I’m standing in a long line in a dark hallway. Most people around me look happy and excited, but my friends look worried. I feel like I should know what’s going on, but I don’t. I feel like I should be worried, but the excitement of the crowd fills the room. I try to keep a neutral look on my face, but am sure that I just look confused.
The hallway opens up to an auditorium or theater of some sort. The lights are low. The walls are black and the cushioned seats are a dark red. There are three sections and the floor slants downward. The room reminds me of a movie theater, but there is no screen. I follow my friends to a row of seats on the far left side of the room, about halfway down. I look around and see people rushing to join people they know. They hug in greeting and laugh while they sit to wait for…whatever it is that’s coming.
My friends are staring at me. I stare back.
“What?” I ask.
“Why are you so calm?” asks Shelly, her long blonde braid trailing down her left arm.
“How should I feel?” I reply, honestly hoping for a suggestion.
“Do you think we should be sitting with them? Do you think we’ll look suspicious sitting over here alone?” Winston whispers as he stares at the row of people sitting in front of us. I follow his eyes.
There are two of each person in front of us. It’s like that row was reserved for twins. As I look more closely at the growing crowd, I realize that most of the people in the room are sitting in pairs. It’s as if I have double vision, every person is a repeat of someone else. The room is dark and I doubt what I’m seeing. I blink my eyes, but nothing changes. We are the largest group of people I can see who are not sitting with our doppelgängers.
“Angela, did you ever meet her?” a voice asks.
“Huh?” I say, still looking around the room in awe, trying to understand what I’m seeing.
“Did you ever meet her? She’s right over there.” Shelly nods towards the opposite end of the room.
“Who?” I ask. Was I supposed to be looking for someone?
Shelly looks at me like I’m dumb. “Her. Your twin. Priscilla.” My twin? I have a twin? I guess that makes sense, but…this is all a bit much to take in at the same time. “I met her on the way in and started talking to her like she was you. You look exactly the same. I mean, your styles are different, but you look exactly the same.”
“What’s her style like? Wait, what’s my style like?” Shelly and Winston laugh.
The lights dim further and a spotlight turns on in the back of the room. A voice from nowhere announces, “Greetings, young men and women, and thank you for joining us today.” The crowd cheers. Winston mutters, “Like we had a choice,” as he and Shelly clap half-heartedly.
The voice from nowhere continues, “When your name is called, please come forward for The Process.” The room goes silent. I look at Shelly and Winston, their faces covered in shadow. What’s “The Process”? Why can’t I remember anything? Why does everyone else seem to know what’s going on except for me? Even without my memory, I don’t think that “The Process” is a name for something that could possibly be good.
to be continued…