Today, an Exercise in Prompts: The Daily Post’s “Doppelganger Alert”

Every now and then it’s fun and helpful to participate in a writing challenge. When “The Daily Post” blogged this post this morning, I couldn’t resist:

“You step into an acquaintance’s house for the first time, and discover that everything — from the furniture, to the books, to the art on the wall — is identical to your home. What happens next?”

Here’s my take:

“This is my wife, Jaime,” the acquaintance says, pointing to a beautiful woman beside him. Her looks are enough to momentarily distract you from the odd circumstance.

“Nice to meet you,” you reply. Your head spins. You’re dizzy and taste metal in your mouth. Something strange is happening to you, but you can’t show signs of discomfort. George, your acquaintance, was kind enough to invite you into his home. Being new in the city means needing to find friends. You can’t screw this up.

“How about some coffee?” Jaime asks. She stares at you strangely as she asks the question, as if trying to convey a message that is lost on you.

“Coffee would be…”

“Great,” she says, finishing your sentence. “You two sit and chat, I’ll be right back.”

There’s a flash. A moment replays in your mind. Jamie is there, she’s bringing coffee. The moment ends, Deja vu. It’s more than the feeling. You know you’ve been here before.

“Everything alright?” George asks, noticing your hesitation.

“Fine, I guess,” you reply.

“Come have a seat.” He ushers you over to the blue couch, your same blue couch beside that same blue recliner set up in the same way as in your twin home. “I’m glad you decided to join me,” he says as you sit.

“I’m glad you invited me,” you reply.

The couch feels odd as you release your weight to its support. Its as if you’re on air. Yes, that’s it. You’re hovering. It’s all a fantasy.

“You seem a bit skittish my man,” George says. “You sure you’re okay?”

You swallow hard. Why are you breathing heavy? Why is your pulse so quick? “I’m fine,” you manage to speak out.

“I’ve got coffee,” Jaime says.

The smell is intoxicating. You know it. You recognize it. It’s the same coffee you use, in the same mug. Stranger still is your memory of her perfume blending in its scent. You’ve only just met and there’s no woman in your home, so why does it feel so familiar.

“Thank you love,” George says.

Jaime simply smiles and sits beside you, distant from her husband. ‘Is she scared of him,’ you wonder. You shake off the thought. It’s a normal night in a normal home. All else is coincidence. It must be. There is no other explanation.

As you reach for the mug Jaime has placed on the coffee table, she touches your arm. “Tell us about yourself,” she suggests.

You lean back from the mug to answer her question. “I’m brand new to the city, just moved here from Greenville.”

“How are you liking the city?” she asks.

“Quite well,” you reply. “People seem,” you pause, “friendly.”

You reach for the mug again. Perhaps a sip of coffee will bring normalcy to this whole, strange situation. Again, Jaime stops you. “I bet you miss home. Is it strange not to be home?” She asks.

“Jaime, leave the guy alone,” George says. “Have your coffee before it gets cold,” he suggests.

“It’s fine Robert.” You turn to Jaime. “You know, its the strangest thing…”

“Jaime, can you just let the boys talk?” George interrupts.

Her grip is tight on your arm as she says, “I suppose so,” and stands. Jaime leaves the room, turning to look at you for a brief moment before disappearing all together.

“Now that we aren’t being pestered, you can enjoy your coffee,” Robert says.

You reach for the mug a third time.

“Or,” Robert begins, “you can leave it.”

“Is there something wrong with the coffee,” you ask, suddenly suspicious.

“The coffee is normal,” he replies.”It’s good for you.” Robert takes another sip from his mug.

“Maybe I just ought to have some water,” you suggest.

His face flickers and fills. “Water is overrated,” he says. “Coffee is what everybody drinks.” His words are stuttered and broken, but stern and loud.

“Jaime!” you call out.

“Jaime isn’t real!” He yells, now flickering like an image on a broken projector. “Now drink the damn coffee!”

“What are you talking about?” you ask.

“If you don’t, she’ll be gone.”

“I need a glass of water,” you insist, suddenly more thirsty than you’ve ever been. You stand and move toward the kitchen.

“This isn’t your house! You can’t just do as you please!” George yells as he begins to follow you.

You come around the corner and see Jamie in the kitchen; your kitchen. It’s all so precise and exact. She hands you a glass. You see the faucet.

“I’ll kill her!” George yells. “I’ll end her right here! You’ll do as you’re told.”

The water begins to run smoothly from the faucet. George is solid and gripping Jamie’s neck. There’s something about her that endears her to you. She is so familiar, so lovely, so perfect. For Jaime to live, you would do almost anything; almost.

“I’m free,” you say as you fill the glass.

George lets out a yell as you put the rim of the cup to your lips. He pounces toward you. The water touches your tongue. He disintegrates into thin air, as does Jaime. You’re back home. Yes, it’s your home. There is no twin house, no acquaintance, no doppelganger. There is only you.

………………………………………………………………………………………….

Okay, now that I’ve taken the challenge, I have to extend it to you, my reader. If you wish to try the exercise, please post your response to the comment section for this post.

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