Incorporeal Double


Ran awoke and stared up at the gray ceiling, colored only by the night.

She sat up slowly, in the white sheets, and looked at Alli. She got up and put her bare feet on the thin carpet. Her face looked back at her in the large mirror of their bedroom, a birthday present Kaan had brought over. She tried to shake herself of the odd sensation of the dream. Nealy’s cold eyes still burned into her – in the world, at the bottom of the well.

In the bathroom, Ran stared at the rings under her eyes. Almost every night, her sleep was horrible. She was lucky Alli was a deep sleeper, or she would have woken her up every time she got up to get a glass of water, in the middle of the night.

She wandered into the kitchen, her bare feet slapping softly on the tile floor. Maybe if she ate something she would fall asleep. Ran reached for some cereal but didn’t turn on the light.

In the dream, Nealy had looked just like her; had her eyes and red hair. It was startling. She had to laugh out loud, milk in hand.

Ran didn’t know how she had courted Alli. Alli was going places, untangling the depreciation and amortization for multi-million-dollar properties. Ran didn’t know why she had picked a surfer writer like her. Opposites attract, they say. She poured the milk into a bowl of Raisin Bran.

Sleep was already creeping back to her. Ran was glad. She’d never been a good sleeper. That dream. Ran had never dreamed she was in the well before. It had been like an out-of-body experience.

She wanted Alli to be happy. Maybe, she would open a beer and sleep in front of the TV.

Ran settled into a familiar chair and closed her eyes. She could still see Nealy, the double, standing in that dim study, drink in hand, as the grandfather clock clicked away, in the background. The darkness swam around her. Her Arne Jacobsen egg chair sat, like an island, in the middle of the carpet.



Koyaanisqatsi – Philip Glass

The Supernumerary


Ran sat in the well. The sky was white. The pods of newly unfurled leaves floated down, the donations of the beginning of spring. She stared up at the yellow-green waif-like plants, and then looked at the well wall in front of her, an impenetrable gray surface, down there in the gloom. In Maine, on Kaan’s property, she closed her eyes, soul moving around the darkened barrier, to a room beyond, a dim room, with red carpeting, in a château, in the south of France.

The room was ornate, set in a Baroque style. There was a grandfather clock, giving off a muffled clicking, over-wrought side tables and a resplendent golden davenport, made in Italy in the 1600s. A glass decanter of port sat on the heavy walnut desk of the study. The room opened out into a balcony. Translucent, white chiffon curtains floated upward, in the breeze of the late summer afternoon. Nealy stood just inside the doorway, with a glass of wine, in a beige three-piece suit and a red ascot, heavy golden rings on each hand.

Nealy turned as Ran slunk out of the shadows in the room, still wearing the jeans and cashmere sweater she had been wearing at the bottom of the well. The wind rustled some papers on the desk, held down only by a fountain pen.

“This needs to end,” Ran growled, “She is my girlfriend now, not yours.”

“How do you know that she ever stopped being my girlfriend?” Nealy asked. Beyond the balcony, the full, broad leaves of summer danced in the gentle gusts.

“She broke up with you years ago. We may look alike, but you’re on the other side of the world. I am the one she has now!” Ran said.

Nealy looked down, studying the glass of port, “No, you are the double, the clone. I am the true girlfriend.”

“Why, you -!” Ran choked out, and rushed forward, not knowing what she would do. But Nealy looked up, with a frozen glare. Ran felt herself transfixed, riveted with terror, under the unrelenting gaze. The pages got loose, from under the pen, and whipped around the room.

She woke up, eyes roving the ceiling, raking the room for any signs of the château, the chandelier, the bronze candlesticks.

Ran found herself back in her bedroom, in New York, Alli asleep, and unaware, reclining beside her.


Second image courtesy of Kristina Stipetic


Mendelssohn – The Hebrides, overture in B minor for orchestra (‘Fingal’s Cave’), Op. 26