Samantha realises that the Orphans’ survival is going to take more than police detective work. But tracking the killer threatens Sam’s long awaited reunion with her daughter, Katrina; and as Sam gets closer to the killer, the killer gets closer to the truth. So far, not so good, as the unmasked villain threatens to expose Samantha’s true identity and her ruse as a cop…
My Pink Mobile suddenly rang. I had to step outside the cop shop because it was Melissa and she sounded horrified. ‘So, the woman Claire shot and Helena are connected. Holy watershed. Claire probably shot Bonnie Chen on purpose and that she never told any of us anything about it.’
I filled Melissa in on that shocking detail. ‘Claire never told Ant either. On top of that, Helena was at the precinct as Claire. She’s going to get us both busted unless I meet her. Alone.’
‘Is there any particular reason why?’ Melissa wondered.
‘Helena thinks we both share a connection,’ I added.
‘And do you?’
‘Yeah, we’re clones!’
Now Melissa was intrigued. ‘Tell me what the cops know about Helena.’
I downloaded Melissa on Helena’s psych profile. ‘I discovered the connection between Helena and Bonnie Chen while researching about them both.’
Melissa pulled out her fish-symbolism research book. ‘Okay, so the fish reads Christian and crafted onto a weapon. Technically a personal crusade. Which means that the brand on Bonnie Chen means Helena is not a lone warrior.’ She poured it all out articulately.
‘So she’s not the only one involved in the killings,’ I guessed correctly. ‘Someone has brainwashed her into obliterating the other clones one by one.’
‘Right. To extreme Creationist types, we would be abominations, like not God’s children, but Satan’s.’
‘So they hate us and she’s killing us even though she’s identical to us.’
‘Look at it this way, Samantha. If you were a messed up, abused loner whose faith compelled you to belong and somebody you trusted told you this was a way to redeem yourself in the eyes of God, then no doubt you might become an angry angel too.’
Once I re-entered the cop shop, I got straight back down to business and took out Bonnie Chen’s file again. But suddenly my office phone rang, the sound of it like a shrill running through my eardrums. Speak of the Devil. It was Helena once again. ‘Things must be getting very uncomfortable for you right now,’ she murmured. ‘What with you picking up where Claire left off.’ She was holed in a generic apartment and her wound was still seeping blood.
‘Melissa and I were just chatting about you,’ I taunted Helena callously. ‘And your equally sick twisted friend Bonnie.’
Helena didn’t seem taken aback. ‘You really are a shitty detective. Bonnie figured us out.’
‘Well it was Claire who shot her, not me. If it’s revenge you’re after.’
‘This has got nothing to do with revenge. It’s about you and just you only.’
I sighed heavily. ‘Do you want to tell me about our supposed connection?’ I asked out of curiosity rather than real interest.
‘You have my invitation,’ she hinted to me, almost whispering. She had already sent me an email message.
I opened up the email and quickly wrote down the address. But I was almost completely unaware of the included video included. Helena had filmed herself disguised as Claire, and she was confessing to Bonnie Chen’s murder!
‘My name is Claire Richards,’ she said in Claire’s accent, her voice filled with agitation and her face looking distraught. ‘And I killed Bonnie Chen in self-defence. But it wasn’t an accident. I shot her on purpose.’
In a panic, I scrambled to shut down the video before anybody else in the cop shop could hear it. Luckily, nobody else saw or heard Helena/Claire announcing her murder confession, but I felt shaken up and mentally scarred for life.
Over an hour later, Felix and Alison pulled up in front of Siobhan’s house in a taxi, Alison posing as me so that ‘I’ could finally see my daughter Katrina. ‘I’m gasping for a fag,’ she mimicked in my London accent.
‘No, you’re not,’ Felix chided her. ‘Samantha doesn’t smoke, and neither do you.’
After handing over the cab driver’s tip, they made their way out of the car and across the street to where Siobhan and Katrina lived.
‘Don’t over-slouch. No over-slouching,’ Felix lectured Alison/Sam as she strutted ahead of him in an over-emphasized version of my arrogant stride. ‘Oh shut up,’ Alison ordered with a swat back at him. ‘That’s actually quite good,’ Felix muttered. ‘Now you’ve got the hang of it.’
Siobhan opened the door to the mismatched duo. She took one hard look at Alison and raised an eyebrow. ‘How come you ain’t driving your new Jag this time?’ she sneered.
‘It’s in the car shop, waiting to be fixed,’ Alison shot back in my thick London tongue. ‘Are you gonna let me see my daughter or what?’
Siobhan rolled her eyes, but said nothing more. She stepped out of the doorway so that Alison could strut right in. Felix followed after her, making sure not to give anything away.
‘Katrina,’ Siobhan called after my daughter in a coaxing tone. ‘Come downstairs, love. There’s someone here to meet you.’
Felix and Alison waited impatiently for Katrina, who was holding the picture she painted of me as she approached them. But then her smile faded when she laid her eyes on Alison. ‘Don’t be frightened, sweetheart,’ Alison cajoled. ‘It’s only me, your mum. Come and join me so that we can have a mother-daughter reunion.’
Felix and Siobhan moved off to the kitchen and left Alison and Katrina to bond.
Alison pulled Katrina closer to her. ‘I never intended to be gone for such a long time, and I regret being away when you needed me the most,’ she apologized. ‘But I’ve made a promise for both of us. We’ll be able to be together all the time soon.’
Katrina just frowned, not buying into any of Alison’s assurance. ‘I don’t know who you are,’ she replied stiffly. ‘But you’re not my mother.’
Alison was shocked, but managed not to give herself away regardless. She tried to brazen it out with Katrina. ‘Of course I’m your mother. Don’t be daft.’
But for a young child, Katrina wasn’t fooled easily. ‘You only look like my mum, but you’re not really her.’
That was when Alison knew she had been caught through her Samantha disguise. It was no use trying to insist any more.
Katrina folded her arms and creased her mouth, glaring at Alison. ‘Where’s my mum?’ she demanded.
Alison finally gave up the charade. She took a deep breath. ‘Okay, you’re right,’ she said with a small sigh. ‘My name is Alison, and I’m filling in for your mum.’
Katrina almost had tears in her eyes. ‘But why couldn’t my mum be here today?’ she asked sadly.
‘The reason why she couldn’t be here right now,’ Alison explained calmly in her natural accent. ‘Is because your mother is out there right now doing something very brave. She’s going to make sure everything’s safe so that you two can be together.’
Making sure everything was safe was exactly what I happened to be doing at this very moment. With my gun loaded and raised, I entered Helena’s occult apartment, and found Helena dressed in a slip and kneeling with her hands raised in a position of worship. She had no shoes on, and I could see the blisters on her feet were slightly visible. ‘I’m unarmed,’ she said without turning around.
‘I don’t give a shit,’ I barked, kicking the door shut with force.
‘Turn the fuck around,’ I demanded angrily. ‘Kneel. I’m guessing you know how.’
Helena did as she was told; however, she began to protest as she obeyed my orders. ‘It’s not necessary,’ she whispered. ‘You’re different from the others.’
‘Yeah,’ I said coldly. ‘I am.’
I punched Helena right where her wound was. She dropped to the floor gasping in pain.
‘Well go on, then,’ I demanded sharply. ‘Start talking about whatever it is you called me to talk about.’
‘I think I’m dying,’ she gasped, clutching her wounded groin.
‘I think I’ll watch,’ I retorted. ‘After all, I’ve gotten used to watching people die right in front of me.’
I grabbed a nearby chair, slammed it to the ground and planted myself in it in front of Helena. ‘So why did you do it? Why did you kill Portia Obinger and all those other European Clones?’
‘Because God sent me. He sent me to obliterate what was not His creation.’
‘You mean this God?’ I asked, pulling out the fish knife. ‘The one branded on your friend Bonnie Chen?!’
Helena looked at me with pleading eyes. ‘She helped make you. She saw the light and came to our side.’
My heart dropped. That was when I suddenly realised the truth behind everything. ‘So Claire killed Bonnie in order to protect us. And the rest of the Clone Club.’
Helena laid her hands on both sides of my face. ‘I can save you, Samantha,’ she insisted reassuringly.
In pure disgust, I knocked her hands away from my cheeks. ‘Right, because we have a fucking connection.’ I pointed the gun at her forehead.
‘Yes! We do!’ Helena cried emotionally. ‘But the others. Poor copies of God’s image of human beings.’
‘They told you that you were the original, didn’t they? And that you’re special?’
Helena nodded confidently, one of her crazy smiles splashed across her face. ‘That is right.’
We were interrupted by the unexpected wailing of the front door buzzer. Anthony Bell had arrived! I quickly ushered Helena toward the open window to give her time to escape before Ant reached the top floor. ‘Listen, Helena. You’re not what your people told you. We’re genetic identicals,’ I convinced her, despite the dubious look on her face. ‘You, Claire, Portia and I are all the same. Whoever told you different despises you as much as they hate us.’
Helena started to convulse from injury and then flew into a violent rage. ‘No!’ she yelled through gritted teeth. ‘It is you who is wrong!’
She got to her feet and I backed up against the wall as we stared at one another across the width of my aimed gun. ‘Stay back,’ I ordered her as she continued to move towards the direction of my gun. ‘Just stay away from me!’
But the mentally damaged clone simply leant forward until the gun barrel pressed right against her forehead. ‘Can’t you feel it?’ she whispered, referring to our so-called connection.
I felt hot tears pouring down my face. ‘What happened to you, Helena?’ I asked, openly crying. ‘What in fuck’s name did those bastards turn you into?’
I heard Ant banging on the door, calling Claire’s name. ‘Claire! Are you in there? Answer me!’
I was terrified. I couldn’t let him or anybody else know Helena was with me.
‘Run,’ I urged Helena. ‘Get out of here. Now!’
As she lifted up the window further and struggled over the sill, Helena turned back to me. Her eyes were also filled with tears. ‘You do feel it after all,’ she declared. She fumbled her way out of the window, hurriedly climbed down the fire escape and fled away, limping slightly due to her wound.
Talk about a lucky escape! Just as Helena got away, Ant burst into the apartment by breaking the door down.
‘There’s no one here!’ I shouted fretfully.
‘You’re here,’ Ant pointed out. ‘What were you doing at the apartment of the woman you killed? Why, Claire? What were you thinking?’
How I was going to explain to him about Helena, I really didn’t know. But then I realised far too late that she had once again set me up – by luring me all the way here.
‘Why exactly did you enter Bonnie Chen’s apartment?’ Lieutenant Marshall was just as baffled as Ant was when they both grilled me about what I was doing at Bonnie’s lodge.
‘I was feeling tired, so I took a walk to clear my head and just found myself there by accident.’ I already knew this was all a lie and I could tell Ant wasn’t buying any of it.
‘Is there any connection at all between Bonnie Chen and the Jane Doe homicide?’ the lieutenant demanded interrogatively.
‘None,’ I falsely convinced him, looking at him in the eye. I felt I had no choice but to lie straight to his face.
‘Then why did you decide to call this meeting?’ Ant was perplexed and unable to get his head around this conspiracy.
I sighed. ‘I came back on the job after the Bonnie Chen thing to prove that I could take on the case. But now I see that I’m not doing anybody any good.’ I slammed my gun down on the desk definitively. ‘Sorry but I quit.’
Ant was insulted. ‘You’re quitting after all we’ve done for you?’
Feeling guilty, I faced Ant. ‘And I appreciate that. But…’
‘But you bail. Why? What is it with you?’
Marshall looked weary, but tried to be understanding. ‘I hate to agree with Anthony, but walking out is not the answer.’
Both men looked at me with pleading expressions. This didn’t help matters – it only aggravated me even further.
‘Okay, so how does this go?’ I asked rhetorically, slamming my badge down as I stood up. ‘I’ll make it easy for the rest of you.’
Then I left the office and the precinct. Now my one and only priority was going back to being my original self and reuniting with Katrina.
Back at Siobhan’s, Katrina and Alison were bonding over colouring. ‘How can I have an aunt when my mum doesn’t have any sisters?’ Katrina wondered.
‘The problem is, it’s rather complicated,’ Alison admitted. ‘But you must keep it all a secret. Promise me that.’
They locked pinkies with each other, just before Siobhan ended the visit. ‘Right, it’s your curfew now, sweetheart. Hurry up to bed.’
Alison hugged Katrina tight and then Siobhan hustled Katrina up the stairs. ‘Thanks for everything,’ Alison said to Siobhan in my accent.
‘Only because you kept your word,’ Siobhan noted.
‘Since I was honest at keeping my word, I’d like to get the chance to arrange a second visit with Katrina. Sooner rather than later.’
‘Fair enough. As long as we all take it slowly.’
Outside the house, Felix was filled with jubilation with his and Alison’s success at pulling off their imposter manoeuvre. ‘Well aren’t you full of surprises?’ he chortled. ‘You got back into Siobhan’s good books. And you played the part very well.’
But Alison didn’t smile. ‘Well Siobhan may not have known I wasn’t Sam,’ she said, far less cheerful than Felix. ‘But Katrina did. She knew immediately that I wasn’t her mother.’
Felix turned from triumphant to dismayed. ‘Oh shite.’
When I arrived back at Claire’s condo, I logged into my Skype account to speak with Alison. We briefly discussed about my decision to quit the force. ‘I can’t believe you just walked out without thinking this through,’ she rebuked me sharply before I cut her off.
‘That is not why I called. I wanted to thank you for helping with Katrina. I get to see her after she comes home from school, because you helped set that up.’
Alison was taken aback, but felt appreciated. ‘You’re more than welcome. After all, Katrina is a very special little girl.’
We both settled down for the night in our respective homes. In her lavish bedroom, Alison got into bed with David who was snoring loudly, much to her sheer annoyance. It was times like this when she wished she could book a single hotel room for herself, and get the chance to relax on her own.