Lee has only just been informed by his arch nemesis Napoleon about Samantha’s fellow clones, the missing murder victims being amongst them. He questions her about Portia, who was one of the European identicals killed by Helena.
Back home, it was now Lee’s turn to do the interrogation. ‘There are more than nine of you, Samantha,’ he stated. ‘Most of whom are dead.’
‘No!’ I objected strongly. ‘There’s only one of me, just like there was only one of Claire.’ Maybe I didn’t want to believe that I was a clone. That was why it was easier to think of myself as an individual who happened to resemble the late Claire Richards.
‘That’s not what I meant,’ Lee quickly corrected.
‘Listen, Claire figured out there were only nine of us so far,’ I confirmed. ‘I’ve only met Alison.’ And Melissa also. But I wasn’t ready to expose Mel to him just yet.
‘Who else is aware of this cloning existence? I mean apart from Felix.’
‘Alison is the only other person in the know.’ I was very steadfast.
‘And what about Portia Obinger?’ Lee leant against the wall and crossed his arms. ‘Before Alison Hendricks, there was the German clone you unexpectedly bumped into while posing as Claire. Before you know it, someone else showed up and then shot and killed her.’
‘What are you trying to say?’ I asked defensively.
‘Don’t lie to me, Samantha,’ he shot back. ‘The only reason why I’m trying to get all the information out of you is so that I can best protect you and whoever else you’ve got caught up in this shitty mess.’ I was protecting everyone else caught up in this mess. The last thing I needed was a knight in shining armour and I still wasn’t entirely sure whether or not to trust Lee.
‘Is Napoleon on to us or what?’ I asked, stalking right up into Lee’s space.
Lee just looked at me as if to say: If you’re going to have such an attitude, then that is fine with me. ‘Napoleon just told me that someone is killing the subjects and dumping their bodies,’ he revealed with just as much attitude. ‘They’re all missing and have yet to be confirmed dead. You know anything about that?’ he sneered at me with that obnoxious one-shoulder shrug that I really hated.
I decided to get straight to the point and come clean, but made sure not to give away the whole truth to this lousy tosser. ‘I have no knowledge of Portia’s killer or her agenda,’ I lied to his face. ‘All I know is that she is the same female killer responsible for the disappearances and deaths of the other clones.’
Lee nodded, almost believing me for one second. ‘Just so you know, Napoleon instructed me to just watch ‘Claire’ closely, protect her, and make sure she’s not aware.
I felt agitated and began to pace. ‘Aware of what exactly?’ I demanded, somewhat unnerved.
‘Of me. Of us. This is high-level shit Samantha,’ he said through a clenched jaw. ‘An illegal human cloning trial and some satanic cult with a brainwashed executioner on the loose. Aren’t you the least bit worried that someone might be trying to kill you?’ There was a hint of consternation in his tone of voice.
‘Yes of course I am,’ I admitted. ‘But as long as it’s not you or any of the people I love, then that is all that matters.’
Lee seemed relieved at the revelation that he was one of the people I cared about the most. But there was one more important thing. ‘I still need to see my daughter,’ I added emotionally.
Lee handed me his car keys and placed them gently in my hands. ‘Take my Rover,’ he offered kindly. ‘And in case someone is tailing you, my job is to keep you safe. At least let me do that.’
I nodded trustingly.
I headed to the underground garage. But before I could enter the Rover, Helena’s reflection superimposed next to mine in the rear window. ‘Shit!’ I exclaimed.
‘Calm down,’ Helena said quietly, holding her hands up. ‘I’m not here to hurt you.’ She moved closer to me to make sure I could see her clearly. ‘I have an offer for you. But first we must talk. And eat. Let’s have lunch.’
I raised an eyebrow. ‘Lunch?’
At Hogtown’s café, Helena enjoyed a bowl of dessert consisting of chocolate Jell-O pudding pie. I had ordered chicken pasta bake accompanied with a mini baguette sandwich and side salad. For some odd reason, she had decided to have the same. ‘I dreamed we were friends,’ she said to me with her mouth half-full.
I felt disgusted by the idea of having a friendship with Crazy Clone. ‘We are not,’ I countered.
Helena tilted her head and studied her dessert spoon. ‘We will be,’ she said with confidence. ‘I can see it.’
I wondered if her carers fed her, wherever it was that she went when she wasn’t hunting and killing her fellow clone sisters. ‘This is a nice restaurant, isn’t it?’ she openly decided as she poured some dessert cream over her Jell-O pudding.
‘I suppose,’ I snarked. ‘It got five stars in a review.’
Helena ate the last bite of her dessert, then licked the front and back of her spoon. ‘You know my name,’ she observed. ‘But I still have yet to know yours.’
‘This friendship isn’t there just yet,’ I replied definitively.
Even though I already knew her name, I still didn’t know Helena’s ethnic background. ‘Are you Russian?’ I asked out of curiosity rather than interest.
She shook her head. ‘I grew up in a convent in the Ukraine, and I was raised as Jewish,’ she corrected.
I blinked. ‘You mean you lived with Ukrainian nuns?’ I leaned close to Helena. ‘Are those the people who made you kill Portia Obinger and the others?’
Helena sucked on a lollipop. ‘They ordered me to kill Miss Portia. And Miss Tracie and Miss Adele also.’ Why she felt the need to address her murder victims by their ‘Miss’ titles, I had absolutely no idea. ‘I’m supposed to kill you too,’ she announced.
‘But you didn’t, did you?’ I noted. ‘You let me live, and in return I did the same for you. So why don’t we call it even and go our separate ways?’
Helena slid down in the booth and shoved her boot between my legs under the table. ‘We will never be separate,’ she said through clenched teeth. ‘Now tell me the names of the others and I will spare you.’
As if I would ever give away my surviving sisters to Crazy Clone! I started to get angry and flung out my Swiss army knife, jabbing it against Helena’s leg. ‘You move your foot away from me, otherwise I will stab you again,’ I threatened in a hostile tone.
Helena glared at me as she waited for me to put my penknife back in my pocket. People across the cafe were staring at us, much to my discomfort and exasperation. I just wished they would stop and go about their own daily lives. There was nothing to see here.
As Helena cautiously shoved herself back up in the booth and pulled up her booted leg with her, I stuffed the penknife – rather roughly – back in my pocket.
Helena picked up a pen and carefully blocked out a number onto an unused napkin. I assumed the number was hers. ‘You have until midnight to give me the names of the other clones,’ she ordered balefully. ‘Call this number, or you die first.’ She slid out of the booth and exited the diner. I watched her warily and she pulled the hood up over her head. Just before leaving, she turned around and waved at me, mouthing ‘bye-bye’ with a menacing look, and then ambled away. I didn’t wave back.
Outside the diner, I was already back on the phone to Melissa. ‘Helena wants your names by midnight or I’m first on her hit list.’
Melissa was shocked. ‘She has to be joking! Surely there is a way to stop her from carrying out her hit list.’ She was at her Annex Style house researching about a well-known prophet via his EyeSpace page.
‘Well there’s no way I’m ever going to going to give you up to her,’ I vowed. I was adamant that I would remain loyal to Melissa.
‘Maybe you should,’ Mel reasoned. ‘Not to Helena, but to Napoleon.’
I pondered over that before coming to a drastic decision. After all, what harm could Napoleon possibly do to any of us?
‘Our creators, whoever they are, might be trying to protect us and the other clones from Helena.’
‘Unfortunately, they already know Helena is after her Clone Sisters,’ I noted. I had by now reached Lee’s Rover to find a parking ticket on the windshield. Brilliant! That was all I needed after everything else.
‘Hey, have you heard of Doctor Aloysius Leekie?’ Melissa asked me. ‘He’s the poster boy for this spiritual movement called Revelation.’
Revelation? Was she referring to the same nightspot that belonged to Napoleon Olivier? It would be such a coincidence if she was!
‘Napoleon owns a club with that same name. Felix says it’s a bunch of devil worshipping freaks.’ There was one disturbing factor nobody knew yet. ‘Napoleon has six fingers on each hand, not to mention a few other birth deformities,’ I added.
While Melissa was intrigued to hear about Napoleon’s twelve fingers, I felt sickened. ‘Can we just get back to Helena?’ I suggested impatiently.
Speaking of Helena, Crazy Clone broke into Lee and Claire’s dark and empty condo and made her way into the kitchen. There was a leftover pancake that had been covered. She helped herself to the pancake and stared at a picture of a grinning Lee.
She continued to prowl through Claire’s house, stumbling across my pillow. She smelt it, breathing in the fresh scent and then lay down on the bed, cradling it.
Lee was in the back of a black taxi with Napoleon and a slender, tall woman by the name of Ingrid. ‘When we get there, you’re going to start talking,’ Napoleon said to Lee quietly. ‘And you’re going to tell us where Claire is.’
Lee didn’t even have a clue where it was they were taking him. All he knew was that Napoleon had booked a cab for the three of them, and he had been ordered to get straight in the back once the black cab had arrived. He was carefully seated between Ingrid and Napoleon.
‘In case you’ve been completely unaware, your subject is not who we think she is,’ Napoleon revealed. ‘She’s an imposter, and she has been pulling the wool over your eyes for so long.’
This has to be some kind of test, Lee thought. ‘I only saw Claire a few hours ago,’ he finally spoke up. ‘How do either of us know it wasn’t her?’
Napoleon held up a photo of Claire and Lee embracing each other, Claire nearly burrowing into Lee with a look on her face of despairing love. Despite Lee beaming ecstatically in the shot, Claire looked far from smiley – the exact opposite.
‘The person killing our subjects looks exactly like Claire,’ Napoleon explained.
‘You mean, like a twin,’ Lee supplied. He had already figured out I wasn’t Claire, but decided to play along with the façade, feeding Napoleon the lines he himself had worked his way through.
Napoleon, Lee and Ingrid had arrived at Revelation’s secret headquarters where their cult meeting was held. ‘I am sorry to tell you that Claire is dead,’ Napoleon informed Lee.
Lee already knew of Claire’s death, but still pretended to be shocked. ‘Why?’ He asked, devastated.
‘I am afraid I can’t answer that,’ Napoleon admitted regretfully.
‘Did this imposter kill Claire?’ Lee asked. Napoleon shrugged. ‘That is what we suspect. She is also believed to have killed other subjects. Yet she still shares your bed.’ Lee bit his lip, not knowing what to make of any of it. ‘To me, she’s still Claire,’ he said supposingly.
‘Regardless of what you think, Lee, I still need you to bring Samantha to the club,’ Napoleon instructed.
‘Who is Samantha?’ Lee asked.
‘All I know is that Samantha comes from Western Europe. I believe from England, but I’m not sure whereabouts in England.’ Napoleon was determined to get straight down to business. ‘Find this girl before they do.’
Lee glared at Napoleon suspiciously. ‘Who are they?’ He asked charily.
‘Never mind,’ Napoleon said sharply. ‘All you need do is follow my demands, and I promise you will get your life back.’
Ingrid silently handed Lee his blackberry, and then left the two men alone. ‘Now put it on speaker,’ Napoleon ordered.