The Friday Muse – Doppelgänger

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The crows feet. The crows feet at the corners of my eyes, the ones I’ve been trying to get rid of with that expensive beauty cream I saw on television late one night. She has those crows feet. That crease in my forehead, she has that too. Not very attractive, but there’s not much I can do about that. She even has my mouth, with the way she grins that jaded smile, developed over a lifetime of pain and betrayal. Even her clothes are the same. Her height. Her weight (I would imagine). Each of her curves is identical to mine. Each bulge of flesh, and scar from years of abuse. She shares all of them with me.

But the eyes…

The eyes are different. Those eyes staring back at me from within the mirrors and chrome and other shiny surfaces, those aren’t mine. They hold too much darkness to be mine, too much depth. There are other worlds in those eyes, worlds I have no desire to visit, darkness I have no desire to confront.

“It’s astonishing how high you hold yourself,” she says to me on occasion. “So proud. So lofty. As if you and your kind could not be extinguished with the flick of a wrist.”

“Please,” I beg, “go away.”

She grins that jaded grin. “You know I can’t do that. We have a job to do.”

“I won’t do it,” I decide, as I have on many other occasions.

The doorbell to my flat rings. I can suddenly smell the chicken I left on the stove, burning to a crisp as white smoke drifts through the hallway toward my bedroom.

But she won’t let me go to turn off the stove or answer the door. She keeps me planted here, firmly, under duress. Those eyes are like ebony anchors, weighing down my soul, tying my spirit to her form and function.

“You’ll lure him in like you did the rest. Play on his fragile heart. And then strike when he’s least expecting it.”

“I don’t want to do this anymore.” My voice, ashamedly, comes out raspy. My hands are trembling, but I notice no trembling in my reflection.

Her pupils dilate wider, and I’m taken in by that darkness, that void. I realize I will in fact do what she tells me to do. Because I have no choice.

I had a friend once who specialized in the arcane. He used to talk my ears off about demons and artifacts, witchcraft and darker spells. He had a library full of books that covered everything that you didn’t know you wanted to hear about. He warned me once of Glassons, manipulative demons who could control the weak-minded through reflective surfaces. I didn’t believe him.

I believe him now.


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