We're in the car. I'm driving you home.
It's our fifth date, and things are going fine. Great, even.
I liked the way things were going.
We're listening to some music on the radio.
You're telling a joke right now. I'm smiling, but I'm not listening.
In the dim light from the setting sun, I'm watching your face. Your lips. Your eyes.
It was subtle. You probably didn't think I'd notice.
But I did.
In the evening's twilight, as I watched your face, briefly taking my eyes off the road, I saw your transformation.
It lasted for less than a second. Your upper lip pulled back as you spoke, the grin momentarily faltered, and that was it.
Oh, I noticed. You looked the same, you sounded the same, and you acted the same. It was clever, but I caught you. You're not the same. I don't know who you are now, but you're a different person. You may look and act like her, but you're not Karen.
You finish telling the joke. I laugh and turn back to the road.
I don't know why you're here, what you want, or how you got here.
Glancing at you, the difference is so obvious.
You did a good job at your disguise, if you want to call it that. You did, I'm not going to lie.
Except for your eyes. That's how I can tell.
Karen's eyes were full of expression. Lively. I don't know how to describe it, but they were real.
Your eyes, they're not. They're blank. Expressionless. Dead.
A car drives past us, bathing your face in the headlights. It's one of those new LED headlights. Your face looks pale in the bright, white light.
The light, washing out the colour of your face, seems to suck the life from you, making you look cold and grey. Lifeless.
It matches your eyes.
A second later, it's gone.
You're looking at me now. Studying my face. Watching me?
We haven't said a word in five minutes at leaast. You seem uncomfortable.
I guess you didn't think I'd notice.
You clear your throat.
I'm not sure what to do. I don't trust you. Just because you replaced Karen doesn't mean you can be Karen.
You're still staring. Your brows are furrowed. Your face looks concerned, yeah, but your eyes decieve you. They're staring straight into me. No concern. No feelings. Nothing.
You reach forward – still watching me – and place your hand on my shoulder. I let it stay for a second.
But you're not Karen. I jerk back, recoiling against your touch, and let your hand drop back to your side.
I turn down your street. The sun's set now. It's dark. The streetlights still reflect off your eyes though.
Pulling up to your driveway, I put the car in park.
I turn the radio off and we sit in the silent darkness, with only the engine's muted drone breaking the still air.
You shift in your seat, look out the window, and momentarily glance at me. I'm watching you out of the corner of my eye.
You say goodnight, and begin to lean towards me, until you change your mind and pull back.
Then you're gone, walking up to your house.
I watch you go in, whoever you are. Into Karen's house.
Thinking of Karen, I back out and drive home.