by Abby Gayle
Cori finds her doppelgänger ... or several?
| The wind tugged on Cori’s sweater. She stumbled forward, managing not to fall, even with the guitar strapped to her back. Still, the wind pushed her down the street. Her hair whipped around her face, and she pulled it away from her eyes again. She tucked her arms in close to her body, trying to keep warm.
All was calm. In an instant, the wind had stopped. As Cori continued down the street, she fixed her hair and necklace.
She checked her phone. Ten minutes until class, she reminded herself. Ten minutes until she actually needed her guitar. Until then, it was just a weight on her back.
An ice cream truck drove down the street, playing a strange tune. Cori stared at it until it disappeared around a corner, then turned back just in time to see a familiar-looking woman before they bumped into other. Cori couldn’t quite place what was so peculiar about the woman, but there was just something about her.
“Do I know you?” Cori asked. “What’s your name?”
“Corinna Greene, and you?” the woman said, holding out her hand for me to shake. “I’m new to this neighborhood. Have you been here long?”
“No, for real, what’s your name?” Cori repeated. She crossed her arms.
The woman frowned. “I already said, Corinna Greene. My friends call me Cori, though. And you are?”
“I’m … Corinna Greene.”
“Are you two twins?” a voice said. At first, Cori thought it was the mysterious woman in front of her who shared her name, but then she realized that the voice was coming from behind her.
Cori turned around. The two women looked and sounded exactly the same. She stepped back, glancing from one woman to another, back and forth.
She shook her head slowly. “No.”
“Corinna Greene,” one of them said, introducing herself. Cori had already lost track of who was who.
“No way!” the other woman squealed. “That’s my name.”
One of the women gestured to the guitar on my back. “You play an instrument?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Cori nodded. “Guitar.”
“I play bass guitar,” she replied.
“Drums,” the other woman added. “Hey, Bass, the sky is supposed to be blue, right?”
Cori glanced up at the sky with a gasp. Instead of the usual blue, it was a distinctly green color.
“Where are we?” Cori asked.
“Seventh Street … I think,” Drums said. “I just moved in down the street, you know. Basically the only reason I know what the name of this street is.”
“The sky isn’t usually green here.” It sounded like Bass or Drums, but neither of their mouths moved. Another identical woman squeezed past them, except she wore glasses. “My machine just shot something up into the sky. It should fade soon.”
“So you know what’s going on?” Cori asked.
“Well, technically, I’m you. But yes, I know more about this than any other version of myself yet.”
“Wait, what?” Drums asked.
“My machine might have torn a hole in this universe,” the smart Corinna answered. “Versions of us from alternate timelines are flooding this area. The rest of them—us—are gathered behind my house.”
“So where are we?” Bass asked.
“My timeline,” the woman said. “Same place, same time—I assume—that you left your own worlds, but now you’re in mine.”
Drums sighed. “How are we supposed to get home?”
“I am … still figuring that out. That’s why everyone’s gathered at my house. It’s the closest thing to home that we have for you. Come on, Corinnas.” Bass and Drums started to follow her.
“No, not now,” Cori shook her head. “I need some time alone to figure this all out, I think.”
“Okay, well, send any other versions of us back to my house.”
Cori walked the opposite way from Bass, Drums, and Machine-Maker. She stuffed her hands in her pockets. She glanced up at the sky. Just as Machine-Maker said, the green in the sky faded fast.
Still, other slight differences stuck out to her. The house on the corner was red here, not yellow. One house had a fence around it that Cori was pretty sure only had hedges in her world. A tree covered a part of the sky that felt wrong to her, although she wasn’t sure where it was supposed to be.
Is this really happening? she wondered. Maybe I’m dreaming. She sighed. She could never remember that she was dreaming, while in a dream. So, she reasoned, this had to be real. Right?
Her feet took her to a park that used to be a favorite, when she was littler. She squinted, trying to make out the people in a part of the park that she didn’t recognize. It looked like more versions of herself. When she approached them, she realized they were setting up musical equipment, one woman with a bass guitar, and the other with a drum set.
“Drums? Bass?” Cori asked.
Bass grinned. “We were hoping you would show up.” She held out an electric guitar for Cori.
Cori grabbed the guitar and smiled. She shed her guitar from her back, and stepped up onto the stage.
“So, we’re gonna play together?” Cori asked.
Bass shrugged. “We’re the same person. How hard could it be?”
Cori laughed. “What do we call ourselves.”
“What are we?” Drums asked.
All three girls nodded in agreement.
As they started playing, Cori’s worries shrank away. She didn’t care that she would be late to class. She didn’t care, so much, that she was in a strange world that might not even have the same people she remembered. All she cared about was the music flowing through her, becoming a part of her. All she cared about, at this moment in all the timelines, was being in this band they just created. Being a Doppelgänger.
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