Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
I remember the rumours when the girls first came to school. At first we thought that they were quintuplets but there had been nothing in the paper and that sort of thing still made the news. Plus they were too alike. Not just similar to each other. Something more.
I went to a rich school but this was a step above what even we were used to. Only the super rich could afford clones. We didn’t know what to make of these girls. As the weeks went by, the whispers started:
Rumours that they were being bred by their wealthy, remorseless parents for their organs. Clones were more sexually aggressive than normal people, students said. They had a psychic connection with each other at all times. If one died, they’d all die. They didn’t need to eat normal food.
None of that was true, of course, but those were the suppositions that flew around the lockers and the classrooms.
The girls had been home-schooled until now. I can’t imagine what kind of financial crisis or weird notion pressured their parents to put them in a mainstream private school. Maybe the girls themselves had banded together and demanded it.
That first September, they all had blonde hair, tied back, and they wore identical clothes every day. Getting ready in the morning must have been boring to them.
In October, they started wearing slightly different things. Different colours of shoelaces, for instance, or different barettes. It became a game to hunt down and identify which one was which. One daring student broke into the school records and managed to get their names. We didn’t know which one was which but we had their names. We had those syllables to roll around on our tongues.
In November, one of them dyed her hair black. We know now that was Tracey. She got friends after that. People were less freaked out by her similarity to the others now that she had separated herself from the pack with a simple hair colour change.
When the girls came back from Christmas, they all had different hair colours and styles. Gone were the matching clothes. They started to mingle into different cliques.
A couple of them joined the cheerleader squad. Those two were always put on opposite ends of the routines for symmetry. The Bookends, we called them.
One of them started smoking. One of them got into a fight with one of the popular girls over one of the football boys.
Then one of them got pregnant.
The week after that, they were all gone. Mid-February. No more clones.
I guess their parents had gotten too spooked at the independence and the diversity that our more mainstream school had brought to their five previously identical daughters. The fact that they meted out the same punishment for all five was a little unreasonable, I thought at the time, but parents will be parents, I guess. Especially the parents of clones.
I remember that it was mid-february that they left because it was the day after Valentine’s Day. The day after one of them had given me a valentine’s card and kissed me on the cheek. She didn’t give a valentine to anyone else. The card itself was blank.
I never saw them again. Clones are commonplace these days and of course there are the Trouble Regions, but I remember those days of my first experiences with those clones fondly.