3 : A Visit From The Bureau
On the next morning,
when the two Clara-selves woke up and prepared themselves for their
departure for Los Angeles, where they would meet Clara-29, they
recieved a call from the reception telling them that the Bureau of
Time Affairs was on their way to meet them, and thus, they were not
allowed to leave the hotel before they would have talked with them
about whatever thing they wanted to tell the two girls. Worried about
getting arrested and having a forced obliteration, Nineteen started
going back and forth in their room, while her younger self was
sitting on her bed, not saying anything. For her, an
obliteration would be the same as dying from suicide, so she didn’t
really mind about this happening to her. The oldest self still asked
for breakfast, even if they were not that hungry and not
especially in the mood to eat with some government agents on their
« Can I tell you
something ? the youngest self asked suddenly.
Go ahead, tell me…
Is there something wrong ?
Well, I’m tired
of going around and seeing my future selves. I mean, this is great
to know how my life is going to be, but… this doesn’t really
help. Paola still broke up with me, I am still depressed, and
I am not convinced of anything. I’m just… so hopeless.
I feel defeated already. I don’t know what else to say, sorry. »
Clara-19, exhausted by
the amount of emotions she had gotten recently, just sat back on her
bed, and tried to calm down, but now, it was impossible. She started
crying, not because of the possibility of an obliteration, but
because no matter what she did, she would always get the same
answer from Sixteen : no, I’m not convinced by that, I will
still commit suicide. As if wasn’t really important to her
« Okay, then,
since we have time to waste while waiting for the cops, we can have a
proper chat, the oldest self admitted while opening a pack of
cookies. Alright, it seems that our timeline has been changed,
since I don’t remember having a relationship with Paola in the past.
What happened to you, Sixteen ?
Well, you know… I
fell in love with her, I thought she loved me back, but she was
manipulating her feelings to destroy me, because she knew
that I would be broken beyond repair. And she was right, I
mean, look at me : I am a wreck. I know I should know
better, but this… trip-thing doesn’t really help. I mean, maybe
there will be something in my life that will make me re-consider it,
but… I’m just too tired to keep going. I want to stop all
of this. Right now. See, even you forget sometimes, about
your older selves. »
And that’s when
Nineteen realised what may be going on in her life : she
remembered Paola-19, her warning about her life about to change,
and how she was informed of her younger self’s suicide just
half an hour later. Maybe… Paola had decided to changer her
timeline in the first place, to destroy her younger self, knowing
how little and vulnerable she was at the lowest point of her
life, when she was…
« Sixteen. God,
I’m so stupid ! Why didn’t I see this before ?
URGH ! Sixteen, how could Paola-16, who never
tried to have a relationship with me in my timeline, suddenly
had the idea to do it with you ? All of this without an
illegal action in the first place ?
unless she got some information about you… wait, what do you mean,
Nineteen ? Did Paola herself create a paradox in the
first place ?
That’s what I’m
thinking, my dear younger self, was the reply from the oldest girl.
Alright, that’s what we could do : tell the government agents
what we believe happened to us, and then, maybe, they will see if
this is correct. And if they find proof of Paola-19 being in a
conversation with Paola-16 and plotting to change our timeline, and
then, we’ll be okay ! You’ll be able to go back to your
normal life, and me as well. Paola will be obliterated, and
we’ll be saved !
The thing is, how
do we convince government agents, that are supposed to be omniscient
about Time Affairs, to believe a theory that you just made up
in your mind ? I mean, loads of people get their timeline
changed, every day. My life experience won’t probably be the
same as yours. Don’t you remember that ? First lesson of Time
and Space Dynamics ? Even if all the selves from a single
person are living at the same time on Earth…
They aren’t allowed
to live together, to communicate, as they will probably will have
different experiences, and very often as well, they won’t have the
same life. However, changes between selves don’t affect the other
death. », the youngest
concluded while shaking her head. « As you said, when a self
dies, the older ones are obliterated,
and the youngest ones, destined to die at the same age as the
youngest one to die.
why I am trying to
convince you not to
commit suicide, Sixteen, but you won’t hear me… You could just
follow the steps written by the older ones. I mean, a lot
of people do this, not because they cheated or contacted an older
self, but just because… it was their fate,
that’s all. Usually, different selves have the same job as their
older counter-parts, unless their life is changed by an exterior
motive. Do you understand this ? »
Once they finished
their little discussion, they started waiting again, until the
government made their presence known with some black cars in fon the
hotel where they were staying, and two men going outside of a van
accompanying them. After they introduced themselves to the reception,
they were escorted to the girls’ room, where they knocked at the door
before opening them and introducing themselves to the Clara-selves.
Roberts-46 and Solando-46, we’re here for a disturbance in the
timeline of… Clara Smith, aged nineteen, who decided, with her
sixteen-year-old self, to talk with some other selves, including, at
the moment, Clara-14 and Clara-24. Is that right ?
If you say so, was the
sharp response from Nineteen. I’m just trying to save myself from my
younger self’s suicide. To avoid an obliteration, let’s say.
believe that a teenager called Paola, had her nineteen-year-old self
and sixteen-year-old self plotting to change my older self’s life by
having a relationship with me and then dump me to force me to commit
suicide. » Sixteen repeated what she had just heard
from the other Clara-self blindly, like a robot.
would know that, we
would have been informed of any
paradox in your timeline, miss Smith-16, Solando said without even a
second thought. Anyway, if you keep messing up with your
timeline… » He was now talking both selves while pointing
them with a menacing finger. « You will get definitely
obliterated, miss Smith. Anyway, have a nice day, and clean all this
mess that you’ve made. Go back to your normal lives and let the
government do their job, what they are paid
for. Goodbye. »
on those last words, the two agents left the room, leaving the two
Clara-selves on their own. After they packed their luggage and put
them in the back of Nineteen’s car, the oldest self went to drive the
car, her younger self on the passager’s seat, the started driving.
And while Sixteen believed that she would get driven back home and
given an excuse, like a disease, for not going to the trip with her
art teacher, she got really
surprised to realise… that her older self was driving in the wrong
direction. Towards Los Angeles.
wait… aren’t we going to listen to the government’s call to stop
messing around with our timeline ? Why are you doing this,
government may be omniscient, but sometimes, they are just being
very slow, was the
answer given by the older self. And I don’t have extra time, unless
you promised me not
to commit suicide… But apparently, since you are still not
convinced, I wll do
anything to keep you
breathing. I’ve tried all the soft
methods, and they don’t work. So, let’s get a little harder,
shall we ? »
decided to drive faster, not going above the limit but wanting to get
there as soon as possible. After all, if they were being spied on by
the government right now, they now had to be faster than ever, not
only to respect the deadline imposed by their birthday, but also
to avoid the obliteration promised by the agent called Solando. They
got in the outskirts of San Francisco, but when they tried to take
the freeway, they got stuck in so much
trafic that they decided to take some smaller roads, for the moment.
It will be faster than get stuck in the middle of stinking
cars anyway, the older self told
herself when she parked her car next to a bar to get some lunch.
anything you want, Sixteen, she said while taking out money from her
wallet. We’re not spending much at the moment, so we’re doing good,
but if you want to keep this comfort of life and not reduce your
spending in a couple of days, we should hurry up
and try to solve this problem as fast as we can.
Alright, I’m going to
the counter to take my menu… Are you coming with me ?
I’ll go later, I’m
keeping the table for us two for now. » Nineteen answered, and
she sat down on a little table made for two.
while she was waiting for her younger self to come back with her meal
to go buy her own, she realised something she hadn’t seen while
arriving there. Is this my kindergarten ?
she asked herself, before realising that it was actually
the case. How did I get there ? Mmmmh… Maybe it’s
time to show Sixteen something good…