A Case of Mistaken Identity, Part 10

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You can read part 9 here. Reading for the first time? You can find part 1 here.

I rushed headfirst into the closet. It wasn’t until I brushed past hanging coats and pants and nearly bumped my head against the wall that I realized the doorway to the other world had already closed.

I felt as if all the wind had been knocked out of me. I slumped against the wall, closed my eyes and covered my face with my hands.

I’d been so close.

Tears squeezed out of my eyes unbidden, and I was overcome with despair. I would never get home now, I thought. I was stuck in a hateful world with a hateful mom and a hateful brother. I would never see my real mom again, and my double would continue to enjoy the life he’d stolen from me justice-free.

“Mom.”

I stopped crying. I looked up and cocked my head so I could hear better.

“Mom.”

I heard it again. I knew that voice. It was quiet and filled with pain. Tom.

Despair vanished, replaced with the raw instinct to survive. I scrambled off the floor and ran from the closet. I paused in the doorway, looked for signs that Tom had seen me, then jogged silently toward the stairs.

I heard him call again for his mom. Each time his voice grew softer, farther. I moved down the steps as fast as I could manage without making sound.

I halted when I reached the bottom. Once again, like the first day I’d come to this place, vertigo and a sense of otherworldliness swept over me as I took in the living room before me, all at once familiar and strange.

Then Tom called again from upstairs, and the spell was broken. I dashed for the front door. I panicked when at first it didn’t open, and it took me a moment before I realized I had to undo the lock. I ran outside, sailed across the concrete path and darted off along the sidewalk, into the moonlit night.

I ran. I ran some more. I didn’t stop. I looked around at the houses in my neighborhood. Mirror-Eugene’s neighborhood. The houses were similar but different. The street was more rundown than my own, as if it had suffered years of neglect. It reminded me of some of the more destitute communities in my own world, which I sometimes saw pictures of on TV.

I ran until brief pinpricks in my right side blossomed into sharp stabbing pains. I slowed, and only when I stopped did I realize my breathing had grown ragged and that I could barely stand. Adrenaline had abandoned me, leaving me weak and disoriented.

I gazed about, lost. At some point I’d wandered away from the area I recognized, even more dilapidated than where I’d started. Large concrete structures loomed overhead, stained and chipped with age. Many were surrounded by chain link fences, some of which were topped with barbed wire. Plumes of smoke rose into the air, illuminated by the moon and artificial lighting so that they seemed like spirits rising into heaven.

I would have been scared had I not been so exhausted. I leaned against a decrepit wall and closed my eyes.

I thought I’d only take a minute to rest and catch my breath.  But when I opened my eyes again, the sun was up, I was on the ground and I wasn’t alone.

Continued next week…

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Friday Freewrite

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What’s Friday Freewrite? Find out here.

Hey, this would make a great blog if I could tie it to books!1

We walk around with plastic smiles on our lips, pretending to be happy, void of meaning, empty, our hearts a vacuum without meaning. We search, yearning for Truth, meaning, a place where we belong, and we don’t find it. So we drown ourselves in booze, drugs, entertainment; we get caught up in surface things so we won’t have to feel the deepest longings in our heart and our pain at having them unfulfilled. We try to dull the pain, even though it only masks the symptoms, and doesn’t cure the disease. And so the disease, without us feeling its presence, silently eats away at our souls, until nothing is left.

2


Footnotes

1. Sadly, this blog has yet to be written…

2. Yeah, that’s it for this week. I wanted to post more, but this was all I had written that day, and it stands too well on its own for me to add more.

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A Case of Mistaken Identity, Part 9

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You can read part 8 here. Reading for the first time? You can find part 1 here.

I stepped out into the hallway, quivering with adrenaline in the aftermath of revenge. Each of my senses had stretched as far as they would go, so that I was no longer certain if the creaks and thumps I heard were real or if they were a product of my frenzied imagination. I stopped, paused to make certain the footsteps I heard were my own, then crept along the hallway like a spider, keeping as much to the feeble shadows as possible.

Soiled ivory-colored objects lined the walls at intervals, strung together so they resembled primitive necklaces. Some were long, others were short. Some were connected by balls and joints, others hung by only the string that bound them. I peered more closely, and almost gave myself away with a cry when I realized they were bones.

I moved faster.

I was halfway to the stairs when I heard a sound, a faint clicking noise, followed by what I was sure were feet padding across the carpet. It came from the open doorway of a room very close to where I stood. My head swiveled first to the room to see if I’d been spotted, then around again in search of cover.

I spied a bookcase filled with dusty weathered volumes beside me. It wasn’t much, but it was all I could find, and I dove for the shadow it provided.

I froze. Waited. Listened. When I was certain it was safe, I crept closer to survey the threat and to figure out when it would be best to continue my trek down the stairs.

The light inside was dim, and I had to strain my eyes to see. When I caught sight of my double’s mom, I nearly recoiled again. But her eyes were closed, and she was sitting Indian-style on the floor in front of her closet. She obviously hadn’t seen me. Around her neck hung a necklace like the ones I’d seen on the hallway walls. I stared at her, trying to discern what she was doing.

Suddenly her eyes popped open. I ducked behind the door frame, and I waited for ages before I dared peek again. When I did, I found her staring ahead at her closet. I relaxed.

She got up, and as if in a trance, she began to move toward the door. She reached for the knob and opened it. I gasped.

I’d seen this once before, when my double had opened my closet door and shown me another world. I was certain I’d discovered a passage home. I would follow her through the door, and then I would find mirror-Eugene and make him pay for what he’d done.

I rushed into the room. Fear evaporated, reduced only to raw instinct and determination. The door closed behind my double’s mom just as I reached the knob. I grasped it. Twisted. Pulled.

The door opened.

Read part 10 here.

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Friday Freewrite

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What’s Friday Freewrite? Find out here.

Even among so many people, I feel alone. A million voices scattered clumsily about, clamoring over one another, competing for attention, and mine sits still and silent, huddled up against the wall in a lone booth.

The soul inside of me cries without sound, a silent weeping that sets my heart aflame with a searing loneliness that scours me to the bone.

I don’t even really know what to write now1, but I’ll let association and the the abscent2 ramblings of the pen do their magic.

A blinding brilliant azure flash, from which all was created ex nihilo, a vast sprawling universe of stars, clustered into galaxies, of planets, thought, sense and purpose. All these, which sprang unbidden from the pen, a conduit through which the Creator has done his handiwork.

Write a flash fiction story3, about God creating the universe, but doubles as a writer. And when the writer is done, he looks at last upon the world of his creation, and concludes that it was good (Bible parallel.)

“…ink, the lifeblood of creation.”


Footnotes

1. Whenever I don’t know what to write about, I continue on anyway. The idea behind freewriting is to keep the pen moving. Eventually, something will pour into your head, and you’ll start generating ideas again. Even writing about a lack of ideas can sometimes yield a fruitful harvest.

2. This should be spelled absent.

3. You never know when a random freewrite will turn into a story. It’s always a happy accident 🙂

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Friday Freewrite

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What’s Friday Freewrite? Find out here.

The bathroom as a place of silent reflection.1

“The bathroom makes a philosopher of us all.”

OR

“He was the great bathroom philosopher.”

And tie philosophy into excrement in the toilet.


I wish I could experience the fullness of my being in a brief moment that lasts forever.


Christmas2. He’d tallied up the cost one day, and determined that, in general, one breaks even; you tend to receive in value what you’ve given to others. Well, he thought, why go through all that effort to break even when you could just do nothing and wind up in exactly the same state.


Luck is merely the perception of a pattern in the midst of chaos, the one-in-a-million favorable outcome already predicted by the cold hard numbers of statistics.


For anyone who’s had a bad year3, I’d like you to remember the Phoenix, for, just as the mythical bird is borne of its own dying ashes, so too can you hope that 2014 will be a good year, born from the painful ashes of 2013. Happy New Year, everyone!


Story4 about a guy who, in waking and sleeping, jumps about through various stages of his life, and maybe how this ultimately serves some purpose, makes it so he can do something synchronized across different times.


Light fractured along the surface of the glass5 like shards of stained glass5.

Golden light sparkled like needles, making Jared squint.

Long jagged crystals of light jutted through the glass surface.


He stared at the sun until the light began to hurt his eyes, then returned his gaze to the computer, where a shifting inkblot followed him wherever he looked.


Footnotes

1. I think I was just being silly here.

2. I was fleshing out a potential character, not expressing my own views about Christmas. I’m not this miserly, I promise!

3. I ultimately intended to post this on Facebook for New Year’s Day, then promptly forgot to do so. Oh well, now I can post it here instead.

4. Sometimes, I know right off the bat that what I’m freewriting is going to be a potential story.

5. Not my proudest moment as a writer… I guess my subconscious was feeling redundant that day. When I wrote this, I was attending a celebratory dinner with co-workers and had decided to pull out my notebook, zone out and focus on the way the light was reflecting off the glass table (doh, I said that word again!)

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Friday Freewrite

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What’s Friday Freewrite? Find out here.

The same wind that bristled the leaves of the trees and whispered sweet nothings in Jared’s ears, a song of peace, a ballad of content. It caressed the tender flesh of his cheeks and face, ruffled and tousled his hair like a father or a mother, like a friend, like a lover.


The sky cycled through light and dark, periodic bursts of life and energy that pulsed like a heart, pumping life and energy into the world, which vibrated and tingled and hummed sweetly with the beautiful presence of life, a deep rumbling sound from deep within the earth that resonated with Jared’s own heart.


Wet paw prints adorned the sidewalk, brief photographs that would quickly fade like the afterflash1 of a camera, echos2 of a time that had ceased to exist the moment it had come.


Life speeds on by, like a dream. Though we feel rooted to the moment, to all the many trivialities and comforting mundanities, that moment is speeding, hurtling through time and space at the speed of light. Each moment fades and ceases to be as soon as it comes into existence.

The years melt and bleed, run into one another until they form a bittersweet alloy of incoherent half remembered3 thoughts and moments, an insubstantial haze made of moonbeams and gossamer threads.


A moment’s existence4 meets its end before our minds even have the chance to process it; we perceive not the Words of creation themselves, but only their echo.


Footnotes

1. I’m pretty sure afterflash isn’t a word, nor does it even make sense. Flash would surely have been sufficient.

2. Why yes, I am aware of the misspelling. Thanks for noticing 😉

3. That should probably be half-remembered. *

4. I ultimately decided to use this passage in a novel called Purely Coincidental, a dark fantasy for adults which I talked about here.

*As you can see, even after having posted a couple of freewrites, I’m still extremely uncomfortable presenting spelling and grammar errors to the public. Shame on me for being a perfectionist…

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Friday Freewrite

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What’s Friday Freewrite? Find out here.

He thought of the dead, said a silent prayer. And as he did so, he asked his God for a word of protection against the souls of the damned, for such things did prowl the world, though encounters with them were rare.


We have finite length lives in which to figure out what the Truth is, and all the while have to fear death. Death is scary.

Is death the end, or just the beginning?1 And if it’s a beginning, what kind of beginning? The beginning of Heaven? The beginning of Hell? Or just another beginning in an infinite chain of beginnings and endings?

I’m confused. I don’t know what’s true and what isn’t. I have a mystical outlook on life. I know we exist in this world for a reason, and I strongly expect that we are loved, supported and protected in profound ways that we couldn’t even begin to imagine.

What is this life all about? Everything to us is surface and appearance. Most of life is but the thinnest of veneers, stretched taut and thin. That veneer breaks sometimes, stretches too thin and tears like paper. And what lies beneath the surface, what we hover over everyday without seeing, that great and terrible waging war between good and evil, it would freeze the blood in our veins, make the hairs on our arms and legs stand tall and rigid and erect.

Good and evil2. Evil and good. What is good? What is evil? They transcend definition. They just are.

Good is love. Good is kindness. Good is patience, support and gentle understanding.

Evil is a baby left on the street to die. Evil is a baby punctured in the hollow of the womb and left to die. Evil is pain and wickedness and suffering.

Yet, what is evil but a counterfeit good? All that is evil has its origins in something good, because evil is nothing more than the great imitator. What is a lie but a modified truth?


Footnotes

1. This paragraph I actually edited and posted on my Tumblr as a writing fragment. You can find it here. If you’ve read this before, now you get to experience the broader context in which it was written.

2. This and the remaining paragraphs were what lead me to write the blog Does Reading About Evil Make You Evil?

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A Case of Mistaken Identity, Part 8

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You can read part 7 here. Reading for the first time? You can find part 1 here.

I hid behind the door, wearing the darkness of the night like a cloak. I waited, eager for freedom, eager for revenge. I would no longer be my new big brother’s punching bag. The prey had become the predator.

I chose the night, not only because the dark gave me an advantage, but because that was when my brother usually came to see me. He liked to torture me before bed. Today, the tables would be turned.

I crouched, face hidden in shadow, and I brooded. How could my double have done this to me? He’d pretended to be my friend. We’d told each other stories. We’d shared in each other’s secrets. And then he’d betrayed me. I’d been so naive, so quick to trust. I would never make that mistake again.

I heard footsteps, muffled at first, like the sound of a distant drum. Soon the sound grew louder, until it had approached the other side of the door.

“Hey, dumbshit. I’m coming in to say goodnight.”

Tom. He laughed, a malevolent chuckle that caused the surface of my body to break out in goosebumps.

I stood there, silent, taut and alert.

A set of keys rattled. There was a clunk, a sound like a zipper as the key fed into the lock, then a click. A pinprick of time stretched, pregnant with possibilities. Then the door creaked slowly open. Light poured into the room.

“Hey Dumbshit, where are you?” Tom looked around, unable to see me from the doorway.

I’d performed a dozen thought-experiments, had trained myself with countless mental simulations. But this was not a thought experiment. This was real life, and real life was good at throwing wrenches in even the most well laid of plans. I had to tread carefully.

“Lost your voice, Dumbshit?” My new brother crept forward, eyes focused ahead as he scanned first the bed, then the space by the closet. “Get out here. Now.”

I grabbed the edge of the door to steady myself, sweat popping out of my forehead. I inched closer, one tiny step after another. I had to be careful, had to time this just right. If Tom moved at the wrong moment, if he turned his head before I was ready

Tom’s eyes flicked in my direction. I rushed him.

“Eug

That was all he managed to say before my foot thrust upward, making contact with the tender spot between his legs. Tom grabbed himself, eyes bulging with pain and surprise. He sucked in a lungful of air, hoarded it like a spoiled child before letting it out in a long and shuddering gasp. He sank to his knees, looked up and opened his mouth again.

“Mom!” he rasped. “Euge

I kicked him again. Again. And again.

Each blow produced a soft thud, a sound entirely at odds with the force of my blows. I delighted in his suffering, reveled in it. Where was that evil grin now?

“How does it feel?” I asked, planting another one squarely in the groin. “Does it feel good?” Thud. “Tell me, Tom.” Thud. “Does it feel good?”

He writhed on the floor like an injured snake, clutching at his man parts. I could hear him trying to speak, and I kicked him again.

I didn’t want to pull away. I wanted to hurt him some more, wanted to pay him back for all he’d done with interest. But I had to get out of there before my new mom wandered by and discovered what I’d done to the light of her life.

Tom curled into a ball like a rolley-polley. I left him there, confident that he wouldn’t be a problem for a while. I headed for the door.

I squinted up at the flood of light from outside my room, momentarily disoriented. I clutched the threshold with trepidation, not quite believing that I could walk away so easily. I couldn’t screw this up now, not when I was so close. I hesitated, glanced over my shoulder at the closet where my double had imprisoned me only three weeks ago. Once I left this room, that door was lost to me forever.

Actually, it was already lost the moment I’d attacked mirror-Tom. But once I left that place, I would have to admit to myself that there would be no rescue, that nobody would come bursting through the door in the nick of time as had happened so often on TV. I would have to wander through the desert of a foreign world in search of a way back home, understanding that I may never get there, that mirror-Eugene might forever enjoy what he had so callously stolen from me. The thought filled my gut with bile, but there was nothing to be done about it now.

When my eyes adjusted to the light, I spared a final look at Tom. He was no longer moving. Had he lost consciousness? I looked out the window, glimpsed the stars, spattering the sky like glitter, and thought of my double, a nine-year-old Judas Iscariot. I promised that I would come for him, that I wouldn’t let him get away with what he’d done.

Then I stepped across the threshold and said a silent prayer for deliverance. I still had to make it downstairs and out the front door.

Read part 9 here.

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Friday Freewrite

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Noise. Voices chattering and clattering, stumbling one over the other, tumbling, rolling across the air, through the restaurant, falling, even though falling doesn’t make sense.

Words, jumbled, tangled, mingled, mixed, floating, falling, colliding, crashing, like clapping symbols, stumbling finally to my ears in a great drunken disorderly fashion.

The noise drowns all thought, leaving me alone, isolated, turned inward on myself, thinking, surrounded by a thousand and one voices, none of them one with me. My voice is the only one silent.

Thinking, reflecting, pondering, wondering, worrying, anxious that I’ll always be alone, solitary, by myself. Forever, everlasting, a great void filled with darkness, a great cavernous empty space, with only me to fill its lonely halls.

Cathedral, columns rising into the infinite depths of sky, reaching, grasping, pulling toward heaven, trying to pull it down, bring it here to us broken earthly creatures.

Colors, swirling, tumbling, mixing, splashing.

Cars, growling, engines churning, shaking, vibrating, moving in place.

Rhythm. Rhyme. Music. Beat. Tamborine. Strumming, beating, hitting, shaking.

Bells. Tinkling, shaking, twirling, a streaking silver rainbow arcing across the sky, shining, glittering, reflecting back bright blinding crystaline light, illumination.

Chase1. Azure fire, glowing, piercing, blinding. The glow suffuses the darkness, gives it substance, texture without touch, patterns and shapes and definition, blue, filling his eyes; blue, filling his mind; blue, filling his heart; blue, filling his ears2.

Blue. Azure. Fire. Burning. Imolating. Consuming. Destroying. Raging. Tearing. Canceling existence. Annihilating. Cutting. Piercing.

Fire. Raging, a bright burning sun, blackening, charring, killing, painting the world with bright golden light, new life in the face of death, creation in destruction, beauty in ugliness, lightness in darkness.

Contradictions. Filing my ears, buzzing, contorting, twisting, filling me with tension, mind taut3 like a rope, waiting, despairing, crying out for safety, for salvation, for obliteration.

The soul, yearning, feeling, reaching. Truth, so far, so wide, so broad, so narrow, a light in the vast multitudinous darkness, one of infinite possibilities, the truth alone given substance and form, a million alternate realities denied existence, darkness without end.

Needing, wishing, loneliness, coursing through my veins like acid, burning, killing, annihilating love, leaving behind only bitter alkali in its place.

Evil. Patient. Waiting. Dark, choking vines, climbing, reaching into my mind with feelers, poking, prodding, pushing buttons, testing, probing for vulnerabilities.


Footnotes

1. I was looking at a Chase Bank sign when I wrote this. It glows a bright blue at night 🙂

2. As I’ve said before, like dreams, freewriting often doesn’t make sense. These are words that happened to tumble into my head at the time. You’ll see a lot more of this in future posts.

3. I actually misspelled this as taught, but reproducing that error here would have changed the meaning. I’ll do my best to present my freewriting in its raw form, but whenever that raw form presents an ambiguity that wasn’t actually present in my mind at the time of writing, I’ll correct it.

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A Case of Mistaken Identity, Part 7

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You can read part 6 here. Reading for the first time? You can find part 1 here.

For three days, I thought about how I would get away. My double had used magic to pass from his world into mine. Unfortunately, I would have to find another way.

The window would have been a fantastic choice, had it not been for the fact that it was on the second floor and that there was nothing for me to grab a hold of on the way down. Once, in a mad desire for instant freedom, I considered jumping. But after a careful survey of the ground below, the need for self-preservation overcame the impulse. Survival was paramount. In such a world as this, I would have to look out for myself.

Querying years of accumulated knowledge from TV, I thought in a fit of desperation that perhaps I could tie mirror-Eugene’s clothes and bed sheets together, forming a makeshift rope that I could climb down to freedom. But an hour spent trying to create secure knots in thick swaths of fabric proved futile, and I learned that perhaps TV didn’t possess all the answers after all.

The only way out, I concluded, was through the door. I would have snuck out a long time ago had it not been for the fact that my new mom always kept it locked, and that she only ever opened it to give me food or to let my brother in when he wanted to see me.

For three days, I wracked my brain, and for three days, I came up short. Despair was slowly turning sour, like milk left out in the sun. I began to brood. Hatred toward my double for trapping me in this God-forsaken place transformed into hatred toward new mom and brother, not just for what they had done to me, but for the fact that they looked so much like the ones I had left behind. Their very existence was a mockery, a cruel sadistic torture.

I began to entertain dark thoughts, much like those mirror-Eugene had told me about in the few weeks he’d visited me in my own room. I wanted to hurt them, to make them pay for how they’d treated me.

It was on the third day, during one of my many fantasies, that an idea struck like a bolt of lightening. My lips curled into a slow creeping smile as I lay there in the dark. I could kill two birds with one stone, I realized. I could hurt my new brother, and I could use his pain as an opportunity to escape.

I spent the rest of the night planning, resolved that this would be the last night I’d ever spend in that house.

Read part 8 here.

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