Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chapter Twenty-Two - Identity Squared


"So... what kind of things do you like to do?" Tom asked Andy, who was sitting across from him at the table. Tom had yet to return home after getting the books and opted instead to go on that lunch with Andy, who was more than willing to share a table with him at the restaurant.

"Read books, mostly." Andy replied, "Fantasy novels, sci-fi, romance. I am especially fond of romance novels. What kinds of things do you like to do?"

"Well, I like taking trips, adventuring, but when I'm home I work out, swim, or go on walks. I like to keep myself busy. Lately though I've not been too keen on doing anything like that. I uh, had an unexpected adventure that affected me more than I thought it would." Tom thought back once again to the other dimension. "I... lost someone who reminded me of a friend, and even though she's still okay, my actual friend I mean, I don't know what I would do if I lost her again." Tom thought to himself, wondering what Annabelle was doing at the moment.

"I wish I knew what you were talking about." Andy chuckled. "But yeah, I know what it's like to lose someone or even something you care about. A few years ago I lost something dear to me, something I've had for my entire life. I have another one, but it's not the same. Yes, I know a book isn't the same as an actual human friend, but to me it felt like one." After thinking that over, Andy said, "...I'm not crazy!", and chuckled again. 

"I didn't think you were." Tom laughed. "I do know what it's like to be attached to something. This jacket was my father's, and I also have a hat that I left back home that was his as well." Then he leaned in close. "Possessions may mean little to people who take them for granted, but not to me."

"I know!" Andy said. "I mean, look around. Everything people should care about just seems to be nothing, more trinkets they found at a store that should be cast aside. I mean, people should think about what they have before it's lost. And, although we JUST met, I really care about you, Tom. I like you. It's like at first sight I guess! It's magical!"

"Well I wouldn't know about that, Magic doesn't seem to affect me." Tom said, thinking back to a time where Annabelle tried to cast a spell on him, one she learned from Nightmare's spell book before it was destroyed, because of a green joke he had made but it backfired on her. "But yeah, we do seem to have a connection. I've never met someone who knows me for who I am so much. And on top of it, you're funny, and cheerful. You like the world for the world it is, and that is something you don't seem to find in this day and age."

"Yeah," Andy smiled, "Great people are hard to find, and sometimes you don't find them in the first person you meet, but if that happens all you need to do is just search the stars for a different one!" 

"What?" Tom asked, confused. He sensed a bit of familiarity in that line. 

"Oh, just a phrase I heard before." Andy said, smiling, then she put her fork down. "Now, that was delicious! Do you want some dessert? I'll pay for it!"

"Sure!" Tom said. "But I'll pay." 


"What... the hell?!"

Back home, Annabelle came face-to-face with herself. "Who is she?" The other Annabelle, who had a tint of magenta rather than purple, asked. "Is this some kind of joke, John?"

"No, it is not." John said, staring down both identical women. "There are two Annabelle's now. This is what I told you about, Annie. Remember?" He looked at both Annabelles, but was talking to the one in purple hair. "I said that I developed a tool that would copy your entire structure through the teleporter in case something went wrong, and apparently the device thought something went wrong and initiated the fail safe."

"Are you saying..." The magenta Annabelle asked, "I'm a clone!?"

"Not.. technically." John replied. "According to... whatever... you are Annabelle." He then pointed to the purple Annie, "And so is she. In fact, you are the exact same person, right down to the molecule and the memories. However I don't think the teleporter had the ability to generate your original Amethyst color, resulting in your magenta-like coloring."

"So what happened?!" Both Annabelle's asked simultaneously, startling John. "Why is she me-"

"-and me her?!"

"Well I can't figure it out completely until I get the computer downstairs working, but as far as I can tell the teleporter tried to teleport you but couldn't, and it had to teleport SOMETHING, so it took the data saved through the fail safe device of you, Annabelle, and created, you... Annabelle... at the same time to compensate."

Both Annabelle's sat down on the couch, then after a short time thinking, the one in purple spoke up. "So, what, how long will she be here?"

"Is it temporary?"  The magenta-haired Annabelle asked.

"Will there be any ill effects on her-"

"-or her? What's going to happen to me-US?!"

John shook his head, both to acknowledge the question and gather his thoughts. "It's like listening to two different headphones at once.", he thought to himself, then said "As far as I know, there are no ill effects on either of you. The fail-safe was meant to create a living, permanent copy of you in case something went wrong, but... this... is a Science BREAKTHROUGH!" He said, happily, "A human duplication device!"

"HEY!" Both Annabelle's yelled out, "this is kinda serious! Focus!"

"I know!" John said, "I'm just saying, maybe this might be a massive scientific breakthrough that no one else has achieved. I got to-"

"What... the..."

Keera and Scarlett heard the commotion, and came running into the room after hearing what sounded like Annabelle talking to herself. Scarlett, who was the more shocked, yelled out "WHAT?!? What... who... when... where... why... how? WHAT?!"

Keera, being a clone herself, was not nearly as surprised and said sarcastically "So... who do I call 'mom' here?"

"Me!" The Annabelle in purple said, startling the one in magenta. "I am the real Annabelle, see my purple-tinted hair? This is... is..."

  "She's a mirror-Belle." Kelly chuckled as she walked into the room. "Sorry, I know this is kinda serious, but I heard the entire conversation from the foyer and I have to ask... at this point in our lives, after meteor-summoning supervillains, unicorns, rapidly-created clones, magical aliens, and traveling to an alternate dimension, is ANYONE surprised by this?! Genuinely surprised?"

All the people in the room were about to say something, before all of them realized they didn't have a reply to this. After all the strange things that had happened to them the past thirteen years, Annabelle being split into two copies through a teleporter didn't seem strange enough in comparison. The magenta Annabelle then spoke up. "Okay, but what do I do now? As far as I know, I am her, we have all the same thoughts, and personality, and memory-"

"-so what happens now?"

"I don't know." John replied. "Until I can figure out what went wrong, I can't say anything for sure right now. My best guess is you'll have to learn to live with yourself."

"Who knows how easy that will be." The magenta-haired Annabelle said, and then the one in purple said "We'll have to see how that will work out."

  Tom and Andy drove back to the manor, and Tom was the first one to walk in. "Hello? Anyone here?" After a few seconds of no one answering, he turned back to Andy. "Well I guess no one's here. A shame, I really wanted them to meet you."

"Actually, everyone's upstairs. Annabelle's changing their clothes." He heard Scarlett's voice from the other room. "Strange uh, strange things happening 'round here. Hey did you get my book?"

"Yeah I got it." Tom said. He knew that if he didn't get the wedding book he would be faced with a moderately-upset Scarlett, and the last person who "moderately upset" Scarlett wound up with three stitches in the shoulder.

Tom then felt his shoulder, noting that the cut had healed since then.

Tom walked upstairs with Andy closely behind him, and the two heard Annabelle apparently talking to herself through the door. Andy walked over and sat on a couch while Tom knocked on Annabelle's bedroom door.

"Yes, come in, we're dressed now!"

"We?" Tom thought to himself. Then he pushed opened the door. Through the open entryway, Tom saw Annabelle talking to someone.

"I know! I've never seen- Oh, hey Tom."

Tom pushed the rest of the door open and saw two Annabelles standing in the room, chatting. Having not been aware of the fact that they were split, he was understandably shocked. "What the... what is going on here?! Who is she?"


"Well..." Annabelle said. "This is me... sorta. I tested the teleporter for John and something obviously-"

"-went wrong.", the other Annabelle said, finishing her sentence again. "Sorry, I have a habit of doing that. I kinda know exactly what you're going to say at any given moment, kinda like a side effect of the whole 'we are the same person' thing."

The purple-haired Annabelle smiled. "Alright. She sells sea-shells down by the sea-"

"SHORE! See? I told you!"

"Actually I was going to say 'seafood market', but that works too. My point is we are two different people now. You have the opportunity to be anything you want to be, except a singer, I am a singer."

"Why can't we both be one?" The other Annabelle asked. "I could stand in for you! Then again I did always want to be a magician, remember other... Annie? You couldn't be both and now you can!"

"PLEASE!" Tom said exasperated and unable to concentrate on who Annabelle said what when. "Can we get back to the topic at hand?!"

"Yes, it's very odd, but not as odd as the other things that go on around here." Annabelle said, "Besides, we're still trying to decide who gets what around here."

"And... she has all your memories and everything?" Tom asked.

"Yep." Both Annabelle's said. "It's like we're two peas in a pod." Suddenly they both turned to Tom. "DON'T MAKE A JOKE!"

"I-I wasn't!" Tom said, so surprised by this new development that he couldn't bring himself to make any kind of quip. "Is it permanent?"

"As far as we know?" Annabelle looked at her counterpart, then both said "Yes. We personally like this situation! It allows us to talk to ourselves and not look crazy."

Tom covered his ears for a second, "It's like an echo chamber in here." he thought to himself. "I have to go, it's hard to concentrate in here."

"Yeah we have that effect on people." Both Annabelles said, again causing Tom to groan.

"Can I talk to this Annabelle for a moment?" Tom asked, pointing to the one with purple hair. "It's just... I recognize her more."

"I know what you mean, Tom. Say no more, just as long as it doesn't involve a green joke." The magenta-haired Annabelle said, "If it does... I'll hear, and you will get a double punch to the face." With that, the Magenta Annabelle left the room.

"Annabelle... how do we know she's who you say she is? Who she says she is?" Tom asked, whispering. "I know it's convincing, her appearance, voice, and all that but do I we know she isn't... you know... evil?

"Tom, trust me. I KNOW who I am. I can sense things in people, remember the whole 'green skin trust thing' and she is good-" Suddenly the conversation took a turn when the purple-haired Annabelle walked out of the room with Tom and saw Andy sitting on the couch. "Who's that?" She asked. The magenta-haired Annabelle wandered too, but realized her counterpart asked first.

"This is... Andrea, well Andy. I met her outside the book store today." Tom whispered in Annabelle's ear "She's really nice, I like her and she likes me, we really hit it off."

Suddenly Annabelle looked at Andy and didn't see a random person, but instead saw someone else, in the face she felt a familiarity, but couldn't put her finger on it. "I don't trust her." She whispered.

"What?" Tom said, a tinge of an upset tone in his voice.
"I'm sorry, she looks... familiar, and I don't like that." Annabelle said, glaring at Andy. "She looks-"

"You just don't like her because she's interested in me!" Tom yelled out, not caring who heard. Suddenly the rest of the family members ran upstairs to see what was happening. "You've never like the girls I've dated, any of them. And this, you don't 'trust' her?! What is that?!"

"Tom, I just have problems trusting random strangers! You should too! Remember how much you looked up to Jack Toomes before he tried to kill you?!"

"I didn't trust Jack as much as I thought! You're just jealous is what you are!" Tom yelled out, "That's the problem! If I wasn't interested in this girl you would be climbing over obstacles to be friends with her! So admit it! Oh that's right, you can't admit your true feelings!"

Andy, embarrassed over causing the argument, ran into a nearby room almost in tears.

"I will NOT!" Annabelle said, "...and you are wrong about me! If I feel strongly enough about something you'd be DAMNED RIGHT I will tell the whole world about it! And what about you!? Hypocrite much? You never admitted your-"

"I always told you how I-"

"SALAD!" Annabelle said, stopping Tom cold. "Remember when we were children, you told me you like 'salad' when you meant me? I even brought it up later on and you didn't even acknowledge the fact! If you cared for me you would have told me then! You NEVER tell me anything anymore! You never even told me why you've been acting so distant since you got back from that alternate universe! Why, Tom?!"
Tom couldn't tell her why he had been acting that way, how every time he looked at her he saw her dead or dying on the floor of the living room. Desperate and looking for options, Tom said something that would only broaden the rift between them. "Okay, what about France?" Tom said, not caring if anyone else was in the room.


Angry, Tom gestured toward the rest of the family watching the argument. "You're all about 'admitting' things, then why don't you tell them? Huh? Why don't you tell them what happened in France?! Why don't you tell them how we 'went all the way' while they went to see the Eiffel Tower!"

"I TOLD YOU! DON'T MENTION THAT! No one else knew!" Annabelle screamed.

"Actually we thought it was pretty obvious." Kelly said, knowing what Annabelle and Tom did when they were alone in the French summer home. "I don't see why you had to keep it secret, then again..."

"Still, it doesn't matter. I told you NOT to tell anyone and you just told the whole damn world! You just lost an insane amount of trust from me, Tom!!!! What you just did was completely unforgivable! I don't even want to look at you right now!"  Annabelle stormed into the other room, slamming the door so hard she about knocked the wall down.

"Well that's just great because I don't want to talk to you!" Tom angrily said, then turned to the household. "I'm sorry." With these words, he walked down the stairs, leaving the entire household in shock.

The magenta Annabelle, who watched the argument, never thought to herself that she could fight with Tom like that, even after everything he'd done in the past.

Scarlett almost teared up. "Well, Happy Birthday to me." She thought to herself.


Annabelle, still fuming from the argument between Tom and herself, stormed into her bedroom and stood next to her bed. "I can't believe he told everyone what happened in France! I am... GRRRRR!!!"

Suddenly the door opened, and the other Annabelle walked in. "Sorry for barging in on you, I just... can I come in?"

"Yeah. Sorry for that whole... business out there." The purple-haired Annie said. "She looked like... Mary Knight. I don't know why!"

"I thought so too, but Annabelle, other me... Tom's a grown-up. You know as well as I do that he's been drifting from us... you... me. Whatever, lately. Isn't that part of the reason we... I... 'Annabelle' did what happened the other night? And yes, I too was betrayed by him revealing the fact that we um, 'woohooed' in France, just as much as if K... you know, I don't want to get into this."

"Me neither." The purple Annabelle said. "Now, if you'll excuse me I need to sleep. This whole, US, thing and the argument with Tom really put me into a stressful mood and I want to sleep it off."

"Okay, me too. So... what happens with this bed? "

"Well, it matches my hair so I think I should sleep in it." The purple Annabelle said awkwardly. "Tomorrow we can go to the store and have a magenta bed put in an upstairs room."

"No." 'Magenta Annabelle said, "This has been my room for three years! I've spent every night for the past three years sleeping in this bed, waking up in it every morning! I deserve to sleep in it tonight!"

"I don't feel comfortable sleeping with ME in the same bed!
You obviously understand where I'm coming from, being me and all."

"No, technically I'm not you! You said yourself that ever since the transporter thing we have a chance to be two different people, but arguably, since we've both shared the same life, I feel deserve to sleep in the bed!"

Suddenly, the purple Annabelle angrily said. "Look, even though this is my room, and it's always been, I'm not gonna argue again, least of all with YOU, ME.... GRRRRR!!!" Annabelle walked over to the dresser and grabbed some sleepwear clothes. "I'm going to sleep in a different room, okay? No fuss anymore!"

"Where are you going to sleep?" The magenta Annabelle asked.

"None of my damn business!" Annabelle said, and slammed the door.

"Wow, sometimes I can really be a-" Suddenly Annabelle's phone rang, interrupting the magenta Annie's rather vocal thoughts. She answered the phone, seeing as 'she was Annabelle too', and the conversation with someone on the other line ended the thought of whatever she was about to say.



Kelly was at her computer, shutting it down and getting ready for sleep, when she heard a knock on her office door. She opened it and Annabelle was standing there, upset. "Hey Kelly, I'm sorry to ask this but, can I sleep in your room tonight?"

"Sure." Kelly said, unable to turn Annabelle down for anything after what she had revealed to her a few days before. "Come on."


Tom and Andy were standing inside the garage of the manor, talking about the argument between the two friends before. "I am really sorry I was the cause of that argument." Andy said. "I'd hate the idea of two friends breaking apart because of me."

"No. I don't know." Tom said. "Lately, we've been drifting apart, Annie and I, the argument we had was inevitable." Tom then decided to confess something. "This is going to sound crazy, but a week ago, I... was pulled through an extra-dimensional teleporter and found myself in an alternate universe where I never met her, where she never met any of us."

"During the trip, the other Annabelle, 'Jessica', passed out and nearly died... she looked so much like Annie that... I  just can't get the image of her, nearly dying and in so much anguish, out of my head."After a few seconds of thinking that over and thinking how completely insane it sounded, he said "Yeah that, that sound crazy."
"If you knew half of what I've been through you'd think I was the crazy one!" Andy laughed, then said "I even know magic! A bit, at least. The book I mentioned before, it was a spell book that I lost. I found a second volume, but it didn't have nearly what I remembered. Again, I know that's crazy!"

 "Well I wish you could try a spell out on me!" Tom said, smiling, "...but that won't work. This one time Annabelle... she tried to turn me into a lizard from an old spell book she read a few pages out of, but the spell backfired on her, turning herself into one for a few seconds. I mentioned before that magic has no effect on me, and I don't know why."

"Well maybe because you're special." Andy smiled, and leaned in. "I think you are special. You're always so nice to me, and no one's ever treated me with such kindness. I'm glad I met you Tom."

"I'm glad I met you too, Andy." Tom said, and the two smiled at each other, both happy that Tom sat on that bench when he did.


Later that evening a blonde woman, Aurora Dawn, walked into a museum and looked around. After a few moments the owner of the museum approached her. "I'm sorry, but the museum is closing in five minutes. I have to lock up then, and I can't have anyone inside when I do. Security thing."

"I only need a few moments. I need to ask you something." Aurora replied. "Have you seen a tiny piece of metal, gold, about five inches in diameter and... glowing? You see, I need it for a project."

"Sorry, young lady. If I owned anything gold, I'd sell it. Museum doesn't pay much anymore."

"That is such as shame. I know you have it, or had it at least... where is it?" She smiled in a bright, cheerful, unpleasant way. "Pleaaaaaase? Tell me where it is."

"I do not know what you're talking about!" The owner said, getting a little frightened from the woman's eerily cheerful attitude. "Please, leave NOW!"

"Is that a way to talk to a valued customer? Tsk tsk." Suddenly, the woman lifted her hand causing the man to fly off the ground. "The metal, where is it?"

"I sold it, okay! It's probably all the way in Starlight Shores or Appaloosa Plains! Please, let me down!"

"To. Who? Now please tell me nicely, and I will let you go." Aurora Dawn smiled charmingly. "And I definitely make it worth you while."

"I didn't see his face! He... told me he wanted the metal! I sold it to him! Please let me go! He said he was living in Starlight Shores!!"

"Thank you." Aurora said."Now, how will I kill you?"

"You... YOU SAID YOU'D LET ME GO!" The owner replied, screaming his head off. "PLEASE!"

"Well, that was thirty seconds ago, people like me usually like to change their minds. And speaking of mind..." Aurora closed her hand, and suddenly the museum owner's body twisted and crunched until she let it go. After this, her eyes blazed and the owner fell to the ground as a perfectly clean skeleton surrounded by the gray, solidified husks of his organs. She then stood over his dead body, smiling.

 "I lost mine a long time ago."


Suddenly Andy started grabbing her ears in pain, screaming. Tom, who didn't know what was happening, tried to comfort her. After a few seconds, she stopped and said "I'm sorry, I have to go." Without any more words she turned and ran outside, leaving Tom behind to sulk.


After a few moments, Andy found herself in the museum that Aurora was in, and screamed when she saw the woman standing over the owner's skeleton. "WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING!?"

"What, does this upset you?"

"You're darned right it does!" Andy said. "You're... you're out of control! This is evil!"

"And you're too *good* to live! All your happy bubbly 'OOH I LOVE PEOPLE I LOVE THINGS!-iness' Tell me, Andy, have you revealed your identity, or are you too frightened to do so? Have you told Tom you're Nightmare yet?"

"Shut up!" Andy yelled out, more scared that angry, "You know we BOTH ARE!"

"Oh yeah, I know, but I'm the better half. You are nothing compared to me... you're just a frightened, goody-two-shoes coward. You won't tell him, but yeah, how will he react?"

Aurora then turned and started miming a conversation with herself. "Ooh, Tom. My name's Andy, I'm the human form of Nightmare's conscience! But don't worry about me, I can't possibly do evil because I am ALLLLLL good. My other side Aurora Dawn represents the EEEEEEVILLL!"

Then she turned to imitate Tom, angry "Nightmare?! Nightmare's pure evil and so are you! Get out of my house you Witch!"

Then she smiled and said "NOOOOOOO!" in a supremely sarcastic way, afterwards she turned back to Andy, "But then again, I could kill Tom, Annabelle, and all of them, and you wouldn't have to worry about telling him."

"No." Andy said, frightened. "Don't!"

"Yessss", Aurora said with a twisted smile on her face "And I know how I'd do it, too. I would lovingly crush their skul-"

"NO!!" Andy yelled out, then accidentally released a burst of magic that knocked Aurora off her feet.  This magical attack made her think to herself; she thought of all the spells she read from the second spell book she had found after the destruction of Nightmare's first. She remembered seeing a love spell in there. "Tom.... love spell... oh no!"

Afterward, she ran out of the museum, back towards Tom and Annabelle's home. Aurora smiled and stood back up."Well that was easier than I expected. With her out of the way I can keep looking for that piece of gold." She realized she had to get her out of the way somehow so she could continue her search, and what better way than to threaten people she seemed to care for? Aurora thought to herself that maybe she should stop by somewhere for a quick massacre, just to pass the time before she left town.

When she got back to the Kethrin house, Andy called Tom, asking if she could come in. Tom walked downstairs and opened the door, and the two silently walked back to his bedroom. When they got there, Andy fell into Tom's arms and started crying.

"I'm so scared for you." She said. "And scared for myself! I... came back because I wanted to tell you something. And, I know you're going to be mad but, I may have accidentally manipulated you into liking me... I know magic, and I think I may have accidentally cast some kind of love spell or someth-"

"Andy... no." Tom said, holding her. "I told you twice that magic doesn't affect me. I don't like you because a spell made me, I like you because YOU made me, YOU as a person. Your personality was the 'like at first sight' spell I guess. And besides, magic is the least odd thing that's happened to me in my life."

"I wanted to tell you something... I..." She was about to tell Tom everything, that when Nightmare exploded on the beach after trying to kill Annabelle years before, her essence split into two human forms, one representing the pure good and innocence of herself and the other representing pure psychotic evil.

She wanted to tell him that after following Aurora to the town to see what she was going to do, she saw Tom on the bench that morning and instantly fell for him, and realized that he could have been a target for Aurora as well. She bought a brown outfit and wore it to sit next to him, hoping it would attract his attention, using the book she loved to read as a conversation starter.

As she was prepared to say this all, Aurora's words came back to her. "Get out of my house you witch!", her fake response of Tom's echoed inside Andy's mind, making her wonder if Tom would actually say that if she told him.

"I am sorry I ran off earlier.", she said, not wanting to reveal why she did so, in case Tom would get angry at her and tell her to leave, like Aurora had predicted. She cared too much for Tom to risk the idea of him never wanting to see her again.

"I, I haven't told this to anyone in a long time, but Andy, I really care for you."

"I care for you too.... that's why I came back." Andy couldn't explain exactly why she came back, to protect him from Aurora, so she instead decided to say, "I wanted to see you again."

"Well I'm glad you came back." Tom said. "I too wanted to see you." The two smiled, but Andy lowered her head in despair, depressed that she couldn't tell Tom the truth.

"Aurora was right... I am a coward." She thought to herself.

The magenta-haired Annabelle lied down in bed, unable to sleep. After a few moments, she stood up and walked over to a mirror in the back of the room. "Who am I?" She asked herself, staring into her own eyes in the reflection.

"Those eyes aren't mine... the face is. I'm not Annabelle... even though I remember everything she does, I have her thoughts, I'm not... her. I can't take over her life. I need to do my own new thing, I literally have a second chance to do everything I wanted to do but didn't! But... I need a  new name."

"She's a mirror-Belle." She remembered Kelly's humorous comment from earlier. Smiling, the "other" Annabelle ran downstairs into the bathroom and grabbed a pair of scissors from the drawer.


 John was in his room, still wearing his outfit from earlier. He tried everything on the teleporation device's computer, before finally giving up when he heard a knock on the bedroom door. John stood up and walked to the room, when he saw the magenta-haired Annabelle standing in front of him. Her hair was shorter, she was wearing a different set of clothes that reflected her hair color, and thick glasses.
"Hey... interesting new look you got. Anyway, I've been working on that computer in my room this whole time, I can't figure it out." John said. "I don't know-"

"I want to change my name." The other Annabelle said, "You can use the computer to do that, right? You can do anything with a computer."

"Yes, but... why?"

"Thanks to the teleporter incident, I can be in two places at once... but I don't want to do that. In fact, I want to be a different person than Annabelle. I want to follow my own path. I... can pass myself off as her long-lost twin! And I know what name I want."

"Okay, what is it?"

She smiled, and said "Mirabelle".