Author : Katie Stevens

I was twenty three when it happened. One minute I was half out the window, high on vodka and ecstasy, arms spread wide, embracing the world, the universe and everything in it. The next minute, my boyfriend, equally high on coke, lost control of the car. There was a moment out of time as I sailed through the night, trying to clasp at the elusive air, which stroked and licked erotically over my body. I hit the guard rail and everything went blank.

I awoke in hospital four days later. My boyfriend was banished and had to sneak into my room, shame-faced because he had escaped unscathed. I had not. My nose had been cut clean off.

Two years, five months, three weeks and six days of hiding in my horrible dark flat, no friends, no job, no life.

When I was born my very wealthy parents took out Doppelgänger insurance. No one talked about her, she didn’t even have a name. To be perfectly honest I had forgotten she even existed.

My parents drove me to what looked like a Victorian asylum; red brick, tall and unforgiving. I thought they were going to have me committed but instead we saw her. It’s disconcerting to sit face to face with yourself. She was quiet and passive, not speaking unless spoken to. Not like me at all really, but then I wasn’t a clone; I hadn’t lived under a strict regime knowing my purpose was to provide body parts for another.

She wore a uniform, navy blue dress, sensible shoes and white ankle socks. That alone made me shudder with dread, but the worst was the white turban on her head. I didn’t have to wait long to discover the reason for it. They wanted to have a big reveal. I vomited in the bin; at least I made it that far.

In the middle of her forehead was a nose. It looked like the one I used to have. I was transfixed, hardly hearing the doctor’s proud explanation of how they didn’t want to take her nose, the clone’s. I might need it again. Instead there was talk of tissue expanders and reconstruction.

I tried to talk to her but it wasn’t allowed. She didn’t even meet my eyes, except at the end when she was led away. Then she looked at me with dark blue eyes, my eyes, except hers were filled with a deep, burning hatred.

For a restless week I struggled day and night with the dilemma; her life or mine? I took the nose. So I was resurrected. I banished her from my thoughts and refused to be haunted by that terrible, hate-filled glance. I lived recklessly, as if every day might be my last. She was alive because of me and yet she had no life, because of me.

My parents quickly passed from joy to anger at my wild antics. After my fifth arrest, for lewd behaviour, they’d had enough. They took me back to that Victorian asylum.

We stood face to face, mirror images. I reached out to touch her. She flinched away as I might pollute her. Then I was being led away whilst she stood with my parents; I was to be the clone, she was the replacement, a perfect daughter.

She looked at me for one brief moment. Triumph shone from those blue eyes. A look that haunts me even now as I spend every waking moment trying to figure out how I shall escape this hell and wipe that smug expression off her face.

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