The Letter to My Other Self



A thriller short story.
Reading time: 23 minutes.

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The Letter to My Other Self



1.

I had woken up after a very long time. It almost felt like an eternity. I opened my eyes and there it was, the night, my lost love. I was so happy, so excited to see the night that I didn't even move for a full minute after waking up. I just stayed in bed looking at the beautiful darkness and listening to the melodious silence. It was breathtaking, the moment.

I was so happy that I didn't even realise that I was smiling, from ear to ear, lying in my bed, staring into the darkness.

I got out of the bed and hurdled towards the kitchen to get a bottle out of the fridge. I turned on the light, opened the fridge, grabbed a bottle, shut the fridge, and there it was—a tiny piece of orange paper stuck on the door. I carelessly pulled it and looked at the words 'Buy milk'. I wondered when I had written that. When I couldn't remember, Okay, I shrugged and went out to buy some milk.

I entered the store, the only store that was open at that hour of the night. I grabbed a carton and steered to the counter.

The guy behind the counter looked tired. "Is that all?" he asked.

I nodded and reached into my pocket. That's when I realised that I had forgotten my wallet. Did I even have a wallet? I looked at the guy. "Uhm–I'm sorry, I don't have any money," I said.

He made a face that I hated. He snatched the carton from the counter, it wasn't even in my hand. "Don't waste my time!" he said.

That's it, I thought. He won't live to see another day. I stared at him for a few seconds. Not now, I told myself. There were cameras everywhere so I dragged my feet and went out into the night.

I was just strolling through the streets kicking stones and empty bottles scattered on the road. It was supposed to be a magical night but I had to wait for the store to close and that could take hours. I didn't hold grudges but I wasn't a hunting kind either. It was usually the one whom I laid my eyes on first or the one who pissed me off and in this case, it was both.

I was walking on the road by the park when I saw the silhouette of a man. He stood at the corner of the park and was talking to someone. I tilted my head and walked a little further. I saw the fat man reach into his pocket, take out something, probably money and give it to someone who appeared to be a woman. Then I saw them both go into the park. Interesting, I thought as I strolled towards the entrance of the park.

It was dead quiet in the park. I thought I would hear the chirping of the crickets but nope. Nothing. So I tuned my ears for the sound of shuffling bushes or something similar in that context and I heard it. Yup, there they were, in a dark corner. I couldn't see their faces but there was no mistaking as to what they were doing. I just had to wait until one of them left and I could take either of them but something happened. Something that made me change my mind.

I saw the man rough-handling the woman. He was probably trying to do something that she didn't want to do.

"AHH, HEY! THAT'S NOT WHAT WE AGRE—"

"SHUT UP, YOU BITCH!"

I saw the man throw her to the ground and kick her, again and again. I kept looking at the silhouette of that fat man with a blank face. He didn't piss me off but something about me still wanted to do it. So I did it.



2.

I woke up the following night, unsatisfied. I couldn't understand it. Why was I up so early? The same thing had happened to me the previous time, and before that. First, the stray dog wasn't enough, neither was the neighbour's cat. It was happening to me again. I got out of the bed with sleepy eyes and tired muscles. I was thinking about the previous night. What could have gotten wrong? I wondered.

I walked up to the fridge and there it was again, the note 'Buy milk'. I pulled it and then it all came back to me. The guy at the store, yes, he had pissed me off. How could I have slept when I knew he was alive and breathing, snatching milk cartons from the hands of those who had forgotten to bring their wallets. Yes, that was why I had woken up so soon.

I dashed out of the apartment, into the peaceful night, except it wasn't so peaceful tonight. I saw a couple of policemen patrolling the area. Their jeep was parked in front of the store. A smile stretched across my face. So they've seen my work, I thought. They were looking for me but they had no idea that the man they were looking for had just walked past them and into the store. I was still smiling because I knew that no matter how hard they tried they would never get me. I walked to the counter and my smile vanished as I looked at the man behind the counter. My blood started to boil. Oh, yes, this is it, I thought. After this man, I'll be able to sleep for a long, long time. I bought some milk and some chocolates and headed out. No matter how much I wanted that, I still had to wait.

The night became quieter, the two policemen had already dozed off in their jeep. The silent wind rustled their hair as the man turned off the lights, stepped out of the store and locked the door. He then strode away rattling the keys in his hands and probably humming, I couldn't hear him from this afar. It was my time, I smiled as I followed him. When I got a little closer I heard that he indeed was humming Aurora's Runaway.

'—and I was run-nin' far away. Would I run off the world someday—'

Oh, you wouldn't run anywhere from me, I thought. He was too much in his head that he didn't notice another man walking right behind him. Maybe he hadn't heard the news of a fat man, a woman abuser, who was found dead in a park not very far from his store but it was good for me. He turned into a rather darker street and my night just turned amazing.



3.

I had thought that I would finally go to sleep for a long time, that I had had my fun and now it was time to rest for a while until I would wake up again to do it once more, to reunite with my love, the night. I thought I wouldn't wake up the very next day, not during the daylight anyway, and certainly not—in his office.

At first, I couldn't understand anything. Where was I? I asked myself and then it came to me like a very fast-moving vehicle coming head-on towards me—he knows.

That was the only explanation. He must have found out that I had woken up. I looked at the date on his computer and yes, for sure, it made sense. That night after I had had my fun with the store guy, I went to sleep. He would've woken up the next morning and realized, somehow, what I had been up to. I must've left a clue or something or maybe he just heard or saw the news and figured it out. Whatever it was, he didn't sleep the following evening, he didn't sleep all night and then he came here to his office in the morning but he was tired and sleep-deprived. He must've dozed off while working and thus, there I was, in his office, in the middle of the day.

Now, I didn't like the idea of sharing a body with someone and as much as my other self would claim that it was his body and I was just a parasite, he and I both knew it wasn't true. The fact that I used to sleep most of the time did not give him the right to call me a parasite. In fact, there used to be a time when we both would be awake at the same time, a time when we were one.

It was a very long time ago, we were just kids back then. I remember how I used to suggest different games but he would always chicken out. 'Oh mom wouldn't like that,' 'No, we can't do this,' or 'We'll be punished or sent away.' and bla bla bla. It was always his stupid friends and his stupid games. I wanted to play my game, a different one and an interesting one at that so I took the matter into my own hands, literally.

First, it was a stray dog. It was half dead anyway. The number of stray animals in this country has always been on the rise. Dogs, cats, and cows and no one cared, no authority or government body did anything. A few NGOs were founded but nothing changed. Now I could've tried to go for a cow, bigger, better, and more fun than a tiny, half-dead dog but even though no one cared about these animals except a few who would occasionally feed them previous night's leftovers, a country-wide emergency would be declared if anyone dared to touch these holy cows. Moreover, I was just a kid back then so I settled for the dog. It was the first time I had had so much fun. That night I went to bed hoping for a very long sleep but I woke up the very next day, feeling unsatisfied and incomplete as if the events of the previous day had never happened. I wanted more. I needed more.

Second, it was the neighbour's cat. It felt a little personal. That was what I needed. Nobody cared for that stupid dog. When I saw Mr and Mrs D'souza crying and sticking flyers all over the neighbourhood, it gave me an unexplainable comfort just like it gave me a comfort watching those policemen patrolling just for me but it still wasn't enough. I still needed something more. I didn't know what it was. I saw the life leaving the dog's and the cat's eyes. What more could I have wanted? I had wondered and then I found it.

"Hey Sachin, drool on the desk on your own time," someone shouted.

I looked up at the big, bald man wearing a large pair of eyeglasses staring right at me. I didn't need anybody to tell me that this man was his boss.

"I pay you to work, not sleep."

I stared at his back as he walked away. I looked at the time, it was already five. That's it, I thought, he won't live to see another day. But I had to wait so I walked out of the office towards the parking lot. Do I own a car? I asked myself as I checked my pockets for keys. I did find something, but it wasn't the keys, it was a letter. I pulled it out and looked at the words scribbled on one of the folded sides in the same handwriting that the words 'Buy milk' had written on the note that I had found on the fridge—'To you'.

It was for me—from him.



4.

I was standing there in the parking lot holding the letter like an idiot. I looked for the keys, found them and my car—his car whatever, jumped into the driver's seat and started to read the letter.

'I know that you have woken up. I don't know for how long you have been active but I know that you killed that man in the park and the one in the alley. I should've realised it when I looked for some milk in the fridge and found none. It felt as if I was having a Deza Vu because I distinctly remembered putting a note on the fridge. It had happened the previous day but I ignored it, I shouldn't have.

'Now I know that we don't get along and I've never written to you before but this time I had to. It's important. When I saw the news about the man in the park it didn't bother me at all but the next day, I saw the news about the guy who worked at the store and I found milk in the fridge even though I hadn't bought any. I figured it out. It had to be you. You are awake and you are killing just like the last time and the time before that and you won't go to sleep until you hurt someone really close to me. It's always been like that. My roommate in college and before that, my brother.'

And then it all came back to me. Yes, of course, I thought. The dog and the cat weren't enough because I didn't get what I was looking for. The life leaving their eyes wasn't as satisfying as the horror in the eyes of his brother. The feeling, the acknowledgement that they recognized the face looking upon them. Yes, that's what I want, I thought, the fear, the horror, the shock, the confusion as they look into the eyes of who they thought was their friend or brother or someone close to them, someone they thought they knew. The sense of betrayal, the realisation that none could be trusted, not even the ones close to them. That was what I wanted. That was why I couldn't sleep for the past two nights, that was why I woke up every night feeling unsatisfied.

Nobody ever found out what happened to his brother and nobody ever would. I remembered it. That night, I went to bed and I slept for I didn't know how long but it was the best sleep I had ever had. When I woke up the next time, he was already in college. I remembered how I wandered the lonely streets for many nights looking for playmates. It was a drunk man the first night. It was so unsatisfying that I knew beforehand that I would wake up the following night and certainly, I did. Next, it was a guitarist returning from a music night or whatever, it still wasn't enough. I didn't know the reason for my dissatisfaction so I kept searching the streets. Fortunately, his roommate noticed me slipping out of the bed every night followed by the news of someone having been murdered the next day, he thought himself to be some sort of a detective; idiot. He followed me the next time and well, it turned out very lucky for me. I had the longest sleep ever after that because I woke up after a very long time, two nights ago.

I continued reading the letter.

'I should thank you that you never let anything traced back to me but I won't. You killed my brother and my best friend. You disgust me. The reason I didn't turn myself in is that deep down I'm afraid that it was all me. It doesn't matter what I believe or what I tell myself, you are still a part of me. Maybe it was a deep-rooted desire of mine. Maybe you are not even there, maybe you are not even real, maybe I created you to make myself feel better but whatever it is, I want to get rid of it. I want to be free, free of you, free of my fears. God knows I've been working so hard for all these years to get myself the life that I deserve. I thought you were gone. I thought that desire deep inside had died but when you woke up again, it made me realize what could happen to my life, the life that I worked so hard for. I can't let that happen so I have an offer for you, a deal if you will.

'The reason I am writing to you is that I've met someone. Yes, I found someone that I think I can spend the rest of my life with. She is the most amazing person I've ever met. She makes me feel loved and I can't lose her so here's my offer to you.

'You do whatever you like. I'll give you a whole weekend. Kill anyone you wish to kill. Today is Thursday, I'm not gonna sleep tonight and tomorrow, after work, I'll go straight to sleep, hell, I'll sleep in the office right before five. You'll find the keys in the pocket and the car in the parking lot. Go do whatever you want to do. And in return, I ask for just one thing, just the one and that is—spare my girlfriend. Go kill anyone you want to, no matter how close to me but spare her. This is more of a request than an offer. Please. Take the whole weekend to yourself and go to sleep on Sunday night and I promise you that I'll give you the whole weekend again the next time you ever wake up.

We can find a way to live like this. We can have an arrangement. We can do this. I hope you'll understand.

'Your other self.'

I kept staring at the words. I had finished the letter but I was fixated on one thing—'maybe you are not even real.' He thought I wasn't real. How dare he? I felt a rage inside me. It wasn't enough that he shared my body but he claimed it to be his and now he rendered me just a ghost, a mere creation of himself. He thought that he had created me, that I was nothing but his deepest, darkest desire, that I was not even real. Oh, I'll show him how real I am, I decided and then I fired up the engine and drove off. I had something on my mind.



5.

I pulled in the driveway, killed the engine, and looked at the suburban house in front of me. The address wasn't too difficult to find. My clumsy other self had saved it in his contacts along with her number and her birthday. I was so furious that I couldn't convince myself to at least wait for the night, my love. I had to do it and I had to do it right then.

I got out of the car, walked up to the front door, pressed the doorbell and waited…

How would I do it? I began to plan, knife? Hammer? Or good old—bare hands? But let's take a look at our playmate first and then decide, I told myself.

I stood prepared as I heard the footsteps. The door opened, our eyes met and suddenly, something happened to me. Something that had never happened to me. She, on the other hand, was surprised to see me.

Her voice sounded like the crackling of marbles in a glass when she asked, "Wha–hey! What are you doing here? I thought you were going on a business trip." She didn't wait for my answer though. Maybe it was a rhetorical question. She leaned in and hugged me. When she let go of me and stared at my blank face, she went, "Okay who the hell are you?"

My heart dropped a beat. Did she know I wasn't her boyfriend? How could she? I couldn't risk it. I had to do something. So bare hands it is, I decided and moved a step ahead when—

"—and what have you done with Sachin?" Wow, what a nice surprise! So you lied about the whole business trip huh? And I didn't know that you had it in you. Come on in, I'll put on some tea."

Okay, it is safe, I told myself, don't panic. I stepped in and my olfactory sensors were attacked with a flowery scent. She motioned me to sit on the table so I did and waited as she went into the kitchen. I looked around and imagined what those walls would look like painted red in her blood. Yes, I smiled, he would walk through that door and see—that wall there, red, maybe with something scribbled on it, something like—'Am I real enough now?'

"When you said I wouldn't see you for the weekend, I got depressed, to be honest," she said as she walked back in with a tray. She poured me some tea, added sugar, milk, and started stirring. I looked at her small, pretty face, her petite form and pictured her lying motionless, probably with her eyes open. That would send a real message to him. But as I was looking at her, a pass of slow wind came into the room, blew her hair and I smelled that flowery scent once again. It was coming from her. I kept staring at her as she jerked her head and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and the picture in my mind changed.

Now the picture in my mind still had her but in a completely different scenario. Why am I picturing this? I wondered as I tried to focus on literally anything else than what her warm, naked body would feel like against mine. She handed me the tea. I took a sip and closed my eyes. The warmth, the scent, and the sound of her breathing were captivating. Now the picture became even more clearer. I jerked my head and opened my eyes. It was time to finish this but she wasn't there.

I looked around and found her standing by the window looking at a car that had just pulled into the driveway of the house next door. Perfect, I thought, she has her back towards me, it would be easier. I stood up and was ready to do it when she said it.

"Agh! Don't you sometimes feel like killing someone?"

I stopped dead. How was she doing it? I felt like I should say something but I couldn't think of anything.

"Ugh, I'm sorry, it's just my neighbour that I told you about."

Okay, she isn't talking about me, I thought, phew! I felt calm but I found that the flowery scent was going fainter with every breath. I needed more of it so I unknowingly walked towards her and my nostrils refilled with the heavenly fragrance. "What happened?" I asked.

"Remember I told you about my porch that I had just fixed. It was him who smashed his car into it and there he is again. He comes home drunk every other night whenever his wife goes out of town for work, ugh, the thing is that he always turns his car too early and smashes into my porch. It's the third time this month."

She was looking out the window and I was looking at her. The picture reappeared in my mind. What was happening to me?

"And that's not all. He throws his empty bottles into my backyard so that his wife can't see them in the trash and I don't know why he randomly starts to play with his lights."

I had to focus. I jerked my head again and looked out the window. His living room light was flickering. It seemed as if he couldn't decide if he wanted his light on or off. I was just about to begin picturing her again but my eyes laid upon the house across the street. Its light was flickering too. I smiled.

"He's having an affair with the lady across the street," I said, smiling.

She turned and laughed. The entire living room filled with the sound of a thousand string instruments. "WHAT? Where did that come from?" she asked.

"He's not randomly flickering his light, it's morse code. I couldn't see all of it but the lady across the street just said 'Yes'."

She laughed again. "An encrypted booty call? How do they even know morse code? How do you know morse code?"

I simply just smiled and walked back to finish my tea. She kept smiling too.

Later that evening, at the dinner table, we both ate silently and I tried to picture my blood painting once again but found it difficult. I didn't know why a different picture kept peeking into my imagination. A picture of two persons wrapped onto each other as if they were just one. I couldn't shake it out of my mind and as if it wasn't enough.

"Are you picturing it too?"

I looked at her with guilt all over my face but this time I didn't panic. I had a fork in my hand. I could end it anytime I wanted but for some reason, I didn't. "What do you mean?" I asked.

"Are you picturing them too? My neighbour and the lady across the street doing it? It's so weird, right?"

"Um—yeah, right."

She narrowed her eyebrows. This time she was actually onto me. "Okay, what's the matter with you?"

"What? What do you mean?"

"You've been acting strange all evening? Is something wrong?"

"No, no, it's—it's all good."

She sighed and dug into her plate again.

It wasn't until late at night when I was in her bedroom that I started seeing the picture even more clearly. Yes, I thought, this was the perfect place for my artwork, real personal. These white sheets drenched, these walls dripping, and she, the centrepiece, right here, perfectly still, eyes wide open and her body cold as ice.

But along with that picture, another one crept into my head as she entered the bedroom in her silk lingerie and stood at the door posing for me, smiling mischievously.

She must've expected something else, something more. But to be honest, she expected him so when she saw my blank face struggling to keep a certain picture out of my mind, she stopped smiling. Now she seemed a bit concerned.

"Alright, what is it, honey? And don't say it's all good." She sat beside me and put her hand on my shoulder. Her touch felt comforting, and her fragrance enticing. "What's wrong? she asked again.

I didn't say anything. I couldn't. I was struggling to just keep myself out of my fantasy.

"Wait, is it about what you said to me the other night? About the other half of yourself?"

And there it was again. My heart jumped. She knew about me and not just that but also that she knew about me because he had told her about me. My brain stopped working so I couldn't even think when I opened my mouth. "He told you about me?" I stupidly asked.

"He? Oh, I get it," she said winking, "okay, I'll play along if that's what you want. Yes, he told me about you so relax."

"What did he say?"

"Um—well, uh—right after we had—well, you know—you said—sorry," she raised her palms in defence, "he said that he wasn't being totally honest with me. At first, I thought he was cheating on me but then he told me what he meant."

"What?" I asked eagerly.

"Um—he said that I didn't get to know all of him. Apparently, there was this other self of him which I never got to meet, the other part of him—you, I guess," she said snickering as if she was in a roleplay.

"And he didn't say that it was his imagination like it wasn't real?"

"Oh no, definitely not. You—I mean he said he wished it was all imaginary but it wasn't."

I didn't say anything after that, nor did I ask anything else. She didn't push me either. We stayed in bed cuddling as she drifted off to sleep but I stayed awake all night, not because I was afraid of him taking over, I wasn't. I stayed awake because I was thinking about what he had said to her. He mentioned me to another person. I thought that he was terrified of me, that he wanted to bury me down, that he was disgusted by me but none of that was true. Most of all, he considered me a part of him, the other half of him to be precise. He didn't think that I was imaginary but then why had he written all those things in the letter? Why indeed?

The next morning was just the usual Saturday morning. I took her to the window to show her his neighbour sneaking out of the house across the street. She started jumping on her feet, clapping her hands. I thought of a thing that would add to her joyful morning.

"Let me get the newspaper," I said as I dashed towards the porch. He saw me as I picked up the newspaper. He tried not to look guilty but what good could that have done to him? "Good morning neighbour," I said, smiling ear to ear at him. "Could I talk to you for a minute?"

"What?" he said, rather grumpily.

"Could you please not smash your car into my girlfriend's porch?" The word 'girlfriend' sent shivers down my spine. "And it would also help if you didn't throw empty bottles in her backyard."

His expressions were evidence that he didn't care at all. Maybe my skinny body wasn't as intimidating. Only if he knew me. He started walking away.

"Excuse me, neighbour, I'm serious." I didn't know why I was still smiling, maybe because I knew it was going to end in my favour. "Don't do it again, or else—"

He stopped and turned. "Or what?"

"Or—I would have to talk to your wife about the nice lady across the street." I smiled even wider when I saw his face fall.

"I—I do—I don't know—I don't know what you are talking about?"

I knew it was done. I just had to land the finisher. I stopped smiling and said, "Throw another bottle in my girlfriend's backyard and you'll know what I'm talking about." And then I just walked away. I knew he was looking at my back, grinding his teeth and that made me feel awesome.

The first thing I heard as I stepped back in was—

"I can't believe you did that." She jumped on me, hugging me. "That was—that was really—" she couldn't finish. Her voice sounded like she was tearing up. She let go of me and I saw the two small puddles of tears, glimmering in the morning light. "I love you, I love all of you."

We spent the whole day together. I fixed her porch all by myself, then we cleared her backyard, and she showed me the little patch of garden where she grew the flowers that she used to make homemade perfume. That garden was the source of that enticing, unforgettable, and heavenly fragrance. In the afternoon, we watched her favourite movie, in the evening she made what she thought was my favourite dish but it was his favourite. It was delicious though. And at night, that picture, my imagination, that curious fantasy of mine became reality. Her body was way more beautiful than in my imagination. For all that time she was with me, the universe came to a pause or at least it was what it felt like. That day and that night were the most amazing times of my awakening, even better than all of my nights spent with all of my playmates. And it didn't end there.

The next day I took her shopping. We spent the whole day out and in the evening when I had dropped her at her home and was driving back to his house—my house, whatever, it came to me why he had written all those things in that letter. I couldn't resist laughing out loud.



6.

I entered the house and the first thing I did was take a blank sheet of paper, a pen and sat down to write to him. Yes, I wrote a letter to my other self—

'You crazy bastard! You manipulating little shit! You did that on purpose, didn't you? You sent me there. You said all those things to make me go there. But I gotta tell you, at first I thought that you had put too much at risk but now I know that you didn't. You knew exactly what you were doing. You know her to the soul. You knew that she would amaze me just like she amazed you. After all, we both are two halves of the same person.

'And I have to tell you that I like her too. Actually, I envy you because tonight, I will go to sleep, and for how long, I don't know but you'll get to spend the rest of your life with her. I hope that I will wake up again someday. I hope to see you two married by then, probably a couple of kids too. You were right, we could have an arrangement because I don't wanna miss being with her, honestly because I love her too.

'This is what you wanted, isn't it? She loves all of you with all of herself so you wanted to love all of her too with all of yourself, didn't you? Well, you got it. And I wish I could change what happened, what I did to your brother and your best friend, I wish I could say I was sorry at least but you know that I don't feel that way, I can't ever feel those things. I hope you will understand me but I promise you that I would never hurt anyone you care about, especially now that I know the only person you care about is also the person I care about.

'Till next time.
Your other self.'

I stuck the letter to the fridge door and then I stepped out for some fresh air and to be with my lost love, the night, for the last time before I went back to sleep. By the time I came back, it was already way past midnight. Now there was nothing else left to do except go to sleep, for a very, very long time. I laid down on the bed, closed my eyes and smiled as I thought that he would wake up the next day and find the letter. I smiled because I knew he would smile too upon reading it, he would be happy but it would still be the second-best thing to happen to him tomorrow. The best thing to happen to him would be, I smiled even wider from ear to ear, when he would go to his office and he would find out what had happened to his boss.



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Comments

  1. Are you at all open for narrations? If so, let me know how best to discuss. I have a small channel and podcast.
    www.soundcloud.com/cheshirehat
    www.youtube.com/themadcatter

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    1. Yes, I am. A few of my stories have already been narrated by Dr Creepen on his YouTube channel. I was meaning to add this in the 'about' section of the page. All of my stories are open for narration. I am available on every chat platform that there is. You can contact me anywhere. Search for 'beastboysuraj' or better yet, drop yours.

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