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I don’t know what’s real. I’m standing behind myself, watching me type this. That anxiety when another person is within a hair’s width of you? Its all I sense. My head is pounding, but my heart has slowed down. Every time I breathe, I become wearier. I can’t do this anymore. I should just turn around. Maybe it will be the last time.
I don’t know how long it’s been. May have been barely half an hour ago, or maybe it’s been days, or weeks. I don’t know. I can’t remember, I can’t think, the blood is shooting through my veins, drowning out thoughts. I can’t concentrate, but someone needs to know. Maybe I’m just crazy, maybe I’ve finally cracked. Maybe this isn’t real. Maybe it is.
Someone help me. Please.
I woke up in the middle of the night. My cat was perched on my chest, seeming irritated as cats usually are. I shooed her away, and after a few minutes of tossing, turning and creaking mattress springs, I decided to roll out of bed and visit the toilet. It wasn’t a lengthy walk through my studio apartment, but being half asleep, every stride seemed to take longer than it should. I heard the covers shift once I entered the bathroom. My groggy thoughts passed it off as my cat wrestling with imaginary mice.
The cheap laminate was cold beneath my feet, and my eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness as I relieved myself. I heard the mattress creak again, and began contemplating locking my over-active feline in the bathroom for the night. I left the bathroom, stumbling against the doorframe, and saw my apartment through the low glow from my computer. At least the carpet was comforting. Careful to avoid the mess on the floor that was my wardrobe, I sauntered over to my small twin-sized bed.
There was someone there.
That couldn’t be right. The covers must have been rolled oddly. I took a step back; the floor was warm… and wet. Damn cat missed the litter box. I swung around and flipped a light switch, then wandered over to my pathetic kitchen to grab the paper towels, cursing as I went. When I finally looked down at my feet, I noticed the wetness was not piss from a misbehaving cat, but a sickening red color. I had trailed blood across my apartment. I distinctly remember the feel of the stuff between my toes. The entire situation had my stomach turning, but I finally began to actually wake up.
I called out to my cat as I went back to the main puddle to clean, but received no answer. I looked towards my bed, which I could see clearly thanks to the invention of the light bulb, which was empty. I had no clue where the blood had come from, and really didn’t give a fuck. White carpet stained with blood? I had my security deposit to worry about. Inevitably, I wound up spreading the mess. Blood was everywhere.
I went back to the kitchen to wet the towels, reached the sink, and screamed. Lying in the basin, twisted, contorted and fur matted with blood, was my tabby. Two minutes ago, she was sleeping on my chest, and now she was there.
I backed up, hands covering my mouth, and bumped into something. I fell to the ground, landed in a pool of blood that hadn’t been there before, and yelped. I looked up, and saw myself… but it wasn’t me. Her hair was messy, filthy, sopping in blood and riddled with leaves and sticks. Her eyes were wide and empty, and she was smiling. Her smile was wider than possible, unmoving, unwavering, and purely psychopathic. She was staring down at me, silent. Blood coated the over-sized shirt she was wearing, the same shirt I wore. She had a knife in her right hand, saturated with red. I screamed and scrambled backwards, but not soon enough.
Her hand rose, and lowered. The blade came down, and pierced above my collar bone. She pulled it out, and lowered it again, shoving the blade deep into my shoulder. She continued to grin, and stared motionless into my eyes as she continued to rhythmically stab at me, her reflection. Not once did she blink. I remember thinking that, between the pain and the screaming, I remember the unblinking eyes.
Then I woke up.
Covered in a cold sweat, I shoved the cat off my chest and sat up. She meowed angrily, and dashed into the kitchen. I put my head on my hands, and sat for a moment. I just wanted to get over the nightmare. I hoped it would be like any other dream and disappear into nothingness. It didn’t. I stood up, turned on a light, and looked at myself in the mirror. It was me. Just me. No twigs in my hair, no blood, just me. I laughed. It was empty, and did little to put me at ease, but I laughed. I reached for the light switch, and the room was dark.
I turned to my bed, and froze. She was sitting there, exactly where I was, seconds before. She was still smiling, still staring, still covered in blood. I ran towards the door, and she leapt from the bed with inhuman speed, overtaking my tired limbs with ease. She grabbed my hair and spun me around. I tugged at her wrist, ripped at her flesh with my nails, but she just stared and smiled. Her arm raised, the knife dripped with my own blood, and I watched it come down. I felt it enter my chest: numbness, then deafening pain. It was as if the world was silent, the pain filled every nerve in my brain. It was enough to knock one unconscious.
Then I woke up.
This time, I stayed still in my bed. I let the cat continue to rest on my stomach, and just listened. I waited for a creak, for a rustle, for any noise at all. I don’t know how long I laid there, staring at the ceiling. I don’t know why morning never came. When I couldn’t bare the position any longer, I rolled over onto my side.
Her face was an inch from mine. If I didn’t know better, I would have said someone had simply placed a mirror next to me while I slept. She was still grinning, still unblinking, and staring. I shoved myself backwards and fell off the bed, but she matched every motion with her own, she was never less than a foot from me. I backed into a wall, squeezed my eyes shut, and waited for the blade to pierce my body. For the numbness, for the pain, to wake up again. But it didn’t happen. I sat there, again, for an unknown amount of time, terrified to open my eyes.
When I was sure I could no longer hear her breathing, I slowly opened an eye. Like a child peaking at the movie scene her parents told her not to watch. My eyes quickly adjusted, and I saw nothing. The room was mine, empty, but messy. I kept my head still and slowly moved my eyes to the kitchen, where I found her standing, back to me. I heard the familiar, sickening squish of the knife, and a yowl. My cat. She was murdering my cat for the second time.
There was nothing I could do, so I decided that was my chance to escape. I wasted no time, sprang up, and raced towards the door. I saw her move from the corner of my eye, but refused to flinch. I made it to the door only to find it locked, and the bolt removed. I was trapped. She knew I was trapped. I could hear her breathing, and I swore I heard her laugh… an empty laugh, just like I had done before.
I turned, saw her brilliantly mad smile, and braced myself. We made eye contact. Her empty eyes, the twisted version of my own self, began to shake with vacant laughter. The entire time, she remained unblinking, forever staring. I sank down to the floor, and she stopped laughing only to raise her hand again to strike. It came, the blade came, and I accepted it.
Then I woke up.
I’ve decided if I ignore her, if I don’t look at her, if her insane eyes don't meet my own, she won’t kill me. She has already murdered my poor tabby. I can hear the dripping of her blood from the kitchen. It echoes in my head. I have to ignore it.
I’m going crazy, if I wasn’t already. I can hear her breathing, growing impatient. I can see my reflection in the screen. I’m smiling. Why am I smiling?
Why am I smiling?
Written by Jadeziaa