40,136 / 50,000
I groped at the air, so wanting to grab this monster and shake it, demanding answers from it, and really just wanting to shake it. Answers would be a nice bonus, though. However, I rememebred the cold feeling of passing through it all too well, and the uselessness of trying it. But the desire sure was there.
"What did you do," I shouted. I was livid. I so wanted to attack this thing, even beyond the shaking. I could feel tears streaming down my cheeks again. This thing had gone beyond violating my life at this point.
The cloak of shadows continued to shrink and disappear back from wherever it came, receeding back towards the creature's body until it just flared out ever so slightly from the body, laying against the floor. The tendrils continued to flicker about, blackened snake tongues tasting at the air.
My doppleganger looked up from the floor, its work completed, and turned that empty gaze to me. "I've solved your problem for you. There will be no questions, no need to dispose of his decaying form."
It said it as if it was that simple. Make the body disappear, and everything was cheery again. "That's not what I meant, I get that. What did you do with him, damnit."
The look on the creature's face shifted, as it realized what I wanted to know from it. "Ah, that. As you noticed, I do not entirely exist in your world. I am mostly rooted still in my plane of existence, but that is changing. Until I have fully taken your life, I remain rooted in my land, the land of shadows and reflections. I serve as a portal, a gateway into that world, a door I can open at will, and pull things into that world with my form."
The creature had taken my friend out of this world, and whatever dark hellish world it came from. In a sick way, I found myself relieved that he was dead, and would not have to endure the world the doppleganger came from.
"He will be given a proper burial, and treated well by my kind. We have respect for those who have passed, especially those who pass to serve to pave our way into your world." I could hear the respect in this thing's voice. It was serious. The creature saw it as a means to an end, and would honour his sacrifice. Downright bizarre.
It was strange just being here and having something resembling a conversation with this thing that had wreaked so much havoc in my life in such a short time. My anger remained thick, almost palpable, but I was also boggling behind the fear at this situation, having a little chat with this monster. Having something resembling civil conversation with this thing was very off-putting.
"He has been sent through the darkness, and removed from this world. I would have done the same with Heather, but was interupted. However, it was good to let you find her poor, broken body, the way you did." It grinned at me, always enjoying this.
"God, you're lucky I can't lay a hand on you. You fucking monster."
The grin widened, but remained normal, not extending to that evil grin it liked to affect. "Would you like to hurt me? Are you angry? Good. Anger is good. You've buried your emotions for far too long."
I could feel my right hand clenching into a fist again. I was so close to just trying to hit it anyways, even knowing it would be useless, and painful. I was just so incensed by the monster.
My teeth clenched, and I fought back the urge, barely restraining myself. I closed my eyes and held back the tears, refocusing and returning to a calmer state. I glanced back at my twin, and just stared into those empty eyes of its, when suddenly the doorway into the main hall burst open and banged so loudly it caused me to jump, and even my doppleganger looked startled. I took quiet, inward glee whenever that thing was surprised.
Standing there, surrounded by the light of the hall, and almost indistinguishable from being backlit from anyone else, was my friend, the stalker. I looked back over to my doppleganger, and it had disappeared.
"Siobhan," the guy in my doorway shouted. "I heard you shouting as I was passing by, and," he stopped in mid sentence. He looked where the thing had stood, and his eyes nearly fell out of his head, staring at that suddenly empty spot.
"What...what the hell??"
I didn't even know where to start with that question. So many places to start with. "Uhhh, what do you mean?" I tried my best to smile innocently and as nonchalant as possible, but I was probably failing at being very convincing.
"Well, for starters, what the hell?!"
Sighing, I felt my shoulders slump. "Yes, we covered that."
"Was there someone else in here?"
"Um, no?" I fidgeted nervously, hoping desperately that he would buy it, but I knew better.
"Nice try," he said, stepping into my apartment uninvited. He glanced around, trying to find that other person, and not quite realizing, or willing to realize, that it had disappered right before his eyes. That inner protection switch that everyone seemed to have had flipped, maybe.
"Yes, there was someone else here.” Not a lie, at least. In fact, there had been two someones, although both of their disappearances would be hard to explain to someone.
“And uh, where did she go? And was it just me, but did she look just like you?”
Oh, great. He had seen quite a bit. And wasn’t willing to just ignore it all.
“Um, well, she kinda disappeared?” I shrugged and continued to fidget, feeling small and a little nervous.
“She did? I really did see that, then? I...Oh...My head hurts. What the heck?”
I looked around, and walked past him, and closed my door, firmly this time, and making sure it was locked.
“Uhhh, why don’t you have a seat, this could take awhile to explain. Oh, by the way, what is your name?”
“Oh, right. Um, James. James Morgenstern. Sorry about everything earlier,” he said, finally putting a name to the stalking. He glanced uneasily down at his knee.
“Yeah, sorry about causing that, but you did bring it down upon yourself, I’m sure you’d agree.”
He nodded, and sat down at the table between the couch and the kitchen. “So, what happened?”
I had a seat myself across from him, and brushed my curly hair back, for what little good it did me, as it immediately fell right back into my face and over my head. The curse of curls, I suppose. I took a few deep breaths, clearing my thoughts, and clued James in on everything that had happened.
I didn’t want to tell him, but he wasn’t ignoring what had happened when he burst in, catching the twin off guard and making it take immediate action to do its best to hide itself from the stranger. Since he had seen it, and that switch in his brain wasn’t flipping, for whatever reason, I gave him the entire story.
When I was done, a silence hung in the air between us. I had told him everything, from the dreams, to trying to attack it in the library, to Heather’s murder, and Jay’s, and the disposal of his body. He said nothing throughout the entire tale, and I rambled it out quickly. It felt like I’d blurted it all in a single, long, uninterrupted sentence. Maybe I had.
He sat there, taking it all in. His mouth opened several times as he started to say something, but then he stopped and reconsidered his words, or possibly just what he’d heard, slowly wrapping his brain around everything. He shuffled uneasily on his seat, having sat there for quite awhile as I related my day’s events, and also likely from his brain trying to cope from everything it just learned.
He didn’t want to believe a word of it, but with what he had seen, and what I’d just told him supporting themselves, he really didn’t have a lot of choice.
Finally, he broke the silence and formulated an entire sentence. His mouth opened one last time, and hung there before finally blurting it out.
“Ok, you do realize...”
I stopped him short and interupted, knowing exactly where he was going. “Just how crazy this all sounds? Yes. Everyone asks me that when I lay it all out for them. I should really start prefacing it by saying that I know it’s going to sound crazy.”
The nervousness that was etched on his face faded briefly at that, and a little smile broke through it. That was a start, at least.
“Yeah, that probably wouldn’t be an entirely bad idea, babe.” Great, just as I’m warming up to the guy, he has to go and call me that. I hated being called any sort of cutesy name like babe, or chick, or cutie, whatever. Nicknames I could handle, but not that cute, condescending crap a lot of guys liked to try.
I informed James of this, and he apologized, but I could see he wanted to return to the subject at hand.
“So, let me get this straight; if I run into you, and your eyes are blue, I should be afraid?”
“Oh yes, be afraid. Be very afraid. Your lifespan is likely about to come to a very abrupt end.”
He nodded, and clasped his hands together. “Why didn’t it kill me just now? It could have easily done that from what you’ve told me.”
Shrugging, I then clasped my own hands on the table. “I really don’t know. Aside from wanting my life, I really have no idea what it wants, or why it does what it does.” Which was mostly true. I’d formulated a few ideas, but nothing concrete. “It could just be as simple as you not being on the list of people. You weren’t my friend, so maybe you were somehow protected by it. I’m still trying to figure out why you saw it, when no one else has, that it doesn’t want to.”
James lifted his hands and rested his chin on the clasped ball they made, thinking. After awhile, he had regathered his thoughts, and spoke, “Maybe because it was surprised. You said that was possible, and done it a few times yourself. I saw it jump when I crashed through the door, so it was caught off guard, certaily.”
I nodded. It made a little sense, but still didn’t quite explain what was going on. Telling James so, he considered for a few more moments, before continuing to speak. “You said that the tricks, the illusions with looking exactly like you, the eyes, and everything, it requires energy?”
“Yeah, it said if it does it for too long, it has to regroup it’s efforts, and that takes some time.”
He smiled a little. James seemed to like a puzzle almost as much as I did, and he was enjoying wrapping his brain around this little enigma. “Well, maybe that trick with Jay’s body took a lot of her, and probably hiding from people too takes energy, but maybe just a little, so it’s easy to do. Maybe it had stopped using that ability, to regather its strength, until it could do more illusions and stuff. So it wasn’t actively hiding from people when I came charging through, and bam there it was. It made the best decision it could, drained from everything it had done, with looking like you, Jay, the eyes, everything, and hoped for the best by disappearing.”
I was surprised. That actually sounded halfway plausible. I arched my eyebrows in astonishment as he laid out his theory, amazed at how well thought out it was, on such short noticed. There was a brain underneath that short red hair of his.
“Huh, that actually sounds pretty good. You seem to know quite a bit about this stuff.”
He blushed a little, and looked down at the table. “Yeah, this sorta thing is a little bit of a hobby of mine. I love folklore, magic, all that stuff. If you ever come into my apartment, you’ll see bookshelves filled with books on it, unexplained mysteries, UFOs. It’s actually rather frightening. I don’t brag about it, since I have an image to keep up, but I do love the hidden mysteries of the world.”