Solipsist in A Bush

This piece of flash fiction by Chris Warren was originally featured in the Fall 2016 issue of the Spittoon Literary Magazine.

A man sits in a bush watching himself through the window of his house sitting at a desk writing a story about a man, like himself, watching a man sitting in a bush outside his house watching himself write a story.

            In the story a man, whilst sitting at his desk writing a story about himself writing a story about himself, is suddenly startled to find a handsome, yet familiar, face studying him from a bush in the garden, and is doubly shocked upon the realisation that the face is not simply familiar but is in fact his own. Incredulous, he pauses his writing to go into the garden and investigate and upon opening the door finds himself face-to-face with his own mirror image. Beside himself with fear, with his reason shattered, he quickly loses all control and attacks himself, leading to a short but violent struggle in which he is killed by himself, (having presumably underestimated himself), before disposing of his limp and lifeless body in an allotment behind his house.

            Finding his thoughts almost immediately bogged down in a philosophical quagmire of unanswerable questions, he decides it best to pretend that nothing has happened. Lingering for a moment to ponder the unusual warmth of the evening, he turns and walks slowly back to his desk, takes his seat, and after some fidgeting resumes his writing; continuing with some difficulty the story of the man who, like himself, watches himself from a bush in the garden writing a story about a man who, like himself, is writing a story about a man caught watching himself through the window of his house from a bush in the garden who on seeing himself, attacks and is killed by himself, buries himself and, doing his utmost to resettle himself, attempts to continue writing a story about himself.

            “I don’t feel myself at all”, the man says, composing himself.