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Haunted by My Shadow

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I stirred as a soft breeze played across my face; I slowly opened my eyes, feeling sick and decrepit. As my eyes opened, I couldn't help but notice I was not at home. There was no roof over my head, but instead the big black blanket of space. I slowly made my way to an upright position, feeling sore all over, like I had just belly-flopped my way out of a bull race.

Feeling uneasy and disoriented, I started following the path of dilapidated moonlight shining on the lush forest floor. I started staggering forward, tripping a few times. Eventually, I felt the need to sit down again, I came across a puddle and sat down next to it, splashing some on my face. I peered around me, looking for a landmark so I could determine my location. All I saw was somebroken down old building.

Oh well, better than nothing. After a few moments rest, I stood up again, but a movement in the corner of my eyes brought my gaze to the puddle; barely in the reflection of the puddle, which should mean right next to me, stood what appeared to be a woman with pale skin, however I couldn't see above her neck and past her belly button.

Moonlit-forest

As soon as I caught sight of that ghastly image, I was filled with a strange terror. I ran away as fast as my legs would carry me. I almost stumbled several times but I thought I lost her. After the long run, I slumped down by a nearby tree.

As I caught my breath, I peeked above the bushes and brambles littering the ground. I noticed two things. One, I couldn't see that woman, and two, I had lost sight of that building. I cursed and sank back against the tree, trying to plan what to do next.

I figured that building may have a phone I could use to call someone, or perhaps a map so I could figure out where I was, but I had to get there without that woman finding me. I considered backtracking to where I woke up, but what if that woman was still there? In my weakened state, I doubted I would fare well in a fight. I decided to stay here for a bit longer, maybe she would move on, it would also give me a chance to recuperate. I began taking deep, quiet breaths as I ran my hands through my hair and began to listen to the surrounding forest.

After listening intently for a few minutes, I heard nothing but the sounds of a breeze gently blowing the leaves around. I risked another peek, all clear. There was no sign that girl had even pursued me, the only thing that seemed to even be in this forest, besides trees and that house, was myself. I was sure the girl was not near, but still had the sensation of being watched. I brushed this off and slinked silently over to where I think I had awoken.

I couldn't help but looking over my shoulder every few moments, though every time was the same, there was nothing there. I felt like I was being mocked for not being able to see what made it feel like I was being stared at. After what felt like forever, I managed to find the spot where I originally woke up, this time I decided to take the scenic route around the puddle, determined to make it to the building. I finally reached the façade of the deteriorating building.

I swallowed my fear and walked closer, trying to comprehend the enormous feeling of doom that was arising in me. As I made my way to the front of the building, I tried to glance through the windows but I soon noticed I couldn't see through them without jumping. I decided against that quickly as I did not want to make more noise than needed in case the girl was close by.

When I finally reached the front door, I twisted the doorknob, but to no avail, it wouldn't move. I pushed on the door a couple of times, listening carefully, it seemed as if the hinges were rusted to the point the door would just fall off when pushed with enough force.

I stepped back to examine the house closer. There were vines growing everywhere, even poking through some of the broken windows. The stone was either broken or gone it seemed, and there was not a grimy window that wasn't severely broken. The door was indented in several places, and one of the hinges was hanging off, I was gonna have to muscle in.

Picture for pasta

Despite how the outside appeared, the inside was almost regal. Polished hard wood floors, the paint on the walls looked like it was painted only yesterday, crystal chandelier, beautiful white carpeted stairs, yet the feeling of being watched only got stronger. I gazed around, it felt like the darkness was pressing in on me, stunting my breathing.

The momentary effect still lingered, but the thought of continuing on petrified me. I knew going back out into the forest was not an option because of that girl, but the sound of me hitting the floor, and the door shattering would certainly draw her attention. Despite the darkness, I had to continue on before she came to check out the sound.

As I walked up the stairs, the pressure causing me  to break into a cold sweat, I looked around, and saw a being to the left. I was about to scream, until I saw it was not the women, as I slowly calmed down, I looked closer. It was a mirror. I gave my reflection a quick look, I was covered in mud, and had small scratches from running through the trees, and the area I hit the door was starting to bleed through my sweater. Then I saw something that made my blood run cold, my right eye had taken a pale yellow shape, and my left eye, a minty green. I stared right into those eyes, trying not to panic. The girl with the pale skin appeared in my reflection, with the same damn eyes. I screamed just before the mirror shattered, footsteps echoing from the entrance of the house.

As I watched him stare into the mirror, I couldn't help but smile, Alex was so dirty and bloody. He looked like he had no clue of the events that had transpired just hours before waking up in that bloody forest. I decided to show the confused little Alex what I looked like before getting rid of the fucking mirror, the look on his face was priceless, so frightened and scared. The crimson liquid staining his sweater seemed to spread more as the scare increased his pulse. The sound of the footsteps coming closer was just a bonus from a little hallucination caused by being frightened.

As I ran, I felt like if I had to spend one more second in this nightmare I would go insane, get rid of this psychological torture. I just couldn't shake the feeling that there was special in this building. Something that would make life normal again. I fought back tears as I thought of my loved ones back home, what could be happening to them?

I decided it was time to reveal to Alex what was so special about this house. I began to close doors that were close to him while only leaving one door open, behind that open door was the dead body, mutilated to the point no one would be able to tell who it is. I left a little gift for Alex in that room, his watch, just ticking away on the wrist of the dead man. I couldn't help but giggle in anticipation for when Alex noticed the room, waiting to see how scared he would be.

I reached a hallway, peeling wallpaper, creaky boards, and the strong smell of decay, I heard a badly stifled giggle, and decided to not linger. I started trying doors, they wouldn't budge. After my seventh try I found an unlocked door, a puff of dust assaulted my eyes and nose as soon I opened the door, and I felt somebody tackle me. Thinking it was the woman I kicked back, but didn't get free. As soon as I saw what was waiting for me, I almost wished it was the girl. I saw a decaying corpse, alternating between patches of skin, to muscles, and the occasional flash of bone. He had one pure white eyeball that was hanging out of his skull, and an empty eye socket. I rolled out from it and threw up.

Then I saw a maggot crawl out of the empty socket, and threw up again, his hand was sticking out, and on it... My watch... I wondered whether to take it, something familiar to take with me, but If I wanted I would have to touch that... Corpse. After a moment of indecision I tried to pry it off him, but no luck. I gingerly placed my foot on the corpse's head and pulled again. This time my watch came free, along with a smattering of decaying flesh and muscle. I hurriedly wiped myself down, and pulled the watch off my watch. I put it on, but not before wiping it down with my sweater. It gave me small comfort.

I laughed as the blood, muscle and flesh splattered onto Alex before deciding it was time to lead my dirty blonde victim to his next little gift, his wallet. I whipped a piece of broken wood that had fallen off of the broken window pane just past his head while remaining hidden from his sight, trying to make him realize it was time for him to leave this room. I made sure the moment the piece of wood hit the wall behind him that the basement door slammed open, following it was a cry for help for a bit of encouragement.

I looked at my watch, expecting to see the time and date, but it was completely blank. This was no time to mourn over the little victory I was hoping to get, as I heard the sound of something in the corpses' room. I ran away and got lead downstairs until I was sure we were underground, I could smell the earth from between the flimsy wooden boards.

I smiled as I watched him enter the basement, I slammed the door behind him and locked it from the outside so he couldn't leave until I opened it. In every corner of the basement was the decaying corpse of an animal, with lines of blood connecting each of them, making an "X" on the floor. In the center of the "X" laid the body of a girl who was reported kidnapped a couple of days ago.

I had left her there like this just for this occasion. Sticking out of the little girls stomach was Alex's wallet, which I turned just enough so he could see his license. I had made sure that he couldn't get it out of her stomach unless he tore it out, which would kill the girl in the process. "Have fun" I said just quiet enough not to wake the girl but loud enough for him to hear, chuckling as I did so.

I walked into the basement with my eyes closed tightly shut, not wanting to see any more corpses, I walked about 20 feet before bumping into something smelly and wet and furry. I opened my eyes instinctively, and what I saw there almost made me faint on the spot. Hanging from a noose was a Golden Retriever puppy with its fur all matted and red with blood, its entrails spilling out of a gash vertically overseeing its whole underbelly, I looked to the left, as to not see that, and saw three more puppies hung.

I fell to my knees and broke out in tears. I noticed that blood on the floor seemed to be all running toward one point, and there, besides me, was a little girl reported missing a few weeks ago. She was breathing faintly, and it looked like every inhale took all she got. Sticking out of her stomach was my wallet, I could see my driver's license. I had to make a choice, recover a piece of myself, and sanity, or keep a little girl alive. She turned her head to face me...She gargled something out, probably a cry for help, but her throat was to badly damaged to make any coherent words.

I brushed her cheek softly with my hand. I tried to hold back the tears, but they just came rushing out. The look in her eyes said she would beg for help if she could, but can't. And I couldn't take her with me, she was bound with thick rope. Even if I did manage to free her, she would slow up both up, and neither of us would be sure to get out alive. I tried to convince myself this was better for her, she was obviously suffering, I reached for the wallet, but the look in her eyes stopped me, she gurgled out something, and another stream of blood ran down her face. I closed my eyes and reached for it again, but couldn't do it.

Finally I steeled myself, grabbed it, and tore it out. The dying noises of that innocent girl would haunt my nightmares for the rest of my life. I immediately regretted it, had I just killed a girl over a wallet? She would have died anyways... I thought to myself, as I slipped that bloodstained wallet into my pocket, not sure If I would make it out sane, or alive.

I unlocked the door to the basement before dragging one of the hanging puppies up the stairs, and into the kitchen. Alex's keys on the puppies collar, making them jingle with each step the puppy is dragged up. I let him see me this time, let him watch my black hair flow behind me as I dragged the mutt around. I knew he would want his keys and I assumed he would want revenge for what he was just forced to do. All I needed was the right trap. The moment I reached the kitchen, I hung the puppy by the noose from one of the ceiling pictures before using the dogs blood to scrawl a quick little message on the wall. "I have one more thing of your upstairs, use the black key to open the door to get it back. The room with the lights on is the one you are looking for." With that, I ran upstairs and waited for him, unable to control my laughter.

As I left the basement, I wondered who could be cruel enough to do something like this. The last moments of that little girl's life, the life I ended, kept playing in my mind. I wanted out! I looked up and saw the girl dragging one of the puppies across the floor at the end of the hallway. I hurried after her as quickly as I could anymore, I didn't care If I died, I just wanted revenge! When I turned around the corner she disappeared into, she wasn't there, but instead, a message written in blood. I could barely read it due to the tears and the rage, and I spotted my keys on the collar of the puppy.

I almost snatched them off, but then withdrew my hand. I softly closed the eyes of the puppy, and undid the collar it was hung by. I undid my keys from the collar, and feeling empty, turned and walked upstairs. I walked up the stairs feeling detached from life, as if the smallest wind could knock me down. I numbly opened the lock with a black key that was on my key chain, walked in, and looked around. It was a big stone room, with a single light bulb in the dead center, and a mirror on the wall I was facing. I looked in the mirror and saw the girl, looking just as tired as I was.

I locked the door behind him and smiled at him "Hello, Alex. How are you tonight?" I uttered, trying to sound cheery

"What do you want? Haven't you tortured me enough already?"

"I simply want to talk, and I don't know, have you tortured yourself enough tonight, murderer?"

She had hit me right where it hurt. "At least I haven't descended to your level" I spat.

"Oh, you haven't? Shall we review what you have done tonight then? You woke up in a forest, you came into this house. You tore off a corpse’s hand to get your watch back, you ended a young girl's life to get back your wallet, and now you are in here. That does not sound like you are a saint, now does it?" I taunted him.

"She would have died anyways, I put her out of her misery" I spoke without conviction.

"Oh, do you have a doctorate in medicine? No? Then how can you be sure?" I spat in return.

I shuffled uncomfortably "she wouldn't be... Never mind that! You're the real scum here, you put all these people and animals in this position!”

"Oh, did I? Alex, look at what you are speaking to. Say what you are speaking to out loud. I dare you." I said with a giggle.

I paused. "You're just a psycho!"

"That may be, but you still haven't said it. Alex, what are you speaking to? You are in a locked room with only one light bulb and you are speaking to a what?" I said relentlessly, trying to get a point into his head.

I moved my hand, the girl mirrored my actions instantly. "This is some sort of trick! You're some sort of demon!"

"Say it, Alex. What are you talking to? That is all you need to do and I will explain myself." I said, copying every action he did, speaking in his voice now.

I grasped my head with both hands "Get out of my head!"

I copied his actions "You are talking to a mirror, Alex. You know what a mirror reflects? What it is in front of it." My appearance slowly began to fade his. Same eyes, same hair, same everything. "No" I sobbed "No, you can't be me, I would never..."

"I am you, Alex. Everything that happened tonight was done by you and for you. You did everything here, you kidnapped the girl, you murder the now mutilated man, you hung the puppies, you scrawled the message in blood, you killed the girl, you hid all your belongings. The only thing you didn't do were the footsteps, those were just hallucinations." I laughed.

I fell to the ground, screaming and crying, this couldn't be true!

"It is true, Alex. I have no reason to lie to myself. We are a psychopath and we are a murderer. You will never forget what happened here today. After this, you will always be haunted by the shadow inside yourself" I said before unlocking the door for him, letting the wind from the missing front door swing it open.

There was nothing else to do, I had to get rid of this beast inside of me before it kills again. I smashed the mirror and saw a way out. This is my salvation, this is my solution. Because of this decision I will never make nobody hurt again. This is my last thought as I plummeted toward the ground. I was finally free.

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