The sisters went about their business of attending classes, and in the spaces in between, met in the dorm room to study. Then went home to work in the garden, and it gauge if Paula could be trusted, and to what extent that trust might run deep, or not at all. Finally, after a week of using the internet to gather what information they could, and using time in the garden to seek out Paula’s mind and spirit, the sisters sat down to have dinner with her one night,
“You haven’t asked us anything that you want to know, Paula,” Ana began, “but we need your help. I think it’s time we exchanged information.”
“I hate to sound self-absorbed, Young One,” Paula began, “but I do sense there is peril in this for me. You two are trying to track someone down who very well might want to be left alone, and in trying to find this person, you might well anger him, or her. Could this not be something that you simply left be as it is? Sometimes we have to do that, you know.”
“We, Bella and I, do not completely understand what has happened or why it has happened.” Ana said. “We lived next door to one another, in New Orleans. In September of 2005, a hurricane hit and the city was flooded. We were both very young, only three years old. Yet something happened during that flood. Our parents have hidden the truth from us. We have a brother, I have a brother, actually. Michael. Something happened in the flood that affected his soul and spirit very deeply. We seek to find him, and if we can, heal his wounds.”
“How is it Michael is hidden from you?” Paula asked suddenly. “You both seem very intuitive.”
“Our brother was our protector and our guardian, Paula,” answered Belle, “and as we grew up together he was always at our sides. But our parents began to worry that the three of us were too close, and that we were unnatural. When we turned fourteen, they separated us, my parents moved to Savannah, while Ana and Michael stayed in New Orleans. It was a given we could communicate without any device known to our parents, but Michael considered our separation to be a personal failure. He was three years older than we, and he left one day, and no one had seen him since. Ana’s parents had the ways and means to get her into any college on earth, but I had to work hard to get into Florida State. There, we knew we could learn more about how to navigate the laws that hid the past from us. The natural laws we already knew, but there is much to fear from the canons that man has set to guard the past.”
Paula seemed preoccupied with her salads and the sisters let time pass without hurry. Finally, Paula asked, “Your parents, do they know you are together again?”
“My mother’s mind has left her,” Ana said, “but my father still tries to control me.”
“My parents will go to any length to keep us apart,” Bella replied, “we would like to discover why.”
“Do you have any memories of your early youth?” Paula asked.
“More than you could ever realize,” Ana said.
“More than we should,” said Bella.
Ana’s cell phone chirped and all three women startled. “It’s from the University!” Ana said, “They want me to report to the Dean’s Office today, as soon as possible!”
Paula waited for the two young women to return and wondered what she was getting into. For years, she had rented out the upstairs apartment to serious students and even a musician or two. Now these two, and Paula grinned. They were twins, certainly. Both had that strong jawbone, high cheeks, jet black hair, pale skin that spoke of genetics rather than the lack of sunlight, and both were exactly the same height. Not twins? Paula wondered why two sets of parents had told these two they were not related. Did the father of one bed the mother of the other? That might explain it.
“Brody come down and speak with me about our guests!” Paula called out, but she knew Brody would take his time. Eventually, there was a thump as he landed and a moment later Brody sat in her lap, purring.
“But what if they are not actually sisters but still related?” Paula asked Brody. “They might share a grandmother, that would explain a few things, yes, more likely but not altogether the whole picture. Who is their brother? I’ll bet you a can of tuna he looks like neither of the girls in any way at all. I’ll bet you two more than he’s been keeping up with them from a distance.” Paula waited an hour or so and then scooted Brody to the floor. She might be over sixty but she knew her way around Google as well as any of these young creatures these days. Later, perhaps, she would dig her cards out, she hadn’t done that in decades. But these two had been brought to her for a reason, and she would be better served to know by whom and why, before it landed on her.
There was a knock on the door, loud and frantic, Paula pulled up the feed on her hidden camera and saw the sisters. She let them in and they rushed past her and went to the kitchen table without a word.
“They want me kicked out of Florida State,” Ana said.
“My Dog why?” Paula asked.
“Witchcraft,” grinned Bella.
End part two.