I felt nothing.
I looked down at my arms and saw no scars and no blood. There were no signs that last night had occurred and yet there was a feeling of emptiness. I no longer felt Tethered to Will and I no longer felt his presence in my life.
The feeling of emptiness lingered until it consumed me. When I knew my brother was out there and felt his presence, it was the wall that protected my life. Now brick by brick my world was crumbling.
My brain finally registered the reality. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of loss and the tears flowed down my face. For two hours I didn’t speak, I just sat on the floor with my knees pressed against my chest, my arms around my legs and my head held down, my long blonde hair flowing over my knees. I wanted to make myself as small as possible so the world would swallow me up.
I cried. So many tears. Until my blue eyes became sore and itchy but even that sensation couldn’t take my mind away from what had happened. My chest tightened and it became hard to breathe. Every breath felt enormous, as if I was trying to remove the events from my body and inhale some good from the world.
I tried to put the pieces together to make some logical sense but if Will was dead, how had I survived? If your twin died, you died too. That was the way life worked.
I should be dead.
Will should be alive.
We both should be.
Will was the last family I had left and now I was all alone.
“I shouldn’t even be alive!” I screamed, unsure how to put my world back together again.
I lay there, not wanting to move and face the world. Not wanting to come to terms with the events of last night. The betrayal. The pain. The loss.
More time passed. How long, I cannot know but it felt like an eternity.
When I finally opened my eyes to look, everything seemed so empty. My apartment had always been small and fairly sparse but now it just looked desperately so. My aged wooden double bed, my chest of drawers that I’d found abandoned on the street and my red leather beanbag that had been left here by the previous tenants. What little possessions I had now had less meaning than ever. My world was empty.
My eyes scanned the room looking for something familiar to provide a moments comfort. It didn’t take long. I could see into my bathroom and barely used kitchen from my bed and that was all there was to my room. It was only when I looked over at the broken table where I set out my clothes than I saw them.
Two orange eyes staring at me through the darkness.
It took me a moment to register what I had seen. I still felt delirious and wondered if I was hallucinating. The eyes kept their focus on me as I slowly rose to my feet, my body emotionally and mentally drained.
Despite what had happened I still wanted to live. A spark in me still wanted to be alive and I knew that’s what Will would have wanted too. I had neither the physical strength nor the energy to fight this foe so I walked backwards to my bedside table making sure to keep looking at them the whole time. I reached down slowly, not wanting to provoke a reaction and slid open the drawer.
Reaching my hand inside I moved it around frantically trying to find my weapon. Instinctively I turned around so I could see it and then realised what I had done. I’d given them a perfect opportunity to attack. I grabbed my gun, quickly ducked in case of an attack and spun round to aim it directly at them.
I was sick of being seen as just another average girl; in this world you couldn’t afford to be weak. For the last two years I’d trained to be a police officer and now I had a chance to use that training.
I held the gun with all my might and walked slowly towards the eyes.
“Put your hands where I can see them,” I said, in as calm a tone as I could muster.
“I know who you are and what you did to my brother,” I continued to remain as calm as I could. “I am not afraid to use this.”
The eyes did not move, not even a blink.
Who are these people? I thought to myself.
I edged towards the eyes, keeping my gun held firmly in place with both hands. With each footstep closer, the eyes became brighter and clearer.
As I took another step closer a loud BEEP emerged from near to the eyes. The device! I thought, as I dashed towards them feeling supercharged from adrenaline. I didn’t want to meet the same fate as Will.
Just as I was about to reach the eyes it became clear what I was seeing. My DualCam was placed neatly next to my computer.
I had completely forgotten about it. A DualCam allows people to record what they experience and what their twin experiences in really high intensity moments.
My brother had given it to me as a gift, before they were even available in shops. He explained that although he lived miles away, I could use the camera to record the important moments in each of our lives and that it would bring us closer together.
Over the last year I had recorded every important event that he encountered and he had done the same to me. We had planned to meet this week to share our memories and to catch up.
He said he would only be gone for one year and now he was gone forever.
All I had left were my memories and everything that I’d recorded on this camera. As I stared down at the black box with its two glowing orange blobs, a need for closure dawned upon me.
This box had recorded every important event in Will’s life in the last year. If I wanted to understand why Will was killed, there would be no better solution, no clearer oracle than this box. If nothing else it was a chance to surround myself with happy memories to cushion the reality of his death.
I slid my hand down the right side of the box and found a thin opening no wider than a credit card. I slid my nail in and used it to flip open a hatch, exposing a digital display.
I held my thumb down on the display and it was quickly scanned. With personal memories you couldn’t be too careful and a biometric scanner was certainly one way to ensure your darkest secrets remained hidden.
The camera clicked and three thin pencil sized legs emerged, folding downwards until they hit the floor. Once there, they expanded outwards, creating a tripod to hold the camera in place.
Pointing the camera at the nearest wall it whirred into life. The two orange eyes, that had tormented me moments before, lit up as two rainbows full of colour that intersected on the wall and started to form an image.
I watched as Will sat outside my apartment. This was mere moments after he had given me the camera and said goodbye, knowing we wouldn’t see each other again for at least a year.
He seemed uneasy, as if he didn’t want to leave. At the time I had thought it was simply because we would be apart for so long but now I wondered what else may have been weighing on his mind. He stared at my door biting his lip, at one point raising his hand to the doorknob as if he wanted to say one last thing. But he did not. He turned around and left the building without looking back.
As he stood outside, rain started to fall on his face and the camera started to flicker.
The twin rainbows coming from the camera started to flicker too and change in colour. As they settled on a harsh orange, the picture began to speed up.
A new scene began but it was so fast I could only make out passing details. In the corner of the image I saw a countdown clock ticking down from 100%.
Every image was bathed in orange. There were so many I could only catch a glimpse of them. The ones that stuck in my mind were; Will’s apartment, 88%, a giant glass dome, 72%, a train shaped like a bullet, 51%, the building where he worked, 44%.... The video continued to jump forwards and backwards in time showing events I had long since forgotten.
When the readout showed 30% the lights changed again to show a crystal clear full colour image at normal speed. Only this one, I had never seen before. It was a memory Will had somehow kept hidden but which the camera had recorded.
A room full of pipes led to a solitary chair surrounded by wires. The wires circulated around the chair and in the middle sat a young man. He was held to the chair with some sort of harness in place over his chest. Wires ran into the harness and tailed off into various machines.
All that remained exposed or uncovered by wires was a round area of flesh in the centre of his torso that had been covered in a silver liquid.
The man’s face was shown on camera but was like nothing I had seen before. One side of his face was devoid of any skin, leaving the bone of his jaw exposed and slivers of flesh hanging in place.
The other side was no better; a black eye and a scar that went from his mouth to his ear. He seemed to have been tortured, although how a man could survive so much damage I had no idea. At least I assumed it was a man. With so much damage it was hard to tell.
Yet despite his clear physical pain and anguish he seemed calm. The man sat patiently in his chair. Is he delirious or just mad? I wondered to myself.
The camera turned around, I assume showing me what Will could see. He looked down, showing a notepad and focused on it.
I moved in closer to read what the note said. It had clearly been written in a rush but I could just about make it out.
“You can save everyone. You are free.”
“I’m free?” I couldn’t understand. Did the note mean I was free of my Tether? Free of my brother? And just what did I need to save everyone from?
As I tried to understand the note, I watched as it was placed into a pocket.
The camera looked back at the person in the chair, as a doctor rolled a large piece of metal equipment into the room. A cylindrical tube sat in the middle, with a bubbling orange liquid contained within it. From the tube there sat a long pole, with a razor sharp tip.
The pole was twisted around so it sat over the man’s stomach. His sense of calm evaporated instantly and he struggled to try and escape. The video moved in closer and I could see an arm emerge from the side of the frame to hold the man back, with two doctors now holding him in place.
As the sharp tip cut into his stomach, the orange liquid formed into a large sphere inside its container.
Pressure began to build in the container and the sphere was ripped into smaller pieces and sucked out of the tube with a rapid force. It shot up the pole and out of the razor sharp tip right towards the man’s stomach.
He screamed in agony, his head shot backwards and he gripped tightly onto the chair, holding on for his life. As the second scream began to form on his lips the camera stopped. A solitary message remained on my wall in large letters.
“All footage deleted.”
“What?” I shouted.
I grabbed the camera and the digital display echoed the same sentiment. Every memory I had of Will on the camera was gone.
Changing the camera mode, I switched to the Internet and proceeded to log into my cloud drive that stored all of my files. My entire drive of files had been deleted. Not just my videos but every document, every photo and every file I had ever saved was gone.
As I tried to file a help ticket, the screen froze and a fresh message emerged. “Cloud account cancelled.”
I tried to open my other online services but the story was the same. All my accounts had been closed and my files deleted.
I started to feel sick.
I opened one more window, already certain of what I would see. As I logged into my online banking I saw it within minutes.
“Account cancelled: closed due to loss.”
“Closed due to loss,” could only mean one thing.
Someone had told the world I was dead.
I had been meant to die after all and someone knew that very well. With Will gone, my death was a certainty and someone had been trying to clear up every loose end.
And although they didn’t know it yet, I was still a loose end that needed cleaning up.
I reached for the phone and dialled the only person I could trust.