Writing Prompt: You woke up at 2am to a strange knocking on glass. You thought it was the window, but you live on the 4th floor. As you pull your blanket back to go to sleep, you hear it again. You realise it’s coming from your bathroom mirror.
Anderson stood bare foot on the tracks, his hair thrown back against the artificial winds summoned by the force of the coming beast. He could hear the chuntering of an engine, the whistle of a horn, and the cries of fearful conductor.
With his eyes closed, the beast’s headlights still piercing through his lids, Anderson raised his arms up to his sides.
You have to trust me, you have to trust yourself.
The words ran round as a chorus in his mind, riding on the chills of his spine, reining in his sanity.
“I do.” he whispered, “I do trust you.” and he smiled as the train approached.
One week earlier.
Anderson lay tucked away in bed, his laptop resting on the night stand, its screen a dull glare in the dark. He had only just managed to settle down for sleep.
That night he’d been consumed by thoughts of deadlines. He’d spent hours going over his presentation on Global Outreach for Life Incorporated, an investment firm for whom he’d been hired as a freelance marketer. In fact, the entire team he was working with consisted only of freelance employees. He thought it strange at first, but when a multi-billion pound corporation starts throwing you cheques, what can you do but roll over and beg for more.
Then came the knocking, a firm tap upon glass. Anderson threw back his sheets and cast his eye over the shadows of his apartment. He lived in a studio flat. His bed overlooked the window that encompassed the entire front wall of the apartment, the curtains were drawn shut.
What was that? He wondered, speculating that some bird or wayward branch had struck the window. But there were no trees that met the fourth floor glass, at least not from the front, and birds don’t generally tend to tap.
With a sigh he pulled the sheets back over his body, cradled by their warmth, and closed his eyes ready to be taken once more by his sleep.
It was clearer this time, sounding more as if someone was knocking, but there was no one at his door. Regardless Anderson shouted, “Go away, would you. Have you any idea what time it is?” Anderson himself didn’t bother to check, he’d crawled into bed barely before midnight.
If he had scared to look he’d of seen that the screen of his laptop read two-fifteen.
The noise was incessant, insistent, refusing to let up on the sleep deprived mind of the poor man in his bed.
“Alright, alright. Jesus Christ.” Anderson groaned as he cast his sheets away, gracing the cold air of the room. A chill fluttered through his being as he fell into his slippers and threw himself out of the bed. He was wearing a night shirt and briefs, and with nothing to keep the cold from his legs the hairs prickled up on end, waving as he dragged himself unwillingly to his apartment’s door.
First he looked through the peep-hole, second he curse.
“There’s no one there?”
A sudden flush of anger and annoyance filled his being as he threw open the door and called out down the hall, “If I see you here again I’ll call the cops. Now, leave me alone to sleep!”
He slammed the door and stood there waiting for a moment.
But the tapping still returned.
Tap-tap. Tap-tap. Tap-tap.
Only from his new vantage point by the apartment’s door he realised, “It’s coming from inside?”
He wheeled around and glowered at the dark, sending the shadows chasing the light before his eyes.
“Who’s there?” he called out, “What do you want?”
“Where are you?” Anderson felt his way to his bedside table, and dropped to his knees. He started searching under the bed. This ought to do the trick. He took out a baseball bat, discarding the cloth in which it had been wrapped. “Come on then, let’s be having you.”
With bat in hand he started for the kitchen, then again it came…
Tap-tap. Tap-tap. Tap-tap.
“Gotcha.” Anderson eyed the door of his bathroom, drawn ever so slightly ajar. The light was off, the room was silent, but they were in there. He was certain of it.
Tiptoeing over to the bathroom he took stood himself beside the door. With bat raised up high and breath drawn in tight he pushed open the door, reeling back against the wall outside. Then he waited.
Nothing came out.
So he decided he’d have to go in.
As quickly as he could Anderson barged into the bathroom, swinging the bat wildly as he groped for the cord which would summon the light.
What the f*ck is that?
Anderson stood staring into his bathroom mirror, and what he saw had caught his tongue like a bad cat. It was him, as was expected, but he wasn’t alone, nor was he holding a bat, nor was he wearing a night shirt, nor did he stare back at himself in silence.
His image, this other-self, was gazing out at him, tapping on the glass pane of the mirror from the inside. Beside him stood Gunner, another of the freelance marketers with whom Anderson had been working.
Gunner was a foot taller than Anderson, much wider and far thicker of chin. His arms were folded, forearms bulging, and there was a pistol strapped to his waist.
Slowly, and far from sound of mind, Anderson turned his head, expecting to meet with the lumbering form of Gunner. But there was no one there. He was alone. And yet his reflection was not.
Anderson’s mirror-self let out a deep sighing breath, fogging up the mirror from the inside. Then one by one letters appeared from before the tracing of his finger. They were backwards, an unfortunate mistake, but Anderson could read them, he could read them very well indeed.
We need to talk.
Shaking his head in utter denial, grip slipping on the bat, Anderson fainted, collapsing on the bathroom floor…
Copyright © K R Perry 2019