PART ONE: THE SHADOW TWIN
Maude Harrington sat in the Burmese meditative pose in the middle of a magic circle surrounded by powerful magical crystals. The rich aroma of burning sacred herbs and purified soil in the room helped clear whatever dark energies manifested while she meditated in the Circle with the hopes of getting a ‘signal’.
Ever since before Maude could remember, she had been able to catch glimpses or flashes of her identical twin sister, Maura who was her ‘Shadow’ Twin. Maura had been kidnapped when they were a few days old and when Maude was older, she had attempted to use the connection they had as Shadow twins to trace her whereabouts.
What Maude discovered about her twin sister had changed the course of her life forever. Her family had been torn apart by the grief of losing one of their daughters and had gone to great lengths to see her brought back to them- all in vain.
Maude’s mother had cheated on her father and then promptly divorced him and abandoned them. Her father had tried to raise Maude as best he could whilst still searching for a way to reunite with his long lost daughter. Maude had been terrified to disclose of her unique ability to connect with her long lost twin and the morbid discovery she had made because of it thereafter…
Maura had been kidnapped by the Order of the Black Cloak and raised by the dark Seer who controlled the faction of the Order. The Dark Seer was especially inclined to kidnapping a handful of Shadow Twins like Maura whom she believed bore potential in mastering Shadow Magic.
Maura had thus been raised by the Dark Seer with a handful of other special Shadow Twins and had exceeded her adoptive mother’s expectations with her special abilities.
Upon discovering that Maude was connected to her twin consciously due to the special connection they had, the Dark Seer had seen to it that this connection was severed as much as possible. For several years, Maude had been unable to see into the perverse mind of her twin sister and her inability to access those thoughts had led to the death of her beloved father and estranged mother at the hands of none other than her own twin sister.
Grief seemed to trigger the remaining connection she had with her twin sister Maura and she would catch glimpses of her twin when she concentrated enough in spite of the great distance between them. Initially, Maude would often be caught by her twin sister and thus would be promptly ejected from her mind with great injury to herself.
However, in the recent past and with the help of the vigilante group that countered the Order of the Black Cloak (known as the Sacred Order of the White Cloak), Maude had learned to tap into her twin sister’s consciousness with the latter being none the wiser.
After 30 minutes of meditation, Maude finally managed to tap into her sister’s consciousness to catch a few glimpses of what the dark ones were up to in the hopes of foiling their plans. As always, her twin sister was ogling the oldest and most powerful Shadow Twin the dark Seer had adopted, Sven.
Through her sister’s perverse mind, she had learned of the most powerful Shadow person to have ever lived and had relayed the same information to her colleagues. Maura was obsessed with Sven despite his often cold demeanor and apparent lack of emotions. Often times, Maude thought Sven could see right through her when she was present in Maura’s consciousness although he had never given it away.
Through her connection with Maura, Maude found herself obsessing over Sven, sometimes even going as far as to get lost in the enigma that he was, forgetting her primary objective. Maura was nervous but just a look into Sven’s eyes was enough to set her mind and heart at ease.
Maude observed Maura and Sven who were accompanied by the Order of the Black Cloak carefully concealed in some brush. Maude felt that wherever they were was very cold. Maude learned that it was snowing through Maura who exuberantly observed the individual snowflakes as they fell from the sky. Maura was particularly drawn to the unique patterned flakes and conferred with Sven whenever found some that particularly stood out.
The Black Cloaks were trying to unravel some Magical Wards and judging by Maura’s nervous breathing, she could tell that the Wards were highly sophisticated. The seconds ticked by and Maude soon lost connection with her twin.
Two hours passed before Maude could reconnect with her twin sister and by that time, the Magical Wards were almost entirely overcome. Maura was contentedly resting her head against Sven’s shoulder when he suddenly turned to her and raised her head to observe his face. He stared deep into her eyes and Maude’s heart raced matching with Maura’s own fast heartbeat.
There was the same knowing look in Sven’s eyes and yet he didn’t call her out and try to warn Maura about it which confused Maude as always. After a few more minutes, the wards were broken and Maude lost connection with her twin yet again.
Her colleagues tried to reason with Maude to wait until the following morning to find out what her twin sister and Sven were really up to but Maude kept pushing herself until she once more reconnected with her twin sister.
By the time she made the connection with her twin sister, it was all foggy like a long forgotten memory. Maude struggled to keep calm when she realized that she couldn’t see a thing even through Maura’s eyes which usually meant that her twin sister was in the Shadow World; a non-physical plane that could only be accessed by a handful of powerful Shadow people and whomever they desired to tag along.
Within no time, Maura and Sven emerged from the Shadow World and Maude could see that her twin sister was carrying a baby who was crying. Maura quickly handed over the weeping child to the Dark Seer that raised them who smiled and appreciated the ‘great work’ Maura and Sven together with the other Black Cloaks had done.
Another family would be heart-broken that night, Maude thought despairingly. However, Maude knew she had to set aside her own feelings and focus on finding out who the child was and planning for how that child would be returned to his or her own respectful family.
Maude sought answers from Maura’s conscious mind which was a jumbled mess due to the adrenaline still coursing through her body. She turned to look at Sven even as he and Maura walked towards the latter’s bedroom hand in hand. Maura quickly twisted the door knob to the room when Sven abruptly spun her around and held her in his arms, staring deep into her eyes.
“I’ve never told you this before but… I love you,” he said. Maude thought that it was meant for Maura but the longer she stared at Sven through her sister’s eyes, the less confident she was that it wasn’t in fact, addressed to her.
The knowing look in his eye was fiercely burning as he stared longingly into Maura’s eyes. The depth of his emotions was almost as frightening as the thought that he was onto Maude.
“I love you too, Sven,” Maura responded, her heart elated.
Sven stared into her eyes for a few more moments before becoming the cold, emotionless robot he always assumed himself to be. They entered the room and Maude attempted to retreat to her own mind hoping to escape what would inevitably happen between her sister and Sven.
However, unlike several times in the past when she had tapped into the Maura’s mind during the most inopportune times, she found herself unable to escape. She became an unwilling spectator and participant and no matter how hard she tried to escape it, something anchored her there…
Several moments later, Sven stared deep into her eyes and breathlessly repeated, “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Maura responded.
Maude suddenly felt her consciousness float away from her own body and fully transfer into her sister’s body.
Terrified, she sought ways to return to her own body but Sven’s piercing gaze held her captive.
“I know its you, Maude. You’re the one I love not… her,”
“I don’t understand what you mean, Sven. What does my twin sister have to do with this?”
“Enough mind games, Maude. We don’t have much time. I temporarily displaced Maura to the Shadow World so I could finally speak to you,”
“How did you do that? Maura is a powerful Shadow person and as far as I know, Shadow People can’t possess any of their own kind much less displace them the way you have,”
“You already know that I am the most powerful Shadow person to have ever lived. Anyway, it matters not, my love. We haven’t a lot of time. Listen, the baby we kidnapped tonight is the son of the Prince of Wintria from Timeline Beta 3…”
“The Prince of Wintria’s son? That’s impossible! There is no way you could do such a thing… I mean why would you even want his son? His son is surely not worth all the effort especially considering that he is not even a Shadow Person but a Nymph…”
“This time, the Prince and his mate Thea, conceived twins. We kidnapped the Shadow Twin because the Dark Seer Gia foresaw the future of darkness should we have him on our side which is beyond bleak as you can imagine…”
“Maude, you have the power within you to open up an aperture in space-time and travel to that timeline and inform the Prince and his mate of what we did. Once you get there, seek the child’s mother and bring the full force of the Wintrian army here- destroy this dreadful place and free us all,”
Maude blinked severally in confusion. “But… aren’t you loyal to the Dark Seer?”
Sven smiled and Maude was surprised at how heart-warming it truly was. He kissed her passionately and responded, “I am doing this for us, Maude. Someday, you will understand.”
“Our time is up. You have to go back. Remember what I told you- go to Wintria, inform the Prince that you know the whereabouts of his kidnapped son. It is the only way to ensure he is safely retrieved and returned to them as well as stopping this horrible practice from persisting. I love you and I will aid you however I can-” he stated.
TO BE CONTINUED…