You can read Episodes 1 and 2, via Identical’s own page HERE, or from the menu above.
Previously, on ‘Identical’
Ciska, riding her bicycle along a lonely road, takes shelter from a nasty storm with a slightly confused Meg, whose car’s been stolen, and subsequently found with a dead woman at the wheel.
Tamsin Lightsmith, of the RCMP, informs Meg that not only was the dead woman wearing the exact same clothes as her, they look like each other as well.
The Clues are in. Mystery abounds. Just exactly what’s going on?
Meg stared at the face on the photo. Even in death it was hers.
“She can’t be my twin. I don’t have any female relatives. Only child, remember?” She said, refusing to accept the evidence right in front of her.
Tamsin reached across the table, grabbed her hands and turned them over. “What about these then?”
Meg refused to look at the tiny white lines on her wrists. Fifteen years had faded neither scars nor memories.
Ciska leaned in. “What about them?”
Tamsin frowned and ran her thumb across the scar on Meg’s left arm. “These are different.”
Meg pulled her hands out of Tamsin’s grasp. “ You just haven’t seen them in a while.”
“That’s not what I meant. Our friend in the photo has scars in exactly the same place, but …”
“But they’re different.” Ciska finished.
Meg rubbed the white marks Tamsin’s grip left on her arms, as thankfully, the conversation turned away from her.
“How could you possibly know that?” Tamsin said to Ciska. “Don’t tell me it was just a lucky guess.”
Ciska paused before answering. “I’d like to be sure before I answer, even then you won’t like what I’ve got to say.”
“Let me see the car.”
“Not possible,” Tamsin said.
Meg watched Tamisn lean back with a familiar arrogance she displayed when she thought she’d scored points in an argument. Meg doubted whether Ciska would even bother playing.
“It’s against regulations.”
Meg rolled her eyes.
Ciska gathered the scattered photos, slid them into the envelope and handed it back to Tamsin.
“That’s different,” Tamisn muttered. “Meg’s family.”
“And I’m an outsider who spent the night with your ex, who you still have rather confused feelings for, and, you want proof my intent is pure.” Ciska pulled a soft leather bag out of her pocket and spilled the contents onto the table.
Meg smiled to herself. Game, set, and match to Ciska. She picked up a few of the small objects. They felt warm, from Ciska’s body heat she supposed. Some of the pieces looked like a child’s alphabet block set in miniature. Some were weird asymmetric shapes, others were carved into runic letters. “They’re beautiful.” She handed them back to Ciska. “What are they made of?”
“Those ones are all sorts of different metals,” Ciska said, sorting the pieces into separate piles. “And these are wood, this one’s amber, not sure what these are, probably just river rocks. These two are bone. The rest are magnets.” She started placing them in her hand, creating a three dimensional shape. “The trick is, to use the magnets to hold the whole thing together.” She opened her hand and the shape fell apart.
“This is your proof?” Tamsin taunted.
Meg shushed her.
Ciska ignored them both. “I see things. This helps me concentrate.” She placed a few pieces in her hand again.
Meg glared at Tamsin’s scowl then watched as Ciska built another, different shape out of the pieces. “You mean you can see forward, into the future?”
“More like sideways. Into the ‘now’. I see things as they are, but someplace else.”
Meg laughed thinking she’d solved a riddle. “That’s how you knew where everything was in my kitchen.”
“I’d love that to be true, but no. Kitchens are laid out depending on the quirks of the main cook and bottle-washer, and whether they’re right or left handed. I’m also good at reading people.” Ciska picked up the magnetic pieces and clicked them into place. She placed the strange shape on the table and gently let it stand on its tiny base. It looked like something a 3D printer would create from an Escher blueprint. “You got a pen?”
Meg rummaged around in her bag until Tamsin flipped one out of her uniform pocket, clicked it and handed it to her.
Ciska stared at the shape. “Write these numbers down. 357 … 604 … a 5 or a 6 … or an 8 or 9, maybe 0. You got that?”
“Yes,” Meg hasitly scribbled the numbers down on the pad Tamsin also supplied. “Anything else?”
“All these numbers all have something to do with the car.” Ciska closed her eyes briefly. “And … 6:13.” She flicked a fingernail against the shape. The pieces clinked against each other and cascaded onto the table.
“These numbers prove nothing.” Tamsin said, but Meg knew her heart wasn’t in the denial. She touched Tamsin’s arm lightly.
“I think we should go see my car.”
Tamsin paid her bill and walked with Ciska and Meg across the street to Philby Connelly’s wrecking and impound yard, gas station and repair shop.
She signed for the car keys and backed out of Philby’s tiny office leaving Meg to commiserate with Philby about his grandmothers propensity for burning out perfectly good tires in a matter of weeks.
“Are you reading me now?” Tamsin said to Ciska as the two of them strode past the gas pumps.
“I can’t read minds, just physical objects. It’s not as handy as you might think. Anything I do see needs context otherwise it won’t make sense.” Ciska shaded her eyes against the brazen glare of the afternoon sun as it reflected off dozens of windshields stacked against a chain-link fence. “Imagine if I saw just that sunglint and nothing else. What would it mean?”
“I suppose.” Tamsin admitted as she unlocked the battered chain-wire impound gates.
Meg rejoined them as they peered through the side windows of her car.
“How old is this thing?” Ciska asked incredulously.
“It belonged to my grandmother. Mother hated it so I inherited it. It’s been rebuilt from end to end, but it’s in perfect working order. Was. We’ll need the keys.” Meg pulled her set out of her jeans pocket. Tamisn did the same with the set they’d taken out of the ignition when the body was discovered.
“Don’t bother checking if they’re they match,” Ciska said to break the tableau, then sniffed the air. ‘The weather’s changing.”
“It usually does about this time of day,” Tamsin said and gently ushered Meg back from the car. She broke the evidence seal and tried Meg’s keys then her own. They both opened the drivers door. She leaned in, careful not to disturb anything, and looked at the control panel.
She straightened up and gently closed the door. “The odometer reading has three hundred and fifty seven thousand, six hundred and four, point nine…miles, I suppose it was back then, on it. It really is an old car!” She winked at Meg then turned to Ciska standing a few paces away looking west. “The crash occurred a little after 6pm last night. I’d really like to hear your story now.”
“Thirteen minutes after six. I checked the clock on my bike right at that moment. Now I know why.” Ciska frowned at the sky. The sun grew dim and a chilly breeze raised a dust devil in the middle of the yard.
“I want those answers,” Tamsin said. “Now.”
“Then you better be able to listen and run at the same time! There’s another storm coming and I have to get back to my motel room before it hits.”
Tamsin watched open-mouthed as Ciska bolted through the impound yard gates and ran down the street toward her motel. She hauled Meg across the road to her car and caught up with Ciska at the next intersection.
“Get in.” Meg shouted.
Ciska jumped in to the back seat of the moving vehicle and pounded on the back of Tamsins seat. “Go. Go. Go!”
Tamsin cast a critical eye at the sky. The storm would race through the countryside but it would be a while before it hit town. “What’s your hurry?” She glanced at the rearview mirror. Ciska leaned from one side of the car to the other, trying to see her motel. “It’s just a storm.”
Ciska stopped moving. “Yes, you’re right, of course. I’m sorry. I have some delicate instruments in my room and they don’t take well to sudden changes in atmospheric pressure.”
Tamsin didn’t buy that for a minute, but she obligingly sped up and arrived at Ciska’s motel in record time.
As Tamsin undid her seatbelt, Ciska leaned forward. “Look, I know I haven’t given you any good reasons to believe anything I say, but please don’t follow me. If I’m … when the storm is over I give you my word that I’ll tell you everything I can about what’s going on.”
Before Tamsin could think of any kind of response, Meg nodded slightly. Cursing at herself under her breath, Tamsin let Ciska out of the car and watched her cross the motel parking lot and let herself into her room.
“I must be crazy.” Tamsin muttered.
“You’re crazy?” Meg said. “You do remember what’s happened to me in the last twenty four hours?”
Tamsin looked at her for a moment then burst out laughing. “You win. You’re crazier.” She pulled away from the curb. “You want a ride home?”
“I need a vehicle. Take me back to Philby’s. I’ll use his courtesy car.”
“That heap of junk? It’s older that your car.”
Tamsin left Meg to do a walk-around of Philby’s rust-bucket and did a quick patrol of the town. She wondered about Ciska’s reaction to the storm and how she probably wasn’t going to like any explanations Ciska might offer.
Ciska locked her motel door and leaned against it. Way to impress the locals! What next? A case of the swooning vapours? She touched the handlebar of her bike, seeking comfort, then set up her instruments and waited for the storm.
Tamsin checked the time. She smiled evilly and slid naked between the cool sheets of her bed. She set her phone to speaker, and speed-dialed a familiar number.
“Hello? This is Jane Lightsmith.”
“Hello Daughter. why are you calling me at six-thirty in the morning?”
“Well, if you could tear yourself away from that tousle-haired cherub that’s got it’s limbs wrapped around you, we need to talk.”
“You’re right. He is very pretty. It’s amazing how deeply the very young sleep.”
“A ‘he’ eh? What caught your attention with this one?”
“The usual. Spice. Life. Give me a minute, darling … no, go back to sleep … he’s pouting now … well, close the door behind you then.”
“I suppose I should’ve set the alarm, but they’re such annoying little mechanical monsters. His fishing boat has to catch the morning tide, or some such thing.”
“There’s been an incident.”
“That’s an all-purpose police euphemism if ever I heard one.”
“Can you come over?”
“It will take me at least week just to get to Heathrow. What’s happening in your strange little town now?”
“There are two Megs here, and one of them is dead.”
Stay tuned for Episode 4 of …
GLOSSARY AND LINKS
About 3D printers – fascinating stuff!
Official M.C. Escher Website
This might give you an idea of what the object Ciska created could look like – but then again, maybe not! heh, heh.