“Look at me!” Elizabeth screamed, her face flowering open to reveal the mechanised nightmare beneath her metallic skin that sparked, screeched and glowed, her eyes searing a hole into the side of her victim’s face.
Jessica writhed in the chair she was tied to, weeping with her eyes clenched shut, her body craned as far it could go away from her kidnapper that was encroaching even further onto her, bringing it’s horrible face evermore closer.
“Please, just go away!” Jessica pleaded, her platitude echoing off the walls around her, the many lapses of her own voice crescendoing into into a demented symphony that screamed, screamed until her ears felt they were going to bleed.
“Look at me!” she screamed again, her mechanical plates suddenly snapping shut from within an inch of Jessica’s face, causing her eyes to suddenly shoot open for a moment, but only a moment, as what they saw was arguably more terrifying than that skeletal nightmare.
She was wearing Charlie’s face again. She knew it, she saw it, and she never wanted to see it on this impostor again as she tried to squirm away.
“Jessica...” Elizabeth whispered into her ear, her warm breath against her neck, “If you do not look me in the eyes, then I’ll open them myself!” she took one of the sharp instruments that laid on the metal try beside her, and stabbed Jessica in the left eye, making a wet popping noise as an agonizing shriek sounded from her mouth like a bell from hell.
It burned like acid and fire, Jessica’s other eye snapped open to see a twisted version of Charlie’s face staring back as her, smiling from ear to ear as she brought the scalpel down a second time into Jessica’s remaining eye, but just when she expecting to hear another sickening pop, she woke up.
Jessica sat bolt upright, her eyes wide towards the ceiling, and the last few moments of the nightmare playing in her head. A feeling of nausea passed over her stomach as she re-imagined that horrible sound of her eyeball bursting in it’s socket.
She was hyperventilating.
“Jessica... Jessica... Jessica!” someone was calling her name, but it was muffled by the sound her own heart beating loud in her ears, but she was able to make out the sight of a face of someone crouched at her bedside.
“Jessica!” the voice came again, the voice now louder, causing Jessica’s vision to clear again... only for her to be pulled right back into that nightmare for a second time. The face that had just been tormenting her a few moments before had followed her back into reality, and was now just centimeters from her own.
Jessica screamed, and swung at the impostor beside her, mustering up all that she had from that cocktail of nerves, adrenaline and instincts she had bubbling inside her to hit as hard as she possibly could.
And as she did, the sound of a sickening crunch suddenly jolted her out of her foggy state of mind, allowing her to see what she’d just done... she wished she hadn’t...
“Jessica!” Charlie’s voice cried out as she fell back into the carpet, clutching her bleeding nose before she turned back to stare at Jessica in disbelief.
“Charlie...?” she gasped, her eyes wide and unblinking as she leaned recoiled against the wall.
“Who else?” she blurted out, spluttering and snorting her own blood in attempt to stop the heavy bleeding.
Jessica sat there in a state of shock before her eyes trailed down at the hand that she just struck Charlie with, balling it into a fist for a moment, before then gently reaching out with both hands towards her.
Jessica cupped Charlie’s face in her palms, Charlie letting her do so more out of the still present shock and confusion than anything else. “Why...?” Charlie trailed off as she eyed Jessica dubiously, feeling her press down on her left cheek with her thumb.
Just to make sure that it wouldn’t open...
“Oh my God...” Jessica whined before slowly taking her hands away from Charlie’s face, and instead gently reaching them around her neck as soon as it was completely clear to her that this wasn’t her impostor.
“I’m so sorry,” she breathed, weeping with her face pressed against Charlie’s collarbone. “I thought-” she stopped to take a breath as her weeping turned to sobbing, “Oh my God... I thought you were her!”
Charlie stiffened up once she heard that, and a wave of guilt washed over her as she shakily slipped her arms around her waist, still sniffing as blood still continued to drip down her nose. “It’s okay Jessica...” she said, the shock now having mostly worn off, “It was an accident.”
“No, it’s not okay!” Jessica cried, pushing herself away from Charlie and recoiling back onto her bed, “I just hit you...” her voice was trembling as she stared down at her hands, as if still processing what she’d done, “What the hell is wrong with me!?”
Charlie reached out and placed a hand on Jessica’s shoulder, and Jessica looked away, unable to look her in the eyes, “It just felt so real...” she winced, shaking her head and blinking hard to try and purge those horrible sounds and images from her memory.
“I know...” Charlie replied, rubbing circles into Jessica’s back, still sniffling, “Really, I do...”
Jessica raked her fingers through her hair and breathed heavily, balling up one of her fists and knocking her knuckles against her forehead as her eyes welled up and spilled over again. “Charlie...” Jessica said, voice still shaky.
“Hm?” Charlie replied, still rubbing circles into her back.
“Can you... “ she started, “just sit with me for a while? I just- I don’t want to go back to sleep...”
Charlie smiled and scooted herself onto Jessica’s bed, and pulled her into a side-hug, “Sure, if you want.”
Jessica sighed and composed herself, “Thanks, that mean’s a lot...” she tried to face Charlie and smile, but any joy that she wanted to feel was torn away at the sight of Charlie’s bloodied face.
“Hey, come here.” Jessica said, picking up a box of tissues that was stationed at the side of her bedside lamp and pulled a few out from their cardboard container.
“Jessica you don’t- you can just give them to me, you don’t need to...” Charlie trailed off as Jessica began wiping down her face, deciding in that moment to just let her do it, and maybe it would help calm her down.
Charlie smiled, “You’re a great friend, Jess.”