When people talk of doppelgängers, few experience the true terror behind the phenomenon, where certain entities can manifest from places other than our own.
From the hidden realms behind our reality comes the personal account of one Joe Forbes, whom fate rendered incapable of ever returning to this world.
I’d picked the mirror up in one of those rundown antique shops. You know – the sort of place that rarely stocks any actual antiques. Weird ashtrays, shit taxidermy and tons upon tons of military crap heaped upon musty moth ridden floors. And not forgetting the dodgy Nazi memorabilia round the back.
I’d previously raked about the place but felt a real strong urge to go in that day. It was winter so it was dark early, giving the whole place a sinister, mysterious vibe. The woman told me they’d just got new stock from some laird who died at the Miller mansion. That place had always given me the creeps so I was intrigued. As I gazed over the shelves my eyes instantly fixated on the thing, pulling me towards it.
Carved wooden gargoyles framed the dusty oval shaped glass. Real monstrous, lurking oddities with demonic eyes and distorted bodies, circling it like a fucking vortex. I picked it up and looked at my reflection. Slightly dishevelled but surprisingly striking. I flipped it over. Unintelligible hieroglyphics carved faintly in the back. It was definitely the weirdest thing I’d seen in there; perfect for the mantelpiece. I was surprised how reasonably priced it was and half expected to be called back by the woman realising her error so I slinked out of the joint quick smart and headed home.
Later that day, I was swanning about the flat getting ready for work when I nonchalantly gazed towards the mirror, now perched above the fireplace. An unexpected image prompted me to smack my hand onto my head. I looked again as my heart beat violently. In the reflection I appeared to be wearing a bowler hat. I patted my head again and looked behind, half expecting someone else to be standing there. No. Just me. I swung back and looked closer, staring at my reflection as it stared back at me. I’d never seen the thing in my life. Freaked out, I ran out the room, grabbing my coat and headed to work.
When I got home later that night, I grabbed a beer from the fridge and settled on the sofa, putting on the TV. I’d almost forgotten my earlier freak-out and put it down to a slight hangover from the night before. I’d been working too hard lately. I flicked through the channels and settled on an old Japanese horror film.
Six beers later and the film was kicking off. Real creepy vibes. I paused it to take a leak and as I stood up, caught sight of the mirror. It looked even more demonic than usual, almost reaching out, demanding my attention. I picked it up, smiling and looked into the glass. There I was again, with that fucking bowler hat on! I stared in confusion, my mouth agape. I put my hand up to the mirror and watched with terror as an eye ball began to emerge, piercing under the flesh inside the reflection. I screamed and smashed the glass on the corner of the table. I tossed it into the fire and watched it burn, shaking as I crept under my bed covers and passed out.
The next morning I awoke realising it had all been a nightmare, induced from the Japanese horror film. My head was pounding so I emerged shakily from bed and tried to open the door to the kitchen. The door wouldn’t budge. It felt cemented shut. I looked at the mantelpiece, scratching my head. The mirror was back on its perch, all neatly taped up. What the fuck? I grabbed it and peered into it. My reflection wasn’t there. As I continued to stare at the mirror, I could see myself in the room, sitting on the chair, a bowler hat on my head.
I swung around. Nobody in the chair. I tore towards the window, trying to wedge it open. Stuck. I grabbed an ornament and lobbed it through the glass, smashing a hole through the window. It looked pitch black outside. I couldn’t make out any shapes or sounds so I put my arm out. It felt like I was being sucked through a vacuum. With all my strength I managed to pull it back and fell onto the floor, breathless.
At first, it was hard for Joe to accept his fate but now he just watches him through the cracked mirror. Watches him laugh, watches him eat. Watches as he takes that bowler hat off at night, slips into bed and sleeps more soundly than he ever did. Joe doesn’t need to work or eat or sleep. Not anymore. Yet somehow he exists still, inside the apparition, inside the nothingness.