's 2013 Horror Write-off:

" Imitation "

Submitted by Partlysmith

I wish I had never found the body. Or rather, the part of it I found. It's mostly half of a torso, violently ripped across diagonally. I should have felt repulsed at the moment, but I my sense of disgust was vastly overpowered by my confusion. There was something very wrong with that wound. I could see thick, pointed, smooth bones jutting out from it. I knew exactly what they were, but couldn’t bring myself to believe it: teeth.

I leaned in to get a closer look at the body. Everything else looked perfectly human at first glance, but the overall wrongness was more noticeable up close, as subtle as it may be. The pores and miniscule wrinkles in its skin looked “drawn on,” and the surface of its eyes reminded me of a glossy plastic.

I eventually decided to contact the authorities. I wasn’t sure what they would make of this. It didn’t matter. Only two police officers arrived. No one else. I’m not familiar with law enforcement, but I knew that wasn’t right. I tried to explain everything best I could, but they didn’t seem too concerned. Their responses were quick and mechanical, almost as if they were reacting to pure instinct. And then I saw it: their plastic eyes. I calmly left the two to whatever they had in store for that body.

After that night, I became increasingly paranoid. I tried to look into the eyes of everyone around me. Friends, coworkers, strangers on the street. I had found a few more people with plastic eyes, but only a small handful; no one I knew personally, thank God.

I observed them from a distance whenever I got the chance. I was right to compare their behavior to instinct. They did nothing suspicious, and could easily go by without a second thought. But everything they did felt wrong. There was no evidence of working brain behind those actions. They were responding exclusively to very specific stimuli.

I became more aware of the “imitators.” I started recognizing them without seeing their eyes. I often felt the urge to follow one, and, at times, even contemplated killing one, but could never bring myself to it. It seemed like the safest option for now was to simply keep my guard up. I had little evidence to believe that they were violent, but I was afraid of what might happen if I became too comfortable with them.

But I’m not sure how long that would work. Their numbers seem to be steadily increasing, and I spotted a new one just the other day. It looked exactly like me.