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The Cheval Glass

BY BRANDON HOOKS

The clock said 3 am as I lay in my bed staring at it, praying that I could finally get some sleep. It was now night number 3 in this series of hot, sleepless nights. The room was enclosed in deep darkness, and a fan blew up above me.

The perspiration dripped from my face, neck, and chest like grease dripping from a McDonald’s Big Mac. For a while I lay in my bed looking up at the spinning fan, and hoping for the Sand Man to pay me a visit.

Footsteps stomped in the apartment room above me. I sighed, “Geez, does that girl not give a crap that people are trying to sleep? When will I learn? I am going to have to go to the landlord about it. I’ve gotta call her anyway so she’ll send a repair man out to fix the A.C.”

When I decided to quit bitchin about the heat and the upstairs tenant; I made the conscious decision to push myself to fall asleep. Another day on the job was only a few hours away. I turned over and slowly dozed off into a sleep.

The alarm clock shrieked in my ears, pulling me out of a pretty good dream. It was 7 o’clock and the strong, summer rays of the arms of the sun, reached in and touched my room. I expanded myself in a hard stretch, and turned over on my left side. People were up and about next door. It had to be somebody next door to me on the downstairs level. Someone was fidgeting in the bathroom, and I wondered if someone had broken into my apartment while I slept. They were that close next door.

A mystery arrested my attention. It was either this or the mere 4 hours of sleep that contributed to my imagining the sound of running water in my bathroom. The sound was faint, not well developed, and then it shut off. The fan never succeeded in relieving me of the heat. My legs dripped, and my heart skipped a beat.

I waited for the person or ghost to turn the faucet back on, but all I could perceive with my over strengthened hearing capability at this time, was the trampling footsteps still pulverizing the upstairs apartment floor. With a voice barely surpassing a whisper, I said, “Give it a rest up there. Man!”

The sound of running water hooked my undivided attention again, but this time it was accompanied by a low, scrubbing frightening agitated noise. The perfect resemblance of one engaged in brushing the teeth was occurring in my own bathroom, and it wasn’t me!

I shot straight up from the bed and sat there, equally motionless as a dead man. Something caught the edge of my eye when the rims of the giant cheval glass peeked into my view a split second. When I lunged up from the laying position, the silhouette of a man in the bathroom stopped my heart.

I leaped out of the bed like a teenage boy caught making out with his girlfriend, and I pulled my Mark McGuire autographed baseball bat from the closet. I held it up as I side stepped towards the bathroom. I didn’t even call out once. I positioned the bat to “going downtown style”, and I jumped out into the locality of the large cheval glass. You would’ve thought an invisible fist sucker punched me. I stood still as I saw a dim figure standing hunched over the sink (like the character of Notre Dame) on the other side of the cheval glass.

I tossed the bat to the floor and slapped up the light switch. The man stood there hunched over as far as he could go, inside the mirror. His face was arranged in a part squint, part preparation for uproarious mirth, and majority terror.

I reached down into the sink and grabbed a razor. I held it up for my Doppelganger to see it. A thin line of blood evaporated on the blade. I forced the razor blade to my wrist as if an external force seized my arm. I smiled as I watched myself in the mirror drive the blade of the razor up and down the veins of the wrist. The Doppelganger moaned out in pain and then fell to the floor dead.

I looked down at my wrist and noticed a deep gap where the hand connects to the wrist. My hand faded, then vanished all together, then reappeared! This was enough to endorse the idea that I myself was Peter Reznor’s Doppelganger, and that the real Peter Reznor was dead by his own hands.

I guess it is my time to be what Peter couldn’t be. Maybe life as his death carrying counterpart could have its benefits. It is a shame it took 25 years to become acquainted with myself. The world is now my oyster.

 

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