Happy Hanukkah! Never sure how to spell it. See G at Central Snark for that. Until I move this blog is going to be all Colliding Worlds I will be posting on Wednesdays and Fridays or Sundays Fortunately for anybody who still has me on a feed I don’t edit it online. Just one draft, add the words and….
Moving because I want to, not because I have to, feels as if it’s the most incredibly egotistical debauched thing I have ever done. It’s not.
Here’s a page with all chapters so far. I write the chapters in advance and add the words. I’m having my apartment renovated to sell as I don’t want to inflict all of my quirky taste on prospective buyers. I don’t do well in chaos, and my life’s very chaotic. I posted the next chapter, by mistake–not doing very well.
I probably have mentioned that my parents took me to see The Three Face of Eve when I was seven. To this day houses with crawl spaces scare me. My parents had no idea why they took me. I accused them of child abuse as soon as I was old enough to understand that other seven years olds didn’t see movies like this, and am convinced it scarred me for life. I am fascinated by the brain.
West Virginia 2030
Nell tried to swim, float or tread water as she fell deeper and deeper into the pool. Her anti gravity shoes, so good for bringing blood to the brain, stymied her. Her last conscious thought was that nobody nearby noticed her or tried to save her.
Justin knew he had the upper hand with Nadia. She had spent her childhood and youth protecting Ilya, her genius yet socially retarded older brother from both bullies and people who tried to truly harm them. Once they had had come to America, Nadia had gone to nursing school while Ilya drew formulas in crayon all over their apartment walls. Nadia thought it a stroke of genius when she was able to assume the identity of Elisa Rosenthal, a doctoral student in chemistry. Slowly over the course of the first semester she introduced Ilya to the faculty. She got him a new identity, taken from a dead Russian emigre, Yuri, and told him it was a game they were playing, like when they “pretended” to kill people who got in their way. Ilya loved games. The faculty was amazed by his genius and didn’t mind that he didn’t often talk and when he did the words didn’t always make sense. The formulas always did.
Nadia went to school during the day as Elisa and went to work at night as Nadia. Hospitals paid graveyard shift charge nurses as much or more than many doctors. Nadia had an Internet business that flourished. Americans didn’t seem to take advantage of all the opportunities American capitalism provided. She didn’t need to study much. She could be absent from almost all classes, and no professor cared as her grades were so high.
Chemistry came easily to her. As did languages. She had found a book in ancient Greek when she was a child and taught herself the language. Ilya who hated all languages liked the look of the book. For some reason he was able to pick up the language from the many books Nadia had stolen. It was their secret language. Ilya loved secrets; he would only speak to Nadia in it. Ilya refused to use a computer. Nadia would have to find old-fashioned notebooks. He liked one notebook so much that Nadia had to buy all remaining books.
The chemistry faculty chairman’s daughter, Carol, was a moderate functioning Asperger’s sufferer who loved Ilya. They moved into an apartment in the chairman’s house. Nobody considered it strange that Yuri never talked about his past or anything really. He had a beautiful mind for chemistry. Carol and Yuri depended on her parents and Nadia to buy what they needed. Carol cleaned the rooms several times a day, but never Yuri’s study. He would write formulas on the walls. Nadia taught Carol how to clean it so that all of Yuri’s books and notebooks remained in the order Yuri placed them.
Justin hadn’t known any of this until recently. Nell had said that something was off about Nadia, that the background check was missing a lot, but her security clearance was so low, and she was so unimportant investigating had been a very low priority. How could they have missed a brother, and an entirely different life? The ISB was never sloppy. Justin wished that he had listened to Nell. Nell, where was she?
Nadia was turned half way toward the pool with a big smile on her face. Nell was lying face down in the pool. Justin jumped in. Nell felt like dead weight as he grabbed her and brought her to the surface. Nell wasn’t breathing. Justin administered CPR. She slowly came back to life, and coughed up much water.
She had a strange look on her face. It wasn’t any of Nell or Ella’s expressions.
I’m not Nell. I’m Cornelia and I don’t know who you are.
She spoke more clearly than Ella ever had.
I’m Justin. You’re Nell. We’re married.
She laughed as she stood up:
I don’t know any Justins. Where’s Del? I live with him and we’re going to be married. But first I need to put on some dry clothes. Is this the hotel Del said he would take to me for a pre-honeymoon. Can you show me to our room? You’re awfully cute for a poolman. If Del’s not in the room, maybe we can f–k. First get these horrible shoes off me. Why are my clothes wet? Damn I want to get out of them.
Cornelia looked around: Oh there she is. I can never remember her name, but Del brings her with us to service us in every way. You know what I mean? If you’re not going to take off my shoes, I’ll get her to do it. I don’t do shoes. Cornelia winked at Justin.
Justin didn’t know what to say. For the first time in his life he knew what true shock felt like.
I can bring you to your room. She, she’s just a servant.
My servant you mean. Cornelia smiled a smile he had never seen before. Her eyes were too bright. She neither looked like Nell or Ella.
Whatever. Let me take you to your room.
Cornelia walked with a provocative wiggle. When they got to the room she quickly stripped out of her clothes.
Let’s not waste anytime. I don’t know when Del will be back. Funny I don’t remember this room, but what the hell. Where’s the bar? I would like some tequila straight up.
We, we don’t have any liquor here.
How horrible. Then I’ll take some weed or blow.
I’m sorry. We….
She slapped him hard. Justin almost fell.
Del will make sure that you pay, but first…Cornelia began to put her body close to his. He moved back repelled.
Are you scared of me? You shouldn’t be, I’m awfully good. I can persuade anybody to do anything.
Justin quickly walked to the door:
I, I have to get something. I’ll be right back.
Before she could say anything, he locked her in the room. As he called Max for help, he heard her scream words Nell would never use and Ella wouldn’t know.