Cold. So cold. And pain. What happened to her? Where was she? Why did she feel so strange? Was she dead? Did the polar bear kill her? Did you feel pain when you were dead? Was it cold?
Yes, that was her name. Did God call her? Was there a God? And if so did she/he use the name her parents gave her? Was the name you were given when you were born something like your destiny? Like a commitment?
"Sara, wake up."
When she was told to wake up she couldn't be dead could she? Who told her to wake up? And why? What was wrong with being asleep? It wasn't like she slept a great deal of the day, most times she didn't sleep enough. Why not leave her alone and give her some rest?
"Come on, I know you can hear me, wake up. Screw it, I got you out of this bloody water in time, you can't die. Come on, you will not die under my hands! You hear me? You won't die! I kick you in the ass if you dare to die! Open your damn eyes! I can't call for backup and send a helicopter to safe you."
"Sofia?" Where the hell came the blonde from? Why was she in her dreams? Again. Didn't she just think of the former detective a couple of days ago? And now she followed her in her dreams? Her death? Whatever state she was in now.
Evi? Who was Evi?
"Come on, open your eyes. You talked to me, you're alive, you can open your eyes."
Slowly Sara opened her eyes. Short dark hair, dark brown eyes…who was this? Why was this person in her…no, wait a moment, this wasn't her place. This was…she had never been here. Where the hell was she? Why was it so cold and why did somebody seemed to hit her on the head with a sledgehammer?
"That's better. Welcome back."
Welcome back to where? Where had she been that she was back? Where was back? Who was Evi? What happened to Sofia? Did she really dream she heard the voice of the blonde? Of course she did, Sofia was dead. Maybe she fell on her head.
"Where am I?"
"In my hut."
"Because you decided to take a bath. Did nobody tell you swimming isn't one of the suggested activities for this area? You mistook Alaska beach with Aloha beach. Maybe you noticed the difference when you jumped into the water." Despite the tease Evi put into her words there was a lot of relief too. Relief that Sara woke up and could speak.
"Why would I do that?"
"There was this huge polar bear behind you, ready to kill you. The only way to save your life was rolling into the water. Lucky for you the bear didn't follow you. Might be because I shot a tranquilizer into his arse and he preferred to run away with it. Now I've to find him again."
"Sorry…" Sara blinked. Her head was…pain on her shoulders. The world was slightly blurry. Something wasn't right.
"You have a head injury." Evi explained like she read Sara's thoughts. "He got your forehead a bit, only a scratch but with the force and the power he has it got you a concussion. And a nasty wound from his craws. I tried the best to fix it so you won't have a scar. Not that a scar would take any of your beauty."
"You talk…bullshit…I got killed?"
"No, injured. Why don't you close your eyes again? Now that I know you're alive and can talk you can have a little rest."
"I need to call…"
"Whom? Bruce? Only if you want to get in real trouble. No, no you don't want to call Bruce. I called him, told him you got me and we'll have a look for the bear together because I didn't chased him alone, I was out at the seal colony. Where you found me."
"I did ?"
"Of course. Unless you want us both in trouble."
"Good. Have a rest, sleep a little bit, you're safe here. And I'll make sure you're warm so there won't be a cold or worse. Hopefully. Can't promise anything after you took a bath in the sea."
"I…why aren't you Sofia?"
"Because I'm Evi."
Sounded like a reasonable answer and still, something confused Sara. The whole time she heard the British woman she heard Sofia. Like she saw the former detective. Why did she think of the blonde now? What was the connection? Was it the injury? Maybe the area of her memory in her brain got confused. Or her whole head. Something had to be wrong. Seriously wrong.
Whatever it was, it had to wait until later. Her eyes were blurry, her eye lids heavy and she felt like the weight of the world was on top of her. Time for some time out. Time to rest and have a little sleep. Maybe she felt better afterwards. Maybe life made more sense after a sleep. Or confused her less and was less painful.
Sara opened her eyes. Who talked to her? Who lied to her? She didn't snore, she never snored. She…ouch, her head. And her throat. And her back. And the arms. And the legs. And the…okay, it was easier and faster to mention the parts of her body that didn't hurt like hell… she just couldn't find on. Great. The prize you pay when you got old. Suddenly you wake up and realize, your body was a disaster.
"You feel like shit?"
"Yeah…where am I?" Sara looked at the other woman.
"My hut." Evi sat down next to her. "Open your mouth, I want to know if you have a high temperature." Before Sara could protest she had a clinical thermometer in her mouth.
"Uh-uh! Shut up, keep it under your tongue until you hear the beep. No discussion. I want to know how you are and I want your body to tell me. You might need some hot saline."
Sara watched how Evi put another blanket on top her the three blankets she was covered with. It was cold in here, at least she felt like it. Could it be? Shouldn't be. There was a fire, Evi walked around in sweatpants and a shirt. Something of the way she walked reminded her of… Las Vegas? Black. She wore black clothes…wasn't there something shiny on her waist? No, of course not. There was nothing shiny about sweat pants. Strange. Her eyes must play her a trick.
"Thirty five point five. You can use some hot saline." Eve took the clinical thermometer away.
"What? Thirty five…that's…"
"Sorry, I meant Celsius. Ninety five degrees for you. The best is you stay in there, we keep you warm from the inside and the outside. As far as I could see you don't have any frostbites. You look okay so far, how do you feel? Beside the cold thing?"
"Strange. I've got headache."
"He got you, like I said, you're injured. I'm sorry I didn't see you and him sooner, could have warned you."
"No, it was my fault, I was too busy watching the seals…oh, I think I lost my camera."
"Maybe it's still out there, I can have a look tomorrow."
"How did I…can you tell me what happened?"
"Well." Evi handed Sara a big mug of vegetable stock. "Sorry, it's best I can do at the moment. For anything else we've to call the doc…and I've the feeling you don't want that."
"Thought so." The black haired woman sat on the edge of the bed. "You must have been busy taking photos, I saw your note on the door, was on my way to find you when I saw the polar bear right behind you, called your name. You turned, managed to roll yourself aside so his paw couldn't get you. Unfortunately the way out of his way was over the edge, you fell down into the water. Not the best idea when it's freezing cold – inside and outside the water. I shot tranquilizer, the bear got away, lucky for both of us he felt more like running than attacking, I got to you and managed to pull you out of the water. You lost conscious as soon as you were out of the water, with was also good because if you had lost it earlier, you might have drowned. I pulled you here, got you out of your clothes, turned the electric blanket on high, placed all the blankets I found on top of you and checked on your pulse, cleaned the head wound and tried to wake you up."
"You had a toothpick in your mouth." And it reminded her so much of somebody else. Evi reminded her of Sofia. Yes, that was it. She knew the whole time something was weird about the British woman, something was very familiar, reminded her of Vegas. The way Evi had the toothpick in her mouth, it was exactly the way Sofia had it.
Evi blushed a little bit. "Bad habit. Sometimes I do that, stops me from smoking."
The toothpick, the way she walked. The swagger. It was there, hidden, almost not visible. Like the American accent that sometimes was there, pushed the British accent aside. Not much. A word, not more than two. There couldn't be so many coincidences.
But Sofia was dead, wasn't she? Sara had been at the funeral. Why would Sofia fake her own death? Why would she end up here? Tell Sara she was somebody else? There had to be another explanation. Still…she had to give it another try. Just because she felt like there was something, like she was right – against all odds.
"You don't smoke anymore, stopped after college."
"Yeah sometimes…" Evi stopped and looked like she said something she shouldn't have said. "Why do you think I smoked in college?"
"Because you admitted to it, you always used the toothpick when you felt like a smoke or wanted to remind somebody who smokes of a cigarette so you get him or her faster to talk. It's a habit you picked up years ago. Sofia." The other woman just admitted to the fact she smoked in college. Something Sofia told Sara a few years ago. A habit she quitted and the reason for the toothpick.
"You must have hit your head harder than I thought. I'm Evi."
It sounded almost desperate. Sara was right. She felt it, she knew it. No matter how unreal it sounded, how impossible it was, this woman wasn't the one she pretended to be. And there were more details that supported Sara's assumption.
"You wanted to kick my ass if I dare to die under your hands. My ass, not my arse. Plus there was no British accent in your voice when you said that, believing I can't hear you. When you walk there is the unique Curtis swagger which made me see something shiny on your waist, the detective badge. You're either a twin sister of Sofia – who doesn't have any siblings – or you are Sofia. Which leads me to the question: what are you doing here when I saw you with my own eyes on the table of the medical examiner? Two bullet holes in your chest." Sara sat up, her eyes on the other woman, who turned very, very pale.
"Due to the fall you might see things that aren't…"
"Stop it, I can see, maybe a little bit blurry sometimes but I know what I see…and what I feel. It felt the whole time like I've known you for a long time, you seemed to be so…familiar. Plus the last time my life was at risk you were there too. You saved me already twice. You can tell the others whatever you want, tell them you're Evangeline from England, put on a British accent, I don't care. Your grandmother was from England, wasn't she?" That explained the accent. All it needed was a lot of time with your grandmother and you pick her accent. Easy to pick it up again years later when you practice it for a while. Maybe surround yourself with native British English speaker.
"My whole family is from England."
"Your father is from Vegas. Maybe you cut your hair and dyed it…you dyed it in Vegas too, I like the long blonde more, by the way. As it comes to your eyes…you wear contact lenses. Hide the deep blue behind dark brown lenses. Why Sofia? Why did you let everybody think you died? Why? I was at your funeral…have you been in the casket or was it empty?" She remembered the day like it was yesterday. Remembered the pain.
"You should rest and sleep, Sara."
"No! No, I won't. I want answers. Stop acting like I hit my head, like I'm crazy or whatever. I know what I know, what I saw, what I feel. Why Sofia? Why did you do all this? Why do you pretend to be somebody you aren't? It has something to do with the last case you worked, hasn't it? It weren't drug dealer who shot you, it had something to do with the mob, hadn't it?" Sara was about to get up to pace around. Softly she got pulled back into the bed.
"Stay in there, you have to stay warm. And drink your vegetable stock. Please. Even when you feel good now, you might not be all right. I don't want to risk anything." The British accent was gone, the hand stay gently on Sara's arm, stroke it, made its way down until the hand of the other woman held Sara's.