QUANTUM SHORTS 2017: SHORTLISTED, YOUTH CATEGORY
Elise. Esile. If you put our names together, it would make a palindrome.Our parents must have been true visionaries because our names could not be more apt for us.We are identical twins,and when we say identical, we mean even we can't tell each other apart sometimes.Occasionally, it feels like "we" are actually an "I".Elise is Esile. Esile is Elise.It's like we are two halves of the same whole. Thats only explanation we can think of for the Bond we have .Aunt says that we "use telepathy" but that's not true.It runs deeper than simple telepathy.Without communicating physically or mentally , we immediately know what the other is doing, thinking or feeling. In essence, we are always and never alone.
Aunt was actually our nanny until she became our guardian when our parents 'disappeared' during The Accident.Rule number one with Aunt: Never let anyone know about the Bond.
We can't remember our parents . Elise has tried. Esile has tried . Aunt says it's the trauma from The Accident that makes us unable to remember anything before it,but we think otherwise.The picture doesn't trigger any memories or even feelings for us.They are strangers to us, the man in the white labcoat with spectacles that magnify his eyes twofold and the woman who looks like she ironed and starched herself before posing for a picture. We have tried asking Aunt what exactly happened on the night of The Accident, but she just tearfully told us that our parents were really very good people, which is a very annoying way to dodge a question, in our opinion.However , we were only eight , and in no position to challenge a middle aged woman with a temper that was even shorter than us.
Now that we are ten, we have realised that people find it disturbing when we behave in a certain way ('completely synchronised' is the exact phrase). At school, we were put into separate classes ,but it was not a very efficient arrangement; Esile might have a Maths lesson, and naturally, Elise would know about every aspect of it but still have to take it.Having this forbidden information frightened the teachers and led to Aunt being called down to the principal's office because we were under suspicion of peeking at the teachers' lesson plans (which is a rather asinine conclusion to jump to).When Aunt came out after a long talk with the principal, she looked grim. Elise gulped. Esile swallowed nervously.
"How is she going to punish us , I wonder?" we thought . Breaking rule number one would warrant at least a month's worth of grounding.She didn't understand that we were fundamentally incomplete on our own, and that we were perpetually connected by the Bond, whether she wanted it or not . But instead of punishing us as soon as we reached home , she collapsed onto the sofa , shaking with tears. When she gets like this, its best to leave her alone , so we slowly backed away, thankful for Aunt's tears. Suddenly she grabbed Esile's arm (or was it Elise's?)and pulled her close . Of course Elise (or was it Esile ? ) was not about to leave her sister with an emotionally unstable person , so we were both present , both physically and mentally when Aunt told us the truth about The Accident .
"I'm so sorry for lying to you all this time , my girls ," said Aunt," but your parents—"
Huh? That's kind of strange.We can't remember anything she said after that.It feels like we just woke up from a weird dream.
Huh? This feels familiar somehow.Extremely familiar.Like we have both physically experienced it.A true sense of déjà vu .
Why is Elise in a hospital bed?
Why is Esile in a hospital bed?
Why are we in a hospital?
We leap out of our beds as one , a slight headache, but none the worse for wear . A quick scroll through each other's memories affirm that we don't have a clue of what exactly is happening.We are in a room so white it hurts to look at the walls for too long .We edge closer to the glaringly white door.Suddenly, there's a shout.We simultaneously freeze ,look at each other, then glance back at the door.A conversation with raised voices was taking place near our room, and both parties are now agitated enough that their voices easily float in.
"Do you realise what you are doing, Steve?This is human experimentation! It's WRONG! Why didn't you just give up when you failed five years ago?"
"You don't understand . I didn't fail. The entanglement was a success"
"SUCCESS MY FOOT!You failed in my eyes the moment you crossed ethical boundaries just so you could be more famous than the average scientist "
"Do you not realise what this means to the future of science?To the whole new possibilities that could be opened up if the research is continued?"
"I don't care.I quit"
We flinch as the stomping footsteps grow louder and louder , sighing in relief as it fades away.We strain our ears to eavesdrop on another bit of the conversation , but this time, the hushed tones are too soft for our ears.
We just catch a "You can count on me sir" before the door is pushed open unexpectedly.We jump.Standing over us is Aunt.Or is it?Her eyes look like Aunt's.Her mouth too.But what is it about her...? As the door closes we catch a glimpse of a man with eyes that look enlarged hurrying away.
"Hello girls!How are you? You suffered a pretty bad fall you know,"
We glance at each another and agreed in a split second to ask The Question.For her answer, there are only two possibilities:Yes or No.But only one correct answer.
"Are you really our Aunt?"
She smiles widely.A little too widely.
"Yes,Of course I am!"