Daily Prompt: Doppelgänger Alert

28. Oktober 2014 at 02:47 (Posts in English) (, , , , , , , , )

You step into an acquaintance’s house for the first time, and discover that everything — from the furniture, to the books, to the art on the wall — is identical to your home. What happens next?

Another Daily Prompt: Doppelgänger Alert

You can check out the other Daily Prompts I’ve written here:

Daily Prompt: If You Leave
Daily Prompt: The Heat Is On
Daily Prompt: Now You See Me

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“So, where did you get all of this stuff?“, I asked while eyeing her furniture which looked suspiciously familiar.
“Oh, I don’t know… It has all piled up over the years, I guess…”, she answered, smiling at me self-consciously. “Do you think it’s tacky?”
“No, no – not at all. Actually, I really like your style”, I tried to fake a reassuring grin, while panic clawed at my insides with icy fingers. “Suzie, would you excuse me for a moment?”
I turned and quickly climbed the stairs. Only then did I realise that I hadn’t even waited for her to give me the directions to the bathroom. I instantly knew where it was.

I closed the toilet lid and sat down on the cold, white plastic. I bent over to rest my head on my knees, trying to catch my breath. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw today’s paper lying on the bluish tiles. The page with the crossword puzzle was on top, half of the words filled in. I took a closer look – exactly the same spaces where left empty as in my own paper. I spent a minute trying to figure out at least one other clue, so I could fill it in – and make a small difference in our seemingly identical lives. But my mind was oddly and utterly blank.

As I sat contemplating whether this was merely a coincidence, I heard a knock on the door. “Are you okay?”, Suzie was asking, only just loud enough for me to be able to make out her words.
I sighed, washed my hands and walked shakily to the door. I felt like I was carrying a heavy weight on my shoulders. “I’m sorry, I thought I was going to be sick – but it’s okay now, don’t worry”, I lied.
“Do you want a cup of tea?”, she asked me, while we were heading back to the living room.
“Yes please”, I answered automatically, because tea was my favourite drink. “And I’m not really feeling okay”, I suddenly burst out.

“No? What’s wrong?”, she replied.
“Just about everything. Your flat looks exactly like mine, you have the same furniture, the same books, even the art on the walls is the same – I can’t believe this is a coincidence anymore!”, I cried out desperately.
“Well, of course it isn’t. Do you think it was a coincidence that we became acquainted with each other?”, she raised her eyebrows at me and shook her head slowly, as though she couldn’t understand how I could ever have thought otherwise.

“I don’t understand…”, I whispered.
“I’m not trying to steal your identity, if that’s what you’re thinking”, she replied. “I already am you. A better, improved version of yourself, if you will. I invited you to my home today, because it’s time that I replace you once and for all”, she explained. “I’m not going to kill you”, she said in reaction to my violent trembling and the horrified look in my eyes. “You will do it yourself, when you realise that I can live your life better than you ever could.”

The seconds in which I processed her words seemed to be stretching to infinity. I felt all the power slowly drain from my muscles. I only felt gratitude to my body as my mind went blank for the second time this day and I sagged to the floor.

It was my mum who helped me up. I didn’t know how much time had passed between the encounter with my alter ego and mum finding me on the kitchen floor. “You forgot to take your medication again, honey”, she whispered softly, while she half walked, half carried me over to the couch. “I don’t know, if we can go on like this much longer, Suzie…”, she sighed and kissed me on the forehead before she went to the bathroom to get me my pills.

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Gum

7. Oktober 2014 at 20:50 (Posts in English) (, , , , , , )

We were not at all like two planets, peacefully circling around each other in a state of constant gravitational attraction. We rather resembled two meteors that had violently collided on their way down to Earth, coming from different directions and homes. Instead of being a bright shooting star, peacefully lighting the night sky, I had become involved in an explosion where not only my own hopes and dreams had been shattered, but also the hopes and dreams of somebody else.

When we first met in the coffee shop, I was certain that I hated him – even before he had opened his mouth to utter the very words we would later heartily laugh about: “I’m sorry to bother you, but there is chewing gum sticking to your backside.” While I tried to assess the damage done to my beautiful black trousers, he kept talking. I was hardly listening while he went on and on about how he hoped that I didn’t have an important meeting today, because it would be horrible if I had to present myself to someone parading this disgustingly pink gum stain.

I interrupted him rather rudely: “It’s okay, thanks for telling me. I think I have to get going, though.” I grabbed my coffee cup and headed to the doors.
“Wait!”, he cried and threw himself in my way, making me spill some of my coffee (thankfully right on the floor, without a detour over the rest of my clothes). “I put the gum there. I didn’t know how to get your attention, so I tried something stupid.” He shrugged his shoulders apologetically.

I would have liked to throw the rest of my deliciously hot coffee in his face, but that would have been a disgrace to the nicely ground and tenderly brewed coffee beans themselves. I looked him straight in the eye and hissed: “Well done. I’ll give you my business card, so you can call me when you want to pay for the cleaning of my pants.”
He accepted it and I stormed out before he could say anything else, hoping he would leave me alone.

However, life is cruel. And after weeks of flowers being delivered to my office and dinner invitations voiced over the phone, I caved in and said yes. He whisked me away to the most beautiful restaurants in the city, candle-lit and with a perfect view of the illuminated skyline. Who could resist the peculiar charm of a man, willing to do anything to make you happy and being consistent enough to never give up, even when you push him away?

Five months later, we were a couple. Three months after that, we lived together. And another month later, he proposed to me by handing me a packet of gum with a ring nestled between the silver foils. We were preparing to collide at the speed of light.

I saw him last week, walking his dog in the park where we once had a picnic, the dreadfully drooling Great Dane marking its territory right where we had sat then. A friend has told me that he works at a dry cleaner’s now, after he has lost his job because he was too depressed to show up regularly. He is in a bad shape and I wish I could help him. But ever since our divorce, I haven’t been feeling too well myself. The only thing that makes me smile, nowadays, is secretly sticking old gum to people’s trouser seats.

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