She opened her eyes to darkness and groaned. The digital clock glowed faintly but she didn’t need to look to know the time. It was 2:22. It was always 2:22 when she woke up in the middle of the night.
She could already hear the crying and whispering from down the hall. Dread kept her under the covers, denying the inevitable. Their voices were pleading, like small children beseeching an adult to help them. Her empathy eventually outweighed her terror, however, just as it did every night. She was a sucker for crying children..
Staggering down the hallway, wiping sleep from her eyes, Candice wondered why she didn’t just stay in bed, even though she knew the answer.
Someone needed her help.
When she turned on the lights, they were already there. Pleading. Faces and voices blending together in a cacophony of tearful begging. Different languages, different ages, some didn’t even sound human. She didn’t need to understand their language to know what they were saying.
She stood there helpless just as she did every night. One time she had tried to break the mirror with a hammer to release them but the spectres had recoiled in horror and cried out with one voice, one clear word.
“What should I do? I’ll gladly help you if you would please just tell me what you need me to do.”
The moaning only continued. Help us. Ayúdanos. lagundu iezaguzu. Some chittering and clicking which somehow managed to sound pathetic as well.
“Tell me.” Her eyes were tearing up. This was breaking her heart. This nightly begging that she couldn’t answer. Night after night, powerless to help. “TELL ME.”
When screaming at the mirror didn’t work, she broke out into open sobbing, letting her exhausted body slide down the wall. She put her head between her knees and listened, crying all the while. She could not help. All she could do was listen.