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 Doppelgänger -- A Short Story [6k+]

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High_Inquisitor

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Posts : 139
Join date : 2010-10-13
Age : 27
Location : Bloomington-Normal, IL

PostSubject: Doppelgänger -- A Short Story [6k+]   Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:43 am

Happy New Year! And good riddance to the old one! What did it ever do for anyone anyway!? Laughing

For your reading pleasures, a short story! It pays homage to my good buddy and influence E. A. Poe. Besides, it's been a while since I've done anything like this!

Without further ado, Doppelgänger!

***

It is almost absurdly simple, this narrator believes, to look at another person and see similarities between the two men standing across the street—the other being you, of course—provided, of course, that you look hard enough to spot any similarities at all. Some people, it seems, can waltz through life without a care in the world; this is only because they do not (or, perhaps to some, will not) take the time to observe the others around them and find out who exactly they are instead of who they pretend to be. These simpletons will never appreciate the beauty and horror of how life can be imitated and ever so slightly altered. Sadly, most do not seem to care about how others can horribly affect their lives and well-being until it is too late.

Please, though, do not refer to me as mad or insane or raving or maniacal or any other of those words used to condemn the institutionalized; I must implore you that I was, as I still am to this very day, as level-headed and methodical as any normal man. However, my actions may be viewed as unsightly or macabre. Nevertheless, I continued to act in the manner that I did out of pure terror and superstition. It was not because I hated the man that I performed these actions: no, I could never truly hate another human being, for that was completely out of my character, and someone as knowledgeable as I could never stoop down to that level; I could, however, learn to loathe another man, to dread his company and fear his existence while mine was still upon this earth. That, dear reader, is completely instinctual and cannot be avoided, no matter how much once tries to elude its corrupting influence.

Strangely, I almost forgot the sequence of events that led to my loathing for him. I could only remember the first time I met him, but then I fail to recall any sort of semblance of event until his untimely demise. This somehow amuses me, seeing the events of my past plucked out from my head as rotten cherries from a dead tree. The seed had been planted, the tree springs to life much later; no one notices the growth of each inch or centimeter until they have collectively piled themselves together. Only the final product of my loathing could be seen, but by then it had produced such fruits of toxic envy and fear that my very blood ran cold at the sight of the withered and decrepit foliage, much less the thought of biting into the sickening juices produced.

But I digress. Allow me to start from the very beginning, before he comes into the picture at all. I was born to a loving father—my mother died shortly after my birth, but from what I recall my father telling me about her, she was a lovely woman and would have been extremely proud of me—the only son of his. He was a scholarly man, but somewhat superstitious at that. Some of that superstitious nature must have rubbed itself off upon me when I left the home at age sixteen to join the military; sadly, I was a horrible shot and my physique was not necessarily the best in the class. Like my father before me, I decided to study mythology at the University instead. It seemed a much safer alternative than the constant peril of war.

After graduating from the University (what degree I received from the school itself is of little importance to me), I began to look for a job—any job—that could support someone like myself. There were not many prestigious job positions available for someone fresh out of college, but I would be happy with whatever sort of work I could find. In fact, my first job was as a dishwasher, then I quickly became a mason (the kind that lays bricks), a carpenter, a tailor, a leatherworker, a poet, and an aspiring philosopher before I was finally offered a job maintaining a library in the middle of the city. Finally, an occupation in which my studies of books could enlighten me!

I had worked at this library for a many number of years, always seeing new and familiar faces walk in and out of the doors every day. One regular that came to the library under my care every week was a man by the name of Byron P. Monteague. This man, who preferred to be referred to as Monty by his close acquaintances, came every week to discuss the works of such authors as Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Nietzsche, among other influential philosophers. Monty continued to be an influence to my continued work with literature, and he and I became quite good friends.

Upon returning to my small apartment one day I received a letter notifying me that my father had passed away. His funeral was to take place back at the family home outside of the city, and I had to leave almost immediately in order to make the proper arrangements for the ceremony. I was saddened immensely by this fact, despite our discontinued correspondence between each other. This, coupled with the fact that with both of us being intellectuals we preferred to somewhat distance ourselves from others to concentrate on our studies, made me weep bitter tears as they stained the letter, blotching the ink slightly. I invited Monty to come along with me, if only to bring with me a sympathetic shoulder to cry upon.

I had returned to the house of my birth out in the country. Monty especially loved the architecture along the roof—the gargoyles scorned us from atop their perches on the roof, condemning us to damnation as we walked into the house. Inside, however, was a somewhat calmer scene, with preparations that needed to be made and mourners to invite.

I decided that the funeral would be held at the house itself; most of the mourners I invited were family friends—at least, that was what my father had called them—and they knew where the house was. We were not able to put on an extravagant funeral, but it was modest and small enough to be a respectable one. The coffin was brought, the measurements for the formalwear were taken, and soon enough the funeral was upon us. I was given the honor (some would rather call it a privilege, others a curse or nightmare scenario come to life) of writing and reading my father’s eulogy. I was able to piece together a fitting speech that he would have thought highly of, and I was not too frightened of speaking in front of a crowd of strangers; I had little to be nervous about.

However, when I went up to the small podium that was so graciously brought in to make speeches upon, I found myself somewhat petrified at what predicament I had gotten myself into. As much as I loved my father dearly, I knew not the correct words to say, at least those that came from the heart. I looked down at my sheet of paper and stared for just a moment at the black ink that swirled itself around the page; looking back up in an attempt to reorient myself to the current situation, I saw presently nothing but a sea of black clothing and hats and veils in a sparsely-lit room. The faces of those there became blank; there was no sadness nor sympathy nor rage nor depression that lingered in the air. Suddenly I began to feel somewhat nauseous as I looked away from the tepid, blank faces and back to my sheet and began to read my father’s eulogy.

No sooner had I began my speech that I looked up at the door. It seemed that someone was running a bit late and had just made it to the ceremony. I continued my speech, staring at the intruder in black. His black fedora covered his face and cast a shadow of mystery upon his character, but it looked strangely familiar, almost as if he had bought the same exact one that I had only a few months earlier. His formalwear looked to be extremely similar, if not identical, to the same that I had had fitted for me no earlier than a week and a half prior, yet he made no move to remove his jacket or his hat. My gaze finally lifted from this strange character as I finished my speech with some newfound fluctuation in my voice—was this doubt? Perhaps sadness or guilt? I have often wondered to myself about this very feeling since giving this eulogy, but have yet to come up with a legitimate answer—and promptly left the room.

The other mourners came out of the room slowly and with tears in their eyes. They once again came up to me and imparted upon me their sympathies and condolences for my loss. However, the man in the black hat did not come out with the rest of the group. Monty found me drinking a glass of water and shaking hands with some of the mourners that had come out of the room with the coffin.

“I must say that you gave quite the speech,” Monty consoled me as I took yet another nervous sip of water. “Your father, bless his soul, would have been proud of your work in the city and the speech that you gave today.” I nodded and then excused myself from the monotony of hand-shaking to take my friend aside and request his aid in a manner most unusual.

“Monty, you were in the room as I gave my father’s eulogy, correct?” I asked with a bit of residual fright in my voice. My stomach had calmed itself considerably since the speech, but I was still put off about the man in black that had come into the room during my speech.

“Correct, sir. You saw me, remember?” he laughed and patted me on the back in jest.

“Are you aware,” I replied, “that someone came into the room that I did not recognize nor remember inviting to this funeral []iwearing almost exactly the same clothing as myself[/i] and did nothing but stand at the back of the room while I gave my speech?” I shot a glance behind me to make sure that I was not being eavesdropped upon and that the man in black had not yet come out of the room behind us.

“I had no idea!” he replied in shock. He looked behind me at the door to the room in which the guests were walking out of. “Is he still in there? Mourning for your father, I mean.”

He and I looked back at the doors, which had been only seconds before opened for the guests to pour out. We looked through the guests that had exited the room to mourn but there was no such guest bedecked in the same clothes as myself. I began to loosen myself a bit, and my composure gradually came back to me. Perhaps I had only imagined him, I told myself, and the newfound grief that I have found from my father’s death is finally coming to fruition in the strangest manner possible.

Monty and I quietly opened the doors to the room with the coffin in it. Above the coffin stood the aforementioned figure with the black hat upon his head. Monty looked at me with a sense of awe and confusion after studying the figure I had until this very moment thought that I had imagined. I quietly closed the door behind him, as to be respectful to this guest (for he still was a guest, albeit an uninvited one) who had come to mourn my father.

“Who exactly is that?” I asked Monty after relocating ourselves away from the other guests who had begun to leave the ceremony.

“I’m not sure,” replied my dear friend, clearly as perplexed at the current situation as myself. “Perhaps he is the Grim Reaper, come to take your father’s eternal soul as his own into the next life!” he joked.

“Shh!” I commanded as Monty’s demeanor changed from one of some frivolity to one of stern gravity at the realization of the situation. “This man, while he may have indeed known my father from sometime in his past, came uninvited and I intend to find out who he is and what relation he had to my father.”

I gathered my courage and walked into the room with the coffin still laying in it. The man in black had not moved from the last time Monty and I had looked into the room. I slowly walked over to my father’s coffin, the heels of my shoes tapping against the ground. There was a slight echo that reverberated through the room, but the stranger at the coffin took no notice of my entrance.

I stood behind him, his back facing me. Finally he took off his hat and placed it upon his chest. I was startled and forced myself to suppress the gasp that would have most certainly escaped my lips. The stranger had the same haircut as my own figure, with short black hair upon the top of his cranium. He then whispered something in such a voice so quiet that I had to strain to hear that he was in fact whispering and not breathing. With hat upon his chest still he turned around and walked to the back door, eyes trained upon the ground on which he walked.

I took this time to look upon his face, for this was in fact the first time that I was able to see the face of the stranger. As he passed me and reached out for the door handle, I came upon a stunning realization that haunts me to this very day:

His face was exactly the same as mine.

He grasped the door handle and placed the fedora atop his head once again. I watched in stunned silence as he opened the door and walked out of the room. Had it been a trick of the light? How could this man that I had never before seen in my entire life be exactly like myself?! It was preposterous to think that I had a twin brother; my father had always assured me as a young boy that I was the only child that my mother ever brought into this world! And yet, his face!—His face was identical to my own! Genetics could never replicate the same face twice in the millions of years that the Homo Sapiens have dominated the earth, yet it was as plain as day!

I rushed out of the room and ran promptly into Monty, who was quite literally about to walk into the room I had just exited. I picked up Monty by the shoulders and rushed him into the kitchen. I locked the door behind us and proceeded to talk in hushed tones—my voice was almost completely gone from fear, you see.

“Did you see him!? The man in the black fedora!?” I whispered in almost a shrill yelp.

“What man? I saw no other man,” Monty replied.

I clawed his shoulders in a frenzy that had never before come over me. I began to shake him violently as if he were a rag doll and I was a child that was too destructive for his own good. “What do you mean, you did not see him!?” I nearly screamed. “He is sitting out there, at the end of the hallway, plain as the moon is above our heads now!”

“Calm down! I saw him, I did! Can’t you take a joke?” Monty assured me. I glared at him and he immediately wiped his smug smirk off his face. “You need to calm down just a bit there; I understand you are grieving for your father, but there is a time and a place, and this is not quite the best place for it, my friend.”

“How can I grieve when there is a man with my face sitting in the other room!?” I whispered loudly. I let go of my friend and he stared back at me with a worried look in his eye.

“What do you mean, with your face?” Monty asked.

I took him to the door and opened it slowly. The man in the fedora was sitting on a comfortable armchair in the dining room at the end of the hallway. I immediately closed the door after I was certain he saw the man in black sitting there.

“That man,” I began, “was mourning at my father’s coffin when I walked in. He did not notice me when I came into the room, but took off his hat in respect. When he turned around, I got a good look at his face and I saw it was exactly the same, Monty! It looked identical to my own face, Monty! How is this explainable?” I was nearly at the point of desperation.

“Calm down, my friend,” Monty began to quiet me from my hysteria. “Are you certain that this man, who you claim looks exactly like you, has not been seen by anyone else?” I nodded.

“Then we may be facing a doppelgänger after all,” Monty assured me. “Next to Death himself coming to a funeral, this is quite possibly the worst event that can befall any one person.”

I had only heard the term a few times before, but it still captivated me to listen to Monty’s explanation of what curse (what I had begun to call this, seeing as there was a lack of a better term to call it) had befallen upon me at my own father’s funeral.

“A doppelgänger, my friend, is a rare sight to behold, if there ever was one. It appears as a mirror image of a figure right before they are supposed to die. It has been said that President Abraham Lincoln saw his before he was assassinated. Not everyone sees theirs—sometimes out of fear or ridicule, they never tell anyone that they see it either; but sometimes, very rarely, like Lincoln one is able to watch their doppelgänger before they die, up to a few months or so.”

The color drained immediately from my face at the realization that I was doomed. I was horrified to learn that I only had at most three months to live—and not from any disease that ate my flesh away or a gunshot wound gone awry would I meet my demise, but because this thing that has taken the form of a man—my form—and has cursed me with nothing more than his presence! I was doomed, damned to a premature death!

I slowly opened the door and looked out to where I had seen the man in black previously, but he had vanished sometime between then and now. Monty and I were utterly alone in the house, save for my father’s corpse.

“He’s not there,” I opened the door wide for Monty to satiate his curiosity, for him to see that my fear was no longer there at the end of the hallway to torment me. Monty took a tentative step out into the hall, then another, and another, until finally his form relaxed and his tension was released utterly. He beckoned me to follow him to the front door and see him off. I followed in his footsteps and crept slowly towards the end of the hallway, fearing that my new foe would jump out and scare me to death. No such event occurred.

“Please, friend, get some sleep,” Monty assured me as he walked out onto the front steps in the night air. “The library will always be waiting for you, so take the time to recover yourself first. Your health and well-being is much more important than your job.” I nodded and we parted ways for the night.

And now I was alone in my father’s house—my childhood home and prison. I locked the doors behind my friend and then promptly checked and double-checked each door and accessible window to make sure they were completely and utterly locked as well. I walked to the kitchen in an effort to pour myself a glass of water to help calm my nerves, but my hands were shaking from what knowledge Monty had imparted on me only minutes before. I was condemned to death—death! that blissful sleep where no manner of doppelgänger could ever haunt me—and had little time to spare before it.

I must take the time to pause from this tale and explain that I am not mad, even after this description of what was haunting me. Some may call me delirious from denial, others confused from the ceremony; still, the idea of some thing out to kill me for no reason haunted me. I saw what I saw, and my eyes never before have deceived me; that is to say, however, that not all can be deceived.

Again, I digress. I was, and still am to this day, a light sleeper by nature, so when I endeavored to try and sleep I found myself unable to find the blissful slumber that others encounter so easily and effortlessly. I continued to toss and turn, constantly waking and screaming and pacing around the room and sweating profusely and dreaming about the next life, to no avail. I knew that I was about to die, and it was now only a small matter of time.

Suddenly, from downstairs I heard—yes, I heard it, quite distinctly and above my constant ramblings—a door open and close, followed by footsteps that echoed through the empty hallways. Terrified and curious, I grabbed a robe and threw it over my almost-nude figure, but not before fumbling through the bedside drawer and finding a knife there—why my father insisted on keeping weapons in the bedside drawers, I cannot begin to fathom such an idea.

I stealthily walked down the darkened upper hallway, clutching the knife I found hidden in the drawer in my sweaty fist. I came upon the stairs and slowly descended to the main floor, taking every precaution to not alert the intruder to my presence and, subsequently, my awareness of his presence in my house.

At first, I looked around the main floor for valuables that could be targeted in an attempt to burgle my father’s house, but whoever had forced their way into the house surely did not take the time to abscond with my father’s china or his tomes of knowledge. I looked at the door, and I saw that was still locked, much to my surprise. Had I left the door unlocked?—I thought to myself in a panic. No, I had not!—I assured my hysteria; I had checked and checked again to make sure that every single lock kept intruders out of my father’s ancestral home and kept my mourning and grieving inside in isolation.

I heard a door close at the end of the hallway. The room with the coffin! What valuables were in there?—I could not remember, but I felt the duty to protect them, if not for my sake then for my father’s sake and his honor! I crept down the lower hall, as quietly as I could make my feet move. I slowly pulled the knife out from underneath my robe, in preparation for what could be a bloody confrontation.

I slowly turned the knob of the door and pushed inwards. The room was empty and dark, save for the intruder. He stood over my father’s coffin, as if paying respects to him at the most inappropriate of hours. The nerve of this intruder to break into my house of grieving and then pay respect to my father without my knowledge! I quickly found the light and the room turned from black to white.

Why had I not foreseen this sooner?! My doppelgänger had come back to kill me this very night!

The figure near the coffin made no sudden movement, no startled realization that he was no longer alone in the room and that his intrusion was not welcome. With knife in hand, I walked over to the intruder and spun him to meet my gaze. His identical face looked into mine as I plunged the blade into his chest. The black suit he wore began to stain red from the blood that dripped from his wounds and onto the floor. I stabbed him again in the chest, closer to the heart, and again and again and again! Up and down! Back and forth! Blade of silver now dyed red, stained with blood and now he’s dead! The blood made his suit heavy as he fell to the ground with a glazed look in his eyes.

Death! Ha! I had just defeated my own destruction! The smell of blood began to saturate itself into the carpet as the flow stopped and the residual life dripped slowly from the creature’s wounds. I had defeated my own certain doom, but now I needed to be rid of it permanently.

In the cellar of my father’s house lies an unfinished room. He originally would have made it a small addition to his already-extensive study, but I surmised that it would have made an equally-suitable hiding spot for this corpse until I could find a solution to my problem. I had no idea how to inconspicuously rid myself of a corpse, but in the next few days I had to find a solution or be condemned to die in prison.

It took twenty grueling, bloody minutes, but I managed to drag the body down to the cellar and into the alcove. It sat there, looking at me and through me simultaneously, smirking to itself as if it was hiding a secret from me by dying. I shuddered to think of a more tumultuous time in my life—a death, a superstition coming to life, a murder, a cover-up, all within the course of a week!—but failed to amuse myself with any such thoughts. I turned the corpse around to avert the dead gaze from my already-weak frame. I could stand to look at my work no longer; there was planning to be done.

I thought of several options that night on how to dispose of the body; some, like entombing the corpse in the alcove, proved to be too arduous and labor-intensive to be of any use to one like myself; others, like throwing the body into a vat of sulfuric acid, were impractical, expensive and all-together too suspicious. I settled on the simplest option that night: burning the body; it was simple and fast.

Gathering up the leftover firewood from my father’s woodshed, I set up a funeral pyre for the dead double. I felt somewhat ashamed in doing this, but it had to be done. The creature in my father’s basement foretold of my demise, and I was determined to erase all traces of this demon from existence before others succumbed to its power.

Once again, I dragged the body up the stairs to the main floor. It was much more labor-intensive than the previous time, considering that gravity was working against me as well. I managed to bring the body to the funeral pyre, where its face, still twisted in that mockery of a grin, taunted me from beyond the mortal veil! It was hideous to think that this being could in fact be mocking me even in death, yet here it was! I stared at its face, its identical face, and turned it around. I did not need to look at myself to know what I had done; I poured some kerosene upon the dry wood, lit a match, and stood back as the pyre went up almost immediately. As much as it pained me to do so, I stayed and watched the corpse burn. I had to assure myself that it would not come back and try and harm me again. The stench was overwhelming and made me gag many times, but I was determined to outlast the fiend and watch him burn to oblivion.

When the fire finally put itself out, I gathered the ashes and scattered them to the winds. I smiled for the first time in what seemed like ages; my threat was no more! Happy day! Joyous occasion! Feeling much better as the sun began to peek over the horizon, I managed to walk back into the house, up to my room, and fall asleep for a few hours. It was quite a restful slumber.

A rapid knocking at the front door roused me from my sleep some time later. Feeling rested and well-adjusted, I put on my robe and ran down the stairs to find my good friend Monty had come to visit me. I unlocked the door and then opened it to allow him to enter the main hall.

“Monty!” I cried out, masking the dread of what devilish act I had performed earlier that day with feigned joviality. “How good it is to see you this day! Come in, come in!” I grabbed him by the hand and dragged him into my father’s home.

“It is nice to see you looking better today, especially after your father’s death and the funeral,” my friend replied. “I wanted to come by and check on how you were feeling today, see if your condition has improved.” Oh, dearest Monty, if know you knew what I had to go through to improve my condition, then you may truly feel the joy and freedom that I felt that afternoon.

“Shall I get you a glass of water, Monty? Or perhaps a scotch?” I asked him as he made himself comfortable in the room. “A Scotch for you and me, my friend!” I shouted back as I made my way down the hall towards the kitchen where the celebratory nectar was kept. I could already taste the strong liquor in my mouth; I felt it was a drink for my victory over my potential killer.

And then the smell—faint at first, but distinct! The blood from the previous night still tainted my nostrils! Ugh! The smell wafted up from below and insulted my delicate sense of smell. It made me sick to my stomach, the stench! It completely set off my thirst for scotch and something with less taste. I guess a glass of water will have to do instead.

No sooner did I begin to walk over to the tap than I passed a mirror hanging in the kitchen. It was strange, seeing this mirror hanging in the kitchen, but then again, at least to me, looking in any mirror always seemed somewhat unusual to me. I never really seemed to like the way I looked to myself, but this particular time something caught my eye. I only saw it out of the corner of my eye, but it was still noticeable enough for me to stare at myself in the reflective glass.

I looked at myself in the mirror, holding a glass of water. I looked somewhat disheveled from the events of the previous night, but that was to be expected with all things considered. However, I noticed a dark figure in the corner of the mirror staring back at me. It wore all black, much like formalwear one would wear at a funeral, and wore a black fedora much like the one I had upstairs in my room. Startled, I dropped my glass of water and it shattered on the floor. Hearing the clatter, Monty ran into the room, startled and out of breath.

“What just happened in here?” he asked, looking down to the glass on the floor.

I looked back at my friend, then at the shattered glass on the ground, then back to the mirror. The figure had disappeared from the glass, much to my surprise. I looked to the back of the room where he was in the mirror, but he was nowhere to be found.

“There was—I saw---he was—” I tried to explain to Monty, but then I realized that he would not listen to me. After all, I had only imagined the man in the mirror, for when I looked back to the mirror on the wall he was gone and it was only me. Strange that I had seen him only thirty seconds ago, staring back at me from the back of the room. Somewhat shaken, I found the scotch for Monty and I grabbed myself a second glass and some water.

“Are you sure you’re all right? You’re throwing glasses on the floor and you’re scared of your own shadow!” Monty joked. As usual, Monty finds the most inappropriate time to joke about my state of mind.

After he finished his scotch and I my water, Monty looked at me with earnest and really questioned my state of mind. For once he was legitimately concerned about my well-being. He was afraid that I had taken his doppelgänger story to heart, considering the way I was acting. Feeling cold at the mention of that beast, I excused myself to wash my hands and use the restroom.

I locked myself in my bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror. I turned on the faucet and splashed the cold water onto my face. I was slowly losing it! The blood smell had not left my nostrils—no, if anything the scent had gotten stronger since I broke the glass of water! I looked back up and gasped to see that the man in black was back in the mirror, and closer than before! He made no movement, only staring at me from underneath that damned fedora! In a fit of newfound fury I took a small soap dish and shattered the mirror. The glass shards fell to the sink and the floor; never before had I cared to break a mirror to find out whether the common superstition of bad luck befalling the unlucky fellow, but with my newfound curse of the black man I felt damned in either case.

It was at this moment that I saw blood begin to flow from underneath the door! I thought I had cleaned it up from the previous night! Where did all of this red liquid come from all of a sudden? Has Monty found the liquid that has churned up from underneath the floorboards!? I only killed one fiend, yet the blood that came rushing to my feet seemed to come from one hundred duplicates! How can the flow be stopped!? I prayed that Monty did not find the blood that continued to ooze from underneath the carpet and stain the floorboards!

Monty opened the door to find me standing in the bathroom, glass shards at my feet and my hands above my face. When I looked down back at my feet, the floors were inexplicably clean once again. How did the sea of blood disappear!? It had been so vivid! Had it also been imagined!? No, it could not have been!

“What has happened to you, my friend? Dropping glasses on the floor and breaking mirrors! What next, we find a body in your cellar?” Monty asked with the sort of twisted humor I had come to expect from him at this type of situation.

Suddenly, at the end of the hall I saw it! The body I had stabbed and burned only earlier that night! How had it moved from beyond the grave to rematerialize in my parlor!? I could take stand it no longer! Running back down to the cellar to grab the discarded blade from my previous kill, I found the corpse once again in the place where I had left it last night! With a shriek that had never before escaped from my throat I stabbed the corpse that continued to haunt me. Once in the chest, once in the stomach, the head! Stab, stab, stab the damned creature back to the hell that spawned it! It shall torment me no longer!

In my rage I did not hear Monty follow me down into the basement. He saw me there, stabbing this body that had been my doppelgänger repeatedly, wallowing in the blood of the fiend that drove me to this madness!

“This is what your story has driven me to do!” I cried at the man standing upon my cellar floor staring at my work in horror. “The murder of my harbinger of death, but it has come back to haunt me for the rest of my decrepit existence! I have burned it upon a pyre and yet it comes back to talk me even after I have utterly destroyed it! See what your fiendish fantasies have done to me, Monty! Can you not smell the blood on my hands!?”

How horrifying for him to see me in such a deplorable state! But how satisfying for him to finally see that I had killed the curse he had created for me! For I knew I was damned to a life of hellfire and torture, even on this earth, but at least I could relish in the fact that I prolonged my increasingly shortened existence on this pathetic planet!

***

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PostSubject: Re: Doppelgänger -- A Short Story [6k+]   Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:44 am

Nooo! That ending left me with questions what need answering: was the figure real, or just a figment of the man's imagination and impending lunacy? I would say the former, being that Monty could see him, but all those glimpses in the mirror, post-mortem, signify some sort of hallucinations were taking place.

All in all, an incredibly admirable take on a classic author's style. I really enjoyed it! I must say, I do remember there already being a Poe story of a man confronting his doppleganger, and was happy to find that this tale was not derivative of it. I think I'm going to use that "clone" prompt myself; I'll post the resulting effort if it's worth the reading.
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PostSubject: Re: Doppelgänger -- A Short Story [6k+]   Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:32 pm

There was already a Poe story where he confronts a doppelganger!? Which one and why haven't I heard of it yet!? I shall be looking this story up with all haste!!!

I was hoping to leave the ending somewhat ambiguous; the whole unreliable first-person narrator is very interesting. I was also possibly going with the idea that Monty was potentially egging him on and joking about everything (because, as the narrator himself said, Monty tends to crack jokes at the most inopportune times...and I chose his name after Monty Python, so I thought it would have been somewhat obvious...but it might not have been).

I'm glad that you liked it, though! Tell your friends about me!
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PostSubject: Re: Doppelgänger -- A Short Story [6k+]   Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:15 pm

The Monty Python reference went right over my head, as well as the possibility that the character was just playing along. I think it might have to be a bit more obvious for us obtuse readers. pig

The story Poe wrote is called "William Wilson" and is one of my favorites. I definitely recommend a swift reading of it to see how the man himself covered the topic.

I'll uh... get on top of informing my friends... right-quick like....
(what friends?)
Ssh! Don't let 'em know!
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