Written by: Myra Gabor
Towards the end of the Victoria Era, Albert Kench returns from Australia to England and finds his sister, Sally, incarcerated in an asylum. She is missing her right arm and her eyes look vacant. Sally is confined to bed, and Albert is determined to find out what happened to her while he was away.
Albert believes in science, technology and progress. He has no use for religion or everlasting life. In other words, he doesn’t believe in the soul. While in Australia, he saw aborigine children taken from their parents. At first he believed this to be cruel. Then he decided that it was much better for these children to grow up and drive past their “dirt worshipping” parents in the latest machines that modern technology could devise.
After he leaves the asylum, he looks up an old acquaintance who visits Sally regularly so that he might find out what she knows about Sally’s condition. The acquaintance tells him a tale of a magic mirror and a demon that lives within it and which took Sally’s arm.
Of course, as a man of science, he finds the whole idea ridiculous.
The author undertakes to show us that abandoning religion is what the delights the devil. He tries to show us that attempting salvation doesn’t work without a corresponding belief in the soul.
There are some graphic parts in this novella, so it’s not for the squeamish.