Chapter Two: Petrova
Do you ever look into a mirror and examine yourself? I know who Petrova Blayze is. I know my hair; the loose curls that appear when I let it dry, the dark chestnut hues. I know my brown eyes, where the amber mingles and the way they can look like all the warmth has flooded away and become cold and less inviting. I know the way that my veins show below my pale skin. I know the way my brows furrow in thought. I know who I am and for the longest time, I was unique. Something none of my comrades had the appreciation of. Being entirely alone. Lonely yes, but freeing in a way. I didn’t have someone being an echo of myself or feeling like the echo of someone else. I didn’t cling to fragmenting memories of another part of myself, a sibling that never ascended. I didn’t have that pain, or that kind of sadness. The only one of my friends, comrades, that didn’t have the same uniting suffering, I got some strange twisted exemption. I was their curiosity, the oddity who didn’t share that bond of pain, a shiny toy. What they don’t seem to understand is I hate being on the outside of it all, its lonely out here.
I felt this kind of pang, a strange sensation when I rode the impulse to stop Lei. It was more than looking into a mirror, this was living and breathing and it didn’t fade or disappear when my eyes closed. It was a gut jerking sensation; this should never have been possible. Doppelgangers are meant to replace you in battle if you die, in this life, they are standbys almost, in a twisted way. The thing is, you shouldn’t meet your ganger, and yet there she was. So she wasn’t here to replace me, as far as I can tell. After managing to get into the HR system I found her file, she was one of us, she was simply reassigned it seems. I couldn’t hold that against her. But that flicker of jealousy that someone is so like me, so very much the mirror of me, from the eyes to the hair, to the way her lips crinkled at the corner when she smiled when she introduced herself, the same way my own do. Except she seems to flaunt qualities I wish we shared, her comfortable relaxed demeanour when she spoke to strangers. She does it too though; her first instinct is to introduce herself by her nickname. I prefer her name though… it sounds ridiculous I would feel jealous of that tiny little thing. But I can’t put my finger on why I feel this strange pull to Lei, I suppose it is close as I will get to feeling what my friends did, a long while ago.
I suppose at least I can say it’s not unheard of. Apparently it is predictable, not that I did volumes of research when I noticed everyone else going through ascension while I had different trials. I mean, there is a scientific likelihood. Most people have doppelgangers historically, but not often in the same time frame. It is entirely possible for identical twins to have a singular doppelganger in the same time, it’s incredibly rare though, in case there may need to be some kind of replacement. But as for me? I never believed I would have a ganger, I always dreamed, wished I was a twin. My parents should have had twins, but clearly something went wrong. I grew up the only child, the anomaly. During the ascensions I was the most resented in the field. Not for the prowess I possessed but simply because I didn’t suffer the same way in the trials, the traumas were very different. Had I not passed, I would most certainly be very long since dead by now, not finishing exams in the education system of the Adam and Eves.
I see the Adam and Eves stressing about their exams, simple problems. Even sat here staring out the window thinking all these petty little niggling thoughts instead of doing the homework I came to the damn library for I can’t help but feel those small pangs of jealousy. Stupid but just watching them going about oblivious to us, to the world. Catching sight of the time I throw my books in my bag and head out the door, brushing past. I am late. I get outside to find a car waiting for me.
The engine humming gently, I throw my bag into the back seat and jump into the front. I am greeted with a warm kiss, Ward pulls me close for a few seconds. I pull away and pull the seatbelt across and off we drive. Getting to the hub was easy enough, we were late. We ran up the stairs and parted ways to the locker rooms. I swung my bag away and pulled out a fresh patrol uniform. Slipping the sports bra on, comfort for patrol is better. I lace up my trainers and stride past the mission wardrobes. Minutes later my lightly armoured uniform is kitted up with quartz blades. I prefer this uniform, its comfortable, and I do look good in black.
Walking into the briefing room we are handed our patrol route and off we go. We make our way down the stairs ready for another shift. The spirit always tends to be high at the start of a shift. You don’t often count down the hours, not like with a regular job. I mean, sure you’re on your feet the whole time, but the quiet days are nice, a reprieve. But the energy is too high today to be a quiet day. I can feel this weird static in the air, a hum of something coming, something waiting to happen. Ward and I walk a little slower, the back of the group, the five of us slip through the crowds on pavements by the shops. Ward lets his fingers bump mine every so often as we walk. I can’t help but smile. There is always a shift in the way of us getting some time together to go on a date, but that is fine. He lets me pass first as we walk into the graveyard. We ignore the small huddle of goths who have just left and make our way towards the tombs. The chatter is light in the air, discussing the exam coming up. The stress free part of our lives we like to call it. It makes us feel a tiny bit normal, a tiny bit more included in the world of Adam and Eves even though we aren’t part of it for long, not really. Soon we will be protecting it in a few short months we will be less in their world and more in this. Our lives, our normal, mundane human lives will be a memory as we become the protectors, working in that age old battle. The good versus evil life we are predestined to endure. Trained to endure.
We walk past statues and headstones and up over the hill. It takes an age sometimes when the sun still shines like it does now, a warmth in a cold heart-breaking place. Sometimes the neglect on headstones just breaks your heart for the person it represents. They might have been loved in life but graveyards can be a hard place to visit, often neglected, that is why it is part of our patrol. In neglected places there can be a breeding of the evil we fight, or at least perhaps materialise here, or worse, congregate here. Patrolling abandoned places that’s our lives for the time being. We are the young warriors, soon to start more mission based work, but until then we patrol until the next group are trained enough to join us a short while before they take over our places, just as we had to wait our turn to graduate to patrols.
Reaching the tombs took a while. Maybe here for five minutes or less before we heard the commotion. Ripping out of the tombs we saw it. The dark mass of a swarm of clouds in the sky, on an otherwise clear day; there was only one thing that could mean when the thunder began. We began running in the direction of the commotion. A swarm of dark silhouettes beneath the clouds. A raucous of movement, danger was in the air and a single female figure using a quartz blade shining in the flashes of lightening. The wretched beings of the swarm that were attempting to swallow one of our kind into its depths. Running as hard and as fast as we could while pulling our quartz blades free of their protective sheaths. Running towards the figures that would just as quickly descend upon us when we are noticed. The closer we got the more the swarm began to prepare to fight from more than one side.