The doctor stands by the window, looking out at an ashen sky decorated by wisps of long thin clouds moving slowly across the sky like ghosts. The
skeletal trees have only a few sickly leaves clinging on, hanging like vestiges of charred skin before falling away.
A heavy sigh follows.
Behind him, he hears the clink of a glass, and a quiet voice follows. "Do you believe me?" The voice says.
The doctor closes his eyes, sighs, and opening his eyes, turns away from the window, his intense gaze directed at the man seated in front of his desk.
Slowly, the doctor again returns to his desk, seating himself behind it, but this time he looks down at the desktop, and not at the man who looks
unwaveringly at him.
An uncomfortable silence follows.
"Do you believe me?" The man repeats.
The doctor is silent for a few more moments before finally replying: "No, I do not. It is simply not possible. There is no such thing."
"Is my word, my story, not good enough?" The man asks.
The doctor looks up. "Why should I believe a stranger's story, a stranger's word, a stranger's fantasy, without proof? It has no basis in reality! I
would have remembered."
"Am I really so much a stranger? I assure you I am not—"
"I've been treating you for months now,” the doctor calmly interjects. “That doesn't mean we're not strangers, in fact—"
"We've known each other before, doctor. We've lived before. That is what I've been trying to tell you."
The man pauses, then adds: "I've tried to tell you, but you do not remember, and you refuse to believe."
"That is simply not possible! We've never lived before, and we have never met before!" The doctor's tone had changed. "That is why you're here!"
There is another bout of silence as the man looks amusingly at the doctor. The doctor gains his composure and leans forward with both elbows against
the desk, his voice lower. "That's why you came here, that's why you came to *me*. For my help. That's my profession."
"No," the man replies, "that is not why I came to you." He grasps a leather satchel on the floor beside him and lifts it onto his lap. "I want to show
you something, something I doubt you have ever seen, but you will undoubtedly know." The man opens the satchel and pulls a single sheet, setting it on
the desk before the doctor.
"What is this?"
"Look at it, doctor. You wanted proof. You've never believed what I've said, so this is your proof. Look."
Still, the doctor refuses to pick it up, having gone slightly pale. "Why?" he asks.
"You wanted to know, and you wanted to be sure. But you *do* know, inside. You just won't admit it to yourself." The man pauses. “I know you're
Trembling, the doctor reaches for it.
"Look at it,” the man coaxes.
As the doctor picks up the photograph, he leans back in his chair and holds it before him.
"It's not possible!" He cries. "I remember this photo!"
"You remember when it was taken," the man says, "and you remember the scene. This is just as it was as it happened."
"But you were not there! I *have* no siblings!" the doctor cries.
"—Our mother!? What do you mean, 'our mother?'"
"Why do you think you became the doctor you did and the doctor you are?" the man explains. "You see the darkness that consumes people, and you have it
in yourself. That darkness is not of man. Why do you think you understand it in others and seek it out in others so well? Do you think it's because
you want to "help" them? No, it's because it's familiar to you, to us. You seek out yourself and your nature in them. You seek to put yourself into
them. It's how we gain strength...and control. *We* seek out what is familiar to us in them, if only to put ourselves into them."
The man pauses, as if unsure what next to say. “Why do you not see it in yourself?”
The doctor collapses in his chair, a look of abject terror on his face. The photo, taken when he was very young, a photo of him, his mother, and his
brother, the man who sat before him, had fallen to the floor.
Shakily, the doctor stands up, catching himself on the desk, and turns his back to the man. As he pours a drink from the bar behind him, hands
shaking, glass clinking as he pours, he catches a reflection behind him into the seat in front of his desk. It is empty.
"Look in the mirror," his brother says. "We are the demons inside ourselves, and inside all of *them.*"
edit on 23-4-2020 by Liquesence because: missed " mark
edit on 23-4-2020 by Liquesence because: (no reason
edit on Fri Apr 24 2020 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)