30,250 / 50,000
It had moved so quickly, I at first thought I had blinked, but even Jay rubbed at his eyes, not quite certain of what we'd just seen as it flashed across the tv screen and grabbed Heather's head. Was it just very fast, so fast the camera and recorder was unable to catch the movement, or did it literally blink from one point to the next? I shuddered at the thought of it.
My mind had shut down as it watched, enraptured by what was transpiring on the television. In stark black and white, my friends eyes were being gouged out. I was unable to process what I was seeing, and so something inside me just turned off. I was no longer watching a friend. This wasn't even real to me. It was like I was now watching a movie, of any typical horror scene of any actress having her eyes gouged out. That wasn't blood darkening her face, but karo syrup. The feeling could best be described like my brain had just slipped into neutral. And so while I remained completely enthralled with what I was watching, I found myself completely detached as well.
Jay wasn't faring so well.
He didn't have the mental capacity to just shut that part of his brain off, his empathy was too great. Jay's face twisted into a horrified spectre of its former self, and he held the back of his hand up to his mouth, as if he was about to throw up, and I wouldn't have been surprised if he had done just that.
I could see tears slowly dripping from his eyes when I glanced over during brief moments as we watched Heather's end, and the light from the tv reflected ever so slightly in them, and his eyes. It was impossible to see anything of note in them, but the flickering glint was there, none the less.
This was tearing him up inside to watch, and I opened my mouth, about to ask if he wanted me to stop, and he shook his head before I even got out a single word. What we were watching would stay with him, with both of us, for the rest of our lives, but he had to see it through, had to have that closure, of seeing Heather off, in this rather morbid way.
Heather's body had stopped moving on the screen, but the creature held firm onto her head, blood covering Heather, and even trickling down that monster's hands and arms, staining the cuffs of its shirt, which was otherwise identical to my own, as far as we could see.
It stepped forward, I could no longer think of that thing, that dark reflection of myself, as a her, pushed Heather forward, and moved away from the camera, and I glanced away from the two of them, and up further into the scene, looking at the mirrors, and I saw Heather's body hanging there, limp and lifeless. She hung there in the air as if someone had tossed away a marionette, and it was dangling off the edge of a table, suspended weakly in the air.
My eyes held on the reflection more than the actual events for a few seconds longer, watching Heather's body floating through the air, shaking and twitching as the last of her life fell away before our eyes, and the monster that had done the deed moved around the room.
Eventually I looked away from that, and back to my doppleganger. It had moved towards the wall, and gave Heather's head a final twist, likely snapping the neck, and I thought about how greatful I was that this recording didn't have sound. The visuals were more than enough.
It let go of Heather's head, and her body slumped down to the ground, out of the camera's view, and leaving some dark streaks of blood on the wall tiles. Her feet barely remained on camera, at the very bottom of the screen, waiting to be found by Jay and myself.
This all took place in a matter of moments after Heather's scream, I knew that since it didn't take Jay and I very long at all to get from where we had been standing, around the corner into the seating area, and through that door. That sense of time stretching out to impossible lengths had settled over us, and as I glanced at the time code, I saw it indeed was no more than thirty seconds, 45 tops since Heather had screamed. Even that seemed to be far too long.
The creature stood on the screen for what seemed like forever, and then turned, seemingly to leave, but it stopped and looked upwards, looking at the camera.
Looking at us.
And in that moment when it stopped and looked at the camera, we saw what Heather had seen, and what I had seen earlier when it visited me. What had caused her to scream at the mere sight of it.
It looked at the camera, with my face, and smiled with my smile, including that little twitch when I smirked. It was an exact replica of my face, my body, my clothes, as they had been when I'd been in the coffee shop. The only difference in the clothes were the large swaths of blood splattered across them, which were barely visible on this tape, the black of the coat she wore, being a darker, shinier black on the monochrome videotape.
The blood was the only difference. And that she had no eyes.
It wasn't like it was in my dream. The face there was similar to mine, but had that whithered, skeletal look to it, like I had been dead for a little while. But this face, it was mine, in every way. Except for the eyes. They were just solid black spots on the video. I couldn't see through to the back of her skull, into that empty shell of a head like I could in my dream, but they weren't there.
Jay let out a yelp when he saw the eyeless face, and jumped back in the seat, actually shifting the couch back a few inches from the force. I probably should have mentioned that part from my dreams, but I doubt it would have lessened his reaction any. It was a shocking visage to be suddenly greeted with, and even I gasped inwardly, and felt a chill run down my spine when I saw her turn on the video, and straightened up in my chair. If I hadn't seen it in my dreams, my reaction probably would have done much the same as Heather and Jay had when they saw it.
Was she looking at us? Did it somehow know we would be sitting here and watching it murder Heather? Was it somehow precognative, and knew that later that evening, we would be sitting here, and wanted to give us a show, a little fright? It had spent this entire time not turning its face to the camera, making sure it's back was the only thing visible. Turning to the camera, making its face visible, would make it easy to prove that whoever it was that did the deed, no matter how much she may look like me, was obviously not me. Since I was still in full possession of my eyes.
And even beyond that, there was the lack of reflection. This videotape would confuse anyone trying to use it for evidence, and would just be thrown straight out of court.
Or so I hoped, if it ever came to that.
She reached a hand to her mouth, darkened and streaked with Heather's blood, and slowly licked off her fingers, grinning madly at the camera. Jay made a pained, tortured noise as he watched this, still whimpering slightly at the sight of the eyeless woman staring through the camera and straight at us.
That monster had to know where we were, somehow. Those eyeless black sockets were staring straight at us. The eyeline was simply too perfect. It wasn't just putting on a show for the camera, but for us specifically. It was looking through the camera, through time, and was watching us back then, just as we were watching it.
Fortunately, and finally, this unending horror show that my brain had detached itself from, in a time that seemed so far away, in a much more innocent time, a time before watching my best friend's eyes turned into nothing more than a pool of blood on a restroom floor, drew towards a close.
The door burst open, and in the first few seconds as it arced into view on the bottom left of the scene, I wondered how Jay could have missed what was standing in there, waiting, and performing for his future self.
But as that door swung, and passed through the space where the doppleganger was standing, and in my head I heard that familiar squeak that all restroom doors seem to have, I heard that in my head as I watched it swing open, and knew I was standing just off screen. However, as the door passed through the air, and hit the monster, still staring at the camera, through it to us, it burst into a cloud of smoke, exploding when the door hit it, almost as if the phantom actually had some physical form, and maybe it did when it wanted to tear out an innocent girl's eyes, but this was just more theatrics and showboating for our benefit.
That dark cloud hung in the air briefly as we continued to watch, Jay's past self entered the room and the door closed a little, and stopped, held open by my own hand. It was weird watching yourself on camera, and these circumstances, and the events we'd just watched, just heightened that unreality, that weirdness of it all. As Jay stood there and looked down at the body, the movement he made, the look on his face, almost matched exactly the one he had now.
His attention was so fully on Heather's prone form, laying offscreen opposite myself, that he didn't see that wisp of smoke floating in the air and quickly disipating and fading from view. But as had been shown before, maybe the camera could see the monster, and Jay wouldn't. More for our benefit, or just an after-effect picked up by the camera as it passed out of our world, and back to where it came from?
We continued to sit there, watching the tape, watching Jay as he stood there in the room, looking like he was about to throw up and add to the mess on the floor if he didn't get out of there as fast as possible. We had seen what we wanted to see, or what we didn't want to see, but had to see, what we had put the tape in to see, but we left it playing, wanting it to keep going, too stunned at it all to stop now. Too enthralled to just cut it off before its time.
Jay on the video spun on his foot and ran out the open door, and it swung shut behind him, leaving the room empty, empty of anyone living anyways. The scene looked much the way it had before, and upon a quick glance, the untrained eye may not have noticed anything amiss. But off in the corner was Heather's foot, clad in a blood-stained shoe. I didn't even remember what colour it had been earlier. The tiles on the wall also showed traces of abormality with the streaks of blood left behind. The pool of blood on the floor was also starting to creep into view along the bottom of the screen, growing outwards as Heather's body emptied itself out.
The tape stopped and the sudden sound of static crackling all around us from the surround speakers caused us both to jump as the silence was shattered. Jay let out another yelp, his concentration so invested, so engrossed in the video that he had completely stopped listening to anything, until that sudden blast of noise in his ears.
I used the remote to silence the tv, and remove the tape. I watched as the VCR stuck it out, like an offensive tongue, and left it. I wasn't ready to go anywhere near that tape, not after what we'd watched.
Turning off the tv, I tossed the remote down onto the pile of magazines littering the coffee table, and took a deep breath. It felt like forever since I had taken in any air, and even Jay relaxed a little, his mind buzzing as it processed what he had just witnessed.
Before we could calm further, and let ourselves settle down with the new knowledge we had, the images forever burned into our minds, we were both startled by my own voice, but sounding like a harsh whisper, leaves rustling in the wind, that came from behind us.
"So, did you two enjoy my little show?"