This is what happens when you do your homework before class…and don’t feel the need to listen to the professor. Yup. I’m responsible. So responsible. For my own tears at 2 AM as I’m typing this story up, but whatever. I miss writing for the record, hopefully I’ll return with more, though.
“Carlos, Carla, we need you, get up, come down.” Amanda hammered on the twin’s door as sirens split the night silence. Two tousled, blonde heads replaced the door. “Big Baby’s gonna blow, we need you to decode it.”
The twins exchanged looks. “You decode the bomb, I’ll run the back-up.” Carlos hugged his sister.
“Remember to speak clearly and slowly, little brother.” She kissed his forehead before the two split and bolted down opposite corridors. Amanda hesitated before following Carla.
“You can do it—”
“Get out!” Carla’s fingers flew over the keys of her computer. “Get out, just because I am the best doesn’t mean I am successful.”
“Stage 1 successful, Stage 2 bypassed, engaging Stage 3.”
“Copy that, Carlos.” Big Baby’s beeping intensified behind the glass. “Amanda, I want everyone on the next three levels evacuated, they have 20 minutes to pack.”
Amanda stumbled around a desk and turned her back on Carla. The image of her blonde curls cut short above her ears, her loose pajama shirt hanging off one shoulder, her bare feet…were burned into her mind.
Each beep echoed through the compound. Seconds beat their half times. Minutes blurred the eerie silence together. Carlos watched the compound in the distance.
Twenty minutes passed. Twenty-one. Twenty-two. Amanda’s team sent a blur of head lights into the mountains. A heavy knot tangled inside Carlos. He raised his phone to his ear. “Compound cleared.”
A tear trickled down his cheek as he heard the heavy breathing from his sister’s chest. Three more minutes passed. A deep sigh rushed through his speaker.
“I’m still here.”
“I only have…45 seconds.”
“I’ll wait for you.”
“I’ll be coming.”
“Take your time. Don’t come too early.”
“I won’t.” His breathing hitched. “There’s no plan B?”
“This was always every plan. Carlos?”
“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness.” Her voice was cut off in a loud explosion. A gust of wind knocked Carlos backwards. The phone lost connection as a heat wave followed.
Carlos covered his face as ashes and flecks of debris showered him. “That is not weakness. That is life.” A deep sob tore his throat as he sat up and strained his eyes through the ashes…maybe his sister’s spirit was lingering in them.
“Carla was my older sister, as many of you know. What may not have been made clear was that…she was my elder by two years. Carla and I are not twins.” Carlos scanned the sea of black sitting in orderly rows, glittering with tears. He smiled weakly. “It began as a joke, actually. Her given name was Charlotte. Mine is Carlos. When our parents passed, she took it upon herself to protect me and that is when we truly became twins. We’re identical.” The sea of black swam as tears suddenly rushed over his eyes. Carlos swallowed and brushed them away to continue, “And she did that. There was some rivalry over who was the better hacker or coder. She always sacrificed the title, but when we accept the truth, Carla was better at everything. She was kind, loving, protecting, competent, the fastest coder this world has seen. But even the best person can’t stop time. We knew that night one of us would stay…and it would be her.” Someone sobbed and buried their face in their hands. Carlos looked away quickly, “It may sound cruel, it may seem…unfair…but her last words were “I’ll wait for you…Take your time. Don’t come too early…This was always the plan…” And, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness.” She wasn’t able to finish the line, so I’ll do it for her, now. “That is not a weakness. That is life.” Knowing this, I want everyone who knew here or heard of her…anyone touched by my sister…to strive to be more like her. That’s why she left and I stayed. I haven’t reached my purpose, yet. That’s…that’s all.” Carlos bowed his head. The words fell short, but the conclusion ebbed into the chests of the mourners. Carla passed because it was her time…and they had not…because their end was waiting.