The Supernumerary

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Ran sat in the well. The sky was white. The pods of newly unfurled leaves floated down, the donations of the beginning of spring. She stared up at the yellow-green waif-like plants, and then looked at the well wall in front of her, an impenetrable gray surface, down there in the gloom. In Maine, on Kaan’s property, she closed her eyes, soul moving around the darkened barrier, to a room beyond, a dim room, with red carpeting, in a château, in the south of France.

The room was ornate, set in a Baroque style. There was a grandfather clock, giving off a muffled clicking, over-wrought side tables and a resplendent golden davenport, made in Italy in the 1600s. A glass decanter of port sat on the heavy walnut desk of the study. The room opened out into a balcony. Translucent, white chiffon curtains floated upward, in the breeze of the late summer afternoon. Nealy stood just inside the doorway, with a glass of wine, in a beige three-piece suit and a red ascot, heavy golden rings on each hand.

Nealy turned as Ran slunk out of the shadows in the room, still wearing the jeans and cashmere sweater she had been wearing at the bottom of the well. The wind rustled some papers on the desk, held down only by a fountain pen.

“This needs to end,” Ran growled, “She is my girlfriend now, not yours.”

“How do you know that she ever stopped being my girlfriend?” Nealy asked. Beyond the balcony, the full, broad leaves of summer danced in the gentle gusts.

“She broke up with you years ago. We may look alike, but you’re on the other side of the world. I am the one she has now!” Ran said.

Nealy looked down, studying the glass of port, “No, you are the double, the clone. I am the true girlfriend.”

“Why, you -!” Ran choked out, and rushed forward, not knowing what she would do. But Nealy looked up, with a frozen glare. Ran felt herself transfixed, riveted with terror, under the unrelenting gaze. The pages got loose, from under the pen, and whipped around the room.

She woke up, eyes roving the ceiling, raking the room for any signs of the château, the chandelier, the bronze candlesticks.

Ran found herself back in her bedroom, in New York, Alli asleep, and unaware, reclining beside her.

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Second image courtesy of Kristina Stipetic

Music:

Mendelssohn – The Hebrides, overture in B minor for orchestra (‘Fingal’s Cave’), Op. 26

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