Dead Ringer

Detective Charles Ridley stretched and leaned backward with a yawn, escaping from the narrow beam of sunlight piercing through broken blinds on his office window. He lit and puffed on a cheap cigar and frowned at the strange document on his desk. It had not been there when he started his nap. It appeared to be a transcript, printed on that old style paper with perforated edges. There were no department notes or stamps on it, which was unusual right off the bat, but then he began to read.




Dr. W: Tell us what happened down there.

E-G617: Sure. I, uh... When I heard there was a containment breach, I went 
down to help, you know? To do my fucking job. Excuse me.

Dr. W: It's fine, just speak naturally.

E-G617: It was way too quiet down there. I should have known something was 
up. The breach lights were going, but otherwise it was too dark to see 
anything, really. I was walking down a corridor, had my weapon drawn. I 
thought I heard a noise so I... That's... that's when I saw myself hunched 
over a body on the ground. I mean, it wasn't me, but it was. It still had 
its fucking hands... my hands... around the guy's throat. He was dead but 
it was still... squeezing. It looked up at me, with my eyes, and it screamed
at me with my voice. No words or anything, just... It tried to rush me. But 
I had my (tranquilizer) gun out and got it before it got me.

Dr. W: Were you afraid?

E-G617: ...Yeah. I mean, of course I was. It’s not something you can get used 
to, seeing yourself in that fuckin' thing all the time. That was the first 
time for me. In that hallway. And it's always begging to be let out, crying 
and pleading, telling everybody there's been a mistake. That it has whatever 
family whoever it's talking to has. It tries to convince you it's the real 
you, that you're the fake one. And it fuckin' knows, man, it knows my 
family... my secrets. I guess everybody working down there has to deal with 
that. But now, I... I can't even look in the mirror anymore, I always think 
I'm gonna see those eyes again, you know? My eyes. God damn that thing. Why 
don’t you just fuckin’ kill it? Why don’t you kill it? God damn it... 
Fucking kill it! Just do it! I'll do it if you won't. Just kill that fucking 
thing, please! (etc.)

Dr. W: Excellent. That should do it, I think. No more questions. Administer 10cc 
of Solution R and take him back down. 


This document is the exclusive property of Flagstone Biomedical Research 
Group. All unauthorized use, dissemination or any sort of sharing of this 
document or any of its contents is punishable by law and WILL be prosecuted.

A chill ran down Ridley’s spine. The cigar ash broke free and drifted into his lap. With a deep breath he picked up the paper, creasing it in his grip.

“Hey, what the hell is this weird shit you left on my desk?” He shouted, annoyed. They had pranked him before, but this was of a different tone than the shaving cream.

No response came from the station, which he only just noticed was oddly quiet, more so than ever before. Did everyone go to lunch without him? They knew what he liked, at least. Maybe he’d thank them for letting him sleep off his liquid breakfast if they brought him a solid lunch.

He opened his office door to find the station an absolute mess. It seemed to be completely empty, save for a man who was just about to reach the door. It was a civilian, walking away from him. Leaving the scene.

Perhaps it was his nerves, and he knew it was madness to draw his weapon in the station, but something was off about this guy. He threw the cigar down and stomped it, then reached for his underarm holster.

“Police, stop right there! Who the fuck are you? Where is everybody?” Ridley stepped out of his office door, gun trained on the man’s torso.

The man stopped abruptly, his hand on the door. He appeared to be wearing the same suede bomber jacket that Ridley was wearing.

Ridley noticed a pair of legs sticking out from behind a nearby desk. He recognized those shoes. They were Lt. Hall’s new shoes, the ones her sister had bought for her. Looking around, he saw Davidson and Rice sprawled out near the coffee machine. Liza, that angel, was draped over the front desk on her back, unseeing eyes gazing back at his.

“Oh shit. Oh shit! Let me see those hands. Fuck! Turn around SLOW and put your hands behind your fuckin’ head. Now, asshole! Hands!”

As the man complied and raised his hands, he turned to face Ridley with a familiar smile. A smile he had seen almost every day of his life. Ridley dropped his gun.

The man was on him in an impossible instant, tearing across the station like a bitter wind. He seized Ridley’s throat and closed his cold fingers into him.

Before he faded, Ridley looked deep into the man’s furious, manic eyes. They were just like his.