Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Dark Half

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

In me, reside more than me...

From a very early age, an age when kids begin to learn shapes and colours, to recognize alphabets and numbers, she had sensed something else. She had struggled with light, finding a strange comfort in the shadows. And soon she befriended it. 

Her parents were not immune to it all for long. They say nobody knows a child better than its own mother and her mother had an inkling that something was grossly wrong when she always found little Lisa out of her crib laughing all alone in the middle of the night. As is the custom, it was dismissed. But a parent does get suspicious when their 5 month old baby is found almost every fortnight wide awake and in a completely different room.

It were the little things. Strangely, she never had any friends. In a bid to get her to act normal like the other kids in the neighbourhood, her father got her a pet. A bird. A dog. Finally a cat. They were never around for more than a week. Somehow they always disappeared or as she reasoned disinterestedly - "it flew out of its cage", "it ran away following the ice cream truck", "it's a cat Ma, they run away that's what they do". 

Once while searching for something, her father happened upon a tin box underneath her bed. He was curious since he couldn't remember giving her one and couldn't recall her mother or anybody else for that matter giving something like it to her. 

Her mother remembered watching in surprise as she saw her husband dash out of Lisa's room with horror masking his face. 

He never told her what he saw in the box only that they should give her some space - that maybe it was one of those teenage angsty phases. 

She had a monstrous appetite for food. Always seemed as if she were eating for two. Her habits were getting erratic every day. She was spiraling out of control. 

Her father suggested that they should have her visit a shrink. But her mother hoped for a positive change in her daughter soon. She hoped for a miracle that would never happen. 

Switching off all the lights of their house before retiring for the day, she heard Lisa talking. She crept soundlessly to her room to see her only daughter standing near the window mumbling something while someone else slept in her bed. A gasp was all she could manage as she realized that the person fast asleep also had long dark locks as her own daughter. She was Lisa. 

There were two of her. 

She went hysterical trying to fathom what she had seen. She finally relented and made her visit the local shrink the very next day. 

In a not so well lit office, Lisa met her doctor. The interiors were painted even more gloomy to provide one with a false sense of privacy. Somewhere one could be comfortable sharing their secrets. Since she was the last appointment the doctor had that afternoon - he allowed the receptionist to leave for the day. She paced across the room as the doctor entered leaving the door ajar on his way in. 

"You can sit down Lisa, maybe relax in that chaise lounge. I want you to be at complete ease," the doctor assured her. 

"So are you going to ask me silly questions now? Hoping to gain an insight into mind, the way I think?" she asked still pacing the room.

"No. I'm not. We're going to talk when you're ready to talk," he said.

"Ha! That's really not the way it works!" she smirked. 

"Believe me. That is the only way," he tried to persuade her. 

Her eyes alighted upon a book that adorned one of the shelves. 

"The Jolly Corner. Did you like it?" she asked.

"I haven't read it actually. What's it about?" he lied. 

"It deals with the concept of alter egos," she said. 

The doctor stayed silent. 

"Do you believe in them, Doctor?" she probed. 

"I don't know. It isn't something I think of too much every day. I don't think anybody does," he explained. 

"I do," she interjected. 

"Is it? Why?" he asked.

She walked towards the ornate mirror that stood at the far end of the wall. 

"I was very astute as a child. I understood things that are not that easy to grasp. Embraced certain things that may scare the daylights out of a grown up. You see, they're there. With us. All the time," her voice dropped to a whisper.

"Who?" the doctor got curious.

"Tell me, who do you see when you look into the mirror? Actually, come here. Walk right over to where I'm standing. It's easier if you see it with your own eyes," she explained. 

The doctor took a deep breath as he realized that she was another one of those incorrigible nutcases he meets on a daily basis. 

"Most people fail to see. They don't want to. I did. When I was 3, I looked in the mirror. Looked deep into its eyes. That's when I saw her. Looking right at me. Into my soul," she added. 

"My reflection smiled, I didn’t," she finished as the doctor saw her reflection in the mirror. Only it wasn't her. Because she was smiling. 

Lisa wasn't. 

The door to his office suddenly slammed shut.


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