You can read part 2 here.
For the next few weeks, my double visited me in my room at night. He was the identical twin brother I never had. We hung around in the dark until the small hours of the morning, talking about random things.
We often swapped stories of our families. I was fascinated to learn that he had an older brother. I too once had an older brother, three years my senior. Unfortunately, he’d died in a car crash along with my dad when I was five. I wondered if my brother had looked the same as his, if perhaps his own mirror double would have visited in the middle of the night as mine had.
In so many ways we were the same. His name was also Eugene. We laughed at the same jokes. We shared an interest in sports (though he confided he was rarely allowed outside.)
But the reflection was distorted, imperfect.
My otherworldly counterpart had a dark side. For example, during our geneological stories, I learned that whereas I loved my mom with all my heart and trusted her completely, my twin loathed his own. He would dream up scenarios in which she burned to death in a fire or fell out of his family’s second story window. His eyes would burn with opalescent fire every time he talked about something tragic befalling her, and I would be struck with the inexplicable urge to draw the duvet tighter around my shoulders.
But despite this disturbing trait, we became fast friends. He was the brother I’d always wanted, the brother I thought I’d lost all those years ago. I should have known better than to trust him.
“What’s it like?” I asked him on the last night I would spend in my own bed. “Going from your world to mine. Is it hard?”
My double had been rolling a red ball back and forth between his hands, but as soon as I’d asked my question he’d stopped, had let it roll unattended to the opposite corner of my room.
He stared at me, eyes narrowed. Finally he replied, “No, it’s easy. You just have to know what you’re doing.”
“I wish I could see your world,” I continued, dreaming of a universe that was a warped reflection of my own. “That would be so cool.”
My double grew quiet and still. He cast his gaze briefly about the room, as if unsure of something, and later I would think that maybe he’d been conflicted, that perhaps he’d felt a pang of guilt over what he’d been about to do.
“You can,” he said, “If you want to.”
“Yes,” he whispered, suddenly grinning in the pale after-dark light. “I can show you how.”
Continued next week…
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