“Holy shit, Faith,” Todd cried, hopping awkwardly to avoid the small terrier. “Do you have to lay there?” He continued toward the kitchen, shouting over his shoulder, “I’m gonna end up stepping on your dog!”
“Our dog,” Emma corrected. She came out of the bedroom and stood in the living room, toweling her wet hair. She smiled down at Faith. “She’s your dog, too, you know.”
“Yeah, well, she likes you better.” Todd came out of the kitchen with a cup of coffee. He and Emma regarded each other across the small dining room.
Faith was on the floor between them. She looked from one to the other before turning her dark amber eyes back to the mirror.
“She loves that old thing,” Emma said.
“Why did you put it on the ground?” Todd asked. “I liked it better on the wall.”
Waving her hand at the antique mirror, Emma answered, “I like it propped against the lower wall. It’s very on-trend.”
“It’s very on-convenient and on-noying. Mirrors should hang where people can look in them. You know, actually use them.”
Emma laughed as she went over to kiss her husband. “Faith is using it.”
Todd carefully held his coffee mug out as Emma snuggled against him. He put his other arm around her and kissed her wet hair.
“I wonder what’s so fascinating about her own reflection,” Emma mused.
“She’s a woman,” Todd snorted. A little of his coffee sloshed onto the floor when Emma poked him. “Give a woman a mirror and she’s fascinated. Human, canine—it doesn’t make any difference.”
Emma giggled and twisted in her husband’s embrace to look at the little dog. “Seriously, though, what do you suppose she sees? Do you think she knows it’s her own reflection?”
“Honey, she’s a dog. I doubt if there’s any real deep thought processes going on inside Faith’s pointy little head.”
Faith listened to the drone of her humans' voices. One ear flicked toward them briefly when she heard her name, but otherwise she was intent on the mirror. She had a rudimentary sense that the other dog was herself. She had no interest in that image, knowing that it would do whatever she did on this side of the mirror. Her keen eyes were locked on the other image staring back at her.
There was no word in her limited vocabulary that Faith could associate with the creature. It wasn’t “cat”. It wasn’t “dog”. It gibbered and capered behind the reflective surface, without sound and without scent. Its wide mouth was full of teeth—multiple rows of long fangs from which long strings of dark saliva depended. It tried to scare Faith with those teeth the first time she saw it, after the mirror had been moved down to her level, but the little dog was undaunted. She’d jumped up and barked furiously at the mirror, causing her humans to laugh and stroke her short, wiry coat.
Since that time, Faith stood guard. The mirror creature would disappear from time to time, but when it returned and pressed its twisted blue face against the glass, Faith was always there to meet it. She sensed the mirror creature hated her.
The creature put its flat fingertips against the glass. Its purple tongue came out and left a long smear across the reflection cast by Faith's humans. It chuckled silently.
The hair on Faith’s ruff came up. Her little lips peeled back from her own impressively sharp teeth as a growl escaped from deep in her chest. She half-rose, ears pinned back, and stared the creature down until it backed away from its side of the mirror.
“What is wrong with that dog?” Todd laughed.
“She’s just being silly,” Emma responded. “Aren’t you, Faith? Aren’t you just a silly-willy girl?”
“Argh, baby talk!”
“Oh, you’re just jealous. You want me to talk baby talk to you, don’t you? Don’t you, Toddy-Woddy?”
The humans giggled their way into the kitchen, arms locked tightly around each other. As soon as their reflections disappeared from the mirror, Faith settled back into a sitting position. Her ruff fell smooth again, but she continued to growl softly.
The mirror creature gnashed its teeth, disappointed. It gave the little dog a look of pure hatred.
Faith didn’t care. She watched the creature as it slowly backed away, then disappeared for the time being. The terrier held her ground. In a moment she would go eat and drink, and perhaps one of her humans would take her out for a walk. But she’d be back to her post in front of the mirror before long.
Faith is on guard.