Reflections – a short story


This was a piece of writing I started a while ago and I’m unsure where I was going with this.   I thought it would be interesting to get some feedback.  Any comments are appreciated.


The rain was heavier than usual that night and the wind streaked through the trees leaving a trail of leaves and twigs scattering in its wake.  The mottled gray sky seemed to undulate with the motion of the wind.  Torrents of water cascaded along the sidewalk and involved the trash it picked up in its macabre dance.  This was November.  Michael grabbed for the collar of his coat and did his best to shield himself from the icy bursts of cold air.  The gusts of wind tore through his jacket and felt like white-hot needles piercing his skin.  He could vaguely make out the lights of his house in the distance.  Tucking his head down, he battled the elements as well as he could until he reached the all too familiar driveway.  Never before had his living room looked so inviting.  He climbed the feeble steps to his door and inserted the key.  Although he fumbled with it for a few seconds, he still did not hear the sound of the lock disengage from its housing.  Baffled, Michael withdrew the key and examined it to make sure he had the right one.    The wind had suddenly shifted and the rain was now blowing fiercely from behind.  The pockets of cold air swirled around him and seemed to push him from the door.  He fought against the force and once again attempted to get into his sanctuary, but to no avail.  He stepped back from the threshold and peered into the picture window.  The blinds were opened enough so as to afford him a slice of vision into his home.

The rain had not dissipated and, as Michael exerted himself to be able to look inside, the wind knocked him off-balance and toppled him into the yard.  The sucking noise seemed to reverberate in his ears as he pulled himself from the mud.  The wind had increased its intensity and played at Michael like a feline with small prey.  Fighting against the currents of wind and rain, Michael made his way back to the window.  Stepping up onto an empty flower box, he peered into the well-lit room.  The figure of a man was clearly outlined in shadow against the wall of his kitchen.  Michael shifted his position to get a better view and keep himself inconspicuous.  The figure stealthily maneuvered around the room and the shadow began to shrink.  The man was coming out of the kitchen.  Michael crouched until his legs ached in objection.  The kitchen light was extinguished and the man entered the living room.  He had a casual way about him and somehow seemed familiar.  As Michael was able to focus on his face he thought he was merely seeing his reflection in the window.  With trepidation he wiped the beads of rain from the glass.  The image of the man cleared enough for Michael’s vision to accumulate the details and process the information.  He was looking up at himself.  Michael’s balance wavered and he tightened his grip on the ledge.  He could not avert his eyes from the man in his home.  He shared the same mannerisms, the same habits and seemed quite content to be ensconced in Michael’s life.  A jagged streak of lightning sliced through the night sky and the thunder answered back with a rumbling scream.  The intensity of the noise shook Michael on his perch and he teetered on the lip of the flower box.  He struggled to regain his composure and in doing so, reached for the ledge.  Instead he connected soundly with the glass.  The intruder startled immediately and rose from his chair.  Michael corrected his angle and stood to watch the man cross the room to the window.  The two stood face to face on either side of the pane of glass.  The beads of rain continued to follow their winding paths to the ledge in which Michael still found himself attached.  The  look-alike pulled his gaze from the figure outside and turned his attention to the storm.  The teeming rain continued to dance in the light from the distant street lamp as the wind tossed it in all directions.  The man inside took a step back from the window and in one fluid motion, reached out to the blinds and pulled them shut.

Michael’s grip on the ledge faltered and he plunged into the puddle on the lawn.  The water seemed to envelope him as he lay floating in the puddle.  The man inside opened the blinds as if something was out there that he had missed.  Movement in front of the house as lightning crested the horizon averted his attention from the spectrum of light.  His gaze settled on the image of the man in the puddle.  Features similar to his own shimmered in the reflection as raindrops disturbed the peace of the small pool.  Light from a break in the storm hit the puddle and accentuated the eyes of the reflection.  Wonderment turned to fear, and as the rain gathered, the puddle began to flow into the stream that quickly traveled along the sidewalk.

The reflection in the puddle slowly disappeared into streaks of color that followed the current.  The puddle was now gone and so too, the image of the man.  The man inside the house once again glanced into the evening sky and drew the blinds.