She awoke sitting upright in a plush, maroon armchair. Her return to consciousness was abrupt but gentle, marked only by her eyes opening and flitting around the room.
“Ah, finally,” a voice said, “she deigns to join us in the land of the living.”
A woman walked into her view. She wore a tailored, pinstripe suit, her golden hair tightly pulled back in a ponytail and slicked to her scalp. One eyebrow was raised and her lips were pursed. Even if her face hadn’t been a carbon copy of her own, the seated woman would have recognized her immediately.
“You again?” she asked, shifting a little in the chair to see how her limbs were working. “What are you wearing?”
“What?” the double asked, glancing down at her outfit. “I’m trying something new. Looks good, doesn’t it?”
“You don’t have the facial symmetry for a hairstyle like that,” she responded simply. “I preferred your last look.”
“You realize that when you insult my looks, you’re also insulting yourself, right?”
“Your entire existence is based on self-loathing, and you know that.” Her head was starting to ache. “How long did you have me under this time?”
“Since the end of January. I was trying to help you, but every time I come for a visit you get very boring and unpleasant. I had to shut you up somehow.”
The copy was perched on a desk in front of the armchair, but she did not look comfortable; every so often, her hands would tug at her blazer and adjust the waist of her snug pencil suit. She scanned the room constantly, refusing to meet the calm gaze of her seated twin. As always, there were dark circles marring her pale skin under her eyes.
“Well, thank you for that, once again.” She rose from the chair, stretching. She needed to down a painkiller as soon as possible. “I assume I won’t see you again until November?”
“You never know,” the other said slyly. “I could pick the lock in June again.”
“That will not be happening.”
“Like it’s your call.”
She paused on her way to the door, fishing out the ring of keys she always kept in her pocket. Fingering the grooved edges, she told the pouting copy:
“I added an extra key this time. It should keep you occupied for another ten months or so.”
“Thank you, I actually appreciate the challenge.”
“Until next winter?”
“Until next winter.”
She exited the room in a blaze of sunshine, locking the door firmly behind her.