There was once a boy who found a pocket mirror on the floor of a shopping centre. It was small, quite plain, brownish-grey and oval. He picked it up and opened it. Inside he saw his own brown eyes and scruffy hair, over his shoulder he saw the bright shopping centre and in the distance it looked as if there were trees growing between the shops.
He checked behind him and everything seemed normal, but in the mirror, there was definitely grass and trees, and he even thought he could hear birds singing. He walked slowly backwards and the trees became larger and larger until the whole mirror was filled with a green landscape with round plump hills, leafy trees, and soft dewy grass.
It wasn’t any ordinary landscape. Apart from it being an invisible landscape in a shopping centre, which was extraordinary enough, it looked very odd in other ways too. It was as if the trees had arranged their roots nicely into patterns. The patterns were very loopy and familiar. In fact, they were exactly like the doodles he sometimes drew in the margins of his exercise books: loops growing from loops growing from loops. In the back of his maths book, he had a looping doodle that filled the whole page, just like this. He wondered if the trees been looking in his maths book.
Very curious the boy looked into the mirror again and again and each time it showed him a new scene. Each time he moved to get a closer look as the mirror led him on a journey around this secret landscape. The mirror showed him five trees mingling their roots, making a structure together that gave him a very odd feeling that the trees were playing house.
It showed him a big calm lake with a small tree casting its doodles across a narrow part and two big trees reaching and tickling each other across a wider part, forming an intricate bridge as if they were playing cats cradle. It showed him a huge old tree that had decorated itself in grand trumpet-like flowers and he sat down in a throne-like trumpet-flower and imagined he was the king of this weird and wonderful place.
Then the next time he looked into the mirror, it showed him exactly the same view as he was looking at with his own eyes. This was worrying: the mirror has always shown him something new. Trying his best not to be frightened, he hurried along the path by the lake then looked again, but it was still the same. Almost running, he went further along and looked again…
Now he saw round, firm, overlapping hills and a winding path squeezing between them. After a while, the path forked into two, the prongs winding opposite ways around a steep hill.
Around the middle of the hill, some older trees were knitting their roots together and pushing them uphill and then up into the sky. He climbed up the hill. The roots had made a tall round tower with a staircase in the middle going up and up. He climbed and climbed and then after a while took out the mirror and arranged himself so he could look through the gaps in the looping roots at whatever was down below.
He was quite high up. Far down below he could see small little buildings looking up at him curiously. There was a square, with tiny tables and chairs arranged outside a café in one half, and grassy countryside with little trees like broccoli in the other half. The two halves blended gently into each other in the middle. He turned around to look at the mirror view in other directions but the mirror started to wiggle in his hands, then shake violently. He grabbed the loops with one hand to stop himself from falling. The mirror shook harder and harder until he couldn’t keep hold of it with just one hand and it whizzed up, up the tower, up into the sky, and disappeared. The boy looked around nervously. Everything was still there. He could see the trees with their doodle-games and he could see the café. He climbed down the doodle-tower and made his way there.
He bought himself a big round cookie and sat out on the courtyard that blended into the landscape. He could still see everything! Even without the mirror! As he ate his cookie, he admired the landscape and squiggled some new doodles on his napkin, ready for his next visit.