Stories

DNA Double

The man came up and shook my hand; he looked more like an accountant than an FBI agent.

“Miss Bellarmine; it’s a pleasure to meet you in person.”

“Uh, the same; call me Nancy. Can I ask why you called me here, Agent Carlson? You said on the phone there was something you wanted to discuss.”

“Yes. If you could follow me to an interview room.”

“Am I wanted for something?”

“No, no, at least not that I’m aware of. We just need your help with a few questions.”

I must be wanted for something. Police never ask ‘a few questions’ without a reason. At least that’s what happens on all the cop shows. I follow him into the interview room with more than a little trepidation. I wonder why he didn’t invite Mom.

He opens a file folder and looks at it. “Does the name Kathryn Abrams mean anything to you?”

“No; should it?”

“Are you sure? Perhaps she’s an aunt, or a cousin. Anything at all?”

“Sorry. My mother was an only child; I don’t have any aunts or cousins that I know of. My father ditched her before I was born, so there could be something on that side. Who is she?”

“We were hoping you could tell us. Her body was found in a crashed car at the bottom of a cliff in California.”

“That’s awful! But why do you think I’d know about her?”

“She and you have a DNA match.”

“So she’s related to me?”

“Not exactly; according to the DNA, she is you.”

“That’s not possible! I thought everybody had different DNA.”

“That’s what we thought, too. But the two of you are an exact match.”

“That’s weird.”

“It gets weirder. She died seventeen years ago.”

“Okay, something is definitely wrong. I wasn’t even born then. There’s got to be some kind of mistake.”

I feel like I just stepped into the X-Files. How could someone with the same DNA as me even exist? That’s just plain crazy.

***

“Mom, can I ask you something?”

She looks up from the TV. “You just did, dear.”

“Do you know a Kathryn Abrams?”

She grips the remote so tightly I think she’ll snap it. After a half-moment her hand relaxes.

“No dear. Why do you ask?”

“Well, I met a guy today who said I look just like her. I thought maybe she might be related to Dad.” I hate lying to her, but she’d freak if she knew I’d been asked down to the FBI office.

“I sincerely doubt that, dear. Your father was never out west.”

What? How does she know about that? Oh crap, maybe I’m in one of those spy stories where everyone’s been lying to me all my life. I have to play it cool; maybe that way I can put off the guys in dark suits coming.

“Okay. Just a thought.”

I start heading for my room when Mom calls again.

“Nancy, I have two weeks in July. Would you like to go on a vacation?”

“Sure, Mom. Any thoughts on where?”

“I was thinking we could go see your grandmother.”

“Mom, West Virginia is so boring. How about Disneyland?”

“I’m not made of money, dear.”

“How about Las Vegas?”

“I am not taking my fifteen-year old daughter to Las Vegas. What’s this sudden fascination with the west coast?”

“I just want to go somewhere different; somewhere on the other side of the Mississippi. How about Texas?”

“I’ll think about it. Now go get ready for dinner.”

***

I plunk down my backpack and take out my tablet. According to the internet, Kathryn Abrams’s death was reported by police out of Crescent City, near the California/Oregon border. Something tells me that going there might shed more information on the woman with my DNA.

The trick is getting there without being caught.