Sometimes we're our own worst enemy. A short story written for Screams!!! 1/13/2020.
The young woman sat with her head in her hands. Her posture spoke of utter defeat.
"Alison," a voice broke the silence of the room, but if she heard it, the woman gave no indication.
"Alison Hughes, don't think you can ignore me. Look up!"
Maybe it was the sternness in the tone that finally got through to her, or perhaps it was the fact that she recognized the voice. It was one that she had heard many times, for it sounded exactly like her own.
Alison lifted her head slightly, opened her eyes that were now dry but were reddened from her persistent sobbing. What she saw made her cover her head again. Not only did the imposter sound like her, but she looked like her as well. Same height, same hair color, exactly the same face, except the expression of coldness and confidence was not one found on Alison for the longest of times.
The stranger stepped forward and impatiently pulled at the hands Alison was hiding behind. "Look at you! A snivelling, pathetic creature. I'm ashamed to be you, to be honest."
Alison brought her hands back to cover her eyes. "No. You're not there... It's just my imagination." She spread her fingers to peep between them.
The imposter bent forward and shouted: "Boo! It's time, you know. You can deny it as much as you like. Struggle away, for every bit of resistance you show only makes me stronger. Oh, I love your misery!"
"Go away," Alison said, but there was no force behind her words.
"You want me to go? Well, make me!" The coldly confident Alison pulled her miserable self on to her feet, smacked her hands away from her face. "Do you notice anything?" she asked.
"What... ? Wait... you're taller."
"And taller, still! But are you sure? Look around and I think you'll find that it's not me that has changed. I'm the same height as you, or at least as you once were. It's you. You're shrinking!"
Alison Hughes looked around herself. She was in her bedroom, but it was not her familiar room. Everything really was so much larger than life. "Stop! Stop messing with me. Get out of my head!" she sobbed.
"Oh, I'll be gone soon enough, or rather you will be. Me, I'll be here, living your life in your place, and oh boy, what a different life it's going to be!"
"What are you talking about?" Alison shook her head, trying to clear the illusion from her mind. It had to be her imagination playing some kind of trick on her, for she seemed to be shrinking faster, becoming smaller and smaller with every passing second. Her head was not much above the imposter's waist now, and her voice was becoming weaker.
"A few more minutes," sneered her own voice from her other self.
"But... why?" Even to her own ears, Alison had to admit that she sounded both puny and pathetic.
"Why do you think? It's pretty obvious that you can't hack it. Look at what you've allowed life to reduce you to. Not much more than knee high now are you, you poor, poor little girl."
"Stop it. You can't be me, I'm me," Alison Hughes protested.
"Oh, I can and I will, for," the imposter said, raising a foot, "you no longer exist!" And with that she trod hard on the shrunken young woman and squashed the remainder of life from her body.