Sotheby and Self

Mr. Sotheby keeps his own company. But when a strange figure that looks and acts like him starts prancing into his life, several questions are raised: is this 'oneself' all he is cracked up to be? Who is the woman from another age that keeps haunting him and his other self? Is Derek Sotheby the man he thought he was, or is he the fading shadow of the man that he used to be? - Finished!


15. Oneself Triumphant - END

The woman left to join Oneself in the kitchen, leaving me grumpy and sad and annoyed. Pug wasn't around and I couldn't be bothered to call him. I took out my emotions on the crossword, tearing it to shreds with the nib of my pen. I didn't understand what was happening. I didn't understand why I was feeling anything at all. The truth was I knew that woman. The truth was that it was her, the double glazing woman, who I had known at school.

"Don't be a ridiculous, soppy madman!" I told myself, slamming the crossword down. 

I could hear them in my kitchen, doing what I think is called flirting.

Yes, I did know that woman, she had been an acquaintance. Now she was in my kitchen, being overly friendly to my other self: for I was sure of that. I stood face to face with the vile man and stared right into his soul. Yes, he looked identical to me and the poor man couldn't make out my features! He has the same nose, the same eyes and the same form. He is me: he is Oneself.

But that woman. It was all her fault, making me feel things which I'd never felt before. How should I know what I was feeling in that room, when the memories were almost drowning me? I was choking, suffocating and slowly dying, my insides churning, inside out, pulsing and doing very unhealthy things indeed. Surely that woman will be the death of me!

I could hear them getting up to leave, chairs scraping and mugs clinking. Finally, they were leaving me in peace! Or at least until the stupid men were due to come the next morning to fix my windows. Within a few minutes, my door slammed shut and the lights had indeed been turned off. I was alone.

That was when I realised. I really was alone. Oneself, myself had just walked out of my own front door. 

Forgetting all self restraint, I launched myself from my old tartan chair, frantically summoning Pug and aiming for the window. I waited for the outside light to automatically turn on in the now pitch black. It did turn on when Oneself and the woman came down the steps below and onto the pavement. They however did not head for the handyman's van, still parked awfully under my window. They turned right, further from me and in the direction of the park.

I turned around to talk to Pug, but he was not there. Panic was flowing through me as I maniacally called for him. But no pathetic patter greeted me. No morose remarks came to my ears. Pug was not there. Where was Pug?

I flicked back to the park where Oneself and the woman had now stopped at the gate. Damn, she was doing it again, that stupid girl! I was feeling queasy, the internal organs flipping, squirming and pressing against each other. What was going on?

The hammer had returned and was returning with gusto. My head pounded and my heart pounded as I watched Oneself stoop down to the girl he loved. The girl I loved?

I saw their detestable lips meet, stood by the park gate and lit by my front light. I watched as they finally and happily turned, arm in arm to walk through the other end of the park.

Happiness. What was that?

And as I finally watched them disappear from my sight, I looked down to survey my hands in despair. Pug had still not come to my calls and my eyes were drawn to the phenomenon before me. For as I stared at my dry, wrinkled hands, I felt something deep within me break, snap, shatter into a thousand pieces. It was as though the only connection with the ground beneath me had gone, been incinerated into eternity. It didn't take long for the fingers in front of me to start fading in the half light. Fading and dimming, cooling and losing feeling. I looked down at my feet which were doing the same grotesque thing. 

I called out in my dying, feeble voice for Pug, but he still wasn't there. My dying voice died within minutes as I faded, more and more.

It wasn't long before I had completely gone: for I had vanished before my own eyes. Oneself had won.




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