The Replacement

By Joseph Logsdon

Something wasn't right. Returning from military service, Walter expected to see his loving wife, but instead, he found someone else. Walking into the house, Walter gasped as a strange woman cooked him dinner. Who was this woman? From the looks of things, she was pretending to be his wife. In all his life, Walter had never seen anything so strange. Watching her make dinner, Walter didn't know what to say. She was a beautiful woman, but that didn't make her his wife.

"Excuse me, can you tell me what's going on?"

"Sit down, dinner is ready," she stated, setting the table.

"Who are you?"

"I'm your wife, of course," she answered, taking a seat at the table.

"Is this some kind of joke?"

"What do you mean?"

"If you're my wife, then I'm Adolf Hitler," Walter laughed, taking a seat at the table.

"Honey, are you feeling okay? It must've been hard, being away for so long. I've been lonely, so I decided to redecorate the house. Well, what do you think? Do you like it?"

"I must be going crazy," Walter stated, rubbing his eyes.

"What's wrong?"

"You're not my wife, that's what's wrong. Who do you think you are, coming into my home like this? Where's Beverly? I swear, if you don't tell me, I'll call the police," Walter huffed.

"Calm down, you're acting crazy. Oh, you poor thing, it's worse than I thought," she stated.

"What do you mean?"

"A few months ago, you were diagnosed," she answered.

"With what, may I ask?"

"Schizophrenia," she answered.

"Have you lost your mind?"

"The question is, have you?"

Without warning, Walter's brother walked into the kitchen. If anyone could make sense of the situation, he could.

"Robert, you have to help me," Walter pleaded, rising from the table.

"What's wrong?"

"There's a strange woman in my house," Walter exclaimed.

"Well, where is she?"

"She's in front of you," Walter exclaimed.

"Oh, Walter, you're having another episode, aren't you? Well, no matter, it'll all be over soon," Robert stated.

"Robert, out of everyone I know, I thought you would believe me. What's going on? Why is everything so different? I don't want another lie, I want the truth," Walter demanded.

"You want the truth, I'll give it to you. You didn't retire from the military, you were fired. You went crazy, or so I hear. You killed three men, then you left your post. They're coming for you, Walter, and there's nothing we can do to stop them. My poor brother, what did they do to you, I wonder?"

"You're lying, I know you're lying," Walter gasped, leaning against the wall.

"Why would I lie, huh? We're family, after all," Robert stated.

"She isn't my wife, I tell you," Walter huffed.

"I'm your wife, you just can't see it. Hush now, you need to rest," she stated, walking towards Walter.

"I'm warning you, don't come any closer," Walter stuttered.

"Relax, we're not going to hurt you," she promised.

Using her lips as a weapon, she kissed Walter, pinning him against the wall. She drove the needle into his shoulder, knocking him out. When Walter awoke, he was in his bedroom. It was quiet, too quiet. The room was dark, allowing him the opportunity to rest. As the clock ticked, Walter started to hear something. At first, the noise was faint, then it started to get louder. Rising to his feet, Walter left the room.

The hallway was dark, so he walked carefully. Someone, or something, was scratching the wall. They were inside the wall, trying to get out. Walter ventured to the basement, where he made an amazing discovery. Opening the door, Walter found a brick wall. On the other side of the wall, Beverly was screaming.

"Beverly, is that you?"

"Thank God, get me out of here," Beverly screamed.

Before Walter could proceed, Robert entered the room. Angry and out of options, Robert lunged at Walter, missing him by a few inches. Unwilling to surrender, Robert pulled a knife out of his pocket, determined to murder his brother.

"Robert, why are you doing this?"

"Why? Because I've always wanted to be you, and after today, I will be," Robert laughed.

"You're not making any sense," Walter stated.

"Let me explain, it's an interesting story. We were always close, weren't we? Of course, everyone always liked you better. While you went to the military, what did I do? I stayed home, mooching off of society. I was fine with that, until I learned how much respect you were getting. How does it feel, to know that you're so much better than me? Well, If I can't be better than you, then I'll replace you," Robert laughed.

"How could you manage that?"

"Easy, all I have to do is kill you. Oh, and that insanity thing, that was just to mess with you. I didn't want to kill you right away; that wouldn't be any fun, would it?"

"Who's pretending to be my wife?"

"Oh, her, she's been working for me. Well, she was working for me, now she's something far more important," Robert stated.

"That's right, I am," the woman stated, entering the room.

"She's perfect," Robert stated, kissing her lips.

"My name's Judy, just so you know," she laughed.

"You can't possibly get away with this," Walter exclaimed.

"Oh, that's where you're wrong. With you gone, no one will ever suspect. I'm your twin, after all, and as they used to say, who could ever tell us apart? With a little plastic surgery, Judy will easily pass for Beverly. It's perfect, there's just one thing left to do," Robert laughed.

"And what's that?"

Removing the gun from her pocket, Judy fired two bullets into his chest. Walter was dead, to the dismay of Beverly, who was trapped behind the wall.

"Are we going to kill her, too?"

"All in due time, she could still be useful," Robert answered.

"Oh, Robert, this is so exciting," she exclaimed.

"I'm not Robert, I'm Walter," he announced.

The End