It happened in 1912 on the magnificent estate of the millionaire
Mrs. Le Neve. The story was so unbelievable back then, so strange
and horrifying, yet true, that no one could make any sense of
it and that it had to be kept from the public with the greatest
of efforts. Over the years, piece by piece of the truth has trickled
through and the story can be well comprehended by the modern people
Like every morning Mrs. Margery Le Neve had difficulties getting
up. Arduously she stretched her arms, tossed and turned and ached
and yawned. With a special call button she called for the butler
who came right away. She ordered him to serve breakfast at the
bed. After that she closed here eyes again, overcome by tiredness,
and tried to sleep some more.
Though she was a widow she didn't have to work and could afford
this great villa with all the luxuries. She had inherited huge
wealth from her mother and invested the money in banks and stock
that it multiplied quickly. She also owned a lucrative furniture
business that belonged to her late husband.
She usually stayed in bed until noon and only when she tended
to acquaintances in the afternoons she really woke up. But this
information just on the side to shed some light on her daily routines.
The butler entered with a silver tray and put it on a table next
to the bed. Mrs. Le Neve nodded and the butler was allowed to
leave. While she enjoyed bread, eggs and ham she read today's
paper. She paid the newspaper boy double the amount so that he
would deliver as early as possible.
Nothing exciting had happened and her focus was on the food. Suddenly,
her house cat, that had already won three beauty contests, jumped
on the bed covers and gazed expectantly at Mrs. Le Neve. She ran
her fingers through the shining, soft fur. Actually she thought
that she didn't have time to spend with a cat and wanted to give
it away for quite a while already but she found she just couldn't
do it, besides it had brought in a nice amount of money three
times and the next beauty contest was to take place soon. The
already stuffed cat now received at piece of cheese and hid away
in a corner of the room.
Mrs. Margery had the remains of the breakfast taken away and dedicated
herself to sleep again that usually went by dreamless. She could
not complain about sleeplessness at all. She didn't have to take
sleeping pills, or any other pills for that matter, and was in
good health. Yet, the personnel did their duties silently. A rare
silence laid over the villa and the estate. Not even the servants
talked to each other. It seemed as something was going to happen.
Even Mrs. Le Neve suddenly dreamed all kinds of confused things
that she couldn't recall when she woke up.
Sweating a bit she was awakened by a maid. The servant helped
her dress and resumed her usual work. Mrs. Le Neve read a single
page in a book. That was a habit of hers that she tended to daily.
She claimed that she would memorize the book better that way.
After a deep breath she put on her fur coat and went on a walk
in her own park.
A huge lawn extended from the main door. The back of the estate
featured a gold course. If it wouldn't have bothered her to have
a lot of strangers here, she would have made it public with a
club house and everything. With her poodle she walked leisurely
across the green.
She arrived at the little forest that her ancestor Count George
Le Neve had planted and that contained a small pond. Mrs. Le Neve
enjoyed the sound of walking through the fallen leaves. A tree-free
spot appeared and in the center of it was the pond that had reeds
growing on one side. Fishes swam in the clear water. Mrs. Le Neve
observed them and saw the reflection of her face on the flat surface.
She noticed that she looked quite unkempt, at least for her own
The cute poodle suddenly whimpered and limped around on three
legs. Mrs. Le Neve examined the fourth and saw that a thorn was
stuck in it. She removed it. Suddenly she was overcome by a queasy
feeling; not because of the dog. After all, she once was a nurse
and was used to the sight of blood. That did not bother her. She
wanted to get away from the forest immediately and even took the
dog in her arms in order to get out of there faster.
She asked the butler to bring tea and retreated to her bedroom
in order to dress up. She just didn't get anywhere today. To win
time she decided not to have lunch. She sat down at the make-up
table. She thoroughly combed her hair - herself for a change -
and powdered it afterwards. Then she took the lipstick and began
to apply it. She looked at herself in the mirror, turned her head
back and forth and smiled. But strangely the image in the mirror
didn't follow that movement. The lips remained pale and straight.
Her eyes flipped wide open. A death-rattle escaped her throat.
The mirror shattered as if it had stood under tension and the
cat leaped across the table into her corner. Jars and glasses
fell all over.
With an apology for the delay the butler entered with the tea.
He saw the motionless Mrs. Margery Le Neve and the shattered mirror
of which only the wooden frame and back was still hanging on the
wall. With the help of a doctor Mrs. Le Neve was pronounced dead.
The media was reserved about the event and only mentioned it in
passing because no one could really tell them what had occurred.
Only a few insiders dared to make assumptions and those had to
remain secret. Who wanted to know back then that she did not die
of natural causes?
Copyright © November 1980, Wasty, The Face In The Mirror
German title: Das Gesicht im Spiegel
Reading time: approx. 5 1/2 minutes
Last updated February 12, 2001 by Martin Mathis, e-mail lastbandit.com