The Double

A writing exercise I had to complete for ‘The Fantastic’ module regarding the doppelgänger. 

Jumping through the closing doors of the train, the warning beeping sound still ringing in my ears reminding me of my near miss, I flopped onto the nearest seat out of exhaustion due to my earlier running. Catching my breath self-consciously, I placed the heavy bag I had been lugging around all day on the empty seat next to me by the window with the Perry Barr sign slowly going out of view.  Slouching down unattractively in my seat, I unzipped my coat halfway and jutted my feet out to stretch my legs.

Accidently, my black boots hit the front of another’s similar to my own and I mumbled an apology before glancing up at the person I had scuffed. The girl sitting opposite me did not say anything and met my gaze unflinchingly. After momentarily taking in her features, I noticed that this girl looked like me. A lot like me. In fact she looked exactly like me, completely identical. Right down to the same black boots and doubled knotted laces. The only difference was the strange but darker colour of her eyes.

Her brown curly hair ended just after her shoulders with a lone curl that had fallen slightly in her face. Blinking, I realised the same curl that I struggled with was irritating my eye and raised my hand to move it away. To my surprise and shock, her hand moved at the same time to do the same task. Slowly, like a mirror, she copied my exact movements but with the opposite hand.

I opened my mouth to speak but no sound came out as she continued to stare at me without expression or the same feelings of shock that I was experiencing. I looked around to see if any other people on the train were witnessing this strange occurrence but no one was taking any notice of me and the girl who appeared to be some sort of twin of mine.

Her dark eyes never once left me and I began to shift in my seat and avoided looking directly in her eyes for as long as possible. As soon as I gave in to her intense gaze, shivers ran down my back and my hands began to tremble to the point that I trapped them in between my legs.  A lump formed in my throat and I found great difficulty in swallowing as my mouth became parched as if I had not drank for days. The sound of my heartbeat was loud in my ears as it pounded in my chest. Whilst I became a trembling mess, my twin sat calm and composed.

The sound of the train announcing my stop startled me from my symptoms and I hastily grabbed my bag and moved away from the girl that was the source of my discomfort. The train slowed to a stop, and I stood impatiently by the door. My finger insistently pressed the button to open the door even though it was not lit up. All the while my eyes were on the girl who had not yet moved.

The doors slid open and without hesitation, I jumped off the train and began to walk briskly away. Breathing in the fresh air I walked quickly down the platform, overtaking the people who were being particularly slow. As I walked, I felt a prickling sensation at the back of my neck that travelled down my spine making me shiver. Turning around, I gasped when I saw that the girl had exited the train and was slowly making her way towards me. Other people around her seemed to not notice she was there and glided around her.

I begin to panic and quicken my pace, pushing past people who were in my way with the intention of getting away from this girl as soon as possible. With difficulty, I slung my heavy bag over my shoulder and ran up the stairs as fast as my legs would allow. As I hurried over the bridge to the next platform, I constantly kept looking over my shoulder but the girl who looked exactly like me was not there.

As I got onto the next platform, my connection was due to arrive in a few minutes and moving away from the stairs I walked farther down the platform. I breathed a sigh of a relief and placed a hand on my chest to calm my erratic heart when the girl failed to join me on the platform. I could not help but wonder if she had been a figment of my imagination, a product of late and sleepless nights.

The tannoy announced the impending arrival of my train and I strained my head to see if I could see its familiar headlights as it approached the small tunnel. The wind blew harshly and I pulled my coat tighter around me, suppressing a shiver.

Suddenly to my horror, my double appeared before me on the opposite platform directly across from me. Without delay, I was overcome with the same symptoms I had experienced on the earlier train but still she continued to stare at me.

‘What do you want?’ I asked in frustration even though she was too far away to hear me.

The rumble of the train grew louder and she took a step towards me so that her feet were close to the edge of the platform. I glanced at the train and willed it to pull in faster so I could escape. The wind became bitter and blew both our hair around our faces.

Raising her foot, the double went to step off the platform when the train eventually pulled in and blocked my view.  The doors stopped right in front of me and I strained to see her through the other side but could not. The door buttons lit up and I quickly climbed onto the carriage alone. I found an empty seat by the window and to my astonishment she was nowhere to be seen. Not even on the rails. The train began to pull out of the station and I relaxed into my seat.

But there she sat opposite me again. My scream was silent as the train shuddered along the line, rocking as it went along the tracks. The lights flicked in the carriage and I held onto the sides on my seat in a bid to stop myself from falling. She did not move or even seem fazed by the jerky movements of the train.

Suddenly, the girl who looked identical to me opened her mouth wide as if she was going to scream but no sound came out. Her hair became wild and her eyes darkened further. The flickering lights made her figure all the more haunting and her face appear to sink and become gaunt.

The sound of the screeching wheels on the tracks and a large bang caused me to jump as the train slid off the line and derailed. The image of the girl before me with her mouth open in a silent scream was the last thing I saw as I found myself screaming along with her.

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