Jasper’s mind was elsewhere. The pain was too much. No matter how many questions he asked, no matter how much he screamed, eventually, everything came crashing down. His mind was starting to waver. His mind was changing. Suddenly, he found himself back in his apartment. He was alone. Or at least he thought he was.
“Wow, we look like ****,” A voice said from the stairs. Jasper’s eyes widened as he looked at himself. “Wanna talk about it?” His doppelganger laughed.
“Where am I?” Jasper asked.
“Home or close to it. Not really. I know things really don’t make sense right now,” Other Jasper hopped over the couch and sat down. “Wow, this place brings back memories. Doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?”
Jasper sat on the coffee table. “Who are you? My clone? Am I finally going crazy?”
“From where I’m sitting, you’re the clone. No way you’re the real one. Jasper isn’t some sad excuse for a guy. He’s definitely not a scared little boy. What’s with the helpless routine out there? And yes, we are going crazy. What do you expect? That drug he gave us is ******* with our head. It won’t be long now until murder becomes our new favorite thing to do.”
Jasper shot up. “I’d never–“
“Please, we share the same mind. I know you’ve imagined at least seven different ways to kill me right now. Or should I say kill yourself? By the way, don’t do that. Look, you need to get a hold of yourself. This is our head trying to preserve the last part of us. This is a box you created to protect yourself,” Other Jasper said, glancing at the front door.
A loud knocking sound boomed throughout the apartment. Shaking everything.
Jasper walked over to the door. His hand hoving over the doorknob. “JASPER! NO!” Other Jasper said, pulling himself away from the door. “If you open that door, that’s it! We’re done. That’s the drug. It wants in.”
“Jasper, it’s me. It’s Ronda. Please open the door. I-I’m hurt,” Ronda said from the outside.
“Ronda? Hey, hold on, I’m coming!” Jasper said, struggling under himself. “Get off! She needs me!”
“That’s not her, *******! I told you, it’s the drug. If you open that door, you’ll never be the same ever again. Ronda, Josh, Amber, Ben, Em, Franklin, everyone you’ve ever known will just be bodies to you. Things for you to hurt or worse. They won’t be your friends or family anymore. Those things won’t matter anymore. Don’t let Lance win. Don’t let him change us. Please, Jasper. I’m begging you.”
“Jazz, please! I need you! I thought you loved me. I thought you cared about me. Was…was that a lie?” Ronda asked, crying.
“Please, let me help her,” Jasper said, crying. “She means so much to me. I can’t let her get hurt because of me.”
“It’s. Not. Her,” Other Jasper said. Suddenly the apartment shook again as “Ronda” hit the door. “I know she’s strong, but come on, man. No way she can shake this place. We’re on our head. That’s not her. How many times do I have to tell you?”
Jasper closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Ronda?”
“Yes, love?” Ronda said. “Will you open the door? I want to talk to you.”
“When we first met, what joke did I tell you to get you to go out with me?”
“Jasper, please. I don’t remember. I’m hurt. I need you,” Ronda said.
“Ronda would know. She told me it was the worst thing she ever heard. Had her laughing for hours.” Jasper turned back to himself. “Can I get up? I won’t open–“
Jasper’s eyes went wide. He felt a tight pain in his chest. “No. Not you.”
“Son? I’ve been trying to call you all day. I’m okay. Let’s go out and get some food. You’re favorite,” Julie said.
“****, that thing’s persistent,” Other Jasper said. Other Jasper looked at the door and then back to Jasper. “Listen, I know what you’re feeling right now. I know it hurts, but it’s not her. We ****** up. We missed our chance to say goodbye. You need to make peace with that. We were stupid and young. Still are, honestly.”
“Jazz? Come open the door, son. Don’t you want to spend time with your strong mom? I told you I was strong. Watch.” Julie started pounding on the door, sending shockwaves throughout the apartment, knocking things over and making other Jasper fall back. “See? Now, come on. I want to see my boy.”
Jasper stood up and walked over to the door. “Mom? Is that really you?” Jasper asked. His voice and body were shaking.
“It is. Now, open up and let me see how big you’ve gotten.”
Other Jasper tried to get up, but Julie knocked him back down with a few more knocks on the door. “Jasper, don’t open it! She’s dead! You know that! It’s not her!”
“I know,” Jasper cried. He rested his head on the door. “It hurts so much. I want it to be her so bad. I want to say I’m sorry for not answering. I want to say I’m sorry for making you worry. I want to say so much.” Jasper slid down to the floor and cried. “But it’s not her. I know that.”
“JASPER!” The drug yelled in his mother’s voice. “OPEN THE DOOR!”
Other Jasper came and sat beside himself. “I know, buddy. I miss her too. So bad. But she wouldn’t want us to throw ourselves away like this. We need to get out of here. We can’t do that if we’re a murderous mess like Lance. We can’t undo the pain and suffering he caused us already, but we don’t have to become what he wants us to be. We’re going to be different. We’re not the same man we were before. But that’s okay. As long as we don’t lose all of us, then it’ll be okay.”
“I don’t want to go back out there,” Jasper said.
“Well, you can’t stay in here. One Jasper is enough. I’m not gonna lie to you. When you get back out there, it’s going to be painful. Do what you have to do,” Other Jasper said, standing up and heading upstairs.
Jasper stood up. “What does–“
Othe Jasper turned back and sighed. “Do what you have to do. We’re leaving this hellhole. One way or another.”
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