Doppelganger

By Chef Eureka2814

I could feel him inside my head, burning, consuming, devouring. He crept through my entire body, dictating all that I did. It was like being constantly buried in sand up to your neck, unable to move your limbs without further entrenching yourself. For ten years, I felt as if I was always suffocating.

I watched him for what seemed like an eternity, living my life in my house with my wife, and each day I thought to myself that I had to get rid of this imposter, this doppelganger that seized me from within and kept me from myself. I had to be rid of the being that had snatched my very existence from my grasp.

I tried to reason with him more than once. I begged, I cried, I pleaded. I implored him to release me, but to no avail. He had no intention of relinquishing control of my body. I’m not sure he even realized that the battered man in his dreams was the person he had usurped.

Soon I resorted to a more violent attitude – I would shout at him in his sleep, attack him, trying to frighten him into giving up. If he was scared enough, I thought, he might abandon his efforts.

I had no luck for a very long time.

After a long while, though, he started to get neurotic and paranoid. At this point, he was desperate to keep his stolen body. He would talk to my wife of nightmares, of the feeling that something was haunting him or trying to possess him. He spoke as if I was the problem. It didn’t take me long to figure out that he was misdirecting her – that he was using my voice to speak lies.

I persisted in my tactics, trying to scare him. It worked by inches. Every time I saw him in the mirror, he looked more exhausted and less well-kept. The constant nightmares were taking a physical toll. I was weakening his grip.

He became so desperate, in fact, that he began googling things like “demonic possession” and “poltergeists”, looking for help. It was almost sad – there’s not a whole lot out there on how to rid yourself of the original tenant of a body.

Of course, he didn’t find anything.

But I did.

I saw the things he read, and I began to get ideas.

Slowly, as I pushed against him, I felt him beginning to slip. He started to grow disorganised, paranoid. He quit my job and locked himself in my computer room, perching before a computer monitor as he searched desperately for help.

He ruined my life before I could get it back, spending months in that office with the blinds drawn. I think he was trying to discourage me, trying to convince me that the effort wasn’t worth it. I had no more job, no more wife, no more money. But I didn’t give up – I had spent too long trying.

I was gaining ground by miles now. I acquired control of my physical faculties once more. I could wiggle my fingers or toes for moments at a time. After practice, I could speak again, and eventually I learned to walk.

He couldn’t keep me strangled.

This morning, I woke up to realize that he was gone. I had control again. I leapt to my feet and ran around the house in disbelief, tearing open the blinds and tossing things in the air, reveling in a sense of pure ecstasy. I ran a hot shower, enjoying the feeling of the water on my back. When I emerged, I took a moment to breathe the soap-scented air, amazed that I was finally free.

Still grinning, I wiped down the foggy mirror with a towel so I could shave, but stopped dead the moment the glass was clear.

“Please,” my mouth was saying, over and over. “I just want my body back.”

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