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My dad had always been just a tad crazy, but he was my dad after all, so I put up with it. Sometimes it made him fun to be around. Like back when I was a little kid he told me and my sister a story about how right before his parents found out they were going to have him something weird happened. They were just driving along and next thing they knew the car was sitting in an open clearing in the woods. I thought he was telling us the story to creep us out as usual, but the whole time he was telling it I saw a glimmer of belief in his eyes. It seemed he actually thought he was some kind of experiment.
Maybe it was because I grew up with someone who overdid all the paranormal crap, but the older I got the more skeptical I became. I had seen countless shows with "definitive proof" of ghosts like Draft Hunters or alien abductions and it had led me to one simple conclusion, people are stupid. I'll admit I would still get freaked out at creaks in the middle of the night, but I was too young to know any better.
Even after coming face to face with something I couldn't explain I still couldn't believe.
After high school I thought my life was finally going to shape up to something, I was taking classes in the fall and had managed to start a major in my dream job, video games. I had to stay with my parents because my family had always been on the lower end of the economic spectrum, but everything was finally working out, oh how wrong I was.
Around Christmas I woke up to doors slamming all over the house. I’ve learned with that much noise, I should probably check what’s going on. I leap up and opened the door, only to jump back as my dad ran past me into his bedroom. OK, unusual, but maybe he was late for work. I grumbled something about having to get early and started to go back into my room.
I was stopped short when I heard strange noises coming from the living room. It was too much to just be a late night snack so I dashed across the house to see what was going on. I didn't understand what I saw; my dad was hefting a body down onto the coffee table, but it was him. He looked at me with tears in his eyes, and in a cracking, pathetic voice, he asked, “Which one is me?” He rushed up, shaking me, and screamed, “WHICH ONE IS ME?” I heard screaming from my parent’s room, so I pushed him away and burst through the door. My mom was standing on the bed, screaming, and the dad I saw running past me was lying there in a fit, convulsing as the left side of his body slowly drooped. I ran back into the living room and my dad was lying on the floor curled in a ball screaming at the top of his lungs, over and over again.
So I did what any teenager who was seeing doppelgangers would do, I collapsed to the ground and blacked out.
I came to as the police arrived to check out a noise complaint my neighbors had called in. The cops quickly got a hold of the situation and marked off the house while they did there work. They told me my dad had a mental breakdown and orchestrated the whole mess. As they carried out the bodies, one of the cops turned to me and said, “Don’t worry, it’s just some silicone and paint.” I said, "Sure," and walked back into the house, after all, how in the hell else could I explain it.
I did the only thing I could think of, I went to sleep.
I managed to convince myself my dad had just used puppets like the cop said. That's when things turned to shit. The realtors weren't sympathetic to our situation, and the bills started piling up. My dad had been the only one who worked in the house, so I had to get a job. After all, someone had to support the family, even if it meant dropping out of college. I started to visit my dad every week, and he never failed to repeat himself, he would just sit and stare at a black spec on the table for the whole hour.
Before one of my visits, I got a call from a friend of mine to tell me just got accepted into his dream college. “Well, would you look at that,” I said. “I never thought you had it in you.” I finished the call and headed to the ward.
This time, I wasn’t going to let him just sit and stare at that dot. I asked the doctor to step outside for a few minutes and he agreed, they hadn't been able to help him so maybe I could snap him out of it. I screamed at him, told him how he’d ruined my dreams, hell my life. But he just kept looking down at that dot. So I slammed my hand over it. “OWN UP TO WHAT YOU DID!” I screamed. He shut his eyes as a pained look crossed his face. “Let me guess, you didn't really make those dolls, it was demons controlling you! Or no wait, it must've been the aliens right!” His eyes shot open and he fell back off the chair and scurried over to the corner. I couldn’t believe it; he really was using his stupid paranoid delusions as an excuse. I snorted and knocked to be let out.
Before I could leave he raised his head and whispered four simple words: “Don’t think about it.” He wouldn’t say anything else, no matter how much we pushed him. I eventually gave up and went home. As I got into bed, I was still processing the day, trying to figure out what the hell just happened. What, was he trying to say he really was made by aliens and that story he’d told us about his parents wasn’t bull? That they were testing how much the human mind could take or something? That there was a mistake and they made extras? I laughed and shut off the light.
I hit my alarm clock, stumbled over to the bathroom and brushed my teeth. When I was done I walked to my nightstand and grabbed my laptop. I yawned, looked up, bolted into the bathroom and locked the door. I’ve been sitting here for the past ten minutes typing this up to calm myself down and rationalize what's happening. The whole time I could see someone standing there through the crack in the door. You don’t have to believe that I saw me sleeping in that bed, or that I’ve held myself back as I keep on trying to break down the door, but please, do one thing for me.
Don’t think about it.