My grandma always used to tell me the same old story.
When we were young, my sisters and I used to all huddle around the fireplace as our grandma used to tell us this story.
It went something like this: There was once a boy, who lived alone with his mother.
He was really glued to her, and you would never see one without the other.
They always went out together, went shopping together, went to the park together.
The boy was still far too young for school, so it wasn't really an issue.
However, one day, on the way back from the groceries, as the boy was swinging his mother's arm back and forth, he noticed another boy around his age.
The other boy was holding his own mother's hand as well, and caught his attention just the same.
In fact, the closer the boy looked, the closer the other one resembled himself.
He had the same hair, the same eyes, the same nose and mouth… everything about them was identical.
However, their short meeting that day ended rather quickly…
"AS A METEOR CAME OUT OF THE SKY AND KILLED HIM INSTANTLY"… my grandmother would yell loudly, laughing at the horror struck faces we had.
"Now now girls, it was just a story. As if a meteor would come out of no where and hit you… hahaha"… she would conclude.
After a few years, and many retellings of the story, I heard a variety of endings for the poor boy.
Sometimes it was one boy, sometimes it was the other, but every time, one of the boys would die after meeting his twin, his doppelgänger.
One day, when I was just about to finish High School, my whole family was standing around grandmas deathbed.
By now, she could hardly speak, but she told us the story one more time.
However, instead of a boy living with his mother, it was a boy, a girl, and their mother.
The mother however, would always be referred to as "my mother" in this last retelling of the story.
After the boy inevitably died, grandma posed the question to all of us though: "But why did I not die? Why was it only him?"
As a tear fell from her eyes, it would seem like the thought alone was too much for her, and she passed away.
No one around the campfire knew what to do.
There was an eerie truth about the story the young woman just told all of them, but no one could put their finger on it.
After all, it was the first time everyone there met each other.
It was the annual camping trip for their college's club, and their seniors just told them to have fun telling scary stories around the campfire while they went off to drink somewhere.
It was a moment before a shy girl hesitantly asked "B…but what about your grandma? She didn't die, right?"
"Why did her brother die and not her?"
… said a boy.
"Finding the final version of the story a little too disturbing, I later did some research in newspapers from the time my grandma was younger."
… the young woman continued. "It would seem that an accident occurred one day that involved my grandmas' family and another as well."
"It was during the war, and two families were hurriedly making their way out of the city as the enemy was approaching."
"A short battle occurred in that city that day, and curiously enough, it was the only devastation that city ever saw."
"There were but two casualties before a ceasefire was reached."
"The injured were a young boy and a young girl, one from…"
"…each family, right?" interrupted a young man at the other end of the circle.
Everyone looked around to see who spoke.
He continued: "I've heard a similar story from a friend a long time ago. Except in his story, it was the girl who met her unfortunate end after meeting her doppelgänger."
The other students around the campfire quickly mumbled to each other based on what he was saying.
"Anyways, good night!" the boy said, as he went to bed.
The young woman, however found the situation to be extremely fishy.
After all, that story was one she had made up and told only to her closest friends.
How would he know about it as well? He must be bluffing she thought.
And for the rest of the night she remained silent.
The next morning, she approached the young man, and asking him about his side of the story.
"Oh that old thing? It was a story I made up when I was younger. I didn't think it actually happened!" he said with enthusiasm.
"You're a first year too, right? Let's talk." the boy said.
The two thus strolled around the woods, enjoying the scenery, talking to each other. Though it was mostly the young man doing the talking.
He explained how he loved the ways the light passed through the leaves and left their shadows on the ground, and the young woman agreed.
They exchanged how they both liked scary movies, but only the kind that played with psychological elements rather than silly props.
The boy went on to describe his love for languages, something the girl felt she was quite adept at as well.
For a moment, the girl started to find something in this young man that charmed her, that reminded her of herself.
However, the situation steadily grew more and more bizarre.
As the young man kept on talking, she kept quiet and just listened to the things he was saying.
As it would turn out, he was taking the exact same classes as she was: Math, Psychology, and European History.
He explained how he joined the club because he was disappointed there was no archery, so his second choice was something nature related — the same reason as her.
And as the boy continued talking, the girl noticed that not a single thing about his personality was different from her's…
And although she had made the doppelgänger story up, it was mostly based on stories she herself had read.
A chill ran down her back as she thought for a moment that she had met her own doppelgänger, but that wasn't right.
After all, other than being a boy and a girl, there were many other differences in their outwardly appearance.
The young man noticed her cold sweat, and asked if anything was wrong.
Of course he wouldn't realize was she was thinking, as she gave him very few responses, so she didn't know what to say.
But after a deep breath, she calmed down and said it was nothing.
Laughing it off, she told the boy: "You know what, I just had this weirdest realization…"
The boy tilted his head in interest.
"… every story you told me so far, every choice you made, every preference you have… they are all identi…"
But the young woman could not finish her sentence.
Just as she was speaking, her food had caught the root of a tree, and she tripped, falling down the hip under the slippery slope of leaves that had accumulated there.
And in that moment, she realized the answer to her story, about why the grandma didn't die.
Although the boy died because he saw his own doppelgänger, it was the other girl that died from seeing the grandma.
She now realized that it wasn't chance that decided which of the two doppelgängers would die, but it instead depended on which one noticed the other first.
It was however, all too late a realization, as moments later she would need to be rushed to a hospital.
A week later, a young woman woke up for what seemed to be the very first time in her life.
She knew where she was, she knew what the act of waking up was, but she knew nothing about herself.
And frankly, she felt utterly indifferent about that, as if her personality was stolen away by a doppelgänger.
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