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The howling City wind tore at Indigo’s long fleece scarf. The scarf was her favorite. She had made it for herself along with so many of her treasures. It was electric green and about as fashionable as a Hawaiian shirt in a Scottish winter. The contrast between it and her long, thick black parka was hilarious. Her black sweatpants had nothing to make them recognizable other than the fact that they were tall. They still barely reached the tops of her high-top scarlet Converse sneakers. The white shirt she was wearing was completely hidden under the fur collar of her jacket, along with both her necklaces. Indigo wore no jewelry other than them. Under the heavy woolen cap she was wearing low on her head; her eyes and hair were barely visible. Even so, Indigo felt that she would have looked better in glasses, though they would have hidden even the faint glimmer of her eyes from the world. Everyone else in her family wore either glasses or contact lenses, but she had no need for either, as much as she would have liked to need glasses. She had always liked the way people looked when wearing them.
Today Indigo was on her usual trip to Covent Garden to shop. The Tube station was only a short walk from her house near Portobello Road, but in the icy wind and rain it felt like miles. The London gusts tore through the streets like a flock of pigeons to where they hooked their claws into Indigo’s parka and threatened to take it with them. Between them and the bitter cold, her eyes were streaming by the time she finally reached the sanctuary of the station.
The gray cement floor and tiled walls were filthy and the place was packed with people, but at least it was warm. The crowds were a necessary evil if Indigo wanted to get any distance in this horrendous weather. She was lucky that it was Monday afternoon and only the tourists were about. They all seemed to be heading to the main attractions and not taking the Circle Line in the direction she was heading. When the train pulled in, it was easy for her to find a car with less than ten people.
Indigo was peculiar in many habits, most of them caused in some way by her need to write. Everywhere she went, she looked for places, people, things, to add to her stories. Anything at all, from the song on the latest ASDA commercial to that little clay griffin that looked ready to leap from the pottery shop shelf into glorious eagle flight. So when Indigo took her seat in the train car, her hazel eyes scanned her fellow passengers automatically.
There was a tall man in jeans and a heavy coat that not-quite covered his “Visit Detroit” t-shirt. He was obviously a tourist, not the usual sort, admittedly-unless he had gotten on the wrong train. His hair was a boring sort of blond; he had styled it so that it stuck up in a most peculiar way. Indigo thought he looked like he’d just rolled out of a particularly uncomfortable bed.
The next person her eye fell upon was a short broad business man who was clearly very rich and was reading today’s Times with a bored expression on his round face. The instant Indigo saw him, she took him for a politician, a guess that turned out to be quite close to the truth. He struck Indigo as boring as well; she had seen hundreds of men like him before and none of them would fit in in her fiction,-except possibly as villains, but she had plenty of those from other sources anyway.
The third person was a very normal looking man of completely standard build with the usual well-groomed tupelo-honey hair. The plain long jacket and trousers he wore were typical as well, if quite tattered and dirty. He looked utterly unremarkable, so Indigo moved to the next passenger almost at once.
The next passenger was certainly interesting, if annoying. She was a short girl even for being perhaps a year or two younger than Indigo. Her hair fell in massive brown curls that had been badly dyed blonde. She barely came up to the other teen’s waist and she seemed to have made up for it by wearing as much makeup as possible. Perfume came into that too; Indigo could smell her strongly from halfway across the car. She wrinkled her noise against the stench and tried not to sneeze. The younger girl looked about to burst out of the ridiculously small shirt and pants into which she had crammed herself. Earrings like the rings through the noses of bulls dangled from her tiny ears, just asking to be yanked. An obnoxiously large fake diamond glittered in the girl’s tomato nose. The equally phony gold necklace she wore may have spelled out her name, but Indigo couldn’t read it. If it did say the girl’s name, Indigo felt that it was remarkably appropriate as a dog tag. Just looking at the ridiculous teenager, Indigo hated her.
The teenager’s companion looked much less obnoxious. He certainly didn’t seem to be traveling with the girl of his own volition, judging from his expression, and for that Indigo liked him. He was a short, skinny guy with neat black hair that hung limply level with his ears. His dark green eyes were wide and kept flicking towards the girl beside him as if he would much rather be seated next to a Siberian tiger. A tight black coat (which suited him even if it did make him look a bit vampiric) covered most of his outfit. The ends of some very tattered black slacks and a pair of leather boots were visible beneath it. The girl was holding one of his slender hands in a grip that almost turned her knuckles white. He looked quite pained about the whole situation.
The final two passengers were the ones that easily interested Indigo the most. One was an exceptionally tall man of about twenty. He was sitting slouched so far down into his seat that the bobbing of his head to the music his iPod played was almost unnoticeable. His hair was light brown, almost the color of Indigo’s, only a shade lighter. It curved pleasantly around his handsome face, but there was something about him that was frightening. It may have been his outfit, which consisted of a trench coat, black cargo pants, studded steel-toe boots, and a jet earring- or it could have been due to the fact that Indigo recognized the rhythm he was nodding to. Whatever the case, the man didn’t seem to have noticed Indigo (not that many people did) and for that she was thankful.
The final passenger on whom Indigo’s keen eyes lit sent a shiver of recognition down her spine the moment she saw her. The woman immediately across the car from Indigo could have been her clone. Or, more specifically, the woman she was cloned from, for this tall lady was at least thirty; perhaps a little older and Indigo was only seventeen. Her hair was dark brown, exactly the color that Indigo’s mother’s hair had been. Indigo currently looked much like her mother had at her age, so it seemed likely that her hair would eventually become that dark as well. Other than that and the obvious age differences, it was like looking in a mirror. The stranger’s features were exactly the same as Indigo’s, though her own features were not visible because she was so bundled in sopping wet winter clothes. The girl saw the faint slant to the older woman’s hazel eyes, the only sign of that touch of Inuit heritage like the faintest curl of smoke that tells of an extinguished fire. Indigo almost jumped in surprise when she noticed the trace of a tiny scar across her double’s eyebrow. It was barely noticeable on her, but Indigo had one exactly like it in the same place. Under her scarf and red wool hat, Indigo knew that the woman could not see their resemblance to each other.
It was only then that Indigo noticed what her “twin” was wearing. A gorgeous long green-suede cloak flowed elegantly around the woman’s much thinner body. Indigo hated wearing skirts and this seemed to hold true for her other self, which was seated casually in a pair of flashy bright cobalt bell-bottoms with a pattern of real amethysts on their flared ankles. Her burgundy trainers were Cons just like Indigo’s, only the woman’s were much more worn. The stranger’s loose shirt bore the words “My fandom travels in time and space” in bold black lettering. Clearly, she shared Indigo’s favorite series.
Unlike Indigo, this woman wore jewelry, and lots of it. Rings of silver or platinum bedecked every one of her fingers, but did not deduct from their slender appeal. Three necklaces wreathed her neck, two of them the same as the pair that Indigo was wearing. The smallest and least noticeable was an intricate Celtic cross. Beyond that hung a sleek silver and blue necklace with a pendant like the eye of a silver dragon. The final necklace was little more than a black cord, but from it hung the most beautiful pendant yet: a platinum dragon prowling over its treasured sapphire with such ferocity and independence that it was incredible to think that the thing was merely sculpted metal. The woman also had a dangling silver and peridot earring per ear, but what Indigo found most conjured her envy was the fact that her double had glasses.
Not just any glasses either. The woman wore impossibly sleek half-moon spectacles. Their frames were platinum studded with minute amethysts. The combination of glass and metal was like moonlight made solid. Through it, her eyes took on a wit and power not unlike that of the dragon pendant. The glasses showed that she was not a woman to be trifled with. The stranger was everything Indigo herself wished to be and, as she would come to find out, even more.
All these observations only took a few seconds and at that point the train set off with the usual jolt. As it always did, the Underground ride began at a slow pace, but it rapidly sped up until the unevenness of the tracks settled into a steady swaying. Indigo was so used to this that she hardly noticed it. She did notice, however, when the train came to an inexplicable halt. A second after that, the power went out. Indigo heard the rustling of fabric and newspaper pass very close by her twice. Between the soft rustlings, there was a much louder sound, one that Indigo had only heard before in movies. Bang.
At first, when the emergency lighting blazed into fiery existence, it seemed that nothing was different. Then the first screams started. The tourist and the gaudy girl burst into panic straight off. The thin dark-haired boy went even paler than he already was and turned slightly green. The plain-looking man wore a similar expression. The twenty-year-old with the iPod only looked up when Indigo’s double elbowed him and then he looked over at the spectacle with little more than mild annoyance. Indigo herself had never seen such a gory image and beheld it in grim fascination. There was no doubt that it would end up in one of her stories. It drew her gaze in the same way as a particularly gruesome car crash. Indigo’s double stared at it with surprise, but her expression soon changed to a sort of begrudging acceptance. She took charge.
It was obvious what had happened- that was what made it all the more nerve-wracking for many of the passengers. The rich business man to Indigo’s right had been brutally murdered. Indigo’s double and the twenty-year-old were closer to him than she was, but even they were still several feet from the body. It was lucky that no one was closer than them. Someone in the small train car had a concealed gun, probably a sawed-off shotgun if the damage was anything to go by. Everything within a meter radius of the body was red with gore. There was simply nothing left of the businessman’s head, but the rest of him was still, horribly, there. Even from nearly ten feet away, Indigo could smell the stench of blood; it managed to drown out the repulsive perfume.
The teenage girl down to Indigo’s left still had not fallen silent. She had reached the point of hysterical screaming when she began to sound like a scratched CD. The tourist had settled down into pathetic whimpering that was more annoying than if he had just kept screaming. The noise was clearly getting to Indigo’s double. “SHUT UP!” she roared over the chaos.
The two fell silent and everyone turned to look at her. She had gotten to her feet and now was standing in the center of the car with more power and authority than Indigo would have thought possible. The glasses quadrupled that effect. From her strong stance alone, all the passengers knew that she was in charge. She seemed to sense the question that several people were longing to ask her, for she said in that calm commanding tone that Indigo had always wanted to have, “I am Tish Len. I’d add a title to that, but I don’t have one. Though it sounds cliché, it’s the truth: as far as official records go, I don’t exist.” Her eyes flicked about the crowd and she added, “and we appear to have a murder mystery on our hands.”
Indigo almost smiled when her double said that. Tish was everything that Indigo would love to be. The woman was commanding, clever, and to top it all she wore glasses. Indigo knew from the calm look in her eyes that things like this happened to Tish every day. A life of adventure was exactly what Indigo longed for more than anything else in the universe, and it was apparently what Tish had. But true adventure seemed impossible in modern times. Murder was mundane now; there were no stage coach robberies or daring duels. That sort of excitement seemed to have gone the way of the mammoth with the invention of the internet. Detectives did little more than put the pieces of the usual puzzles together; there wasn’t true action there. Modern adventure involved technology like bombs and computers. The only place that Indigo could find the kind of life she wanted, the kind of life Tish lived, was between the worn pages of her favorite old books.
After a few moments of silence, the plain-looking man pointed out, “Well you seem convinced that it was one of us, and on top of that you seem weirdly eager to investigate. How can we be sure that you didn’t kill him?” He was, it seemed, braver than the others; he locked Tish in a glare that could have melted glass. His suspicious nature was painfully obvious both from his boldness and from the doubting look on his thin face. This was a man who didn’t trust anyone.
For the first time, Indigo spoke up. Her voice sounded much braver than she felt, but it was muffled so by her scarf that no one noticed how close it was to Tish’s. “No, it couldn’t be her or him”- Indigo nodded at the man with the iPod –“before and after the gunshot, I felt something pass by, so it had to be someone farther away from the businessman than I am.”
The girl with the door-pull earrings yelped out in a panic, “Are you accusing me?! ‘Cause I didn’t do anything! How do we know you’re not lying?! How do we know you didn’t kill him?! How can we be sure that you’re not just leading us on?!”
She would have gone on, but Tish snapped, “Shut it!” The girl fell silent at once when that draconian glare turned her way. “She wasn’t accusing you specifically of anything, just stating a fact. No need to get so defensive. And by the way, with that sort of reaction, you’ve just flagged yourself as our number one suspect.” She accentuated this point with a little raise of her eyebrow that seemed to say, “Now do you see why you should use that American Miranda Right?”The affronted expression on the teenager’s face almost made Indigo laugh.
There followed several minutes of silence in which no one was sure what to say before Tish turned and in a very calm, conversational tone asked the tourist, “So, who are you? Have you been here before?”
He seemed to have sunk into a sort of horrified stupor and when she spoke he was visibly jolted out of it. His brilliant blue eyes were quite wide, seemingly with fear. He answered her question in a rapid Californian stutter, “I-I’m Jeffry R-Rowan. Y-yes. Yeah, I-um-I h-haven’t b-been to London before-haven’t l-left the country a’tall before, a-actually” Without pausing for breath, he added, “I-I think I g-got on the wrong t-train-actually-”
“’Kay,” cut in Tish, “that rules you out.” It wasn’t clear whether she meant this in earnest or was being sarcastic. On one hand, if Jeffry was telling the truth, he’d have had no motive for murder or even the courage to commit the crime, it seemed. On the other hand, this was so very obvious that any sociopath who was a good actor could easily be pretending to be a tourist to avoid suspicion and thus get away with the crime. It was difficult to decide which was true.
With the same strange gaze that made her hazel eyes seem to look straight through people to see their very souls, Tish turned her eyes on the plain man. “And who are you?”
As expected, given his earlier boldness, he didn’t even blink under that fierce gaze. Smoothly, he answered, “My name is Maxwell Todd. I’ve worked as a horse breeder for eighteen years now.” That did explain the dingy state of his clothes, Indigo noted. Tish nodded thoughtfully.
“And you? Why aren’t you two in school?” Tish directed this question at the two younger teenagers. Predictably, the girl took the same defensive attitude.
“Yo! Why you being all suspicious and stuff? We’re not doing anything. We have off today.” She yanked her skinny companion towards her again (he had been trying to scoot away from her). “I’m Ursula Audrey!” As an afterthought, she added, “and this is Tim Jones.” She drew Tim even closer and he made a pleading “help me” face. The situation reminded Indigo of her youngest cousin and his mother’s cat, which avoided him at all costs for similar reasons. The kid loved animals; he just didn’t know how to show it yet. The expression Tim was wearing was identical to the one that black cat wore whenever her cousin got a hold of him.
“Not that it matters much, but couldn’t he have answered me himself?” Tish inquired.
Without pausing, Ursula responded, “Nah, he’s mute.” This was confirmed when Tim signed something to Tish in a somewhat embarrassed way. Tish nodded and the explanation seemed to pass judgment.
Tish started to say something to everyone in general, but Maxwell Todd interrupted her. “Hey- you haven’t asked those two any questions yet. How do we know that girl wasn’t lying?” He gestured at Indigo and the man with the iPod.
Tish turned to look at Maxwell. “He’s with me, and I know he didn’t do it.” Maxwell nodded meaningfully at Indigo. “And she didn’t kill the man,” Tish explained, “and she isn’t lying, because she wouldn’t have defended me if she was the murderer.” It was a very logical point, Indigo thought. Why draw attention to yourself if you’ve got a perfectly good scapegoat right there?
Ursula spoke up again there, “But how do we know that all three of you aren’t working together then? Murderers United or something?”
Tish’s companion apparently had been listening to everything over his music, for he jumped in at that point in a rich Scottish brogue. “If we were working together, you’d all be dead. Think about it if it’s not too strenuous for that tiny brain of yours: three of you, three of us; if we’d killed him, we’d just turn ‘round, kill ye, plant a gun on one of yer bodies and say that person went nuts and we shot him- it ain’t hard to do.” The ease with which he said this left all three other people starting at him uneasily until Maxwell spoke up again.
“Well, that may be, but I for one would still like to be sure that she definitely has no motive- knowing that she’s as sane as the rest of us wouldn’t be bad either.”
Tish turned to Indigo. She sighed softly. “You heard him, who are you?” She sounded reluctant to ask; it might have been because she knew that Indigo’s answer would have no relevance in the goings on, but Indigo felt that her reluctance was because she already knew who Indigo was. The girl remembered the old legend that when one sees one’s doppelganger, one’s life will soon end. But who was the doppelganger?
Indigo felt very strange as she took her scarf and hat off. Somehow she felt that she had to do that before explaining, Tish was meant to see the resemblance between the two of them. She froze. No one missed the way Indigo and Tish looked so similar. They could have been sisters, but they weren’t. Indigo had no siblings. Yet again, everyone fell into a curious silence.
To break the peculiar tension, Indigo spoke in a voice so like Tish’s, “I am Indigo Ventura. No, I don’t live around here; I’m on vacation- my school gets out earlier for winter break.” She clammed up at that point and stared resolutely at her shoes. She had never liked saying things in public and even those two sentences, now that all eyes were on her, had come out in a rapid stampede-of-giraffes babble.
After a few more silent moments, Tish snapped back into her “all-business” mindset. “Okay,” she barked out, “obviously someone here had a reason to kill this man, so now we’d best deal with that.” She turned sharply and stalked over to examine the body. She was quite careful to keep out of the mess. The man had fallen in a strange way that left the ID card he had been wearing visible and almost blood-free. Tish studied it for a moment, before abruptly standing up. “Tell me, why did the power go out?” she asked. “Hmm?” Tish purred, “Any thoughts? Any thoughts at all?” The brisk padding of her Converse trainers was like the cogs of her mind turning. “Anyone?” she inquired in a tone that showed that she was onto something. “This train is stopped and the power’s out, that just doesn’t happen in real-life murders, in murder mysteries yes, but not here. Does anyone know why that might be?”
No one answered. In that same confident voice, Tish went on, “Let’s see, looking for a motive, we’ve got a train with no power or motion and a dead transportation worker.” She glanced at the body, “A dead rich transportation worker, by the look of it. You think he might’ve had anything to do with those layoffs of transport engineers that have been in the paper lately?” Her point was a very good one, but no one in the car looked nervous. Yet. “I’d say we found our motive.” Tish said dryly.
She had been standing still for a few seconds, but now she set off towards the crowded end of the car again. “So,” she purred, “who here has a connection with the transportation system? Any Underground workers here?” Her eyes scanned the crowd. “Ex-train drivers?” Her keen eyes passed over the tourist. “Children of Underground workers?” She glanced at the teenagers. “Speak up, I’ll find out anyway...”
She turned and circled around in front of her suspects. She stopped in front of the bratty teenager first. “Well, I know you’re lying straight off the bat- no school in the district is closed today. I make a hobby of track school closings simply because I like to avoid bratty teens like yourself. You’re just playing hooky. And I’m willing to bet that you dragged Tim out of school with you. You really need to learn that you can’t always get what you want, don’t you?” She almost laughed at the end of that speech. “But would either of you really be able to commit murder? It’s a possibility, but I doubt it. Transportation worker’s children? Might be. Even so, you’re just teenagers. I know what adolescents can be capable of, but I really don’t think either of you’d have the heart to kill. You’re not my main suspects anyway.”
She spun towards the Californian. “Did you see the sun bathers on Ocean Beach last July?”
He jerked back in confusion and frowned, “T-there aren’t any sun b-bathers on Ocean Beach in July- i-it’s all f-fog there then.”
Satisfied with his answer, Tish finally rounded on Maxwell. “And you. Horse breeder, I take it you ride?”
“Of course.”
“Do you always lead your horse from directly in front of it, like you’re supposed to?”
“Yes.”
The instant Maxwell said this, Tish smiled and everyone knew that it was the wrong answer. “The correct answer was `no’” she purred, despite the fact that she was speaking to a murderer, she still seemed to be in total command of the situation. “Horses can’t see directly in front of them. If you stood there, they’d spook and no real horse breeder would ever do that. My guess is that you were one of the people who got laid-off, thanks to Mr. Body there.” She nodded at the corpse.
In one smooth motion, Maxwell stood. From the folds of his jacket, he drew the sawed-off shot gun and leveled it at Tish. “The only thing you missed is my part-time acting job. Too bad for you I never bothered to look up actual horse trivia.” With a soft click, he released the safety.
Tish backed up against the plastic of the train’s wall. In her eyes, there was something like fear, but Indigo thought that, in reality, it was something entirely different. Maxwell stepped closer, attempting to corner Indigo’s double. The tourist and Ursula started whimpering again. Tim looked petrified.
Tish shrank away into the corner farthest from Indigo, causing Maxwell to turn his back on the right side of the train car and all its occupants. It was at that moment that Indigo realized what Tish was trying to do. It was also when Tish’s incredibly tall companion rose to his feet. For a split second, Indigo got a good look at his eyes in the dim emergency lighting. They were amber, like the African sun. The man crossed the distance to Maxwell in two graceful feline strides. One of his hands reached out, tore the gun from Maxwell Todd’s hand and threw it to the floor with a clatter. His other hand wrapped around Maxwell’s throat, pulling him away from Tish as if he were as light as cotton candy. Maxwell looked horrified, and this time Indigo didn’t think he was acting.
Tish spoke up: “You aren’t the only one who can act.” There was no trace of fear in her whatsoever, so what she meant by this was clear. “Meet Leo Saffron, you should never have let him out of your sight, but lucky for me, you didn’t know that.” Leo was easily over six feet tall; he was probably a little over seven by Indigo’s guess. He looked very similar to a lion, now that she had a good look at him. His brownish-blonde hair stuck out lightly like a mane. Leo’s amber eyes were framed by a round, feline face. Indigo could almost imagine that he had whiskers. She happened to realize that she had never actually seen Leo’s hands- he’d kept them hidden in his long sleeves all this time. Still, the lions she had seen in zoos were very fat and Leo was almost too thin.
“Okay then,” barked Tish, “Someone call the cops so they can put this loony away and get us out of this subway!”
Everything became very chaotic after that. Needless to say, the cops arrived with exceptional haste when they heard that it was a murder, and with six witnesses there wasn’t much investigating left to be done. Even so, Indigo, Tim, Ursula, and Jeffry all had to answer lots of questions. Leo and Tish somehow managed to slip away in the commotion.
Two hours later, when the police finally let her go home, Indigo stepped back out into the atrocious weather of a London winter. Even through the pouring rain, the howling wind, and the fabric of her scarf and hat, Indigo could see Tish and Leo walking towards her from some unknown hiding place. What surprised Indigo the most about that day’s events was that she had never really been frightened though it all. The thing was, she had always wanted adventure. Until then she had never been able to get it. It had seemed untenable, actually, so when she finally found it, she took it, danger and all.
Tish pulled up on one side of her and Leo kept pace on the other. Somehow, it seemed clear to Indigo that Leo was going to leave them alone quite soon. “Leo, what time is it?” Tish asked. It struck Indigo as a somewhat random question until she saw Leo pull up his sleeve to look at the shiny Rolex strapped to the golden-furred wrist just above his paw. She glimpsed shining silvery black claws flex before the sleeve came down again.
“Two fifteen,” Leo answered. He smiled to reveal pointed feline fangs, “Are we going, then?”
Tish nodded, “In a few minutes.” Leo nodded as well and set off in his usual graceful walk.
Tish waited until he was out of sight before she took off her glasses. Instantly, she seemed less commanding. Her eyes lost the laser quality that the glasses gave them. Now she was just a normal person, it seemed. In her hazel eyes, Indigo could now see all the emotion, all the weariness and pain that that wild life had brought her. Despite it all, Indigo still wanted eyes like that.
“You’re tired of it,” Indigo asked Tish, “aren’t you?” Tish sighed and-for the umpteenth time that day- nodded.
“My life is always like this. Disaster after disaster and I always end up playing hero. Every time.” She looked down a few inches at Indigo and stated thoughtfully, “It’s a very dangerous life. Personally, I just want to stay here. From the look of you, things like that don’t happen often. Believe me, this is one of the more peaceful worlds I’ve been to, but if you really do want excitement...”
“How do you know I’m not content here?” asked Indigo in the same thoughtful tone.
Tish laughed softly. “You’re my double. I knew that as soon as I got a good look at you and you probably knew it as soon as you saw me. I hate adventure; all I’ve ever wanted was to live a nice calm life somewhere peaceful. If you’re my opposite, I know that’s the last thing you’d settle for. And my life gave me everything I need to live the life you’ve always wanted, just as yours has given you what I wish I had. As soon as I figured that out, I had a plan.” She held out a thin chain with one shiny platinum object dangling from it. It was clearly a key, though it was nothing like any key Indigo had ever seen.
Indigo took it carefully, cherishingly, as if it was the last bluebird egg on earth. Could this key unlock the sort of life she had always longed for? “Come.” Tish said, and she set off along the same cobblestoned side street down which Leo had disappeared. They stopped beside a large, secluded square of grass. In the center of the lush green was a curving, shining, thing of metal. It looked like abstract art; that was probably what most people assumed it was. Almost hidden in the smooth silvery side nearest to Indigo was a tiny hole. Somehow she knew that that was the keyhole. She pushed the key into it as if both were made of the most fragile glass in the world and the slightest mistake would shatter them. Indigo held her breath. She turned the key.
A door opened smoothly from the cool metal. It swung outward in welcome. The white walls came to a peak over to the far end of the ship, giving the room a lop-sided egg shape. There was no lighting; the walls themselves seemed to glow. Various consoles and control stations were randomly placed about the inside. The carpeting was rich black wool. Indigo noted that the ship had a most wonderful smell, like ice-cream on a warm summer day. Leo was already inside. He barely looked up from the book he was reading when she stepped inside the shining spaceship and Indigo wondered if Tish had told him what she was planning.
Tish gave Indigo a ten-second summary of how everything worked and stepped back outside. She was always smiling now, as was Indigo. Both their dreams were about to come true. Tish put one hand to her forehead in a salute. “Enjoy it!” she called.
“I will!” yelled Indigo, snapping off a salute of her own just before she shut the door and throttled the ship into a rapid teleport. In an instant they landed and Indigo all but tripped over herself in her haste to open the door and explore.
The scent of the breeze that rushed into the spaceship when that peculiar hatch slid open was like nothing Indigo could have imagined. She looked out, got her first glimpse of somewhere totally different from her old home and realized that she had definitely not lied.
Indigo’s mind finally figured out what that legend had meant. Indigo had met her doppelganger. Indigo’s life had ended. It was all true. The old Indigo was gone, for the old Indigo could never have traveled like this. The new Indigo could and the new Indigo would, nothing would keep her from doing so and she knew that that was truth. She could never go back to that life of boredom and peace now, but the doors had just opened on a completely new, totally unexplored and infinite life for that new Indigo to live. And, like she had told Tish Len, she was going to enjoy it.





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