by Charles C. Cole
I want to stress that I was not intentionally reckless, that we’d experimented a couple of times before, me as the driver and my brother as the unsuspecting passenger, before what happened happened.
My twin brother and I are often confused for one another, though we’re not precisely identical. Mom says we’re mirror twins, the result of a single fertilized egg that splits more than a week after conception. Greg is left-handed, for example, and has this crimp in the top of his right ear, while I’m right-handed with a crimp in the top of my left ear.
We attend a state university a couple hours from home, sharing an apartment off-campus with a couple of other guys. While I’m more of a social animal, he’s exceedingly studious.
He was exhausted one night and passed out on the couch. No drugs or alcohol; he was just gone. I collapsed opposite him in nearly the same position.
My housemate, Raymond, noticed. “Chase, you two really are mirror twins,” he said.
So I thought to myself, “Why not?”
Anyway, I willed Greg’s right hand to twitch, wordlessly, without touching his body.
“Are you doing that?” asked Raymond. “Move his other hand if you are.”
I then willed his left hand the same way, with a twitch and a little hop, even making his right foot kick the coffee table. Then, honestly, I laughed so hard I had to put my face in a throw pillow to muffle my howls.
Raymond didn’t tell anyone (thank God), but he nagged me to try again. I put him off for almost three weeks, that is until he threatened to tell Greg.
The second go-round, honestly, I was a little drunk. Even so, we had success. I was able to get Greg to sit up. I was afraid to make him stand, afraid he’d fall face down and break his nose, and I’d be to blame Instead, I was able to get him to sit up and lean back repeatedly, like a human recliner, without waking him. Raymond called me “the Puppet Master.”
By now, a few people had heard the rumor of my ability or, should I say, “our” ability, since Greg was an integral, albeit involuntary part of the act.
Then, as there always is, there was this big, crazy party at our place. I ignored the requests to try my powers on someone else. Greg was studying late at “the stacks” so there was a long wait for entertainment.
When he came home, exhausted and uninterested in company, the crowd had thinned out to my innermost circle. Greg must have wondered why people seemed to watch him as he entered the place. Someone offered him a beer, but that’s just not Greg. He asked me to keep the volume down and went directly to our bedroom to collapse.
About thirty minutes later, I checked on him. He was out, lying prone on top of his sheets. Raymond directed guests to the deck outside our closed sliding glass door while I camped in an old upholstered chair opposite Greg. I relaxed, feeling myself melt into the chair, lighter than air, almost incorporeal.
The task took more concentration than I expected. As I willed myself inside him, he did a funny thing: he swatted at the air in front of his face like I was a fly buzzing over him. I waited him out and tried again.
His body felt heavy and hot, like what I imagined an astronaut’s suit must feel like. I moved his hands at first, down to his sides, arms stretched, like he was playing the piano. I heard some giggles outside and the distinct cynical snort of a doubter. I curled his fingers and grabbed the sheets, pulling “us” up. There were a few female gasps from the audience.
I swung his legs over the side of the bed. They dropped heavily. When that didn’t wake him, I figured I had it made. I pushed against the bed and forced him to stand. I stepped toward the closed bedroom door where he had a poster for the play Spamalot. That’s when it hit me: I was using his eyes! I was completely inside him!
I grabbed the doorknob and walked out to whisper-like shouts of: “Dude, is that you? Way to go, man! How do we know it’s really you?”
I had indulged myself to alcoholic excess as I anxiously prepped for my big show, or it was more exhausting than I expected, or Greg was just that exhausted.
“A little help here, Raymond,” I said. “Let’s get us back to bed. End of show, everyone. Hope it was worth your time. And no blogging about this, please!”
In the morning, Raymond woke me up. He was in a panic. Somebody had gotten so drunk they’d passed out on the floor and thrown up. He couldn’t wake them. He kept calling me Greg.
“What is your problem?” I asked. “Why are you calling me by my brother’s name? That’s really creepy.”
“Look! Over there,” he said. I turned. It was me on the floor. “I think you’re dead,” he said. “You really overdid it this time, man.”
“Am I breathing?”
“No, man, and you’re really cold. What do we do?”
“Call 911. What are you waiting for?”
I had somehow forgotten to leave my brother’s body and so I was “gone,” which made me afraid to leave him and go back into me. Maybe I was near death because I didn’t have the consciousness, the life energy driving the machine. I was terrified to go back while my body looked so lifeless.
Somebody called for an ambulance, and they took me away, trying to resuscitate me. They wouldn’t let “Greg” ride with them.
Twelve hours later, I’ve lingered too long. I haven’t let my brother come back to the surface, to take control of his own body. I can’t; I want to, but I don’t know what will happen to me.
Copyright © 2017 by Charles C. Cole