James is a very normal man. At least, that's what he keeps telling himself. He opens his eyes, sees the man who looks familiar, like a name that sits on the tip of his tongue, then closes them. Tells himself that this is entirely normal. Opens them. Sees the familiar man. Closes them again, and repeats it. A person watching might notice that he looks like someone with OCD. Suddenly, he remembers that he shouldn't be here. Standing over a dead man, however familiar, is not a great place to be in. He looks at his hands. No blood. Stares at the body. No blood. Bruises, but no blood. Good. Must have strangled him then. Very clean. James is dumbfounded that he's complimenting himself on making a clean kill. "What has happened to me?" he thinks. He can't remember.

Normal James begins walking. Although he can't remember much, he knows that a man that looks like he's meant to be somewhere, a man that walks with a purpose, is often overlooked and ignored. He walks. Walks until he realises that he's not just the only person in the street, he's the only person in the street that runs alongside the street with Mr familiar in it. and the one that joins on to that one. And the next one. He shouts, but noone except the echoes reply. Tears of frustration escape his eyes as he struggles to remember why he is in this godforsaken place. He wracks his brain. leans against the wall, slides down it and drifts into a deep and dreamless sleep.

Not-so-normal James hwakes up with a headache. It's light. He doesn't know whether that means he hasn't slept for long or whether he slept a whole day. Or two days. Or more. All he knows is that his head hurts, and that he needs some kind of headache tablets. He examines his surroundings. He is sitting on a doorstep, outside of a door that has no number. Not-so-normal James remembers everything from opening his eyes to see the not-so-familiar man to stumbling into the wall (twentyminutesago) yesterday. Or the day before. He stands. No problem there, legs still working. Not-so-normal James chuckles to himself as he shakes his arms and legs. No problems there. Now for the door. He kicks the door down with ease, wondering how he manages it so easily. He can't remember anything before Not-so familiar Man, but he's sure he's (eighttimes) never broken down a door before. Not-sonormal James enters the house and steps into a study, which, has no doors. "Funny" he says aloud. Not-so-normal James stops. The voice brings back some memory, but he can't remember what of. He shrugs it off.

Not-so-Normal James brushes the (bone) Oak desk with his fingertips. He moves the paperweight. He walks over to the lonely bookshelf and takes out each book in turn. No hidden doors here. James sits in the chair and falls asleep.

Broken James wakes up in an empty study with a single door. He is lying on a wet carpet that is red. James jumps off of the ground. His mind tells him that the wet is not water. His mind tells him that the carpet did not used to be red. His mind tells him to leave. Broken James does not leave. Broken James looks at his hands. There is lemonade (jamesknowsit'shisfavourite) on his hands. A broken pitcher with four glasses sits next to the rug (itwasnotthereyesterday). He reckons he didn't see it when he woke up, must have missed it in that morning haze. "Hah, must have missed that jug until i stood up" he tells himself. Broken James pours himself a glass of lemonade and takes a deep drink. Time stops. Broken james freezes. Suddenly, James drops the glass and falls to his knees. The carpet turns yellow and green. James turns pale. He stands up adn walks through the door.

Broken James walks out into the rain. He can't remember the last time it rained. Must have been (onehour) days ago. The weeds between the cracks are grateful for the rain, but they seem to (die) shy away from Broken James as he walks past them down the street. He doesn't notice.

Broken James is staring straight ahead. Without knowing it, he is backtracking his steps from (fourtyminutes) the day he walked into his house. Suddenly, James knows what road he is on. This long road. "This road" He says aloud, almost to reassure himself of his presence. the rain taps in reply, the wind silent and the people gone. A gate bangs (notthereJames) behind James and he whirls, searching for life. Noone there. Broken James walks.

Broken James keeps walking. It's the only thing he knows how to do in this situation. His hands twitch open and closed. An unknown feeling (ohJamesyou'vedoneitsomanytimes) in his hands driving them open and shut. A click from behind him. Broken James identifies it as a latch clicking shut. This time he doesn't whirl. Broken James keeps walking. Two gates bang. Three gates. Two bang one after the other and James whirls. He pretends to look back in the direction he was walking (eastlikethefoxsays) and looks back quickly. He spots movement (notthereeitherJames) but it's another gate. It stops before it bangs, and clicks, as if to taunt him. James turns back down the road (easteast) btu this time something is different. There is a man at the end of the road.

Broken James stares at the far-away man. Far-away man (looksback) stands there. James keeps walking. Gates bang behind him and the rain falls vertically, never making puddles but dripping through the cracks. Broken James still can't see the man's face, but it's becoming more and more.. identifiable. James recognises the man's hair, a style that is on the very tip of his tongue, he can't quite remember it. More gates bang. Louder this time. James turns to see who's there, his hands balled into fists. Noone there. James turns (east) forward again, but the man is gone. He would have recognised him. A gate bangs directly across the street. James slowly turns.

Familiar man is staring at Hazy James. James's arms shake as he sprints towards familiar man. Altough it's hard to see him, all that runs through James's head is that Familiar man is bad, Familiar man slammed those gates, and James's father (thebadman) always told him he shouldn't slam doors. "Gates are no different" Hazy James whispers as he punches Familiar Man in the guts. Familiar man is trying to take something out of his pocket (Jamesyoushouldknowbynowit'snotagunITSNOTAGUNITSNOTAGUN), but as James's punch connects it falls to the floor as Familiar man topples with it. James kneels on familiar man's chests and punches again, the shiny thing next to his head. Punches and punches, but not breaking skin. Clean (asalways).

Familiar man can't breathe. His hands on Hazy James's hands, too weak to move them. Hands around his neck. Hands killing him. Hazy James keeps his hands there. Stop the breathing. Kill cleanly. Suddenly, he hears something. Familiar man has one last breath. Hazy (broken) James brings his face close to Familiar man's to gloat, his smile wide. He listens, pushing Familiar man's windpipe harder to coax it out. Hazy James hears his own name as Familiar man dies. Normal James notices the mirror Familiar Man dropped. He crouches over it and looks down. Familiar man looks up at him. James stands sharply up.

James opens his eyes and sees a man who looks very familiar laying on the ground beneath him. He closes his eyes and tells himself that this is entirely normal.

The End

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