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Got a rejection today on Gemini Rising.  I wish I didn’t get so bummed when this happens.  I have completed 5 novels, and my favorite three are I, Lucifer, Sinners’ Opera and Gemini Rising.  Gemini Rising is about idential twins — male and female.  I know this isn’t possible in our world, but in their dimension, it is the norm.  The twins are raised on an isolated island off the coast of England (I was picturing St. Michael’s Mount) by human parents but an old servant befriends and guards their days and nights.  AARGH, the formatting went a little wonky when I pasted it into this post.

The picture is of a video game character but is how I picture Alain.    Here is a few pages of Gemini Rising.

Chapter 1 – The
Child Within

 

Sunshine rainbows and innocence
danced in the mirror.  Hand-in-hand, a
little boy and girl laughed as they raced along a cliff by the sea, pale blond
hair flagging behind them.

As if the looking glass were
magic, the images of the past shimmered and dissolved.

The woman the little girl had
become ran a silver brush through her hair.
If eyes were windows to the soul, surely she’d glimpse a shadow of the
secret.  She had wandered the inner
landscape, mapping the geography of her soul.
The journey had left no visible scars.

Childish laughter
floated through arched doors open to an ocean-fresh breeze.  The lilting sound seemed as distant as those
summers of yesterday.  With a farewell
glance at the reflection of Alina Alastair Cooper—wife, mother, daughter and
sister—she rose from the gilded dressing table and strolled to the window.  Today, they celebrated her husband’s twenty-fifth
birthday.  The Lions of Alastair Keep—Alain, Alina and Rory—were born under the
astrological sign of Leo. They were sleek, graceful and powerful by chance of
birth—or fate.

The house and grounds
of Alastair Keep were festively dressed for the occasion.  At fifteen to eight, the orchestra tuned up
on the lawn. A breeze wafted party smells, flowers, food and the salty perfume
of the sea that had provided ever-present percussion to her life.  The clatter of a helicopter announced the
arrival of the London caterer.  Since it
was a two-hour ferry ride from the mainland to The Keep, Mother had arranged
for the Great Giovanni (grandiose name!) and his staff to be air-lifted.  Cases of French champagne, wines, fine
Scottish whiskey for Father and any beverage that flitted to mind were on offer
at the three bars on the lawn.  Two of
their college chums would be on hand to surprise Rory and Alain. At Cambridge,
her brother and his flatmate, now Alina’s husband, had called their small, elite
band of intellectual misfits Hedonists to
the Twenty-First
, a tribute to the new millennium.

Excitement shivered over her.  Alina rubbed the gooseflesh on leaping up her
arms.  Her brother was thinking of
her.  Somewhere in that wide azure sky, a
plane winged Alain home.  She felt the
miles of separation melting.  He’d mirror
the sweet anticipation of reunion.  As children,
often they’d behave synchronously.
They’d speak the same words in identical voice patterns.  Mother believed they were telepathic.  She was right, but it was more than
that.  An invisible chord stretched
between them. It was that way with twins.

And the tie that bound
them would never fray.  Separated yet never apart.

When she closed her
eyes, she saw her brother as clearly as if she sat in the seat beside him.  He’d bound the thick mane of pale hair into a
severe ponytail.  His serious topaz gaze
devoured a magazine article, but Alain’s mind wandered to thoughts of home.

A dog’s frantic
yapping, childish giggles and Rory’s melodious laughter called her back to the
sunny balcony.  She opened her eyes.  The twins tumbled into a writhing heap with Spud,
an incongruous half-Chihuahua, half-pug mongrel.  Her heart gave a happy skip as it always did
when she saw her handsome husband.

“Morning all.” She
waved as Rory scooped a blonde cherub under each arm.  “Oh, Rory, they’re filthy.  Look at that grass stain on Beau’s khakis.”

Her husband shook
back wind-tossed hair and laughed.  “Look
at poor Spud!  Anyway, Hon, a little dirt
sweetens the pot before scrubbing and imprisonment in Sunday clothes.”

The twins wriggled
and shrilled, “Mummy!  Mummy!”

Alina didn’t care if
her children ran bare-arse through the party as she and Alain had once
done.  It had been a day such as this—dreamy,
idyllic, sea-blue, a happy day until Father spanked her brother for an escapade
that had been Alina’s idea.

“I’ll be up in a
jiffy.”  Rory bowed.

With a squirming boy under one arm and a squealing
girl under the other, in tan shorts and a stained white shirt, he still managed
to look quite elegant.  Her husband was a
Charleston, South Carolina blueblood.
His soft, slow accent tugged at her heartstrings.

He straightened,
holding tight to his bundles and aimed a sultry smile at her.  “Maybe we
can find something to do before we dress for the party.”

“Like bake
cookies?”  Alina smoothed the robe over
her distended belly.  “We’ve already got a
bun in the oven.”

“Do you want to see a
grown man cry?”  His face screwed into a
grimace.

He draped a child
over each shoulder.  Tiny grimy hands
immediately tangled in his hair.  Yes,
Rory belonged to Alastair Keep.  The wind
whipped streaky blond hair over a face chiseled by a master.  Alina folded her hands to her lips.  Her husband was six-feet-one of slender
grace.  His eyes were sea green.  Love ached in her heart when she looked at
him.

A shadow wafted over
her, a plane passing above.  A shiver
rippled down her spine.  Her gaze drifted
across lawns spotted with white tables, dotted by yellow canopies.  Once, she and her twin had dreamed of
escaping the loneliness of the island.
When they had escaped, she’d longed for the restless sea, the castle
perched atop a sheer, wind-carved cliff.
In this day of instant, global communications, isolated by a two-hour
sail, The Keep remained a world unto itself.
Finally, after they’d returned from university, Father had allowed
computers and the spotty internet connection.  In the beginning, in the end, isolation had
proved their salvation, even if Alain did occasionally rebel and run away.

Memories buzzed like
bees in the August air.  Once she’d
believed everyone capable of tapping into the great wealth of memory.  She’d been shocked to learn most people
recalled little of childhood.  To Alina,
the past was a river of sensation not yellowed photographs crinkled by
age.  She could relive the warmth and
safety of the womb shared with Alain and birth tearing them asunder.  Eyes closed, she journeyed to meet him.  A moment more and she’d revive the way they
were.

When the two of them
were sequestered in utopia.

****

Alain tucked the
in-flight magazine into the seat pocket and gazed out the scratched window of
the 747.  Miles vanished on clouds fleeing
beneath the silver wings, carrying him from a dark-eyed beauty to a fair-haired
princess locked in an island castle.  From one life in the sun to a score of
problems.

Someone was going to get hurt.

Already he hurt—a low
throbbing like a toothache.  If he
returned to Portugal, Alina would be devastated.  His father would disown him.  If he picked up his discarded heritage, a
part of him would die and Maritza, whom he’d come to love, would grieve.  For a
time
.  He wasn’t vain enough to think
the black-haired beauty would die without him.

The choice lay in his
hands.

Yet he yearned to see
his sister, Rory and his mother.  He was
particularly proud of the present he was bringing home to his brother-in-law,
but he felt like an escaped prisoner returning to jail.  Emotion tumbled happy, sad. He chewed his
lower lip.  Damn life got complicated
when he tried to declare independence from The Keep. He shifted the long legs
cramped beneath the airline seat.  He
preferred not to think, but fragments of memory plagued the corners of his
eyes.

A vivid picture of
Alina supplanted images of recent days drenched white-hot by a Portuguese
sun.  His twin’s presence was more
corporeal than the woman sitting to his left.
Welcome or not, Alina was there inside
him, the mere thought of her a compulsion.
He sensed her anticipation mounting as the miles melted.  Excitement tingled over him.  In self defense, he grasped at a memory of
riding the splendid Lusitano stallions.  His
heart dived as he pictured Maritza framed in an arbor of roses.

When his seat mate
said something, he smiled vaguely at the tiny movie screen where imaginary
figures acted out their roles.  The film
would end happily—every desire fulfilled.
He hated the silver screen people.
Things didn’t turn out right—except in the movies.

The roar of jet
engines, the spattering of conversation became a distant echo. Alina was
journeying. When his sister took flight, despite the distance, she’d lead him
down the path her imagination chose.  Alina
had always been the leader.  Or was that
a cop out to assuage his own guilt?  He
laid his head back on the seat, closed his eyes.  Why fight the inevitable?  Surrender would bring surcease.

The rumble of the sea
surrounded him.  July sun warmed his face.  The light of home was different from any
other place, diffused, like sunlight filtered through a special camera
lens.  He stood on the top tier of the
formal garden and looked down to the second wide terrace.  A brisk waterfall sprang from an aperture in
rock to feed the swan pond.  Even in
summer the water remained clear, green, cool.

The warp and woof of
the present unwound, trailing satiny threads of the past over him.  He exhaled a sigh only slightly shaded by
regret and found himself a boy of five tender years.

****

Leaving the white ones
behind, the black swan floated across the water looking for a treat.  Night was the different one, the tame
one.  Alain regretted that today they’d
brought no biscuits to feed the beautiful black bird.  He and Alina had named the black swan
Midnight, but everyone called him simply Night.

Alain finger-combed
the long hair stuck to his neck and squinted at the sun.  “I’m hungry, Nye.”

He liked Nye better
than Father even though he’d never show it. The servant was nice to him.  Nye could always be trusted to find a
licorice drop in his pocket.  Alina and
Nye were stretched out on their backs on the grass.

Nye lifted his
head.  “We’ll take lunch presently.  Come, lie down.”  When Alain obeyed, the old man hugged him
close.  “The sun is at zenith.  A powerful moment.  Do you feel it, children?”

Nye’s faded brown eyes
stared a question at Alain.

“Feel what?”  Alain shrugged.

Alina clapped her
hands.  “I do,” she said proudly,
casting a glance at Alain before she closed her eyes.  “It feels like a shiver.” She shuddered
dramatically, drew a circle in the air.
“Looks like colors dancing.”

Alain wriggled out of
Nye’s embrace.  “Alina, you don’t
either.”  He didn’t see any colors and it
was too hot to shiver. “I’m going swimming with the swans.”

Nye laughed, ruffled
Alain’s hair. “Ah, my son, your vision is linear while your sister—well
anyway.”  He fell silent, staring at the
sun.

“Well anyway
what?”  Alain’s starched white shirt
followed the dark blue shorts into a heap.

“Things will change.”
Nye helped Alain out of his underpants.
“One day you’ll wake up.  Your
sister will be the one who quickens you.”

“If there’s a
storm, she wakes me.  Crawls into my
bed.” Alain grinned at his sister.
“She’s a scaredy-cat.  She doesn’t
feel anything. She’s fibbing.”

Alina tugged at Nye’s
sleeve.  “I do so feel it.”

A smile crinkled
Nye’s eyes as he held her close.
“Moon power.  The
woman—Bringer of Life—senses the male power of the sun.  My Princess, you’re wise beyond your
years.  But that’s to be expected.”

“Moon
power,” Alain huffed.  “You’re
weird, Nye.  Father says so all the
time.”

His sister lurched to
her feet.  Anger spotted her high
cheekbones.  She pointed a rigid finger
at her brother.  “Father thinks you’re weird.”

Tears stung Alain’s eyes.  His face crumbled.  “You’re mean.”

His sister’s lip trembled.  Tears filled her eyes.

“Peace
Children.”  Nye rolled to his feet.  The sun drew tiny white lines in his gray
hair.  “You’re both special indeed.  And loved beyond any imagining.”

Alain arched a
brow.  He wasn’t at all sure Father loved
him.  “I want a sticky
bun.”  Now naked, he collapsed on
the grass. “There’s lots of food at the party.
Why can’t we go?”

“Not that a
sticky bun would hurt you.”  Nye
trailed a strand of the milk-white hair flowing down Alain’s back through his
fingers. “Your sister must be routing you out of the feed bin, Son.  But the party is a grownup party.  We’re not invited.”

Alain watched the
black swan gliding across the pond. “Nye, I really want a pony for
Christmas.  Ask Father, please.  I’ve asked Father Christmas forever and ever.  I’ve asked Mother, too.”

“Pony-smony. I’m
going to tell a story.”  Alina
nuzzled her face against Nye’s shoulder.
“Once upon a time there was a place where light always shone.  The people are tall, see-through thin.  Their hair shines.  Their skin glows.  If they had wings, they’d be fairies. Everywhere,
there are lakes bluer than the sea.”

Nye clutched his
heart.

Alina swayed in the
breeze.  “There is never darkness
here.  The fairies swim in the lakes to
get away from the hot sunshine.  Oh, at
their middle is a ball of light!  Each pair
of twins has the same color ball that glows through our skin.  Right here.”  When she touched the old man’s middle, he
flinched. “Your ball, Nye, is like a pearl, and so is your twins’.”

Nye squeezed his eyes
shut, his breathing quick. “The ball is an orb.”

A tight, hot knot
ached at the top of Alain’s ribs.  “Alina
stop.”

“Mine’s the
prettiest.”  With her finger, Alina drew
circles in the air.  “I don’t know how to
describe the color, but Alain’s is the same.”

“The color no longer
exists.” Nye stared into space.

“Oh, Nye.”  Eyes pinched shut, Alina gripped the old man’s
shirt, crawling up him. “Light’s gone out.
Lakes black.  Cold, dark.  Balls flickering out.  Two by two, the twins are dropping to the
ground.”

Pain shot through
Alain’s stomach, his head and his shoulders.
“Stop, Alina.”

“Open your
eyes.”  Nye shook Alina gently.  “Come out of the story.  You’ve created a lovely world, but we mustn’t
dream too much.”

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