The red light glared angrily in his eyes as he blinked away the sweat and tears that gathered there. He had seen this before. It hung lazily, inoffensively, above the door, but the blood colored sign sent mighty waves of heat over his body.
The EXIT sign gave off the only light in the corridor, but the man did not know whether or not to be happy about this. For what could be lurking in the shadows of this pitch black hallway? Certainly, though, there was nothing worse than what lay beyond this door. The man stood frozen, indecision warring inside of him. He dared a glance at the sign above him again, and the silhouette of the heavy wooden door caught his eye.
Surely it will be different this time? He thought to himself. It has to be!
Those words rang over and over in the dreadful silence of the corridor, and the man’s heart rate began to rise. He raised his shaking hand slowly, and his sweaty palm slipped against the doorknob. Nonetheless, the door swung open with ease, as it always did. He stepped inside the room, and the door closed silently behind him.
Shouting greeted his ears, and the man looked in horror upon the scene that unfolded. There he stood, the other version of himself, yelling across the table at his equally angry wife. Their words, like numerous times before, were incomprehensible. This did not matter, though, for he knew each one by heart. The man’s chest clinched as if his ribs were trying to rip through his lungs. His other self and his wife did not acknowledge this strange and unexpected guest, but the man’s face was quickly covered with freshly beading sweat. He watched, aghast, as his wife circled the table toward his other self, her sharp index finger poised to stab daggers into his other self’s chest. The man turned sharply and began grappling at the door he had just entered, but he knew it was in vain. There was no exit.
He turned around in time to see his other self strike the first blow. His wife screamed a guttural, animal sound. It was a sound that tore at the man’s heart, his very being. He backed into the door, praying to escape the sound the screams and the blows made as his other self continued to bash in her skull. The door still would not open. Yet, his other self still hit her, though most of her blood, as red as the sign on the other side of the door, coated the walls, the table, and him. The man knew of only one other escape.
Taking a deep breath, he repositioned himself. In the length of a few seconds, the man was already striding across the room, his eyes on the ground of the apartment he had walked across an infinite amount of times. However, he could not help but look over at his other self, who continued to strike the corpse of his wife, her screams silenced what seemed like a lifetime ago. For a fraction of a second, the man could have sworn, before striking his next blow, his other self met his gaze. What can only be described as a maniacal joy lit up the pitch black eyes, standing out remarkably in the blood-stained face.
His feet carried him as fast as they could from the room, but the sound of the metal crashing against bone rung in his ears. As the other door did before, this one opened just as easily.
The EXIT sign loomed eerily above him.

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Samantha Henry

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