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  • Arthur Mitchell

Dueling Dualities

“Don’t do it!” Ugh, that blasted angel on my shoulder again. Temptation is gnawing at my mind more intensely than ever, and my little imp wants me to stop holding back, let my arm lash out, end it now. In each of us there are two natures, it is my curse that these polar twins within me should be constantly struggling. And no one cares. No one recognises you for sparing people of the suffering they would experience if you didn't suppress all those intrusive evil thoughts. No one cares that every day I hold a grand battle within me against my darker nature. I’m done with being good, done with being polite, exercising restraint, I’d always been a good kid, but it doesn’t pay to be a good kid.

I am face to face with my sworn enemy, but I have the upper hand, I am the stronger man tenfold, nothing but my conscience deprives me of the satisfaction of flinging him away across the room. Pathetically he tries pleading to that nasty little angel who has thus far pestered me into being good my whole life.

“Please. You don’t have to do this. We can work something out, whatever you want, just show mercy!”

He’s cowering, flailing, he knows that this time he can’t win.

But maybe I'll humour him, present some terms I know he can't accept.

“Alright. First, apologize for having ruined my life, you little monster.”

The rat doesn't even pretend not to know what I'm talking about.

“Listen, I haven't deliberately tried to ruin your life! It's not my fault that I've just always been more handsome than you! I didn't ask for these genes! It's not my fault everyone thought that I would save the world one day and you would amount to nothing! I didn't ever want you to be cast aside, I always tried to look past that nasty birth scar on your face! I tried to help you! I know you won't believe it, but I suggested that we put my face on your  project because I wanted it to see the light and knew that no one in this cruel society would take it otherwise! I tried to tell them it was your idea, I really did, but they just thought I was being charitable as always! I've always loved and respected you, I didn't want anything to come between us. Please, let's figure something out, I don't want to lose you, broth-”


I slam my hand down, pinning to the table the arm that he had been slowly sliding towards me.. The lying,  sniveling coward. Oh, I was going to enjoy sending him into misery, the sneaky little goody two shoes. Always the family favorite, his little heroisms and good deeds getting all the recognition that I should have received for not utterly destroying everyone each minute of the day. Strange how equivalent amounts of effort get tainted by unequal starting points. 

But I’m over trying to remedy society, now I just want to make them pay. The only little problem with that is this annoying little angelic conscience chirping on my shoulder. Truth be told, sometimes it's actually hard to focus on being good or evil when these two creatures are bickering across my shoulders. Honestly, who thought it was a good idea to have them on opposite shoulders?! It’s so annoying being in the middle of an argument while I’m trying to hold back from sending everyone into years of torment. They’re at it again now. 

“Please, listen to reason, he’s right, you won’t gain anything from this. Hurting him doesn’t fix society, you’ll only be seen as worse by everyone. Your villainy doesn’t make any sense; you’re angry about being despised, but you want to remedy that by hurting people? Please, keep holding on to goodness, you’ve made it this far, if you keep trying you will be recognized.”

“You really think that we want to do this for some sort of rational profit? When will you know him? Rationality died with the years of being ignored, of being below that pompous little ball of pretension. There is no rationality in the world anymore, mankind has become a collection of blindly worshiping sheep people. No, we are beyond rationality and social gain. What if he doesn’t want to be revered anymore? What if he wants to be feared?”

“No one will respect you anymore, if you choose this dark path now. Make your peace now, clasp his hand and make peace with him. You cannot act against the world forever, you may be stronger than me, but you will surely crumble before the power of society.”

“You are mistaken, my little cherub, he only crumbled because he was bound by the frivolous codes of modern chivalry. Well, chivalry has been dead for so long that its soul now burns in refineries along with the dinosaur bones. And here’s a counterpoint for you: respect comes from two sources, not one; yes, goodness gives some respect if you have the luck to be deified from birth, but respect also comes from dread, and respect from terror is tenfold that of the ethereal hero’s glory.”

“Tenfold maybe, but no less ethereal. Hear me, if you sway to terror your respect comes with insecurity, doubt, guilt. Those will slowly consume you, please, only those who remain good are saved from slowly becoming husks of their former se-”


That outburst shut up those pesky voices echoing in my head. I’ve had enough of these arguments. I’ve heard the same arguments from my brother, my parents, that snooty social worker they gave me, and now this beastly shoulder angel. Oh, how relieving it would be to just reach up and brush it off, like the vermin that it is. But I have more pressing matters to attend to. I turn back to the wimp cowering in front of me:

“So what do you suggest to stop me from ending this now?”

“A fair duel?”

“A fair duel? How? You know full well that I’m stronger than you! How do you intend to best me in fair combat?

“I have something you don’t”

“Oh? What?”

“The element of surprise!”

With a lurch he strikes out for a final blow. He should have known I was going to see that cliché coming. Flinging him away with the arm I had pinned down I bat away his other attacking arm. I snatch the last cookie off of the plate and stuff it into my mouth, at once savoring the hurt and betrayal etched across my brother’s face and the warm, sweet, delicate, sumptuous, chocolatey glory of our mother’s homemade cookies. A contented sigh releases all the tension of battle from my muscles. 

All that for a cookie. I can’t wait to see what will happen tomorrow when it's the last muffin on the plate.

Oh Crumbs!

Oh so tempting. Oh too tempting. The muffin was alluringly serene, surrounded by the crumbs of its dead counterparts. Its golden brown dough with spots of blueberry bleeding from the pores of its crus

Trust to Triumph

When the mind is in fear, And is hounded by evil. When your heart is pierced By the brutal hooves of the devil. When you are shattered, Engulfed in melancholy. When you are in great peril, When you fa


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