Here’s my entry for the FictionBD writing competition 2015. It didn’t get chosen for round 2, but I wanted to share it. Enjoy! And do leave some feedback!
Miro and Lyre stood together on the bridge over the railway; Lyre a pace in front and a bit to Miro’s left, at the very edge. His mere presence made Miro uneasy.
Miro arrived the day before in town on a business trip. An acquaintance, commenting on the sheer number of similarities between them, introduced him to Lyre, who, apparently, was also here on a business trip.
At first, it was refreshing speaking to Lyre. They shared the same opinions about political issues, about sports, about business policies. Then, Lyre pulled out his pack of cigarettes and his lighter after a cup of tea. The lighter had Hideyoshi’s face fashioned on it in clear plastic. Miro felt a bizarre fear piercing his being.
His lighter was the exact same thing.
He’d quickly checked his pockets. He still had his pack of cigarettes and his lighter.
After that, it only got more and more bizarre.
While he contemplated whether he should say something about his family, Lyre was already waist-deep in conversation about his daughter, who was the same age as Miro’s daughter. The exact same age. They were dressed the same way. And when Miro finally found something that he almost sure he did not share with Lyre; the diamond studded cuff-links passed down through generations in his family, Lyre leaned over and showed him his family heirloom. A pair of cuff-links that were exactly the same.
It’s a prank, he told himself. It has to be. But, he could not get rid of that bizarre nagging feeling at the back of his head. He could not convince himself that it the building rage and frustration inside him was illogical.
This morning though, Lyre had told Miro of his plans of bringing in a few of the newly invented train engines. “They will change my life and this country forever,” he’d said. Miro only nodded in agreement, not saying a word of how that was his plan also, how he could not afford to have any competitors.
As they stood on that bridge together, the light breeze sifting through them, Miro remembered that Lyre was to take the night’s train home. He’d already checked out of his hotel and had what luggage he had sent to the station. He’d insisted on coming up to this bridge, claiming it had the best view of the railway. Miro watched him pull out a brand new packet of cigarettes and his beloved Hideyoshi lighter, and the nagging fear came crawling back in.
An absurd thought made its way into his mind. When the train passed the bridge, all other sounds in the vicinity would be drowned out. No one would know…
Just then, the evening train whistled, marking the beginning of its journey from the station.
They had not told anyone about their coming to this bridge. If something were to happen… if a certain one of them did not return to the hotel…
They heard the train gain speed in silence. The distant clicking of the wheels grew louder by the minute. And when the train came into view Lyre puffed out a plume of smoke, keeping the cigarette in his mouth.
“I can already see it, Miro,” he said. “The future of my industry. The change those new engines will bring.”
These words acted as the trigger. The train was now almost below them. Miro moved with stealth. He knew Lyre could see, or at least sense his presence. He moved his hand as if to pat Lyre. One moment it was against Lyre’s flesh. The next, it was tingling with the pressure he had applied to undo Lyre’s balance on the edge. He did not know if Lyre screamed. The train’s engine swallowed all sound except the thumping in his ears.
He was to leave the city the next day by the night’s train. Miro felt that he should be happy, having eliminated competition. A bit of that unusual feeling remained, however. In an attempt to lift his spirits, he made a call overseas and confirmed that order for the new engines, saying that he would have the price transferred from a Swiss bank as soon as he got home.
The rest of the day went by in a blur. Miro did things he had not planned on doing, which was out of the ordinary. He was used to planning his day before going to bed. It was a refreshing change.
As evening drew near he did not want to stay in the hotel anymore. He felt restless, something he had not felt since he was a child. Checking out and sending his luggage to the station, he began to wander. He found himself at the bridge once more.
He sighed. You must really be mad at me, eh, Lyre? he thought. Well, I might as well say my farewell this time.
He walked and stood at the very edge. He brought out the brand new packet of cigarettes he’d bought that morning, and lighted one with his Hideyoshi lighter. No more worries about doppelgangers stealing your glory.
He heard the train before he saw it. The evening train. It whistled and the clicking of the wheels began to grow as it gained speed. He smiled to himself.
“I already see it, Lyre,” he said, letting lose a plume of smoke as he spoke. “The future of my industry. The change those new engines will bring.”
A split second later he thought he felt a hand on his back, and then he was falling, the roar of the train drowning out his cries.