Ever met yourself coming the other way? Ever recognised that face in the crowd as the mirror image of your own? As I am glad my doppelganger remains safely on the page, here is 500 words on this week’s theme of writing a horror story . . .
A cold wind pours down the High Street. My feet hit the pavement rhythmically. As people stream up and down, charity shops, hardware stores and pubs pass by me in a blur I will not remember later. The street climbs a hill steeply, and as I approach the top, I look for the narrow alley on the right leading to the car park. I prepare to take it. My mind is on auto-pilot.
The cold wind blows down the alley also. I make out my silver car parked up ahead, but still nothing registers. It is only when I catch sight of a woman walking towards me that I snap back into reality. I notice that she is the same height as me, and with the same dark hair. She is walking in the same, preoccupied way, and I squint at her, curiosity pulling me out of the confines of my thoughts.
Her face comes into focus. At first I don’t feel my insides hit the floor. They say instinct is far quicker than thought, and as adrenaline begins to sear itself through my body, my mirror image stops a few feet away. The clothes I notice first. They are like nothing I have in my wardrobe. The top is black and white striped, and hangs over black jeans. The shoes are black heels. She looks like she could be off out somewhere, but it is late morning and the sun is high.
All at once, a psychological vortex opens up between us as I realise she is me. Her eyes, nose and mouth I see every morning in the mirror, but transposed back, which is even more shocking. Her expression is enigmatic. She is tall. I back away in terror and am unable to address my doppelganger, putting her hand over her mouth silently.
A second later, she vanishes into the light, leaving the cold wind to rush back. I look down the High Street and think about running to the church halfway down. To passers-by, nothing has happened. I didn’t stare myself in the face. Blood red fear never flooded my body. I didn’t stand, two years later in a charity shop in the same High Street, about to buy the same black and white striped top, which I am going to wear with black jeans and black heels that night. I never realised, horrified, that I am going to look just like my doppelganger. I only put the top back, determined not to die.