“She was seven going on 25” as Susan would say (Alice called her Mom Susan).
Alice felt left out of the 8th birthday party for Georgia’s daughter, Katie.
Katie’s friends all attended public school, native Bahamians, hip to the streets.
Mainstream, homogenous, they looked and dressed all the same. A person could blend in with the crowd.
There is a comfort in that. Alice was however forever isolated by her origins.
Before Alice was 5 she was desribed as
Or some thought a
“enough!” Alice said internally, that string of names running through her mind
As she sat alone in the Wolf’s Den, that dark stifling crawl space where they kept the Christmas decorations, old dishes and moth eaten blankets. Alice rolled up old blankets and propped them up like her babies.
All alike. All the same.
They told her to go down to the beach, to run away from this party of strangers.
She left a note:
It is obvious that I do not belong here.
“Welcome to my homeland, the Bahamas. This is the infamous Wolf’s Den, home base for
The first clone in the history of man (Alice really did not know what a clone really was at this point, just that it meant being different and she was not supposed to know.)
She tidied up the makeshift table and laid the pretend rag dolls down on their sides. “Sleep tight”, she would say to them, “Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” (That is what her grandmother used to say. How did she remember that?)
Once safely outside, she hustled towards the edge of the dunes. Her golden hair camouflage in the tall waving beach grasses.
On the beach, Alice skipped lightly at first, dodging shells and seaweed, glancing over her shoulder at times to see if anyone was following.
Her foot steps slowed to a cantor, then became more labored,
The glances over her shoulder became longer looks, and she found herself wondering how far she had gone.
Is she lost? None of this looks familiar.
A panic set in and she almost did not go on.
Still her stubbornness,
A clone of Susan’s stubbornness,
Innate in the make up of this child.
She did not turn back and went on at a defiant crawl
Head pointed straight forward at a lean into the headwinds.
She was feeling the breeze. A chill in the air.
Then a shock,
Her foot kicked it….
Alice dropped everything.
Her lower jaw fell slack.
Washed up ashore,
The girl asleep, cool, wet and soiled.
As loud as she could,
One long piercing high sustained
Blood curdling scream.
The waves crashing ashore.
And screamed again,
Eerily higher pitched,
Alice’s skin shivering and cold.
She was too far away.
This girl, what to do?
She shook the girl and told her to awaken.
As she had seen the rescuers do on the beaches.
She coughed and sputtered and drew a big breath
All in a deep gasp.
Dazed and lethargic, gaining awareness slowly with each subsequent breath.
Alice said in her most proper polite Bahamian English,