Sunday, September 7, 2008

“Sure.” Darian answered uncertainly. He gently reclaimed his arm from her grip. “You can find out. He’s letting you go.”

A squeal of joy erupted from the young woman and she jumped to her feet. “When? Did he say?”

“As soon as I can locate 0-7 to help you with the packing. I wanted to let you know first. Congratulations, Snowflake.” He smiled down at her. “This is what you have always wanted.”

A troubled grin flashed across 0-9-9’s face. “What if I don’t fit in?” She shrugged. “You know…I’m not exactly normal.” Her eyes looked up at him from under her blond bangs. “What if I’m not accepted.”

Darian felt his heart go out to the girl. He could see the justifiable uncertainty and fears cross her face to disappear behind a closed-off expression. He took her hand in his own and sat down on the edge of her bed, the white bedspread folding softly under his weight.

“Listen to me, Snowflake.” He started earnestly. The clone paused, his brown eyes flickering around the room as he tried to find the right words. “You are special.”

A self-deprecating snort interrupted. “Duh!”

The man shot her a glare and she countered the look with an innocent smile. Darian shook his head and rolled his eyes. 0-9-9 always had an attitude, almost from birth. Darian found it comforting. A familiar reaction that he could expect no matter what the situation. Clearing his throat, the man continued.

“There is no one else out there like you. None of your sisters….no one can ever be who you are. What I am trying to say is that you do not need to conform. If those on the outside cannot accept you for who you are then you need to accept yourself. That is all that you can do, really. You can only control your own choices. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks about you.” He squeezed her hand in encouragement. “I have faith that you will be able to make it out there. . .and you will have friends. People who see you as a unique individual - a special girl unlike any other.”

Darian smiled.

“Then I guess we should go find 0-7, shouldn’t we?” The girl asked with a glowing smile in return.

“Yes, that does sound like a great idea.”

Standing, Darian let her pale hand drop away as they walked out the door and into the wide, marble-floored hallway outside. It was the length of the entire west wing of the mansion, hundreds of identical doors leading off it into rooms occupied by other Snowflake Gurls. Those many clones of the former Alice Dillin-Moore.