Though his nerves bit at him like thousands of internal serpents, Mike stared coldly... directly into the eyes of his nemesis. Directly into the very
visage of everything that Mike feared, was intimated by, and failed to understand. Directly into evil itself. Every fiber of Mikes being fighting to
make sure that his fear did not show itself to the other. It could not show. He could not let it. Weakness, here, was loss. And loss was a slow, slow
spiral into death. But such thoughts led to betrayal, so even these truthful insights were quickly banished behind Mikes mind... to the silent and
distant places. Exiled thoughts, sacrificed for the survival of the whole.
“I know you. I know everything about you.” Mike allowed himself to think about the set of eyes which were currently locked with his. These words
came from deep within... from that part of the human psyche which many would call the heart. These were words from the strong place. From the spirit.
And Mike found comfort in them. “You and I have spent years in this dance. And though you best me, time and time again, I have learned Mr Man. In
loss I have gained knowledge. And loss upon loss is the road to my victory.”
As this sense of confidence filled Mike, the eyes of the other did not flinch. They did not waver. If it were not for the subtle glow of life
emanating from them, one might think those eyes stone. Hard, emotionless, cold stone. If another had been there to see this exchange they might have
recognized the one human trait present in those eyes: the unmistakable glow of hatred.
Mike felt a quiver forming in his left eye socket and fought hard against it. He knew that if he allowed his face to twitch, the other would see it as
a sign of weakness and the other would strike without mercy upon that sign. So Mike focused with all his will and began to unleash his mental weapons
in a ritual practiced, and engaged in, countless times.
“I know you. I know everything about you.” Mike began again, “You are the one who has made war against me, since before I can even remember. You
are the other.”. As these familiar words filled Mikes' head, his higher self seemed to fade into ether... His identity and self awareness distant
now. Ritual gave way to a sort of hypnosis. A trance. Micheal O'Shannon ceased being “Mike” and simply became. “You are the author of all that
is bad in my world, and it is my destiny to become your master.”
The other simply stared, seemingly oblivious to the altered state Mike had entered. If Mike had been aware of himself, at this point, he might have
quipped, to himself, that the other had no soul. He might have pondered the other to be some kind of robot, or demon: something bereft of emotion and
soul. Mike had thought such things before, and for far less than this. But, for now, Mike was locked into the words, into his spell, and was aware of
nothing but the words.
“It is mine to create. It is yours to destroy. For my entire life it has been thus. For my entire life I have sought the means to create as a means
of destroying you. This is my paradox. This is my conundrum. How can creation destroy destruction? This is my riddle to unravel. This is my
Behind these words was literally a lifetime of truth. Well over thirty years of truth, at least. How many hours had Mike spent in philosophy books? On
alternative websites? How many jokes had been made, at his expense, by anonymous strangers who had read Mikes pleas in thread after thread, post after
post, on site after site – as he scoured the Internet for answers? Mike knew he didn't know how many times it had happened. In truth, Mike even
doubted God would have bothered keeping track. But it was many. So many. So many thousands of hours spent seeking an answer to questions which
appeared to have no easy answers. Years spent just figuring out the question, itself, before he could even begin to decipher the answer. This was the
crux of the mystery. To know an answer one must also know the question.
Staring into the others eyes, Mikes' concentration momentarily slipped, and in doing so, a bit of insight leaked into him...”You... are you the
question? Or am I wrong? What if you are the answer?”
With this thought, Mikes' eye did twitch a little and the other did notice. Mike instantly was filled with a sort of quiet panic. A taste of bile and
copper immediately found its way into the back of Mikes' throat. And, even as all this happened, in instant and real time, the other seemed to know
it. The other seemed to feed off of it. Mike saw all this, and understood, almost immediately, and he steeled himself for what was to come.
Locked eyes now were weapons... sharp blades seeking soft flesh. Now the real violence was happening. Scars would now be formed that nobody would ever
see. Souls will be cut and torn. Thoughts will suffer abuse and torment. Flesh wounds heal. But these psychic scars... they bleed forever.
Mike fought hard not to look away. He fought even though, from the first moment, he knew all was already lost. Tens of thousands of previous
interludes, against the other, had all ended the same way. Mike had never once won this contest. Mike had always looked away first. The other was not
of this world, really, and Mike knew this. The other was an abstract. A construct of some kind. And, in being so, always had the advantage. But Mike
never stopped trying to conquer the other because, in doing so, Mike knew he'd find himself. He'd find his own freedom. Mike knew that his life,
even his eternity, was solely and utterly dependent upon winning this war. It was what he was born to do.
And, even as he thought these things, Mikes' eyes betrayed him and looked down. The fight was over. Mike had, again, lost his war. Mike had failed to
As Mike focused in upon the basin and the fixtures which were now in his field of vision, as his gaze had lowered, he did not feel shame, or anything
that might be deemed as sorrow. Mike knew that this war was a constant, and that one battle, or another, was meaningless in the big picture. This
minor act, in the great play, meant nothing. Mike would go on about his day and nobody would ever know that he'd engaged in such a struggle as this.
Nobody would ever see the scars.
As Mike raised his head back up, and looked, again, into the mirror... into the eyes of the other, his thoughts whispered “I know you...”
This story is an exaggeration, to a degree, of the fact that I, throughout life, have come to understand just who my worst enemy happens to be.
I do realize that my form lacks. Writing structure has always eluded me for some reason. But I hope that, at least, the concept and content entertain
to some degree!
Be gentle... My ego is such that I'd much rather have my manhood made fun of than my writing!