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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 10, Title: Do you walk in the shadow of men

Posted on 2017.03.02 at 21:40
Tags: ,
It wakes her. She stands swiftly. Turns her head. The dark is just shadows, empty. The sound is just midnight shuffling, meek. These do not frighten her. It’s something with no specificity, tangibility or form. Something she is certain of. A presence.

Her breath shudders. It’s out here. Or it’s inside her. It has burrowed into her brain matter. It sits there in her neurons. It sits there, in her throat, in her lungs, in the roof of her mouth.

She tilts her jaw to scream but doesn’t say a word. Her mind screams in her stead:

Get lost. Get out. Get out. Get out.

She stares into the mirror. It hurts her. But she can’t look away. It’s not her. Not her. Not her.

Not me. Not you. I’m sorry. It’s not. It’s all wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

She scratches her fingers down her face.

Get out. Get out. Get out.


They put her in a white padded room. She is alone with it. She runs her fingertips over her teeth and lips.

At least there are no mirrors here.

She whispers the words over and over into her palms.

At least there are no mirrors here.

She can’t see her dead sister behind her own eyes.


She stares at the lunch table. Mind foggy under the weight of too many drugs.

She hears them whisper about her, the girl who lost her twin. It was an accident, a momentary lapse, on a simple hike. And it was all over. Two lives entwined and rend apart, and she fell and fell and fell. It’s not that simple. She’s still here. She’s not supposed to still be here. She’s not her.

She felt it, in her bones, in her lungs, the struggle for air, the searing unnameable pain, the impact.

She felt her die.  


The doctor wants to know if she’s getting better. Asks her questions, gently, “What’s your name?”

“Tara, I’m Tara.”

“No. Tara’s dead. You’re Rene.”

“I’m not. I’m. No, I’m Tara.”

“You’re confused again.”

“No.” she is though. Who is she? She is her.

“Is Rene there?”

“I don’t have a split personality.” She’s sure of that at least. She is here. Or she is not here. She is her and her is she.

Neither of them is a figment.


“I know you think you should have died instead. But you can’t become her.”

She puts her fingers against the lines of her face but doesn’t scratch.

She’s getting better, apparently. She lets them have their lies. It’s for the best.

There’s always a shallowness in her breath. There’s always a mirror haunting the corner of her eye.


She lied too long. She couldn’t tell them she was dead. And when she did no one believed her.

She lies on the bed, distantly aware, someone- she knows who- wraps around her, engulfing her, squeezing her. Attacking her. She struggles momentarily and then allows it, welcomes it, surrenders.


Tara sighs. “I can’t go on the hike. I feel like crap.”

“So don’t go,” Rene replies.

“I have to go. My name is on the list. The sponsorship people are counting on me.”

“I’ll go instead, pretend to be you like when we were kids.” Rene smiles brightly, “No one will ever know.”


bleodswean at 2017-03-02 21:53 (UTC) (Link)
Oooooooh!!! This is great. Spooky and gripping. You had me wondering, speculating, second-guessing. And still surprised me! This is the absolutely right length for this piece and it works! But...you could take this much much longer! I would love to see what she has to do to fit into this new but familiar life!
swirlsofblue at 2017-03-03 17:18 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad it had you speculating and still managed to surprise :).

I've no plans to expand it at the moment, but never say never.
dreamsofspike at 2017-03-03 15:51 (UTC) (Link)
This is gorgeous and chilling.

Beautifully executed.
swirlsofblue at 2017-03-03 17:19 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you found it gorgeous and chilling, I was hoping it would have that effect :)
rayaso at 2017-03-03 19:03 (UTC) (Link)
This was great! It was very imaginative, and illustrates the little-known dangers of substituting for your twin. You wrote this very well, building up to the end.
swirlsofblue at 2017-03-03 19:45 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :).
mamas_minion at 2017-03-04 04:35 (UTC) (Link)
Oh Wow! I thought this was about a twin suffering from the separation of the others death. then I got to the end. Fantastic.
swirlsofblue at 2017-03-04 11:16 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the ending :)
Shadow Wolf Byrd
shadowwolf13 at 2017-03-04 04:41 (UTC) (Link)
swirlsofblue at 2017-03-04 11:17 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :)
magazhchi at 2017-03-05 13:25 (UTC) (Link)
Love what you did here. The end was amazing. I enjoyed this take.
swirlsofblue at 2017-03-05 15:03 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you liked the ending :)
dmousey at 2017-03-05 23:23 (UTC) (Link)
This is an awesome piece! I love how you formatted this. It was effective in its brevity, and still very descriptive. It reads like a Japanese horror story, creepy and satisfying. Well done. Hugs and peace~~~
swirlsofblue at 2017-03-06 09:37 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you liked it :) *Hugs back*

Edited at 2017-03-06 09:39 am (UTC)
alycewilson at 2017-03-06 01:44 (UTC) (Link)
The ending was perfect! You realize she's not crazy, that the regret is palpable because she knows something about the accident no one will ever believe.
swirlsofblue at 2017-03-06 09:38 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you liked the ending :)
penpusher at 2017-03-06 01:58 (UTC) (Link)
In a word, Fantastic.

swirlsofblue at 2017-03-06 09:39 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
Teo Says
eternal_ot at 2017-03-06 13:21 (UTC) (Link)
Wow! Loved the way you brought the twist in the end. Superb take! Well done.
swirlsofblue at 2017-03-06 18:41 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you liked the twist :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
halfshellvenus at 2017-03-06 19:21 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I loved the spooky tone to this throughout, the sense of being haunted-- by her own guilt, surely-- and that in the end, she isn't necessarily crazy. She really is Tara. It's the record-keeping that's wrong.

swirlsofblue at 2017-03-07 08:47 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you liked the spooky aspect :).
murielle at 2017-03-07 01:43 (UTC) (Link)
This is creepy! Creepy is delicious! Therefore, this is delicious!
swirlsofblue at 2017-03-07 08:47 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you found it delicious :)
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