Dystopia Chapter 47

From the Story Arc: Dystopia

Previous Story in the Arc: Dystopia Chapter 46 by Krasnaya Zarya (Monday, October 23, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Dystopia Chapter 48 by Krasnaya Zarya (Friday, October 27, 2006)

(posted Wednesday, October 25, 2006)

“Sasha!” Sofia yelled as she followed the disembodied voice down the series of hallways. “They said they’d killed you!”

“They did?” The still invisible Alex replied, stopped at a corner, peeking down the intersections looking for guards. On finding none, he continued down the path to the elevator. “You shouldn’t have believed them, they were just saying that to get you to talk.”

“Talk? About what?!” Sofia glowered at the air. “What have you gotten us into?”

“Not into, Sofia.” He stopped at a non-descript door that lacked the normal keypads, just a regular deadbolt. He put his finger to the gap between the door and the frame and fired a small beam of energy at the bolt. The door swung inwards, a chunk of melted metal falling to the ground. “Out of. Quickly, in here.”

The pair entered the room and turned on the small ceiling light, revealing a small janitorial closet. Perfect for staying hidden for a few minutes while he explained his escape plan to his wife’s alternate. He pushed a large bucket of paint in front of the door, which refused to remain shut otherwise. Hopefully no janitors would be around within the next five minutes.

“Sasha…” Sofia stared at the moving canister of paint as if it were possessed. “You are talking…”

“…” Alex blinked at her, dumbfounded. “… Yeah.”

“And moving things…” Sofia continued staring at the offending object.

“How… astute.” If Sofia could see him, she would probably smack him, given the incredibly odd look he was giving her, like she had grown a second head.

“But you never could before,” Sofia’s voice had dropped to a whisper. “You had to possess the radio to talk to me, and your little clockwork machine to move things…”

“Huh?” Alex queried. “What are you talking about?”

“Have you forgotten?” Sofia frowned. “It’s only been a year since you visited me…”

“Oh,” Alex replied with remarkable insight and a small laugh. “You think I’m your husband.”

Sofia’s eyes widened. “You… You’re… Then she…” She stumbled back a bit, catching herself on a shelf of bleaches and scrubbing solutions. “You’re her Sasha.”

HER?!” He reached across the room and grabbed Sofia by the shoulders. “She’s here! Where is she? Did Viy get her? Is she alright? When did you see-“

“Quiet!” Sofia interrupted and instinctively pushed forward, jerking her hands back when they came in contact with invisible matter. “Wha… How…” She continued patting Alex’s chest, eyes wide, then reached up to touch his cheek. “You… You’re not…”

“Not what?” Alex found himself captivated by the intense look in Sofia’s eyes,

“Aleksander, my Aleksander died,” she was perfectly still, her hand resting on the side of his face. “Well, became an energy being ten years ago, when he exploded.”

“When he what?!”

“Exploded. Due to your – his – condition…” She frowned. “In this world, Chernobyl went critical twenty years ago…”

“I know,” Alex rolled his eyes. “Same thing happened to me. Except for the explodey part.”

“But, then why are you invisible?”

“Oh, that’s because of an invention of mine,” Alex grinned, rotating a small section of the wand and stopped feeding energy into the port. There was a small burst of light from the collapse of the field, followed by a miraculously appearing physicist. “I’m perfectly human. Well, as perfect as anyone… What’s this about an energy be-“

His next words were smothered away by an enthusiastic Sofia, who practically leapt into his arms, grabbing him around the neck and kissing him fiercely. He was stunned, at a complete loss for words.

“Sasha…” She kept her death grip around his neck, but was now resting her head besides his, sobbing lightly in his ear, murmuring his name over and over.

“Whoa.” He was never very good with saying the right thing at the right time, especially when it came to comforting or flattering women, and this time he made a rather stellar example of continuing to fail miserably. “My Sofia hasn’t been that happy to see me in years…”

Sofia seemed to realize, then, what she was doing, and fell away from his grasp, once more leaning back against the shelves. She was wiping tears from her eyes and cheeks, trying to recompose herself. “Sorry, sorry…” She swallowed back a lump in her throat. “It’s just… It’s been so long since I’ve seen you - him.”

“Really?” He blinked, shaking the memory of the kiss from his mind. He couldn’t help but wonder if he would get a similar reception from his wife, but knew that there would probably be a hug followed by a slap. But back to the matter at hand… “I saw him recently. You say he’s an energy being? Possessing things?”

She nodded. “He didn’t die, not really. Somehow, the energy from the explosion was formed into a, well, body for him. He can control energy within his ‘sphere of influence’ – as he calls it – including electronics and lasers.” She raised an eyebrow. “You met him?”

“Certainly, he…” The pieces fell together neatly in his mind and he groaned. “That’s what he was building the robots for… To get himself a new body. The deal to acquire synthetic skin, that was in exchange for turning me and my portal technology over to this Viy fellow.” He frowned. “Looks like Viy decided to turn on him afterwards.”

“They said that they killed him…” She frowned, still trying hard to control herself. “Did they?”

He thought back to his conversation with Viy, his bragging about shooting his duplicate for stalling.

“I don’t know.” He shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. I think that Viy thought he killed Aleksander, but all he did was shoot the robot.” He snickered. “Perhaps Aleksander is on his way right now, to save you.”

“If he even remembers…” Her lashes hid her down-turned eyes. “I haven’t seen him in months and months. He… well… He’s losing things. He forgets what it is like to be human – eating, sleeping.” She grimaced. “He loses track of time entirely, time has a different meaning for him now.” She pinched her lips together, holding back a sob. “I’m afraid he’s forgetting me.”

“No, no, no…” Alex winced, seeing this replica of his wife in so much pain. “I would never forget you – I would never forget my Sofia. He can’t forget you. That must be why he’s building the body, to be with you again.”

And that was it; the final piece to the puzzle. It was classic – make a deal with the Devil to be back with the woman you love. In this case, agree to turn in your own self, an alternate version of yourself, to get what you need. That was what he had been thinking, before Viy had told him that his alternate was dead: kill the traitor, get his portal controller back, and go home to Sofia.

Would he have done the same, been willing to turn in an innocent Aleksander to be able to live with Sofia again?