Ouroboros

I chased him back to the hotel, simplifying my way through the duplicate construction of streets, colors and people with a 45 colt. We moved in equal parallels inside the building and chose a similar pattern – too similar, like a wave of memory or purpose from yesterday that haunted until tomorrow and felt like today. It irritated me I hadn’t done it yet. He had eluded me until now when he swam out of the shadows.

He took the stairs, and I did so too. The maid’s scream reverberated on the silent staircase and he threw back his arm to fire at her – his face was hidden by a mask and I missed his eyes when I caught her limp body. I lamented for a heartbeat her terror-stricken death glare then resumed my pursuit. She was one more victim that I couldn’t take, but had to in order to catch him. That bastard. I yelled after him, my voice breaking the spiral perpetuity of stairs I could see above of me. He caught the warning and returned it with a laughter demolishing my steadiness – it felt like a long lost pain returning and it squeezed the skull around my brain till my eyes bled with real tears. He mocked me for even attempting. But I had been at this for far too long to give up on the last ascend I could find possible and sustainable. He had to die. I had to kill him.

I carried on supported by the colt, anger and revenge.

We reached the rooftop of the hotel simultaneously, but then he lagged one second ahead of me and stood facing with an aimed gun.

I had pictured this moment ever since he chose to murder my wife. I knew it was him, because I saw him that night, in the mirror when he was leaving our apartment all bloody and smiling under that mask.

Now I did the same, mimicking him with the raised gun. We both held our 45’s with determination. His suddenly was lowered.

“You can’t kill me,” he said.

“You can’t run forever,” I told him.

“It’s pointless. It will never end. God, it will never end…You…Me.” He beat his head with fists. “Remember, remember, remember. How can I do that? Why aren’t you doing that?!”

“What? Shut up! It will end tonight. I will kill you for what you did to my wife.”

“Don’t you get it? It will never end!” He walked towards me, maniacal laughter emanating in muffled eruptions. I took my distance back, involuntarily abiding the need of my body to retreat. “We’re the same!”

I shook my head ‘no’; he nodded his ‘yes’.

“Now I understand it all.” He began to sob, stifled cries under the mask.

He took it off and threw it at me. I caught it. I could feel the nakedness he exposed staring at me and waited my time to look up, feeling newly accumulated anger fill me up.

Two years had passed, but I had finally found the man who had turned my life into a never-ending nightmare. I could look at his face, and when I did we were the same. Like he had said. I found his eyes this time. They found mine and in a matching blink cleared a world of wrongs and duplicates, seeing to fit everything into one whole, into one singular existence. Everything but this, now. Me, him, us.

“Oh..,” I said, staring. It hurt.

“Put it on,” he prompted me. “You understand.”

And I did so.

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12 thoughts on “Ouroboros

  1. Many times I feel like I’m chasing myself. The intensity adds fire to the sparkling hints. I especially like “lagged a second ahead” but I’m partial to time-twisted descriptions. 🙂

    Great fun.

  2. Nice existential angst happening here! I have a picture of the (original) masked man chasing the (narrator) masked man all the way back to the site of the wife’s murder, where he will shoot her again and set the whole chain of events off once more in the other direction. Downright Ballardian, this one.

    • He/they must have gone there, yes. Ditto to the mental picture of that happening. Can you imagine not being able to stop this cycle? Ugh…

      That’s J. G. Ballard, correct? I don’t think I’ve read anything his. Which means I will tonight.

      Thanks for commenting, Katherine!

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