Mary stood on the porch shoulders hunched up to her chin giving her the appearance of a turtle. The cold was starting to seep through her sweatshirt and the uneasiness in her stomach was making the cold pierce straight to her core. She rapped on the door once more. Three swift knocks in a row waiting for Christopher to answer. There had been scuffling and distorted whispers on the other side of the door.
She shuffled over to the window trying to peek through the slightly parted curtains. Blue light from the tv poured through the crack and she could see his laptop thrown to the side on the couch telling her he was definitely home. A shadow moved past the crack blocking her view, but when she blinked it was gone. She walked back over to the door knocking once more, a little harder this time incase he couldn’t hear her.
“Christopher? It’s Mary.” She called trying not to be so loud as to disturb the neighbors. “Come on! I know you’re home! It’s freezing out here!”
She waited impatiently in the cold for an answer. He said nothing and the door stayed firmly closed. The unease grew feeling like ice in the pit of her stomach.
“Christopher, come on this isn’t funny! I need to talk to you! It’s important, something is wrong.” She was starting to get anxious. Something was definitely wrong but she still couldn’t put her finger on what, but she still knew he was in trouble somehow. “I don’t know what it is, but something is very wrong. I think you’re in trouble. Please!”
“How do I know it’s the real you?” His teasing words were muffled by the door, but Mary swore she heard fear in them putting her on edge.
“In seventh grade we used to call you Beaker because you would say ‘meep’ whenever you were uncomfortable or embarrassed.”
“Everyone knows that.” He laughed uncomfortably through the door.
“Christopher, why are you being so weird?” Mary asked through chattering teeth. “Come on I’m going to turn into a popsicle if I stay out here too long.”
“I’m not being weird.” He tried to be nonchalant, playing his weirdness off as a joke. “Come on, something only you would know.”
“Everyone thinks your middle name is Joseph, but that’s because you made your parents legally change it when we were ten. Your real middle name is Francis.”
Behind the door there was more muffled talking. There was something off about the tone of the whispers. Christopher sounded scared. His footsteps squeaked across the old hardwood floors getting farther away from the door. Mary’s heart raced, fluttering around in her chest as anxiety gripped it.
“What’s going on?” She asked frantically. There was no answer, only the sound of footsteps receding. “Christopher, please let me in. What’s going on?”
“It’s open.” he broke his silence so quietly Mary wasn’t sure she had even heard him in the first place.
Slowly she pressed down on the doorknob pushing the heavy thing open. The hinges creaked with rust from time and weathering and a few flakes of paint fell from the wood around the hinges. Inside the house was dark, the flickering light from the tv outlining two silhouettes. She gasped running to the cowering figure off near the stairs recognizing it as Christopher.
“Are you okay?”
“No, I’m a shifter.” Mary rolled her eyes, but her voice faltered. The hair on her neck bristled as she remembered the other figure.
“If you’re right here…then who is over there?” His face was pale and his hands shaky as he pointed off behind her. Slowly Mary turned to face the figure behind her.
“Oh, Mary.” The figure said shaking her head side to side in disappointment. She had Mary’s face and voice causing Mary to scramble back nearly sitting in Christopher’s lap. Her double took a step closer, skin shimmering changing her form several times before them. Each word she spoke echoed in a different voice eerily. “You are ruining everything. You’ve seen something you shouldn’t have my dear, and for that you must be punished.”
Mary didn’t even have time to gasp before the shifter ran forward, hand outstretched toward her. Her fingers rippled into long black glittering spikes.
Christopher screamed beside her as the shifter drew back her hand baring glimmering white teeth. This was the last thing she saw before it struck.
They didn’t know where she came from, or where she went when she disappeared. When she disappeared she had taken Christopher with her and from then on, Mary could never see again. Even without her sight, Mary was strong. She learned to take care of herself through her blindness and although her sight had been taken her other senses heightened. She swore that she would bring Christopher back though most thought him dead, but the growing intuition that her best friend was still alive was enough to keep her going even if it killed her in the process.