You painstakingly uncurl your head from your arms. You’ve been like this for longer than you can remember. Ever since you understood the idea of what having a voice and determining who you are really meant. You arms have twitched and your muscles have groaned but you have refused to unfurl yourself from this crouched and hidden position. You were comfortable hiding, being closed off from the world. Rearing your head would have allowed all of that light, darkness and chaos to wash over you. Looking up just once would have meant changing how you saw the world. Change like that would be difficult and much more than you could have managed. Seeing what was out there was the last thing you wanted.
There isn’t a single person who can say they have stayed in the exact same position for their entire lives. You are no exception. No one can remain stagnant, especially not you. You have to leave this dark corner one day. Today will be that day. You know you have to move, unfurl you arms and stretch your legs. Today you can’t sit still a minute longer.
With a creaking of muscles and a moan of aching pain you lift your head off your arms. You feel like the Tin Man, moving for the first time after being oiled. There isn’t some burst of light or a magical show of smiling proud people before you. No loud chorus of cheers or a parade. You don’t open your eyes to a wonderland of bustling people, huge buildings, flying cars and bright elaborate colors in nature. No, you open your eyes to find the same darkness but with a small patch of light hovering mere feet from you.
You sigh and lean your head back against the cold hard rock wall. The cracked stones and broken corners pinched your back and leave you itching all over. You squirm, extremely uncomfortable but not wanting to move either. Why move into more of the same?
“Get up already, would you?” the voice comes from your right. You look over and nearly jump up to your feet but, everything is still pretty stiff so you satisfy yourself with a surprised gasp and an unbelieving laugh.
“Who the hell are you?” you ask the young woman standing beside you. You know exactly who the woman is but you need her to say it out loud. If she says it, somehow this becomes real and not a horrendous nightmare.
“I’m you,” the woman sighs, like she is beyond annoyed that she has to tell you that. “Get up!” she demands. She glares down at you, fire in her eyes. A fire you’ve always wished you could possess.
You just laugh a deep shaking laugh. You feel your eyes begin to tear up and your sides begin to cramp up. You are out of breath and your laughs become hard coughs. You settle yourself so as not to choke.
“I’ve totally lost it,” you say laying your head sideways on your recrossed arms.
“No!” the illusion woman snaps. She kneels down and lifts your head, turning it so you look straight into her face. Now there is absolutely no denying it she has the same hallow cheeks, pointed chin and bright eyes. The long brown hair is flipping out at the same angle and lying at the same spot right above her shoulders. The cold determination is screaming at you from those eyes an image you knew you could perfectly match, at least at one time.
“No what?” You ask, exasperated. You try to pull your head away but fail miserably. Her hold is strong and her gaze too piercing.
“You are not going to lay down again. You’ve been looking into the same black hole for way too long. Time to get up and live,” she releases your head and stands up. She doesn’t offer a hand to help you up. She just stands there impatiently waiting, tapping her toe.
You stare up trying to determine what you should do. Should you stay on this dusty, dirt covered floor in the same safe place you have always known? Or do you stand up and go forward toward that light wherever that may lead? It could lead right into a straight jacket or into your own grave.
The mirage copy woman has already walked to the entrance of the cave. She stands silhouetted by the light from outside. You wonder if it is sunlight or artificial light. You have been consumed by the darkness for so long; you can’t ever remember if you are inside or outside. Is this a closet or a cave or a hole in the ground? The mirage woman never turns around. She just stands there hands hanging at her sides.
She apparently doesn’t care if you follow. She never looks at your or says a word.She is just going to stand there, waiting for you. She isn’t going to beg or try to convince you of anything. You want to complain that, that is cruel but you know deep down that no matter what she would say you would never listen. She doesn’t have a say in what you do. She is just going to wait for you to make your move.
You push yourself up from your palms and groan. Everything feels like trying to move steel poles; unbending and unyielding. You bend your arms and knees, wanting to cry and collapse back into your comfortable sitting position, but you’ve come this far and sitting down now would defeat this whole damn thing.
You take a deep breath and bend out the final kinks in your upper and lower body. You know standing in place is just as bad as sitting. Soon you’ll collapse once again into that black abyss. You walk forward refusing to look around you. Whatever is on the walls or below your feet does not matter, all that matters is reaching your double.
Finally you come up behind the woman and step up to her side forcing her to take two steps to her left. You look out and feel your heart drop into your toes. All you see are bright white clouds in front of you, clouds that cover everything above and below.
You look to your side and begin to feel yourself choke up.You open your mouth to demand an explanation. The imaginary you is gone. You are alone. You are standing on the edge of some eternal abyss without a single person to talk to.
“I…I,” you feel your heart race, you try to slow the pace but quickly give up. Your brain has gone panic fuzzy, horrible images of gruesome splattering deaths cover your vision. You palms are sweating and your knees are knocking. You are going to be sick. You desperately want to flee but your feet won’t move.
“Go,” one whispered word, nothing more. You ignore your bodies self destruction panic feeling and take that last step out and free fall.