The Stranger Within ~ Yazeed Dezele

The first day you saw your own image, it was like a nightmare. You were wide awake, yet unconscious. You jerked suddenly into wakefulness, coughing out your lungs and staring into the face of this stranger in front of you. A stranger you didn’t know was there, who looked every inch like you. He was a full-length mirror image of you.

This twin-self of yours had no name. When you summoned the strength to ask for its name, it responded in a glib unearthly voice. Scratching your eardrums like electric sparks; the voice of a re-commissioned zombie-bot forced by voltage to recognise its master.

You begged it to stop talking. You placed your right-hand on your chest, trying to keep out the pain, as the sharp pierce of a light-saber ripped through your naked heart.

‘No, you no fit be me!’ you shouted, to drown the voice of this replica of yours.

‘Shebi you get your own name, your real name.’ You inquired, trembling.

The stranger within was quiet, staring blankly at you like a shadow-man in a trance.  His stare was worse than his voice. You became paralysed by the sudden chill that crept up your spine, raising the hairs on your skin in its wake. You sat there in bed, wriggling and trembling like a caged snake.

‘No fear, bros. We dey together.’ It came to give you a hug. Its body was morgue-chilled meat with a rotten smell.

‘I-I-I’m not y-y-you’ you managed to stammer as you sobbed. Then you realised it wasn’t touching you, it was only holding you in its shadowed space. Crying for you and asking you to be at peace with your own dread.

You woke up to see the morning light and heaved a deep sigh as relief washed your soul.

________

Yazeed Dezele is a writer of African speculative fiction based in Abuja. His works have featured in Omenana and Lawino.

Photo credit: Photo by Victor from Pexels

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