Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

The Unknown Self By Patricia Reynolds

The Unknown Self



Luke had always felt himself to be a twin even though his sister died when he was born. According to his mother a terrible choice had to be made whether to save him or his sister, both of them could not survive. Luke was the lucky one his mother said and then as she often did she ruffled his hair and whispered “Boys are best anyway, aren’t they?”

“Yes” he would answer but there was a nagging doubt inside him that grew over the years like a gangrenous wound.

Why was he chosen over his sister? Did she hate him wherever she was? And how he missed her, even though he never knew her.

When Luke was sixteen as he made his way home from his mate’s house one night, he heard a soft silver laugh, a girl’s laugh. He shivered like someone had walked over his grave and turned around but the road was empty, and that was the beginning of his sister haunting him.

When he was eighteen he first saw her in his bathroom mirror. His face changed suddenly and terrifyingly into hers. She was fiercely pale, like a white lioness, with the darkest blue eyes he had ever seen. Dark and dangerous like a lit fuse. She smiled at him and hissed “thief” but then she vanished.

Luke sank to the cold tiles of the bathroom floor so scared he thought he would faint (except boys don’t faint, his mother would have said) and sat there hugging his knees till the feeling of cold dread had passed.

He saw or heard from his dead sister now more and more often. She was like a predator stalking him, wearing him down. He would see her at the corner of his eye when he was waiting for the bus to Sixth Form College, always when he was alone. Her cold laugh would chill him, her continued presence unnerved him.

She kept following him around; even when he started University, a few other people would see her and wonder where she had gone. He had a breakdown when his mother died in his second year and dropped out of University altogether but the psychiatrist he saw believed it was all in his head and was because of his survival guilt. He knew better.

With his mother’s death his sister seemed to grow stronger and more venomous. She wrote in the condensation of his bathroom mirror at home: “I will steal what you stole”.

Then even stranger things happened. For weeks at a time he didn’t need to shave. He grew no facial hair. At other times his shoe size seemed to get smaller and one or twice he even felt he had lost height. He always came back to himself but he wondered how long before his sister got her own back on him for living while she died. How long before she took his place, body and soul?













Luke had always felt himself to be a twin even though his sister died the day he was born. According to his mother a terrible choice had to be made whether to save him or his sister, both of them could not survive, Luke was the lucky one his mother said and then as she always did she ruffled his hair and whispered "boys are best, anyway, aren't they?

"Yes" he would answer but there was a nagging doubt inside him that grew over the years like a gangrenous wound.

Why was he chosen over his sister? Did she hate him wherever she was? And how he missed he even though he never knew her.

When Luke was sixteen as he made his way home one night from a mate's house he heard a soft silver laugh, a girl's laugh. He shivered like someone had walked over his grave and looked around but he was alone on the street and that was the start of his sister haunting him.

When he was eighteen he first saw her in his bathroom mirror. His face transformed suddenly and terrifyingly into hers. She was fiercely pale like a white lioness with the darkest blue eyes he had ever seen. They were dangerous like a lit fuse. She smiled at him and hissed " Thief" and then she vanished. Luke sank to the cold tiles of the bathroom floor, so scared he thought he would faint (except boys don't faint his mother would have said) and sat there hugging his knees until the feeling of cold dread had passed.

He saw and heard from his dead sister more and more often. She was like a predator, stalking him, wearing him down. He would see her in the corner of his eye as he was waiting for the bus to his Sixth Form College and always when he was alone. Her cold laugh would chill him, her continued presence unnerved him.

She kept following him around even when he started University, a few other students would see her and then wonder where she had gone. Luke had a nervous breakdown when his mother died in his second year and dropped out of University altogether. The psychiatrist believed it was all in his head and was because of his survivor guilt but he knew better.

With his mother's death his sister seemed to grow stronger and more venomous. She wrote in the condensation of his bathroom mirror at home: " I will steal what you stole."

Then even stranger things happened. For weeks at a time he didn't need to shave. He grew no facial hair. At other times his shoe size seemed to get smaller and once or twice he even felt that he had lost height. He always came back to himself but he wondered how long before his sister got her own back on him for living while she died. How long before she took his place, body and soul?


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