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Although anyone who knew me closely would still know that something was desperately wrong with this. Sure, she now looked like me, didn't look as dead, had emulated my clothes, although with a bit more blood, and now had eyes. The problem came when you looked closely. Those eyes that were now filling the empty holes in her skull, if she had a skull, weren't my eyes.
And I don't mean the obvious, that my eyes were still in my skull, even if that was a very true statement as well. My eyes, simply put, were not blue. Never have been. I've never even worn contacts. My eyes were a bright green, and something looked strange about her eyes as well, something I could not quite put my finger on.
Why did it take so long to create the illusion of eyes? Why bother with the empty sockets at all, if she could have created eyes along with the rest of my form? And when you could get so much right, so many little details, down the the freckle, why did it all fall apart at the eyes? I remembered reading that dopplegangers have some sort of noticeable flaw, so maybe she couldn't fix the eyes, but that still didn't explain why she didn't fill the sockets sooner.
"Shiv," I turned slightly to Jay, leaving one eye on the creature, almost going wall-eyed to look at them both. A lot of his anger had just fallen away, and he had that distraught, haunted look in his face again.
"I know," I said, and could see that thing smile. "She has eyes now."
Jay shook his head, his own eyes quite wide, and staring past me at the doppleganger. "It's not that. Her eyes, Shiv. They - they're not your eyes."
"I know, Jay!" I didn't like being so short with him, but I was at wits end keeping my cool, so something had to give, ever so slightly.
"No, Siobhan. They'e Heather's."
My head jerked sharply, breaking away from Jay, and looked back at the creature. Heather did have blue eyes, but they couldn't be the same. They had been dug out, destroyed, crushed by the very monster Jay was accusing of wearing them.
But as I looked closer, took in the details, I finally saw what was wrong with those eyes. What had been bugging me about them since the creature pulled off those glasses.
The eyes were dead. The colour, the blue of the irises, while a bright blue, was also dull. They didn't move at all. They sat there, looking out, but seeing nothing. The eyes stared straight ahead, maybe even a little off center even. Thinking back, the eyes hadn't moved at all the entire time, instead, the doppleganger had moved its head to look around, like an owl. They didn't even look like they fit into those holes. Around the edges, darkness peeked out, the eyes too small for this creature's head.
They may as well have been nothing more than glass eyes shoved into the raw sockets of its head. With these eyes, she could move freely amongst the people, unless someone who knew me well enough to have noted the colour of my own eyes, and no one would know the difference.
"My, your friend is clever. It's almost a shame that I'll have to kill him. I'll make it quick though, as a reward for his observation, and since I have no need to remove anything of his, now that I'm complete." That toothy grin. So pleased with itself.
I hated myself for asking, but I had to know. "But how, you...you gouged out Heather's eyes." I felt sick even saying it, just thinking it.
"My people - and we are people, not monsters, not abominations, but people, just different - are very good at copying people as you can tell, but we are also very good at copying things. I don't have to look like you, even though that is my truest form. However, I can only hold other appearances for a short time.
"Once I've touched something, once I have bathed in its blood, I can do more than take on the appearance of something. I can recreate it completely, for a limited time before I need to restore my strength and power. I needed your friend's eyes, for now. I have work to do yet in this world, before your time comes to a close." Her hand pointed at me, and held there for a few seconds before stopping. All the while, I continued to look at those dead eyes, watching them as they stared out, and the irises never growing or shrinking as she moved.
"With these lovely new eyes, even though I don't need them to see, I can operate more freely in your plane of existence, do what I need to do, and not have to be trapped behind these glasses. I am unable to create my own eyes, so it was either continue to hide my own sockets, or steal someone else's eyes. Heather was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
My ass. It may have needed them for whatever it had planned, but Heather wasn't in the wrong anywhere. She planned to kill her first, and had planned to tear those eyes out from the moment this sick, twisted game kicked off. Taking the eyes was helpful, but also enjoyable in this monster's brain. It took pleasure in its tasks. Especially if they caused me discomfort, or worse. Appearances were everything to this thing, and it loved to play games, and this served it on many fronts.
Jay had been unusually quiet while all this talking was going on. He and Heather had been close. I'd heard they had dated a few times, several years ago, and it ended well enough, since all three of us still hung around together pretty often, but they never spoke of it, and I could tell he still had deep feelings for her, when he wasn't hitting on me.
I twisted a little, looking over my shoulder at him. That haunted look had faded away again, and shifted back to the rage which had held him earlier. His fist had curled into tight, small balls at his side, and his knuckles had gone white, he was holding them so tightly. His hands shook, his fists vibrating at the pent up anger. His eyes had gone dark, and his brow furrowed, glaring at the doppleganger.
The preternaturally calm person I knew had disappeared, replaced by this quivering bottle of anger, ready to explode at the slightest trigger. I rememebred my earlier thoughts of thinking he would be good to have at your back in a crisis, but things became clearer now. He was good in a crunch, able to simply do what need to be done, that calm an asset and enabling him to act clean, quick, and effeciently as he pushed all other thoughts out of his head and leapt into action.
However, if his friends were threatened, or worse, and if someone was gloating in it, revelling in his pain, then it all fell apart. The calm was gone, and a stranger had stepped into Jay's place. An angry stranger, ready to do anything needed to get vengeance for a friend's passing.
Just as admirable really, but more likely to cause problems at the wrong time. If he could have compartmentalized his feelings, remained that calm, cool headed man he was earlier, things may have played out differently than they had. Maybe it wouldn't have all gone as wrong as they had, for me and for him.
Deep down, I doubted that. Things would have gone differently, surely, but he would have met a similar end. Of that I was positive. it may have been later, or it may have been right then and there, but likely it wouldn't have gone the way it had.
Jay may have given into his anger, destroying his calm facade, but he moved with the same grace, purpose, and sureness of motion that he had when we heard Heather scream before. Every movement he took was perfectly timed, perfectly placed, and so fluid in every action.
He took a step forward, not even the magazines underfoot upsetting his stance, and then stepped up on the coffee table, now mostly cleared off for the first time in months. He moved so fast that I almost missed him moving at all, but I saw him start, and just watched how simple he made it all look. I wish time had stretched out in reality, as much as it did in my mind once he started moving, I would have tried to stop him from what he was doing, maybe even intercept him.
But it was no use.
He pushed off the coffee table, leaping onto the couch and landing on the front edge of it with one foot, and continuing to push off of that, leaping gracefully over the back of the couch, and straight for the doppleganger, with his hands outstretched towards the creature, fingers shaping his hands into feral claws, ready to claw and grasp at anything they landed upon.
The rage and hate had clouded over his judgement though, and he forgot entirely about the immaterial nature of the monster. It looked like me, and appeared to be as solid as I was, every inch of fabric moving naturally as it made its movements, but it remained nothing more than a phantom.
Jay expectedly, at least to me, fell straight through the doppleganger. It didn't even flinch. It knew he couldn't do it any damage. It didn't burst into a flurry of particles this time, though. To my eyes, it just looked like Jay had passed through a projection, a holographic image that wasn't really there.
Even after missing his mark, he managed to land on the floor, albeit rougher that he expected, and managed to somehow roll and shift easily back onto his feet, and twist around into a crouched position facing the back of the doppleganger.
I couldn't tell if he had felt the same freezing, bitter cold I had when I tried something similar that morning, but if he had, it was remarkable that he showed no sign of it. Somewhere beneath that anger, he still had amazing focus and direction.
The doppleganger didn't pay him even the slightest bit of attention, instead continuing to look at me, watch me, as if it hadn't just had someone leap through it at all. It was only minorly interested in Jay to begin with. He was just a means to an end, a way to further torment me.
Jay stayed there, crouching, staring at the monster's back. It almost looked like he was growling, a darker more animalistic side taking over as his eyes would be burning small holes in the back of the thing that had killed Heather, if he could.
His focus may have remained, but the anger was still the more powerful of the two mindsets waging war within his head. He leaned forward like a sprinter and took off again, trying another charge, hoping to catch the doppleganger off guard, and somehow that would make it able to be attacked.
This time, the creature did react, and without turning, it reached up one arm and reaching back, it grabbed Jay by the neck and pulled him forward, moving even more smoothly and fluidly than he was, and jerked him forward, his head almost resting on the thing's shoulder. His hatred had completely disappeared the second that hand grabbed his neck, and his eyes instead showed great, deep fear.
He realized just how vulnerable he was when he was pulled so close to the doppleganger. In a second, he had lost complete control of the situation, or what little control he had. Jay was now at the mercy of my twin.
His arms flailed wildly, but just passed through the torso of the monster, and he started to let out yelps as they just got colder and colder with each successive pass. He regained enough control to stop himself, but tried - even if in his brain he knew just how futile it was - to grab at the creature's wrist, and force himself free. His fingers passed through the arm just as easily, as if there was nothing there at all.