Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction
The Other Side By Lizzy Bayly
I had never been as scared as I was on my birthday - the 22nd of March - when it all began. After enjoying a vibrant and emotional party with a few selected friends, I turned 50 at 9:30 at night - and we toasted to a happy life. I should not be so distrusting as to imagine that my friends poisoned my drink, but I simply can't help it. I know of no one else who could have. After that horror, I was taken to hospital, deep in hallucinations and out of my mind.
This week Monday, I returned, purged of poison, but shaken out of my wits so I could not do much more than sit in my favourite armchair. Sometimes, I believe that maybe I just sat on that chair too often, so much so that it was worn to the shape of my body - but really, that's not what I believe. The next day, Tuesday, I had a horrible fright when the chair collapsed beneath me and I landed heavily on my leg, fracturing a bone.
Back in the hospital, I was asleep in my bed, and shook myself out of a dream where hands reached for me and pushed me off a cliff. But as I woke, I was sure I didn't imagine the second pair of hands that hovered just above my real hands. Every shape and curve was the same, they were broad and calloused, but slightly leeched in colour. But in my left hand, I was certainly not holding a knife. I never had before.
Hastily, I lunged for the hands and gripped them by the wrists, squeezing. I marvelled. They were not a figment of my imagination.
"Who are you?" I asked. I didn't answer - the person with my hands didn't answer. I twisted round and saw a frozen man, with greying brown hair and ice blue eyes. My hair. My eyes.
"Who are you?" I repeated.
"You," I - the thing - replied.
"But that can't be," I said disbelievingly.
"Apparently not," I answered.
"Why are you here?" I asked the creature.
"To kill you," I said. My heart quailed, but I persisted.
"Because you're an abomination to this world," my other self said.
"I'm an abomination?"
"I am too."
"Then why didn't you kill me before?" I asked.
"The poison dose wasn't strong enough."
"And the chair?"
"Not heavy enough."
"Then why don't you kill me now?"
"Do you want me to kill you?" the thing that was me asked. I considered.
"Well, if I'm such an abomination maybe it's worth it."
"It is," my other self promised.
"Then do it," I said.
"Gladly," I replied. And it suffocated me so it looked like I'd died in my sleep.
I haven't told anyone this horrific story - I couldn't since I died. But the nurses thought I died in my sleep, a simple painless death. I never knew what it was I would do that was so bad - and I don't know how two versions of me could co-exist. But maybe I shouldn't ask that question while I am pouring poison into the next me's drink - there must be a reason, after all. But once I get permission from my other self to publish this story, it will be open to the world and everyone will know what happened to me.
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