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The man in the mirror and the man behind bars
“Lyle,” his name echoed like a faint whisper. His eyes burst open, and he was in a strange place. The sun was shining bright above his head, yet his surroundings were slightly obscured by a gray mist.
Lyle cleared his throat, “Where are you?”
“I’m right here.” she said walking toward him. The fog dispersed, and Lyle was able to discern his surroundings. He was clearly in the desert, and he was beginning to feel the heat as if there were a fire burning near by.
“How did I get here?” he asked
“You fell asleep.”
“Am I dreaming?” the woman nodded at him. “ Who are you?”
“I’m Evelyn Abramson. Don’t you remember me?”
“No, I don’t think I’ve ever met you. I’m going to wake up now.” Lyle closed his eyes. They stung with bright sunshine when he opened them.
“You can’t. If you want to wake up, you have to climb the mountain.”
“I don’t see any mountains here.” he said scanning the horizon. The woman was no longer with him. He was kind of glad about that. Her presence had made him nervous and for some strange reason fearful.
He chose a direction at random and began to walk toward the horizon. He seemed to have walked for a long time, but the sun was still high above his head. It had not changed positions since he began his journey. However, he did seem to be catching up to the horizon.
The horizon was a road that stretched forever in both directions. His heart leaped with hope. He ran toward the asphalt that seemed to be his salvation, but he ran into something solid that knocked him to the ground. It was a wooden wall. He kicked and punched at it until he was drained of energy, but he hadn’t even caused a single crack. The wall was to high to jump, and as he dug with his hands deeper and deeper the wall seemed to have no end. By the time he quite, his hands were filthy and bleeding.
Defeated he sat against the impenetrable wall. He heard a similar echoing whisper, “Evelyn? Evelyn is that you?” he called.
“You can’t escape” this time the voice was solid. A man appeared in front of Lyle who quickly got to his feet.
“Who are you?” Lyle asked impatiently, “Why am I dreaming of people I’ve never even met?”
“You know who I am.” the man shouted back, “You know who we are.” more people appeared beside the man and disappeared as quickly as they’d appeared.
“I have a message for you. You should take it as advice from the only person who knows you best. You can run, run, run, and run, but you cannot escape, and you cannot hide. You can’t get away from yourself and the unspeakable things you’ve done.” the man issued a blow to Lyle’s face that sent him stumbling backwards into the wall. He grasped it for support and it tumbled backwards as if it were made of cardboard. The left side of his face was numb with pain.
The man was gone, but that didn’t matter to Lyle because the barrier was also gone. That was what mattered. The moment his feet were upon the asphalt, the temperature dropped a couple degrees, and the air grew humid. Second by second it was growing darker and darker. Lyle turned around. The desert was gone. It had been replaced by endless towering trees. He turned back the other direction which had now also been replaced by jungle. Finally, he looked down. He was no longer standing on the road. He had to find another way. There had to be another way out.
“It’s you. What are you doing here?” this voice had to belong to a child. Lyle searched, but saw nothing but trees and vines it the dimly lit jungle. He wondered if the child was still among him.
“ I used to dream too. I used to have big dreams.” the child emerged from behind a tree. He was crying. “ I was at the desert. Did you see me? I like it better here. There’s water to put out the fire if it ever starts again. It was too late for us the last time.” the boy looked down. Lyle followed his gaze. At that moment his heart was pounding harder than ever. Ashes and burned skeletons covered the ground. Suddenly the trees burst into flames. “You better get to the water if you want to make it out.”
Lyle ran away from the flames that were chasing him. Very soon they would catch up, and he would be nothing but ashes. He ran, but he had gone too far. He was plummeting lower and lower. Below him was a waterfall that was getting closer and closer. finally he splashed into the water which was deeper than he had anticipated. When he broke the surface, he was not relieved. He wasn’t in the river anymore. He was in a vast infinite ocean.
Lyle swam and was carried by the current to an island. The island was sandy, rocky, and mountainous with no type of vegetation in sight. “Hi, it’s me again.” Evelyn said, “Good luck climbing that mountain. I wouldn’t want to slip and fall. I wouldn’t want to be pushed of either.”
“Are you dead? Did someone push you?”
“The person who did it is hiding up there. You have to stop them.”
Lyle tried to choose every step carefully. There were times he felt as if he were going to fall. He wouldn’t let himself. He was determined to wake up. By the time he reached the summit, his legs were numb with exhaustion. Right before him was a wardrobe. He pulled the door open. There was nothing. There was nothing besides a mirror where he stood clearly reflected. It wasn’t him though. It couldn’t be. There was no way those furious eyes were his. They could only belong to one other person. Those stunningly bright green eyes. The mountain was tumbling down, and Lyle was falling. He didn’t recall hitting the ground. He opened his eye. He was no longer on the island. He was home. He had finally woken up.
He had fallen asleep at the table reading the newspaper. The door of the kitchen opened. It was his wife.
“You know that’s the second time this week you’ve fallen asleep reading that newspaper. It can’t be healthy.”
“Is Felix still here?” Lyle asked.
“Why? What happened? He should be upstairs sleeping or something.” Lyle shot up from his chair. She blocked the way. “What are you doing?”
“I’m calling the police.”
“I’m not going to let you do that. I’m not going to let you do that until you explain what’s going on.”
He shoved the newspaper he had been reading in her face. “It was him. He did it.” Lyle took the opportunity to dial the number as she read the headlines: “Woman Pushed of a Mountain.”, “Body Found in Desert.”, “Fire Kills an Entire Family”
“Are you sure?” she asked, “How do you know? This is something serious.”
“There was a necklace found at one of the crime scenes. Someone put it on the woman that was pushed off the mountain. My mother had identical necklaces custom made when we were born. He must have switched ours, and put mine on that woman to make it look as if I had done it. I knew this one looked different.” he said removing the necklace from his neck. “ When the chain on mine broke, I replaced it with one that wasn’t real gold. I can prove it. I have receipts. Not only that but where was him at the time these murders took place? He was always gone. He would always disappear. “
“Wait, if he gave you his? Wouldn’t it look suspicious if he didn’t have his?”
“This isn’t his. He must have had it made.”
“What if it was him? He could try to frame you. It would make sense. This necklace can‘t be used as evidence in your favor because he could say that you had that one made and are making it look as if he were going to frame you.”
“I’m calling the cops anyway. There has to be some kind of proof somewhere.”
On one side was the free twin. On the other, behind the bars, was the prisoner twin.
“How could you do this to your own brother?”
“I had to. So you had that dream too? The part right before you wake up is terrible isn’t it?”
“You have no idea.” Lyle said, “I never want to see you ever again. I have a message for you. You should take it as advice from the only person who knew you best. You can run, run, run, and run, but you cannot escape and you can’t hide. You can’t get away from yourself and the unspeakable things you’ve done.”
The free twin turned and laughed hysterically as he walked away, “Why don’t you watch me.”