In the Mirror by Valery Brussof (Bryusov), 1918
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror March 19, 2013
Look in a mirror. What do you see besides your own reflection? A hypnotic pair of eyes staring back or a deep magnetic attraction? Let’s say this reflection holds a secret, a consciousness inside the expanse of glass. Might there be an apparition there? A rival? Phantoms?
In the Mirror was written by little known author Valery Brussof (1873-1924), Russian poet, writer, and scholar, embracer of Bolshevism, and leader in the Russian symbolist movement during the Silver Age. He is remembered for his horror novel The Fiery Angel, a 16th-century romantic drama about the passionate Renata and her sexual and spiritual occult practices.
While superstitions and folklore abound about mirrors bringing bad luck or telling the future, Brussof doesn’t go that route. We are clearly in the present harsh light of reality. He writes this story with subtle atmospheric technique, as we are dragged into the mysterious abyss of a reflected and fragmented universe.
Vanity is a favorite sin. And so it is with our character, a daring woman of beauty who loves mirrors but weeps and trembles as she discovers the mirror’s truthful depths.
We are in December, the winter dawn, when a confrontation manifests between this woman and the image she finds inside her mirror. Consciousness is a strange energy—pale, half dead, a burning-icy feeling that may very well breathe darkness into the soul.
Read In the Mirror here curled up in a gloomy corner with moonlight bending the window glass, maybe a flute of potato vodka at hand and a bit of zakuska (delicate meat-filled pastries). Escape with Valery Brussof.
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