Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Mr Handke By John Mulligan

It felt Halloween night, but it was not Halloween night; it was a night like any other night. When the night time came, in Mr Handke’s home, on this very night in particular, there was no light, no, so the candles, large ones and small ones alike lit the room up, every room. He stared out of the window, looking at the full moon, at the wailing sounds, he looked at his own reflection, as he did so, he said, ‘It might be possible, of course, that far from being one, we may possess two selves.’ He was not talking how he looked in his reflection, but something more darker, something more macabre than that. At that instant, at that thought in his mind, not one or two, but all his candles had blown out. Terror struck his heart, it struck his soul. There was a murmur he heard in the room. There was somebody in the room with him, or was there, he could not be sure, but Mr Handke was terrified. ‘I am not myself,’ he said out loud. As he said this, the words were repeated, but not by him. He tried to jump out of his window, but he could not. No, he could not jump out of the window. Was it the other self in himself which prevented the action? Mr Handke remained in darkness trembling in fear of his life. The room became light again; the candles had mysteriously been re-lit. More sounds could be heard outside, Mr Handke looked out of the window. The rain was coming down harshly, he could see nothing. Everything, so it appeared, had disappeared. Just as Mr Handke thought this, he believed that was his other self. In that instant, his true self, the person did not exist. He did have his free will, he was not conscious of his own existence. But later that changed, and later, as he peered into the darkness through his same window, he saw an unusual figure, a horse indeed is what it was with a man on it. The horse disappeared from the man’s view. Within seconds, the horse raced through Mr Handke’s front door. The man got off the horse and greeted the man who was trembling with fear. The man, who had a Barrington top black hat on, said ‘War has broken out.’ Mr Handke came closer to the man. He said to him, ‘What war?’ ‘What war! The Boer war of course. The second Boer War!’ ‘The second Boer war!’ replied Mr Handke, ‘that was in the nineteenth century!’ Mr Handke looked at the man in disbelief. He looked through his window once again where he could see his own reflection, as he could before. He looked to the man who had said these words. The man was gone, so was the horse. The man went to bed and dreamt he was both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.


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