Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

A Self Torn in Two By Vicky Bryan

If one man ever possessed two selves, it was Clarence.

With Janette, he was caring and kind, ensuring that she was never put out in any way, whatsoever and always, always listening to her hours of meaningless, superficial conversations.

Janette was older and had a lot of money and one day, Janette would die, potentially leaving him with her vast wealth.

With Verity, he was rude, exciting and fun. Verity’s beauty excited him beyond belief and he just could not control himself with her. He made her listen to his hours of messages and promised that he would leave her his wealth when he died, although he knew he never would.

One day, he noticed that his skin looked odd and saggy, when he looked in the mirror. He pulled on it surreptitiously.

“Do you notice anything different about my skin here, Janette?” he asked, as he knocked his arm on the doorway coming out of the petite bathroom.

Janette was on the telephone talking to her nearly-dead aunt and refused to pay attention to Clarence.

Clarence prodded her, but she swatted him away and turned her back on him.

Desperately, he jumped in front of her and mouthed, “I’m going to see Verity now,” and picked up his passport.

Janette snapped back to attention and immediately ended her call. She was, after all, a female and human. “What were you asking me?” she conceded.

“Does my skin look strange to you here?” he questioned, pulling at the the lower half of his left jaw.

“No.”

“I think there’s something wrong with it,” he demonstrated, pulling at the side of his face in an exaggerated manner, but it was of no use.

Janette turned around, uncaringly.

Clarence smiled to himself, because he felt it was the way they connected.

As he stepped out of the door, however, he felt a layer of himself separate itself from him.

He turned around to where he had felt the layer slip away from him.

As he turned, he faced himself. “What are you doing?” he questioned the part of himself.

The other self did not answer. It just turned and walked back into Janette’s apartment.

Clarence called out to it; “Hey! What are you doing?” He ran over to the window to see what this self was doing. He watched through the window, horrified, as he watched the self greet Janette.

They kissed and then, then, then she stabbed him.

Clarence watched his self make motions as if screaming out in agony and watched as the knife impaled his skin repeatedly. He was too frightened to help his self, so he stood there, looking in at Janette, who had only paid attention to him when he was having affairs and there she was, stabbing who she thought he was to death, almost delightedly, dancing. He wondered if it might be possible, of course, that far from being one, he may be in possession of two selves.

He became one.


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