I have been replaced.
I don't know when it happened; I didn't even realise it myself until just now.
That I missed it is one thing, but what I don't get is how my friends and my family didn't notice. Hell, even my own partner seems to have been completely oblivious.
Now that I found out, I can't help but wonder how long this has been going on.
How can people not have seen, though?
Sure, this imposter looks a lot like me—but they're not me.
My nose is a bit smaller for one thing. My eyes are not that deeply set and the colour is slightly off too. Also, their brows are a lot more pronounced than mine are.
And let's not forget the freckles. I know I have some but this person has them in just the wrong places. Too many are gathered around the nose and there's not enough on the cheeks.
Speaking of cheeks... Mine are fuller and their cheekbones are too high.
My doppelgänger also has a much stronger jawline.
The longer I stare at them, the more differences I see.
How can people assume we're the same person?
The look in their eyes seems hollow, lifeless. I don't have that look, right?
And my smile is a lot warmer than theirs, I hope.
Being in the mere presence of this double unsettles me. Why have they done this? Why replace me of all people? I'm not special. If you ask me, I'm actually quite ordinary.
I take a step closer and so do they. We observe one another. Maybe they're trying to discern how to improve the resemblance, to make the façade an even better one.
They already look so much like me, yet not.
My ears are like a quarter inch smaller than theirs, I'm certain.
My lips are a bit fuller and more pink.
And I know I haven't slept all too well for a while, but nobody can convince me the bags under my eyes are that big.
I tilt my head back and they imitate me. Are my nostrils really that wide? I don't recall.
I roll my shoulders and stretch before locking gazes again. This feels like a battle and I plan to win. There's only one me and this replacement has got to go.
I tell them just that and more. How my loved ones will figure it all out and shun them. I smile confidently but all they do is smirk back.
Do they really think I'm wrong? That they've already won?
I place my hands on the cool glass and my lookalike does the same.
That grin. I don't like that grin.
A cold chill goes up my spine and for a moment I fear losing all sense of reality—that the imposter might defy the laws of nature and intertwine their fingers with mine.
I pull away.
Being so close to this doppelgänger frightens me more and more the longer I am in their presence. The thin sheet of glass that stands between us offers me no comfort.
They look so much like me.
My entire being is starting to protest against being so close to them. Every cell, every fibre is screaming for me to distance myself from this double.
I avert my eyes, yielding to the primal fear taking hold of me.
It takes a lot of effort to walk instead of run out of the bathroom and I turn off the lights.
Away from the sight of my double, I relax slightly.
Maybe I am just overreacting. I mean, how can you be replaced so easily?
It's ludicrous really.
My reflection is just that: my reflection.
Yet I can't shake the feeling that what I just saw in there was not me. That person, that thing was different from me in just too many small ways. Maybe my loved ones don't notice, but I do.
Perhaps I just need some sleep. Look in the mirror when it's not two in the morning. When I'm well rested. When the sun is out.
Yes, that's what I'll do.
Still, I can't help but fear deep down inside that the next time I stare into my own eyes that the other me will come out, the glass barrier unable to hold them in.
They'll grab me and...
And what exactly?
I don't want to find out.
This story was inspired by an actual 2AM mirror gazing mistake (2-Oct-2017).
YOU ARE READING
Midnight Dreams & Nightmares ~ A short story collectionHorror
Horror // Paranormal // Thriller // Scifi // Short stories ~ A short story collection consisting of either tales inspired by dreams & nightmares, or retellings thereof.