THE DOPPELGANGER PROJECT (PART FIVE)
The Truth Is Out There… Somewhere
(The Director’s Cut)
Jacko dashed through the main door and barreled up the stairs. “Emer! Emer! Sean! Viv! Where are you?”
“I can’t see anything, Jacko.” Celine came up behind him. “All this smoke is getting in the way.”
“They have to be alive. They simply have to be.” Jacko was in panic-mode and had begun to run up and down the stairs like a chorus girl on barbiturates.
“Calm down, Jacko. If we make a run for it, we can reach the bathroom in a matter of seconds. We need to cover ourselves with wet towels so we can breathe. I saw Paul Newman do that in The Towering Inferno. Or was it Steve McQueen? Or was itEarthquake? I can’t remember.”
“Celine, you’re babbling.”
“I like babbling. Let’s babble together.”
“I’ll get some towels. Don’t go anywhere, ok? I’m not losing you, too.”
With that, he darted back downstairs to the kitchen. This is fucking crazy, Jacko. What in the name of Rod is happening? We are sailing…we are sailing, stormy waters, cross the sea……Wake up, Maggie, I think….Towels. There they are!
Jacko slapped both his cheeks. “Right, fuckhead,” he said to himself, “get your act together and save the love of your life. Failing that, Sean will have to do.”
“No one will be saved today, Jacko,” a voice behind him said. “Long live Mother Russia and Projekt Doppelganger.”
Jacko turned around. “What’s with the silly voice?” And that was all he could manage to say, because his killer-to-be pulled out a stiletto and pierced Jacko’s left eye-ball. He tumbled to the ground, convulsed for a few seconds, and then fell completely still.
“You definitely watched too many movies, my dead friend.”
Vivienne stirred herself from underneath her bed. The explosion had thrown both her and Emer across the room, but Vivienne was the luckier of the two. The cover of the king-sized bed had protected her from most of the after-effects of the blast.
Emer was lying underneath the fallen wardrobe. There was a lot of blood coming from her head. Vivienne didn’t know if she was alive or dead. Then, Emer moved slightly. That answers that, then.
“Emer? Can you hear me?” Oh, my fucking head. What kind of wine was it, anyway? I won’t be drinking red again, that;s for sure. “Emer?”
“Huhhhhhh! Ooooooh! Owwwwww!” Emer turned toward Vivienne. “Thomas…..Where is Thomas? Viv?”
“Hold on, Emer. There’s been an explosion. I don’t know where anyone is. Don’t move. I’ll see if I can get you out of there.”
“Hurry, Viv. I can’t feel my legs. My camogie playing days are over, I fear. Ooooooh! Owwwwwwww! I’m in pain.”
“I can hear that………..Hnnnnnnh……..Hnnnnnnnnh……It’s too heavy. I can’t move it.”
“Get Thomas. Please. Ooooooh! Owwwwww!”
“Shut up, Emer. I get the fucking picture. You’re in pain; you’re legs are broken; yada, yada, yada.”
“Find Thomas, or I’ll start moaning again.”
“All right. There’s a lot of smoke outside, though.”
Vivienne sneaked a look outside the room. She thought she could hear someone calling out, but she wasn’t sure. There was a fair amount of flame about, and she didn’t know how long she had before the entire house became engulfed.
Viv took a deep breath and made a run for the stairs……and ran straight into Sean.
“Sean! Thank fuck you’re ok. Have you seen Jacko?”
“Jacko. Have you seen him?”
“What are you talking about? Jacko Jackson……Sean? Are you all right?”
Sean had a glazed look in his eyes; it was as if he could see, but not really see. “Who’s Sean?”
“Fuck,” Viv swore. “Amnesia. Did you get a bang off something?”
“A bang off what? What’s this?” Sean felt the back of his head. “Strange. I don’t think this is supposed to be here.” He turned around, and Vivienne covered her mouth to stifle a scream. There was a large shard of glass, almost dagger-like — from the bathroom mirror, probably — sticking out from a spot just above Sean’s neck. It seemed to be dug into him. “Little girl? Can you pull this out?”
“Who are you calling ‘little’? I’m petite. It’s not my fault I’ve got tits like two fried eggs in a napkin.” Vivienne had a closer look, all the same. “Hold on, Sean. I’m going to pull it out. Ready? On three. One. Two. Three.” She grabbed hold of the offending object and yanked it out.
She was sorry she did, though.Immediately, she was sprayed with Sean’s blood. Not that he seemed to notice, however. “Cool…..Hey, look at them polar bears. Are we in Norway?”
Sean took a couple of paces forward and stopped. Like a marionette, when its strings have been snipped, he fell to a heap on the floor. Blood continued to drain out from his wound.
“Bang goes nursing school,” Vivienne muttered. “I won’t get the interview now.”
She checked Sean’s body for a pulse. Nothing. “Shite,” Vivienne grumbled. “How am I going to explain this to my parents? Jacko….I have to find Jacko.”
The fire was burning steadily, but there seemed to be a clear passage to the stairs. She decided then to go back for Emer and give it one more go with the wardrobe.
“Vivienne? Is that you?”
“Yes, it’s me. I’m just coming up the stairs. Stay there.”
Vivienne saw a shape emerge at the end of the hallway and breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, Celine. Thank God. Sean is dead and Emer is trapped underneath a wardrobe.”
Celine came closer. Vivienne saw that she was wearing a towel around her face.
“Sean is dead?”
“Yeah. He must have been in the bathroom when the explosion happened. A piece of the mirror took a liking to him. I tried to take it out, but I only made it worse.”
“Was it a quick death?”
“Yes, it was.”
“A pity, that.”
“What did you say?”
“Nothing. Do you need help with Emer?”
“Please, if you wouldn’t mind. Then we have to find Jacko.”
“Jacko’s downstairs. He’s a bit indisposed at the moment, though. He’s taking some “Rod” time.”
“Him and Rod can wait. We need him up here to help us move Emer. She thinks her legs are fucked.”
“Let’s see what we can do, will we?”
Vivienne became uneasy. There was something going on with Celine that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Something weird.
“Are you ok, Celine? You sound a bit strange.”
“I’m grand, Viv. Come on — Emer needs our help.”
They went inside the room. The flames were beginning to make headway. “We haven’t much time, Celine. You grab one side, I’ll grab the other.”
“Celine? Where’s Jacko?”
“Where’s Jacko? Where’s Jacko. You would swear the guy was Superman, the amount of times you two ask after him.”
“Jacko is downstairs, Emer,” Vivienne interrupted. “We’re going to bring you down to him. Are you ready?”
“We’re going to lift the wardrobe off you. Are you ready?” Viv asked, again.
“Uhh…..yeah, I think.”
Celine and Vivienne grabbed either side of the wardrobe and began to lift. Much to Vivienne’s surprise, the wardrobe moved easily. “That’s some strength you’ve got there, Celine.”
“Thanks. I’ve been working out.” They pulled the wardrobe away from Emer. She still had the wine bottle in her hand.
“I can feel my legs again,” she said. “I don’t think they’re broken.”
“That’s good, dear sister,” Celine said menacingly. “Say hello to Pam for me, will you?” Celine raised her right leg and brought her foot crashing down on Emer’s neck. There was a loud crack as Celine stomped her way through Emer’s windpipe, shattering her neck.
Emer never knew what hit her; all Vivienne could do was watch it unfold.
“Celine? What the fuck?” Vivienne was close to fainting, but she knew that if she did, she would soon be dead. She had to stay alert in order to stay alive.
The assassin Vivienne knew as Celine studied her sister’s dead body. A low growl emanated from the depth’s of Celine’s stomach. This growl soon became a deep, sinister, evil laugh.
“The ‘Celine’ you knew died last year by Russian hands. We took her in Achill when you and your friends went to visit there last summer.”
“Russia? What has Russia got to do with me and my friends? Who are you, if you are not Celine?”
“I am her clone.”
“Ah yeah. That explains everything…….What’s a clone?”
“Stupid female. Do you think that I’m going to fall for that old trick?”
Vivienne looked around the room, hoping to find something that might give her an advantage over the killer. “What old trick?”
“The one where you get me to tell you my evil plan, while you look for a way to incapacitate me and make good your escape.”
“Really? I never thought of that. Wouldn’t work, though, would it?”
“Not in the slightest, little girl.”
“Hey! Your tits aren’t that much bigger than mine.”
“Your foolish attempt at humour fails to amuse me.”
“What’s with the silly voice?”
“I am weary of your pathetic Irish accent. Enough talk. Time to die.”
Vivienne was hatching a plan. It involved precision timing and a shit-load of good luck. She saw, as well, that the fire was close to engulfing the entire floor. Time was of the essence.
“If I’m to die, you may as well tell me why I have to. It’s nice to be nice, so it is.”
“Very well. I am the prototype for Projekt Doppelganger,” the Russian Celine said smugly. “I was grown from DNA, taken from the body of your dead friend. I am a perfect copy in every way and when I was ready, I was given this mission: complete Projekt Doppelganger, and begin the era of Soviet supremacy.”
“How are you to do that? This sounds really interesting, if you don’t mind me saying so. It’s right out of a James Bond film.”
“Bond is an amateur compared to the might of the KGB.”
“I believe you, Celine……Sorry, you’re not really Celine, but I can’t think of what else to call you.”
“You may call me Agent 498XGK998LMP23QW.”
“I’ll stick with Celine, thanks.”
“Whatever. I have to make this quick. I need to collect the remaining samples, your’s included.”
“Your clones will bring forth havoc to this capitalist world. Inside of you will be placed thermo-nuclear devises; then you will be sent to heavily populated areas around the globe, and detonated.”
“What kind of heavily populated areas? Are we talking about Men’s Final Day at Wimbledon? The January Sales at Browne Thomas?”
“Stupid female,” the Celine-clone said again. “We have bigger plans than that. Prepare to die. I will grant you one final wish.”
“That’s rather good of you. I think I’d like to say a prayer over Emer’s body.”
“Make it a short one. I know how you Catholics like your long prayers; some of them go on for hours. You do not have the luxury of time, my young victim.”
“The Lord’s Prayer it is, so,” said Vivienne jauntily. She moved slowly over to her dead friend and knelt down. She started to whisper to herself.
“Our Father, who art in Heaven……..”
The Celine-clone took the stiletto out of pocket. It was still wet with Jacko’s blood and membrane
“….Give us this day our daily bread……..nearly there……and forgive us our trespasses……..”
The assassin wiped the blood from the blade, polishing it to a bright shine. The flames were almost on top of them.
“…….And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Vivienne jumped up suddenly and hit the clone on the side of its head with the wine bottle Emer had been holding, throwing her entire strength into the blow. The bottle smashed into hundreds of tiny pieces.
The clone was stunned for a few moments; it swayed from right to left, and back again, but it didn’t fall to the ground. It was enough time, though, for Vivienne to make a dash for the door.
She was having extreme difficulty navigating through the flames, however. When she came across Sean’s body, she picked up the towel the Celine-clone had dropped, as well as the shard of glass that had led to Sean’s unfortunate demise.
She turned around quickly. As yet, there was no sign of the murderous creature coming after her. Hop to it, Viv, she demanded of herself. If you get out of the castle, you have an outside chance of losing whatever that thing is,
She wrapped the towel around her face and hurried to the stairs. As she reached the top, she heard a loud crash behind her. The clone had picked up Sean’s body and had thrown it in her direction. It missed, but it announced the deadly intent of its pursuit.
Vivienne practically fell downstairs. The door, she thought. Make it to the door.
Make it, she did. She opened it quickly and rushed outside.
Lovely. Fucking lovely. Of all the poxy, bleeding times for it to rain.
It wasn’t just the rain — there was the howling wind to contend with, as well. It was hurricane-like, and it nearly forced Vivienne back inside the castle. It took what was left of her strength to push her way out and into the courtyard.
The gate. Where’s the fucking gate?
She ran, hoping she was heading in the right direction. She didn’t dare to look back. The wind and rain continued to hinder Vivienne’s progress; for every step she took forward, it seemed she was being blown two steps back. Still, she persevered.
Gradually, she could see herself making progress — the gate was coming into view. It was then that another massive explosion occured back at the castle. The shock of the blast brought her to her knees. Vivienne didn’t stay down, though; instead she picked herself up and ,with one final spurt, sprinted as hard as she could to the gate.
When she finally got there, Vivienne collapsed. Her breath and strength had been depleted; she could run no more. Damn! Fuck! Shite! All for nothing. I love you, Mammy. I love you, Daddy.
The Celine-clone was standing over her. “Puny little human,” it shouted over the gale. “You are no match for the might of the new Soviet Army. We will take over the world. Lenin’s Ghost, be praised!”
“Fuck you, and fuck Lenin’s Ghost, too, while you’re at it.”
Vivienne didn’t know where the effort came from, but she managed a final lunge at the clone. She brought her total weight into plunging the shard of glass into where she thought the clone’s heart might be — that’s if it had a heart. She pushed, then pushed again, harder, until there was nothing more left she could do.
Vivienne finally collapsed from her exertions. Was it enough? she thought. I fucking hope it was.
The clone didn’t move. It’s eyes were open, but all sign of life appeared to be gone. Rain was teeming into its open mouth. It was, for all intents and purposes, dead.
She awoke some time later, covered in leaves and muck. There had been no let up in the storm. She cast a glance at the clone. It hadn’t moved.
Vivienne went over to its body and removed the glass dagger from its chest. Closing her eyes, she stabbed it a dozen more times. She then started on its face, taking out its eyes for good measure. If it does manage to wake up, at least it won’t fucking see me, Vivienne surmised.
She stood up when she was finished and looked at her handiwork. Job done!
Now it was time to find a way off this miserable pile of rock. She heard a noise. It sounded like a groan. She looked up and saw the gargoyle coming off its perch.
“That’s weird,” Vivienne mumbled to herself. “What’s going on here?”
It was too late, though. The gargoyle was off its foundation and falling to earth. It landed right on top of poor young Vivienne, crushing her skull, killing her instantly.
The Kremlin: Moscow
The new General Secretary of the Communist Party looked over at the demoted Yuri Kafelnikov.
“And who’s hare-brained idea was this Projekt Doppelganger?”
“Your predecessor, Comrade Secretary. I thought it was insanity, myself.”
“You did, did you?”
“Mmmmm. You know where you’re going, don’t you?”
“The Siberian Salt Mines. I have my case packed.”
“Good for you, my friend — you’ll need all the clothes you can get your hands on. It gets cold there, this time of year.”
“What will happen to Doppelganger now?”
“Nothing. My new KGB chief sent agents to the island. All evidence has been removed; the clone has been destroyed, along with every body we can find. We found the ferryman, Ferdie. He has since joined up with his friends at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. There is no, nor has there ever been, a Projekt Doppelganger. If you understand that, maybe you can come home a little earlier from exile.”
“I would appreciate that, Comrade.”
“Go. Out of my sight.”
Kafelnikov left. The General Secretary doubted he would ever see him alive again. He reached for his phone.
“Dmitri, get me the President of the United States. Tell Mr. Reagan that Mikhail would like a quiet word in his shell-like.”
“Yes, Mr. Gorbachev. Right away.”
I would like to thank the following people for making this story possible:
Rev. Peter Meldon CC
Rev. Michael Geaney PP
This has been the realisation of 25 years worth of dreaming. All you people made such a profound impression on my life as a teenager and a twenty-something. Whatever it is you’re doing now, I hope each and every one of you are happy.
God bless you all, and thank you for being my friends, all those years ago.
To Cindi: Without this project, this story may never have had the chance of being re-told. I thank you, too.