Transfer by Esther Clark

“Remember, Lela. Find Frank.”

My head jolts back as if I’ve been hit by a car, and a loud thud reverberates through the air. I’m breathing heavily, as if I’ve been running, but I’m in an empty room. It’s well lit, although there aren’t any visible lights. Where am I? I’m trying to recall how I have gotten into this room, but the only thing that races through my head is the shadow of a voice telling me to find Frank.

“Lela…” A faraway voice suddenly echoes from the walls surrounding me. It’s deep with a slight accent that I can’t place. I whip around, but no one is behind me. Instead, there are three doors. One is bright blue like topaz; one is a deep red, like wine; one is pitch black with white trim. The white trim strikes me as odd because none of the other doors have any trim. They just hang there without any buffer between them and the drab wall. I call it drab, because, well, the wall is the color of mud. Not a rich dark type of mud, but the yellowy-brown that you see by the side of a construction site.

I look at the three doors again. All three have brightly shining brass knobs, as if they have been polished recently. So well, in fact, that I can see myself: a long face, distorted from the bent reflection, large dark eyes under thin eyebrows, stick-straight hair. I reach for the nearest brass knob, my fingers curling around its cold, smooth finish. “Lela…” The voice comes again. Louder. Closer. I jerk away from the doors and whip around, but no one is behind me—just the unwavering mud-colored walls. “Find me…”

Frank! I try to call out, but no sound exits my throat. No matter how hard I try, the only sound I am able to make is the soft hiss of a strained breath. “Lela…” I turn again, frantically trying to find where the sound is coming from, when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a movement. My eyes snap to the right. There, on the wall, letters are appearing as if written by an invisible hand.

The message reads:

Pick a door? Well, of course I need to pick a door. They are the only way in or out of this place. That at least is obvious. What isn’t so obvious is which door I should choose. Which one will lead me to Frank? I look at the writing on the wall for help, but the message doesn’t change. I bite my lip. Frank. Find Frank. But… why? I pause with my hand outstretched toward the closest door. The blue door. Why find Frank? I rack my brain for the answer, but I can’t seem to focus on any of the images that flitter across my mind, each one as ephemeral as a butterfly in a strong wind: A clock, counting down… 00:10. A manila folder. 00:09. A dinner table. 00:08. An open folder, its contents spread across the table. 00:07. A voice, “Don’t let this information fall into the wrong hands.” 00:04. The perfect image of a blue-eyed man with an easy smile, holding a bottle of red wine… 00:01.

My head is pounding.

…Red wine. Taking a step sideways, I reach for the brass knob, my fingers curling around its cold, smooth finish. I look closely at the door I’ve chosen, letting its deep, dark red color fill my vision. Red for red wine. Perhaps… perhaps it means something. I take a deep breath and pull.

Nothing happens.

I pull again. Still nothing happens. I back away confused. How do I get through? It’s a door for crying out loud! I pull on the nob harder… Still noth—

In the corner of my eye, the writing is appearing again:

Oh! I quickly push the door. It opens as smooth as silk and as silent as the night.

***

“Lela… Lela… LELA!”

I jolt awake as the voice shouts in my ear. I fall clumsily off my chair with a loud crash… much to my chagrin and a cacophony of laughter. Wha…what? I look around confused. I’m in a room with several rows of teenagers sitting at attention. They all have the same mud-brown-colored uniform, but the girls are in skirts while the boys are in pants.

“Glad you decided to join us,” a voice behind me says dryly, pulling me out of my fog.

I can feel heat rising up my neck and my cheeks burning as I sit bolt upright, assuming the same rod-like posture as the rest of the class. “Sleeping is for night time, not class time. See that it doesn’t happen again.” Mr. Harrington continues down the aisle with a limping shuffle and resumes his lecture. “There are several parallel universes that exist at this very moment. Each one contains a similar, yet unique version of you…”

How could I fall asleep in Biology class? I rub my eyes, trying to keep them from closing again.

“…and every decision you make creates another parallel universe…”

Someone pokes me from behind. I turn to find a girl passing forward a small note. I take it with a slight nod.

Good going, Lela.

Frank? My head snaps up and I look around for the source of the note. No one tries to catch my eye. All heads are bowed over their textbooks. But someone in this class has the same handwr—

Suddenly, a large hand comes out of nowhere and snatches the note from my trembling fingers. “First, falling asleep, and now blatantly disregarding class…” I look up to find Mr. Harrington towering over me with piercing beady eyes. I gulp. “One week’s detention.” He smirks as he crumples the note like a dry, old leaf. I draw a breath to protest. “Oh? Would you like two weeks? Perhaps three? I’m sure your parents would love to receive another call from the principal…”

I clamp my mouth shut and look down at my textbook 14.2: Alternate Dimensions… I try to focus on the paragraph in front of me instead of the lump in my throat. My fists are curled so tight under my desk that my nails bite into the soft flesh of my palms.

“Didn’t think so.” Mr. Harrington just snorts before continuing down the aisle. “Now, since we have so many alternate dimensions, nature has deemed it necessary, for the sake of our survival, to implant within all those capable of bearing children a clock. It is biological in nature and cannot be removed without causing fatality to its owner… Can anyone tell me what this clock does?”

Someone to my left raises his hand.

“Yes?” Mr. Harrington nods in his direction.

“It’s the clock that counts down until you meet your soulmate.”

“Soulmate…” Mr. Harrington huffs in disgust. “You young people need to get something through your heads right now. The clock counts down to when you find your most biologically fit partner.”

“That’s ridiculous,” a male voice mocks from somewhere behind me.

I don’t turn as Mr. Harrington storms past.”Ridiculous? Integration with CITI allows the system to process all possible mates to determine the best time for sexual reproduction to produce the fittest offspring for this current environment. It’s mathematics! Write an essay on why the advent of The Clock World in 3231 has allowed for an overall decrease in all possible forms of death. Include at least fifteen citations. And I want it on my desk by tomorrow…” Suddenly the bell rings, its shrill vibrato startling me. It seems to be screaming CITI, CITI, CITI, as if it has a voice.

“Everyone with detention come see me.” Mr. Harrington booms out over the clatter of students packing up and rushing out the door. MUD. That one word barges into my head like a drunk man trying to get a woman’s phone number. MUD. MUD. MUD. I sigh and rub my eyes again; my head is starting to pound. As I slowly pull my hands away from my face, my eyes catch something glowing through my right sleeve. I push the sleeve upward and there, shining through the transparent top layer of skin is a strip of constantly changing numbers. 01:00… 00:59… 00:58…

“Hey…” a male voice shakes me out of my daze. It’s a boy, around sixteen or seventeen, standing next to my desk. He has a red tie on that resembles a traffic light against his white shirt and tan jacket.

I open my mouth to reply, but he continues, “My name’s Dex. Looks like we’re going to be detention buddies.”

I open my mouth again to say hi when, suddenly, two pieces of paper land between us. “Here are your detention slips,” Mr. Harrington says gruffly. “Take them and get out. The clock’s ticking.” I absently take my slip as my eyes flash back to my arm clock. 00:18… 00:17… 00:16… A shrill ring brings me back to reality.

“Hello?” Dex answers his phone. “Yeah, I’m down. Meet you out… oh, ok. Yeah.” He starts walking to the door.

00:03… 00:02… 00:01… Someone taps me on the shoulder. I turn slowly because my head is still pounding. “You’re such an idiot for falling asleep in class, you know.” A boy with a mischievous smile leans in close. I jerk back against my desk in surprise, which only succeeds in making him grin. “My name’s Frank… and we need to talk.”

I feel like a frozen sculpture. I need to tell him about something. Something about a manila folder, but I can’t seem to make my voice work. Not even my mouth will move. “C’mon, there’s no time to lose. We’ve been waiting for you to get here.” He grabs my hand and drags me toward the door. Frank walks out first. I’m just one step from crossing the threshold when, suddenly…

“Non-citizen: Identified. Intruder Protocols: Activated.” A metallic screech whips through the hall. Frank spins around and grabs me by my shoulders. “Remember, Lela. Remember what you have to do.” Then he pushes me away as the classroom door slams shut.

The world seems to slow down right at that moment. Everything is in slow motion… Frank looks to his left. His face pales. He looks back at me and bangs once on the glass separating us. He is mouthing something. Find… me…

There is a loud pop that fills my ears like a cannon. Frank’s face contorts as it ricochets sideways. His eyes are the last thing to leave. Blue eyes.

The last thing I remember.

***

“Remember, Lela. Find Frank.”

My head jolts back as if I’ve been hit by a car, and a loud thud reverberates through the air. I’m breathing heavily, as if I’ve been running, but I’m in an empty room. It’s well lit, although there aren’t any visible lights. Where am I? I’m trying to recall how I have gotten into this room, but the only thing that races through my head is the shadow of a voice telling me to find Frank.

“Lela…” The word echoes faintly from the walls surrounding me. The voice is deep with a slight accent that I can’t place. I whip around, but no one is behind me. Instead, there are two doors. One is bright blue like the dazzling sky on a cloudless day; the other is pitch black with white trim. The white trim strikes me as odd because the other door doesn’t have any trim. It just hangs there without any buffer between it and the drab wall it’s a part of. I call it drab, because, well, the wall is the color of muck. It would have looked better as a dark-chocolate, not this yellowy-brown refuse color.

I look at the two doors again. Both have brightly shining brass knobs, as if they have been polished recently. So well, in fact, that I can see myself: a long face, distorted from the bent reflection, large dark eyes under thin eyebrows, stick-straight hair. I reach for the nearest brass knob, my fingers curling around its cold, smooth finish. “Lela…” The voice comes again. Louder. Closer. I jerk away from the doors and whip around, but no one is behind me—just the unwavering muck-colored walls. “Find me…”

Frank! I try to call out, but no sound will exit my throat. No matter how hard I try, the only sound I seem to be able to make is the soft hiss of a strained breath. “Lela…” I turn again, frantically trying to find where the sound is coming from when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a movement. My eyes snap to the right. There, on the wall, letters are appearing as if written by an invisible hand.

The message reads:

Seriously? That’s it? It’s obvious that I need to pick a door. They are the only way in or out of this place. What isn’t so obvious is which door I should choose. Which one will lead me to Frank? I look at the writing on the wall for help, but the message doesn’t change. Thank you so much for helping, whoever you are, I make a rude gesture at the message. Find Frank. But… why? I pause with my hand outstretched toward the closest door. The blue door. Why find Frank? I rack my brain for the answer. Dream-like images dance across my mind to the tempo of a macabre waltz: A clock, counting down. School! I look down at my arm and pull up my sleeve. The clock. Where is the clock? I frantically pull up my other sleeve, but neither arm has any trace of the clock. What…? Never mind. I shake my head. Focus…

Blue eyes… the dazzling sky on a cloudless day. I decisively take a step forward, my hand outstretched. I reach for the brass knob, my fingers curling around its cold, smooth finish. I look closely at the door I’ve chosen, letting its bright blue fill my vision. Blue is the color of Frank’s eyes, so this has to be the right door. I take a deep breath and push.

Nothing happens.

I push again. Still nothing happens. I back away confused. Then, there, in the corner of my eye, the writing is appearing again:

Oh! I quickly pull. The door opens as smooth as silk and as silent as the night.

***

“Lela… Lela… LELA!”

I turn away from the ocean view as I catch my name on the wind. The sun is full on my face at first, but as I turn, its bright radiance warms the back of my head. Without the blinding light in my eyes, the clear blue sky stretches out in front of me as far as the eye can see.

I keep turning. Just off to the right is someone waving at me, beckoning for me to follow her. Or is it a him? I can’t tell. The gray clothing is unadorned and loose-fitting, hiding any curves, or lack of curves, that could have hinted at gender. They are moving away from me in disjointed steps as if the receding tide had tried to take shape. If it weren’t for the flapping cuts of fabric, I wouldn’t have been able to tell limbs from cloth.

“Hurry, Lela!” The figure’s harsh, whispery voice carries over the air as a shapeless arm beckons again, this time more urgently. But why? The sun is perfect and hot, filling me with a warmth that tugs at the corners of my mouth. I tip my head back and sigh. Why must I follow? A wave breaks on the rocks beneath me; the surf cools my face, and despite myself, I laugh. Why should I scurry down the beach and out of the sun? I can see the cave not far away. Its cold breath darts across the breeze like a snake and clings tightly to the parts where the sun doesn’t reach. Why would I—

But then a mechanical sound takes shape above the cheers of crashing waves: “Citizen 39071, report to CITI for processing. Citizen 39071, report to CITI for processing.” The monotone voice echoes around me, causing my legs to launch into action without any command. I run toward the figure still urgently beckoning to me. CITI… Why does that sound so familiar?

“Citizen 39071, report to CITI for processing. Citizen 39071, report to CITI for processing.” Are the echoes getting closer? Just a moment ago, I had been laughing at the sun… but now the sun seems to be laughing at me as the voice grates at my bones and screams in my head. I pick up speed and run with all my might away from that beach. Away from that ominous, lifeless voice and toward the safety of the dark cave.

The figure is waiting for me at the entrance now, and as I draw closer, I choke over my own breath at what I see. Everything this person is or was… is gone. Even their limbs have retreated into the shapeless cloth that now defines them. Only the eyes still hold stubbornly to their nonconforming features—deep-set and no doubt beautiful at some earlier point in time, but now only deep-set… and raw. The swirl of defiant color already fading to gray amidst tears.

“They won’t wait forever.” A crack of a mouth appears below the eyes but the voice that emerges is no longer whispery or harsh. It is soft, alluding to a woman once being the owner of the body before me. “You have to go quickly now. Follow the cave with your right hand always on the wall. Follow it wherever that wall leads. You will come to a room. In the room, there will be instructions. Follow whatever they say. Understand?”

I nod, still coughing and panting as though I’m not used to any physical exercise. I draw a breath to speak, but my words are choked by the lump in my throat before I can give them life. The woman just smiles kindly at me. “I know… I know. Your brother would be proud of you.” Two arms cleave from the fabric to wrap me in a quick, and surprisingly solid, hug. “Now go. Go before it’s too late.” Then she pushes me away from her and turns back toward the beach. I watch as she runs to where I had stood and then suddenly, she is gone. Like… poof… as if she had never been there to begin with. My heartbeat is rising to an alarming rate as I sense something behind me getting closer and closer. I glance quickly over my shoulder as I run into the cave, and into the darkness. The last thing I see is the cloudless blue sky.

Five minutes. Ten minutes. Half an hour later? I’m not sure how much time has passed when I finally find the room the woman had spoken of. It is well lit for a room in a cave, and it is well stocked. Shelves line the walls and a lone bench stands in the center of the room. On the bench is a slip of paper. I walk hesitantly over to it and pick it up. I start to read, but something red is twitching in the corner of my eye and I turn. It’s a small clock that had been hidden from view at the door. Its red numbers are ticking down: 00:03… 00:02… 00:01…

Suddenly a door opens to my left and a man walks through. I drop all my things and bolt for the nearest place to hide. But the man catches my arm. That’s when I see the badge on the side of his arm. What is it? I know I’ve seen it before. My lungs freeze.

“Hello, Lela.” The man says in a clear voice. “We have been waiting for you. My name is Frank. I’m here to make sure you get to safety and are able to deliver your valuable information about CITI.” That’s when I remember. The badge represents the Sect—the people who refuse to join CITI—and I start to breathe again. He looks me over with a critical eye, and suddenly I’m aware of the limp, gray cloth that hangs off my body. “Bastard,” Frank half whispers. “It’s starving people just for fun now… Here, wipe the mud off—” Frank hands me a cloth and turns away, but I grab onto him desperately. MUD. MUD. MUD. That word pounds like a hammer through my brain, making it hard to concentrate. But I must tell Frank what I know. I must tell him before it’s too late.

Frank turns to me with a quizzical eye. I open my mouth to tell him my information, but no matter how hard I try, the only sound I seem to be able to make is the soft hiss of a strained breath. His face softens as he pats my shoulder. “Don’t force it. Your voice has been badly damaged. You can tell me—”

Suddenly a noise fills the room—a shrieking noise that cuts into my ears.

Time slows down. Frank sweeps me off my feet in one swift, almost surgical motion and dumps me on the other side of the door he came through. “Remember, Lela,” his voice is forceful. “Remember what you have to do.” He looks behind him as the shriek comes again. He quickly turns back to me and mouths something, Find me. Then he slams the door shut. The lock clicks into place before I can even react, and I am left in darkness. Pitch black darkness.

Frank! My mind screams. I scramble for the door to try to re-open it, but then a blinding white light comes through the cracks around the door.

That’s the last thing I see. The last thing I remember: A black door with white trim.

***

“Remember, Lela. You must find Frank.”

My head jolts back as if I’ve been hit by a car, and a loud thud reverberates through the air. I’m breathing heavily, as if I’ve been running, but I’m in an empty room. It’s well lit, although there aren’t any visible lights. Where am I? I’m trying to recall how I have gotten into this room, but the only thing that races through my head is the shadow of a voice telling me to find Frank.

“Lela…” A faraway voice suddenly echoes from the walls surrounding me. It’s deep with a slight accent that I can’t place. I whip around, but no one is behind me. Instead, there is one door in front of me. It is pitch black with white trim. The white trim is striking because it sets the door apart from the drab wall. I call it drab, because, well, the wall is the color of… the color of… the color of a frothing, angry river just after a storm. That yellowy-brown frothing mud-water that roars its warning to anyone on the banks: DO NOT COME CLOSER. DO NOT CROSS. I WILL DROWN YOU. I WILL KILL YOU—

But it’s just a door. The only one left. This must be the one that will lead me to the voice.

I look at the door again. It has a brightly shining brass knob, as if it has been polished recently. So well, in fact, that I can see myself: a long face, distorted from the bent reflection, large dark eyes under thin eyebrows, stick-straight hair. I reach for the brass knob, my fingers curling around its cold, smooth finish. “Lela…” The voice comes again. Louder. Closer. I jerk away from the door and whip around, but no one is behind me—just the unwavering, angry-river-colored walls. “Find me…”

Frank! I try to call out, but no sound will exit my throat. No matter how hard I try, the only sound I seem to be able to make is the soft hiss of a strained breath. “Lela…” I turn again, frantically trying to find where the sound is coming from when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a movement. My eyes snap to the right. There, on the wall, letters are appearing as if written by an invisible hand. The message reads:

The door? Of course, the door! Why am I standing here like an idiot? It’s the only way in or out of this place, so it must lead to Frank. I slowly take a step forward, my hand outstretched; my fingers curl around its cold, smooth finish. I look at the door, its black form filling my vision. Black, like the night… I take a deep breath and pull.

Nothing happens.

I pull again. Still nothing happens. I back away confused. Then, there, in the corner of my eye, the writing is appearing again:

Oh! I quickly slide it to the left. The door opens as silent as the night and as smooth as silk.

***

“Lela… Lela… LELA!”

All around me is blackness. Pitch blackness. I try to move my hands, but with every twitch of my muscles, something digs deep into my soft flesh, making the skin burn. I try to open my mouth, but something is stuffed inside—a giant ball of cloth blocking my voice. I try to move my legs, but nothing seems to obey my command. My head is the only thing free, so I search for some light. Something… anything!

“She’s coming out of it, sir…”

“Good. Unmask her.”

Suddenly, the darkness is lifted, replaced with excruciating white light. I turn my head away from the light and toward the voice, but something cold and hard shoves my face forward.

“Lela Hawthorn,” a man states. His voice is clear and deep, with a slight accent I can’t place. “Soldier of the 5th parallel—”

I groan. My eyes slowly adjust to the light, and I can make out a table in front of me and, behind that, a silhouette of a man.

“—Uncover her mouth please.”

Two hands reach out from somewhere behind me and untie the cloth in my mouth. My freed tongue is dry and heavy. I want to ask for water, but my throat feels as if a thousand claws have sunk into it. “Lela Hawthorn,” the man starts again, but this time he places a metallic device on the table with a heavy thunk. It opens before me like a flower blossoming. “Soldier of the 5th parallel. Twenty-nine years old. Five feet seven inches…” he drones on—my age, my height, my date of birth, my hometown, my schooling, my family; where I ate every day, what I ate, and when I ate it; my relationships, my pets, my phone calls. Everything I have ever done in my life fills the air in front of me in three-dimensional data files.

Then a second thunk reverberates in the unfurnished room. “Lela Ravensworth. Age 16. Attends Catholic school. Uniform color: Tan. Chemistry teacher: Mrs. Horn. Biology teacher: Mr. Harrington—”

A third thunk, “Lela Fanworth. Age 21—”

“What is this?” I croak out finally. The rough, non-feminine sound surprises me. How long has it been now since I’ve heard my own voice?

“These were recovered from an enemy base just last night.” The man closes the petals of the flower, effectively ending the data transmission, and leans forward into the light. I gasp. It’s Frank, but his face is scarred and burned and twisted into a snarl. “How many doors do you have left, soldier?”

“Fra—”

Frank lunges over the table and slams my head against its metal surface. The coldness stings my cheek. CITI is on the badge on his arm. “I asked you a question, soldier. How many doors in the M.U.D room do you have left?”

Mud room? My mind races. Then, from some far off corner of some distant memory, I remember. M—multi. U—universe. D—dimension.

“Answer me soldier,” Frank snarls into my ear.

Soldier? …CITI …MUD …Who am I?

“I-I-I… I’m not a soldi—” My throat closes. You know that feeling deep inside of you when you know that something is wrong with your body? I have that feeling. Something is very wrong.

I sputter.

I choke.

I fight my restraints.

I fight Frank’s heavy hand on my head.

Then…

***

Frank snorts in her ear. “Useless.” He lets go of Lela’s head, but she doesn’t move. Her eyes stare unseeingly at the clock he had been blocking. 00:00:00:00…

“What happened” A man standing in the shadows steps forward. He is older in years, and has the look of intelligence and authority.

“Her clock ran out. Whoever was placed in this body has gone back to the M.U.D. room to try another door.”

Leila twitches, sending a hollow rattle through the room as her restraints hit the metal chair.

Both men freeze.

“Unless…” Frank trails off.

“Unless?” asks the older man.

“Unless this is her last door.”

***

I twitch. I gasp. My throat burns!

“Enough. Take her away.”

I can hear the men. And I can hear feet start to shuffle toward me, but I can’t see beyond the small pool of light.

“Mr. President, I realize that you are unused to this type of setting, and that it may seem upsetting to you. But we had an agreement that you wouldn’t interrupt.” The voice sounds tense.

The feet stop.

My body feels so heavy. I can’t move. I don’t want to move. I just want to sleep… slee…

“You agreed that I had full control here.”

That voice…

Frank, I must find Frank. I twitch. I remember that voice. I remember. Why is Frank one of them?

“It’s been three days, and look at her!” A graying man steps into the light. “She keeps coming back…”

The President’s shoulders are drooped as if he is yolked to an invisible burden. He matches my stare with eyes that have lived too long and yearn for rest. Which one of us is the prisoner here? Me… or him?

“…You said it yourself. She has no more doors; she can no longer return to her unit. She has no more transfers left and is stuck in this dimension forever. In my eyes, the threat that her presence created is gone.”

“Sir, she needs to be terminated. Permanently,” Frank says flatly. “We cannot waver from our policy regarding all enemy soldiers who transfer into our dimension. We can’t let them use us as a training ground for the wars they fight in their own universe.”

“How can she use this place as a training ground when she can’t return to her own time and place? Ever since we captured her three days ago, you have been trying to terminate her. You said that she had no more doors left. And, according to all previous encounters, a M.U.D. soldier with no more doors dies. So why isn’t she dead? Why does she keep returning here? For what purpose? I want to know why. Perhaps she isn’t a soldier, but something else entirely… Something new.”

The President’s eyes start to change. They are no longer old and worn, changing into cold thoughtfulness. Even their color is shifting. Every second they lose more pigment.

“Mr. Pres—”

“Stop the termination protocols,” the President cuts him off. “Prepare her for CITI processing. I want her integrated by morning.”

“You’re going to integrate a non-citizen into the CITI system? Don’t you realize how dangerous—”

“Do not question commands, soldier!” the President snaps. “I helped build CITI. I know what it can handle.”

“But, Sir—”

“Since CITI has integrated everyone on the planet, all wars have ceased. The CITI defense mechanism did its job because it was fed by both enemies and allies. This M.U.D. threat is no different. To protect us all from outside attacks, CITI needs to grow; it needs to be fed so that this dimension can be a peaceful place.”

My mind jumps even though my body is too heavy to move. CITI in this world hasn’t tasted alternate dimensions yet. It hasn’t connected to the CITI in other worlds. It’s not too late for this world! But I can’t be integrated! I’m the only one left who knows how to destroy CITI.

“Fr…an…k…” I croak. I must tell Frank what I know. To stop CITI before it’s too late. Before this dimension is destroyed like the others. “Fr…an…” My throat burns so much…

The President frowns. “The first thing I want on my desk is how and why she knows my top intelligence commander, and I want to know who she is in this world.”

“But, sir, this woman—”

“Is dead in her world.” The President smiles ominously. “In ours, her life is just beginning.”


Esther Clark is a neuroscientist turned writer whose bio is currently in a test tube undergoing experiments.