would be so much easier if he could go into that world himself, but nooo, he was just an incorporeal being, not physically existing, like Insanity.
'Just shut up,' he growled, his usual grin a grimace of anger. For the first time in its existence, Insanity stopped gabbling. It wouldn't start again for a while.

All characters featured here, apart from Insanity and the Mimic are copyright of Joe England (c) of Zebra Girl fame. I'm expecting robo-lawyers any day now.