The story is very loosely based on purportedly real life events, when twin brothers were killed in unrelated incidents on the same day.
The alarm clock went off with a maddeningly sharp rattle. He reached out abruptly to shut it up. He jumped out of bed, quickly put on his underpants and socks and dashed into the bathroom.
Whilst washing his face he tried to recall today's day and date, but somehow he could not manage.
He felt as if he had lost a couple of days from his memory. He gave up thinking about it and went back to his bedroom to finish dressing. He glanced at the alarm clock. It was in the morning.
He rubbed his eyes in utter disbelief. He looked at his watch. The watch confirmed the time shown by the clock. Of course… Yesterday he took a day off from work and trying to catch up on some badly needed sleep he went to bed very early in the afternoon and set his alarm for . He forgot to reset it later and now it went off at in the morning instead of the usual . He swore angrily. He picked up the clock, reset it for and dressed as he was he threw himself back onto the bed and fell asleep. He slept heavily and dreamlessly.
He woke with a start realising that the room was brightly lit by daylight. He cautiously opened one eye and glanced at his clock. It was in the morning. Startled and bewildered he opened his other eye and jumped up. Swearing like a trooper he hurriedly completed his dressing and speedily tidied up the room. He opened the window and - as was customary in that part of the continent - he quickly placed his heavy, feather filled duvet and pillows on the window sill in order to aerate them. He then dashed out of the room not thinking that normally he would not have left the window open while he was out of his flat. He was late; he was in a hurry. In the hall he hurriedly put on his overcoat, and locking the entrance door behind him he ran down from his fifth floor flat to the street.He opened the main door of the block of flat with a sweeping gesture, stepped outside and…
The next moment something soft but heavy fell on his head. He felt a heavy crackling sensation in his upper vertebrae and collapsed. When - after a good few seconds - he recovered and opened his eyes he thought it was snowing. All around him the pavement was covered in white and large white flakes were floating in the morning breeze. Only after some lengthy explanation from a passer-by did he comprehend what happened. The person explained to him that a duvet and two pillows fell on his head from a fifth floor window. He did not suffer any serious injury, but he felt somewhat disoriented. After a few minutes of rest, sitting in the doorway, he hesitantly stood up looked up towards the fifth floor and immediately realised that it was his duvet and pillows that fell on him. He pulled his face into a funny little disgruntled grimace. He spat out a few fluffs of feather, angrily kicked the pitiful remnants of his bedding and still feeling slightly giddy, he hurried on his way to his office.
Reaching the Grand Boulevard he saw the tram standing at the stop. He quickly crossed the road to reach the traffic island in the middle where the tram stop was. Just as he put one foot on the island a passing van's front mud guard caught the flying flap of his overcoat and gave it a sharp tug.
The result was that a bit of his coat was now left flying like a flag on the mud guard, whilst the sudden pull made him lose his balance. He fell face down onto the island. The fall made him badly winded and shaken. Two people gave him a hand to help him on his feet. He thanked them and -terribly stunned - he leaned against a lamp post to regain his composure.
After a few minutes of rest he got onto the next tram and stayed on the open rear platform. With his forehead furrowed he was thinking hard:
- "What's today's date?" - as if knowing the date was the most important task to remember…
He just could not find the answer to his own question. He felt like a person would feel after a heavy drinking session, despite the fact that he did not touch any alcoholic beverage for days.
The tram reached the stop at the Central Railway Station. He looked out towards the Station. Masses of people were descending the few stone steps from the main entrance. Amongst the multitude he suddenly recognised his twin brother running down the steps hurrying towards the tram stop, carrying a heavy briefcase in his left hand. He wanted to shout towards him to attract his attention… but his yell got stuck in his throat… Horror struck, he saw his brother step from the curb right in front of a speeding bus… He heard the screech of the brakes as the bus was desperately trying to stop, screams of shock from the crowd, he saw blood spurting from below the front wheels and a flattened, blood covered hat rolling out from under the bus… he then collapsed in a cold faint…
When he recovered he found himself lying on a hospital trolley in the casualty department. He could not remember what happened. His mind was blank. The first thoughts that came to his mind was trying to find out what the date was… he kept on wondering, but hard as he tried he just could not recall the date. He asked the nurse if he could go home. They suggested that he should stay for the night under observation. He refused and asked to be discharged. They offered to take him home in a police car. He politely declined. He staggered home on foot in a daze wandering what happened to him. On the way home he was racking his brain trying to recall the date.
As he entered his flat he found a letter on the floor. He picked it up and looked at the handwriting. He immediately recognised Her writing. Excitedly he opened the letter and read it. His face turned pale and the letter slipped from his trembling hand and fell to the floor.
- "She left me." - he muttered to himself with lips trembling and with a hesitating move he wiped his forehead with the back of his hand - "She left me."
He tottered down the stairs, stepped outside without an overcoat or hat. There was a heavy drizzle outside. He took no notice. He took to the streets aimlessly. There was only one thought on his mind. He was trying to establish what the date was… without success… By now it was dark. The wind was blowing hard and the drizzle turned into a heavy downpour. He was soaked to the skin.
Somehow he found himself in front of the Central Railway Station. There he stopped at the curb side watching the cars speeding by. His eyes were fixed on the wheels of the vehicles.
- "They are turning." - he established dozily.
He felt that the turning wheels were pulling him. He looked up and saw two bright headlights approaching towards him. The light reflected back from the water-soaked road surface, dazzling him.
The fast turning wheels generated a heavy spray of water and thin mud. The bus was only a few feet away from him now. He lifted his hand in a gesture of shading his eyes; he leaned forward and stepped off the curb… He heard shouts from behind; he felt a sharp pain… then eternal silence descended…
The ambulance men covered his body and lifted him into the car on a stretcher. The body was taken to the Morgue. There he was taken into a large hall with several dissecting tables standing in a row. There was already one male body lying on one of the tables. His body was placed on the table next to that body. As they laid him down his head turned as if he was intending to glance at the other corpse.
But he could see nothing… It was dark… very-very dark… Eternally dark…
Later the rain stopped outside and a full moon sheepishly peeped through the broken clouds. Through the wide windows it lit up the big hall with a pale and dim silvery light. As the light crept up on the wall opposite the window a dimly illuminated calendar showed the date. Friday the thirteenth.
The wind rattled the windows. In the dimly lit hall the twin brothers, lying on adjacent tables, appeared to have looked at each other with empty, uncomprehending expressions in their glazed eyes.
The story is very loosely based on purportedly real life events - related to me in 1950-51 -in Budapest, where twin brothers were killed in unrelated incidents on the same day… on Friday the thirteenth… Whilst the bare facts of the story may indeed be based on truth (I never attempted to verify the story related to me) the chain of events described above are pure fiction.