The day went through the usual grind. With the job of a clerk, all you could see around you were stacks and pillars of sheets of paper that went nauseatingly high and from somewhere between them, the monitor of a computer tried to make its presence known in the forest of papers with the light from its LCD display. A story of my usual day would have very few (or sometimes no) characters in it. All my interaction with the outer world would include only the minutes of diversion that I would fruitfully use in between my work to catch a whiff of Facebook on the computer, or maybe the new fad these days, Twitter. My friends of Facebook were deplorably little and my Twitter followers edged next to zero. I wouldn’t go into the intricacies and minutiae of my job or my social life (which is awfully boring), but rather I would like to draw your precious attention to a peculiar event that happened on the night of that fairly routine day. As you, dear reader, read this tiny tale, you will find some elements which may seem to be a figment of imagination but I assure you, are true.

I returned to my solitary home, slumped down on my couch and exhaled heavily, like I exhaled every other day. The monotony in my life could probably drive anybody else mad with restlessness. Yet here I was, living the same day, over and over again with probably the Sundays providing an iota of relief. And like every other day, after fifteen minutes of my semi-dozing on the couch, I got up, downed a mug of apple juice before grabbing some random items from the repository of the fridge to cook up something. This was one talent I was proud of. I could practically make moderately delicious food out of anything fortune would provide. While the pan heated, I cut up the random vegetables. Soon the pan was piping hot, and the oil in it was smoking. I tossed in the cut vegetables which seethed and spit as it came into contact with the hot oil. Minutes later, my dinner was ready.

I plopped down in my personal couch, and just as I was about to switch on the television, I heard something crash to the ground in one of the other rooms. It was a muffled crash, but the sound was unmistakable. There was somebody in the other room. I placed my plate of dinner on the ground beside me and stood up. I ran to the kitchen to grab something heavy to act as a cudgel. Finding something close enough, I walked ahead through the corridor, opened the door and emerged cautiously into the only other room my modest savings to afford. My makeshift baton was in the air, ready to strike down upon any adversary that lay hidden beneath the layers of darkness.

But again, luck was against me. Suddenly, out of the obscurity of the shadows, two thick hairy muscular hands emerged and grasped my wrists so hard I was afraid they would crumble and break. I was violently thrown back against the opposite wall. My head struck the periphery of the only window in the room. My head started spinning and my vision began to dull. But something else struck my mind too. This was my territory, my home. Even in the darkness, I knew what was where. And for this dismal situation, I knew where the switches to the lights were. My left hand shot forward in the direction and seconds later found what it was searching for. I flicked on the lights before the thug could do anything more to me.

Then things happened in the spam of a few seconds. It was then that I had complete view of the burglar. I was somewhat surprised and almost felt a tinge of pity for the man who had come to the wrong house for a burglary. My home wasn’t exactly a burglar’s heaven. There was little a man could find in my humble abode, let alone steal. But that isn’t the point of this tale. What my story involves is a tragic turn of events. As the lights suddenly illuminated our befuddled faces, the expression of the thug turned into what would be normally termed as “seeing a ghost”. Blood emptied from his face, making it deathly pale. His body slumped down, as if something had sucked all the energy out of him.

But in a situation like this, my mind had already gone into overdrive, overcoming the silent introspection that happened at the back of my head which I recollected later, after the incident as I pen down the story now. And as a result of the overdrive, my right hand holding the baton swung forcefully and struck the thug right across his face. The man made no effort to even defend himself. He just fell to the ground, knocked out completely.

Soon, I called up the police. They came within minutes of my call, saving me the trouble to knock out the man again in case he came round. The police barged into my home and handcuffed the fellow. When they saw the man’s face, a murmur went around the khaki-uniformed men. After they took him away, one of the policemen came up to me, held out a file and said, ‘Congratulations. You’ve successfully aided the police to capture a notorious burglar that was going around the city. He had recently murdered his brother to steal money even from him.’

I nodded mutely as I took the file and opened it. The front page had a picture of the murdered brother. And I looked at it agape, staring at the image of my own face.

17 thoughts on “Doppelgänger

  1. tasavur18 says:

    Wow.. I thought this story is about the daily chores of life as with the zeal u described the things and later on, my eyes just popped out wen u mentioned ‘seeing a ghost’.. I got alert wid my reading and the end actually made me smile.. It wasnt a horror but the thought of ghost brought goosebumps to me.. Keep up the good work.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karthik Pillai says:

    Hey Indrashish, amazing writing. Great use of words and the transitions are amazing. Just don’t keep a sentence too long. Not more than 20 words. Else story is perfect. Love the amazing twist in the end. Way to go buddy.

    Liked by 1 person

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