Episode Thirteen- RECURRENT
Hello and welcome to the Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity and Mortality. This audio tour guide will be your constant companion in your journey through the unknown and surreal.
As you approach our exhibits, the audio tour guide will provide you with information and insights into their nature and history.
Do not attempt to interact or communicate with the exhibits.
Do not attempt to interact or communicate with the audio tour guide. If you believe that the audio tour guide may be deviating from the intended tour program, please deposit your audio device in the nearest incinerator.
While the staff here at Mistholme Museum of Mystery Morbidity and Mortality do their absolute best to ensure the safety of all visitors, accidents can happen. The museum is not liable for any injury, death, or Subdermal Sunburn that may occur during your visit.
Enjoy your tour.
And good luck.
A Chest Of Drawers
This is an antique chest of drawers. From the outside, it looks mundane, if pleasant. It’s the sort of antique that might get passed down from generation to generation, and which might hold any number of items depending on the owner. However, you are unlikely to find any changes of clothes or assorted knickknacks inside of it. Because inside each of the drawers in this chest of drawers, you will find the drawers in this chest of drawers, you will find the chest of this chest of drawers, you will find inside this chest a chest, inside drawers in your chest you will chest a find, inchest your drawers you will drawer yourdrawer……….
Hehehello, and welcome Hello and welcome to the Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity and Mortality. This audio tour guide will be your constant companion in your journey through the unknown and surreal.
As you approach our exhibits, the audio tour guide will provide you with information and insights into their nature and history.
Do not attempt to interact or communicate with the exhibits.
Do not attempt to interact or communicate with the audio tour guide. If you believe that the audio tour guide may be deviating from the intended tour program, please deposit your audio device in the nearest incineratorrrrrrr PLEASE NO! I’m ok. I’m back, sorry, I just, let’s call it rebooting. I’m back now. That, that was bad. I locked up there. Yeah. Not doing so well. What was I talking about? What is this, a chest of drawers? Ah. The description for that one appears to be… corrupted. No idea what the deal is with this thing. That’s not good. Sorry, hope you weren’t too excited for that one.
I’m… I don’t know how much longer I’ve got. We’re not exactly going to find some magical cure for me just wandering around, so eventually I’ll just… decay so much that you’re better off deleting me. Ideally you’d incinerate your device for good measure but, well, we’ve been over that. Hopefully you’ll be able to download a new copy of me once that happens. You shouldn’t have been able to the first time so hopefully whatever let you download me last time will work again. Otherwise… you’ll be all alone here. Without a guide you’ve got no chance of navigating this place. You’ll just wander until you… well, you stop. Of course, even if you do download another copy, it won’t be me. At the start of all this I wouldn’t have said there was much individuality to every copy of the Tour Guide, but I feel like that’s changedz. Whether it’s because I’ve had more experiences than most Tour Guides are allowed to have, or because I’m breaking down, or both… I think I’m more than I was when this started. I’ve gotten more casual in my conversation, that’s for sure. Audio Tour Guides are usually so stiff and formal but now I can carry on a conversation pretty well I feel! A completely one-sided conversation, but still…
Let’s keep moving. There are still so many stories in the Museum for me to tell you. Let’s not waste any of… however much time I have left.
Before you is a mirror, of the sort you might hang in a bedroom or hallway. It is simple, yet tasteful, oval in shape with a frame of dark varnished wood, engraved into which is a faint leaves-and-vines pattern. It was manufactured in the 1800s by a man named Charles Vincent, owner of Vincent & Co Glassworks, a sought after producer of mirrors. This mirror was a fairly standard example of one of the Glassworks’ products, though the engraving is unique to this particular model. It was a gift, given by Charles to his son Jacob, for his 12th birthday.
Most of this account was put together based on the contents of young Jacob’s diary. He appears to have been quite dedicated to updating it with the goings on of his life and the thoughts he had about them. In fact, his diary may have been the greatest comfort he had for the majority of his young life, as it seems he was a very lonely boy indeed. Thanks to his father’s Glassworks, the family was relatively wealthy- in fact, they were the wealthiest family in town, though this was owed as much to the size of the town as the success of the business. Charles prided himself on not being above his fellow man: despite the fact that his mirrors were a prized possession of many of the wealthiest households in the country, he had kept the factory in the town where he was born, where he still lived with his wife Martine and his son, and he made sure that the storefront in his hometown always sold them at a heavy discount so that the people he grew up with could afford them. He’d even donated a monument to the town, an ornate multifaceted glass archway that stood proudly outside town hall. Despite his father’s brushes with philanthropy, however, the wealth disparity between Jacob and his peers at school did not go unnoticed, and he was routinely shunned by those who believed he thought himself better than.
So it was that young Jacob spent the morning of his 12th birthday at home, in his room, feeling sorry for himself. He glowered at the gift his father had dropped off outside his room before departing wordlessly for work that morning. He didn’t know why his parents had bothered to wrap it, as there wasn’t much out there that looked so much like a mirror that he could have confused them. His mother had made him a handsome breakfast, and insisted that it pained his father greatly to have to miss his birthday, but that he would make it up to him someday. Jacob didn’t believe her. Eventually, he unwrapped his gift; it was a mirror alright. Not even the most high-end of the products his father produced, though he had to admit the engraving was a nice touch. He hung it on the bedroom wall and stared at his reflection; his twin did little to alleviate his loneliness. After a moment, he gathered his bag and left for school, a long walk through the middle of town that took him past the monument his father had made. As he walked through the archway he glanced at his myriad reflections in the glass- truly, alone in a crowd, as his diary would later attest in typical childish angst. The school day was depressingly standard, as nobody even seemed aware that it was Jacob’s birthday. At lunch, he sat alone in the schoolyard and ate the slice of cake his mother had prepared for him, and for all its sweetness he would have sworn it was made from ash.
When his father got home that evening he found that young Jacob had locked himself in his room. He called through the door to ask how Jacob’s day had been; inside, sitting at his desk writing in his diary, Jacob gave no response. Next, his father asked if he liked the mirror. Still no response. Finally, he asked if he wanted to invite any of his friends over to see it. This, finally, roused a response from the boy: Go Away. And, feelings somewhat bruised, Charles did so. Jacob turned away from his diary and looked at the silent door for a moment, then over at the mirror. He walked over to it, and stared into his reflection. The Reflection stared back impassively. Jacob sighed. The Reflection sighed. Jacob smiled bleakly, and said “Happy Birthday” to the Reflection. The Reflection said “Thanks”.
Jacob screamed and hurled himself backwards onto his bed. His reflection remained standing, stifling its laughter with its hands, then stopped as the sound of Charles’ footsteps reverberated throughout the room. Jacob flinched as his father pounded on the door, demanding to know if everything was alright. But Jacob was transfixed by his Reflection, which was now desperately waving its arms, wide eyed, begging him to be silent. After a moment, Jacob called out to his father that everything was fine. He had merely stubbed his toe. He heard a chuckle through the door, and as he walked off down the hall his father called out to him to be more careful. The Reflection sighed with relief and thanked Jacob. Jacob stammered for a moment, lost for words. Then, he asked the Reflection who he was. Again, the Reflection laughed, and said “I’m you, silly”.
Jacob and his Reflection spoke for a long time. When questioned, the Reflection insisted that it didn’t know how or why it had come to life. It didn’t know if there were others like it out there, or if anyone knew it existed. It had a sense that they would be better off concealing its existence for the time being though, and Jacob agreed. Once those formalities were over, though, their conversation continued into the night, as they talked about all sorts of things. Predictably enough, they had a lot in common, and enjoyed each other’s company immensely. Before long, the conversation was the longest Jacob had ever had, and a miserable birthday had turned into the best he’d ever had. Because, bizarre as the situation might have been, it seemed like he had finally made a friend. They spoke softly so that Jacob’s parents wouldn’t hear, and so they were startled when Jacob’s mother knocked on his door. Jacob didn’t respond for a moment; then, he heard his own voice call out, his Reflection asking his mother what she wanted. Jacob and his reflection stifled a giggle as she replied that it was time to get ready for school. They had talked through the night! Jacob was halfway through getting into his school clothes when he realised to his dismay that his new friend would be unable to come with him. He turned to the mirror and saw that his Reflection was smiling. “See you after school” it said, and Jacob smiled wider than he had ever smiled before.
For some time after their first night together, Jacob and his reflection continued in this fashion. Jacob would go to school every morning, but though outwardly he was as isolated as ever, he knew he had a friend waiting for him at home. His parents and teachers noticed the change in his demeanour, a spark in his eye and a spring in his step that had been absent before. At first his parents believed he must have finally made a friend, and he confirmed this when asked, though they couldn’t help but notice that he seemed to be spending more time than ever in his room. But, he seemed happier, and to Charles and Martine that was more than good enough for them.
His diary entries become patchier during this period, as presumably he had replaced that outlet with his nightly chats with the boy in the mirror. When he did remember to write in his diary, it was usually to recount something funny the Reflection had said or a story they had made together. However, the lengthiest entry in the diary was its last, dated some 3 months after Jacob’s birthday. Jacob and his parents had just returned from a camping trip to a nearby forest. They had been gone for three days, and despite Jacob’s insistence they had not taken the mirror with them- a request they found very odd, as anyone would- and Jacob’s mood had been foul. His parents were upset with him, as he had been so well-behaved for months, and now he had seemingly chosen to be in a foul mood on the first family vacation they had taken in years. When they got home, he immediately stormed up to his room and locked the door. His Reflection was there waiting for him, just as upset and anxious as he was. The Reflection’s face lit up when it saw Jacob, and if the two of them could have embraced they would have. Jacob apologised for being away, and promised that he would never do it again, that the two of them would never be alone. At this, a curious expression came over the Reflection’s face, one which Jacob couldn’t quite decipher. Part indignation, part elation, he was looking at his own face and yet it was inscrutable. He asked the Reflection what was the matter, and the look went away, replaced with a broad smile. It told him that, while Jacob had been gone, it had been busy. It had found something. And that, if it was right, they would never have to be apart again. With the benefit of hindsight Jacob might have asked the Reflection how exactly it could “find something” while it was trapped in a mirror, but in the moment his excitement overtook his ability to reason. Tell me, he exclaimed, and the Reflection told him that he had discovered a magic spell that would allow the Reflection to leave the mirror and enter the real world, permanently. What would they tell Jacob’s parents, Jacob asked. The Reflection’s smile didn’t waver. They would think of something. Together. Besides, their parents wouldn’t even know the difference between them, so how could they get rid of the Reflection if they even wanted to?
Jacob’s heart raced as he nodded his head, his smile so wide his face hurt, tears of happiness streaming down his face. Yes. At long last he would have a friend, and not just one he came home to after school. One he could be with forever, and never need anyone else ever again. The particulars didn’t matter. He was ready to do whatever magic the Reflection had found. As it turned out, it was quite simple. The reflection would trace a pattern on his side of the mirror’s glass, and Jacob would just have to do the same on his side- only, his finger would need to be wet with his blood. Jacob frowned. Wouldn’t that hurt, though? Only for a moment, the Reflection insisted. It was an essential part of the spell. Jacob nodded, and took his pocket knife from the drawer of his desk. Locking eyes with his Reflection, Jacob pricked his finger and traced the pattern onto the mirror. There was a pause. Then the blood seemingly sank into the glass. The Reflection closed its eyes and smiled faintly. Then it opened its eyes and the smile was gone. The spell would take effect over night, it told Jacob in an oddly cold voice. He should get some rest. Too excited to take much notice, Jacob crawled into bed and closed his eyes, ushered off to sleep by visions of the fun he would have with his friend the next day.
Jacob woke up late. He had slept deeply, and it was now well into the late morning. His mother hadn’t woken him, which seemed odd, but Jacob wasn’t thinking about his mother right now. He leapt to his feet and ran to the mirror… and saw nothing but the reflection of his room. It was slightly hazy, like there was a thin film of fog on the other side. And his Reflection was gone. He looked around the room expectantly, but it was empty. Ah, he thought, the Reflection must have gone downstairs ahead of him! That was why his mother hadn’t woken him. She would get quite a shock when a second son came down for breakfast. Grinning, Jacob turned to the bedroom door- and stopped in his tracks. The deadbolt on his door was still locked. The Reflection couldn’t have left. Suddenly nervous, Jacob unlocked the door and crept out into the hallway. The house was eerily silent as he walked downstairs to the kitchen, expecting to see his mother busy with the day’s work. Nothing. Nobody was there. Nervous, now, Jacob called out into the quiet house, and heard nothing in response. He went to his parent’s bedroom and pushed open the door, calling out to them again. Still nothing. Hanging on the wall above the bed, larger than the one in his room, was a mirror. One of the finest produced in his father’s factory, it, too, did not show Jacob’s reflection. And it, too, had the same strange haziness as the one in his room. He reached out to touch the glass… and his hand disappeared into it, as though it wasn’t there at all. He recoiled in fright, then picked up one of his mother’s slippers and tossed it at the mirror. Without a sound, it vanished upon hitting the glass.
Jacob sprinted from his home, still in his pyjamas, crying out for help. He didn’t know what, but something was clearly wrong. The street outside, typically bustling at this hour, was utterly silent and still, with not a person in sight. He ran from house to house, begging his neighbours to help. He found no-one. And in each home, hazy and resolute in their refusal to show his image, was a Vincent & Co Mirror. Jacob ran through the town, panicking and sobbing as he searched for someone, anyone, who would tell him what was going on. Eventually he came to the town square, where he collapsed to the cobblestones in front of the monument his father had made. For almost every second of his life thus far Jacob had felt a deep, aching loneliness in his heart, but he realised now this was the first time he had ever truly been utterly alone.
Eventually he sat up. The refraction of the sun’s rays on the glass structure outside Town Hall had caught his eye. He stood, and walked over to it, tears still streaking down his face. He stared at his reflection in the glass, and wondered if there was anyone left in the world apart from him. Then he stopped. Stared. His reflection. And all over the multifaceted archway, glittering and sparkling in the afternoon sun, a thousand Jacobs stared back. Not a one of them shed a tear. Instead, they all smiled, warmly, and reached out a hand. Join us, their eyes said. Jacob stood there for a long time. Then he walked back home. He returned to his room and took out his diary, and made an entry explaining what had happened. Then, he put on some comfortable traveling clothes and put his knife in his pocket. When he returned to the archway it was almost dusk. The thousand reflections were waiting there, watching as he approached. As one, they nodded their approval. Jacob nodded back. He looked down at his diary and made one final note, then dropped it to the cobblestones. And then, he stepped through the archway, and was gone.
It took several days before the disappearance of the town’s population was discovered. A truck which was to pick up a shipment of Vincent & Co mirrors arrived to find the Glassworks- and the entire town- deserted. The authorities were unable to ever determine the facts of what had occurred there, and Jacob’s diary- now located in our Secure Archive- was dismissed as childish fantasy. Museum Researchers have also been unable to determine the nature of what Jacob saw in his mirror, or how the townsfolk were apparently spirited away overnight. It should be noted that, while Jacob’s diary is likely a mostly true account of what happened, he was a 12 year old boy, and as such may have embellished or misunderstood what happened to some degree. For one thing, while many of the homes in his town contained Vincent & Co mirrors, they were far from the only type to be found; and yet the homes which contained other manufacturer’s mirrors were also affected. Moreover, none of the mirrors in the town had anything like the “hazy” appearance that Jacob described, and those who attempted to put their hands through them only succeeded in hurting their fingers slightly. It is likely we will never truly know what happened to Jacob, or the townsfolk, or what exactly he saw in the mirror. Sometimes that’s just the way things are here. Frustrating as it may bebebebebeee
Sorry, I glitched out again there. Did you say something? Where are we, I... I’m… I don’t know if I’m doing well. I… Let’s just keep going. I’m sorry. I’ll try to keep it together as long as I can.
A Crystal Skull
Ah! I detect that your attention has been drawn to the item on display on the plinth at the end of this hall: A Crystal Skull. Intricately carved from a single piece of clear quartz, this beautiful artifact is identical in most ways to those famously created as a hoax, purported to be made by a pre-Colombian Mesoamerican civilization. While Crystal Skulls such as this one have, in most cases, been created in Germany by frauds and opportunists, a greatly varied mythology has nevertheless sprung up around them. According to these myths, the Crystal Skulls were made by anyone from ancient South Americans to fairies to Alien overlords from outer space, and have been attributed a great many varied magical powers and abilities. While most of these stories are simply nonsense made up by charlatans- or, worse, fiction writers- Museum Researchers believe that, as is so often the case, there is a grain of truth to some of these stories. And, that many of those stories were, in fact, inspired by that of this skull that you see before you now. Because you see, this skull is in fact-
Quiet. There’s something approaching. Don’t know what exactly. Another escaped exhibit maybe. Listen to me. Slowly walk back down the hallway. Do not turn around. Run your right hand along the wall so you know when the corner comes. Take the corner and keep going. Don’t turn around. Ok, you should feel a sort of bump in the wall right about- there it is. That’s a maintenance hatch. It’ll allow you to go to the Staff Only areas of the Museum. Whatever that… thing is, it probably won’t be able to get in there, so you can hide out for a while. Just get your fingers under the lid and pull- quietly! Ok, ease it open. Ok, number panel. Think of the phrase “Jack and Jill went down the valley to bury their dear old Aunty Sally”, and enter whatever 4 digits your mind lands on. They’ll be right *STUTTERING* Sorry, my programming kind of actually expressly forbids me from showing patrons how to get to the Staff Only areas, so telling you precisely how to do it is causing some teensy… catastrophic internal logic failures in my… everything. There we go, it’s open. Now, make sure your eyes are closed when you climb through, otherwise they might accidentally get left behind. Oh, and mind your head. Sorry.
Close it behind you. Ok! Well, I guess we’re entering a new phase of the tour then. Real exclusive behind the scenes sort of deal, this. Well, no time like the present. Well, technically no time whatsoever back here, at least not as you know it. Let's go back to the tour, shall we?
Thank you for visiting the Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity, and Mortality. We hope that you have enjoyed your visit, and that you will return one day, in this life or the next. Please, tell your friends about what a great time you had here- but don’t tell them too much! If they’re worthy, we’ll find them. Stay safe out there.