A Life to Live Chapter One

Does history repeat itself? Is the entire world a wheel? As it spins through time and space, people come and go and the face of the world is changed does fate spin it back in place? Therefore if everything begins the same does it end the same? Is everyone tied to fate? Will a clone of a French, warrior-saint burn at the stake early in her life like her original? Can a clone of Joan of Arc live a long life and make her own destiny?

At St. Kleio Academy clones are educated and trained to live in the modern world and surpass their originals in their contributions and achievements to the world. She was trained in the art of war and in theology; she went through 10 mile runs every morning and debated with clergy of all religions. Despite all her grooming and training, was she still fated to relive the life of her original and be her own person in finding her own way to live and eventually… die. Her original had died young at the age of 19, what was it possible for her to live any longer? Would there be anything left for her to achieve after that?

She lived everyday yet everyday she wondered if she would live to see the next day.

These thoughts haunted Clone Joan of Arc every day of her life ever since she could remember being told how her original had died. She could remember asking the question to her development tutor when she was made to sit in a freezing metal chair in a pale, white room devoid of anything but that chair, her tutor, and herself. The questions her tutor asked her confused her, she would only learn later that they were testing to make sure she was mentally stable and didn't show any signs of cerebral degradation that some clones faced in their development. Joan knew already by then that she was a clone and that her original was a woman that had heard the voice of the divine and lead the French people to victory and was revered as a heroine and saint. What no one seemed to have the heart to tell her was how the original Joan of Arc had died, they always avoided the subject telling her it wasn't important and to eat her vegetables.

Her development tutor had no such qualms. "Oh, Joan of Arc? Oh her death was horrible! Just the worst, burned at the stake like a witch. Now honey, do you ever feel like you're going to die?"

After that she ran to Clone Sigmund Freud, getting him to bring her a book from the library about her original, once she got her hands on it she shut herself in her room and poured over the volume until finally her eyes gazed at the ending text. Shut in a prison the original Joan of Arc was subject to interrogation and torture, then tied at the stake she was engulfed by flames where her body was raked from the still burning execution pit and was cast back in, burned twice more than her ashes were cast into the Seine River. Clone Joan of Arc didn't know how many times she had reread the text that night or how often in the years since, imagining the events of her original's death and sometimes picturing herself as the one at the stake.

Crying the entire night Joan refused to leave her room the next morning, locking the door she didn't answer any of the knocks or the voice of Dr. Kamiya when he came into her room and asked her what was wrong. He simply sat down on her bed next to Joan and stroked her hair until she stopped crying and waited for her to sit up to tell him that she was hungry. Bringing Joan of Arc lunch he waited for a short time while she ate before he asked her once again, "Joan of Arc, what is bothering you?"

"Am I going to die?" she asked Kamiya, biting into her sandwich and looking at the floor.

"…yes. All living beings eventually die" Kamiya replied, looking down at her with a concerned look.

"No…I mean my original died…so young and so horrible…I…I don't want to die like that" tears breaking spilling from her eyes as she took the book lying next to her and threw it across the room.

"Ah…" a awkward silence filling the air for a minute before he continued "…though you don't have to worry about that, nothing like that happens in this day and age. Not only that but you're here and will be protected from any harm."

"I…I won't be set on fire?"

"No you won't. You're not a witch; you're a girl with a bright future ahead of her. Now don't worry about today's lessons, I'll let your development tutor know…"

Dr. Kamiya's words had comforted for a short while, mostly due to her own early sense of child invincibility…but as she saw how the world truly was the comforting words of Dr. Kamiya lost their ability to still those dark thoughts which began to burst forth more and more often as the years went on.

The death of Clone Kennedy on TV had finally destroyed the last vestiges of hope that she had about living a long and happy life and here she was on the balcony, slowly leaning over the side as she gazed at the setting sun over the forest outside of St. Kleio. Her fingers struggled to maintain a grip on the marble, but the weight of her leaning body was becoming too much for them. If she leaned over just further maybe…she would topple forward and…

"Joan of Arc, enjoying the sunset I see" a female voice called to her from behind. Glancing behind her, Joan of Arc saw the graceful figure of Clone Himiko, the clone of the original mythic shamaness of Japan's ancient foundation approach her, Himiko's face was framed by long black hair. Her smile was a knowing smile which gave Joan the impression Himiko knew what she was trying to do as Himiko joined Joan of Arc on the balcony she saw the other girl playing with something in her hands. "Tell me Joan of Arc…what do you know about the Almighty Dolly?"

"Almighty Dolly?"