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Doppelgangfight, Part Two

by on February 19, 2015

Several summers ago, one of Gaseous Girl’s friends had undertaken a journey across the United States in a Winnebago in order to “find herself.” Madeleine had never understood that. Now, she had found herself in a painfully literal sense; she’d found multiple herselves, in fact. Three versions of herself had just materialized outside the Edison City Public Library. On the bright side, there hadn’t been multiple versions of Behemoth Bob. Gaseous Girl didn’t know if she could cope with that eventuality.

She now faced an awkward moment. What did one say to knockoffs of one’s self? Madeleine wasn’t great with small talk, especially with people she didn’t know. Usually she muttered something about the weather or the crime rate before making an excuse and running for it. “So…” Madeleine said to the other Madeleines as they assembled on the library steps. “Bit chilly, isn’t it?”

“It is a standard temperature for this time of year,” Lady Madeleine Smith-Harrington observed, after checking the heads-up display on her violet mecha-suit.

“Kinda sucks, though,” Mad Maddie said. “I like summer weather, m’self.”

“Indeed?” Lady Smith-Harrington said.


An awkward silence ensued. The fourth Gaseous Girl said something querulous in Latin. It might have been about the weather.

“What’s her deal?” Mad Maddie said.

Madeleine shrugged. “Maybe she’s from a ‘verse where humanity never got to the industrial age. She’s the medieval version of me.”

“Like Gargoyles? Sweetness.” Mad Maddie hummed a few bars from the cartoon show theme. The medieval Gaseous Girl didn’t appear to get the reference.

Madeleine finally decided that she hated small talk, and that it was time to get serious. “Look, I don’t know why you all are here, but-”

The medieval Madeleine cut in then, apparently having also grown weary of small talk. She spoke very fast, and gestured wildly with her hands, and at several points appeared on the verge of tears. She wound up with a desperate exhortation, which no one there understood.

A second awkward silence ensued. Fortunately, this one only lasted a few seconds. “One moment,” Lady Smith-Harrington said. “I’ve finally managed to activate my translation matrix.” She read the words spidering across her faceplate’s internal screens. “She calls herself Princess Madeleine of the Grey Castle. She says that… she was fighting a heroic battle against a swarm of terrible dragons when she was suddenly brought her. She wants to know what strange sorcery has done this. She also wants to go back, very much. Apparently…” and here Lady Smith-Harrington’s electronically filtered voice wavered, just a bit, “She was not alone. She was with her love, a certain Prince Patrick. Patrick has a sword, but no magical abilities. She is deeply concerned for his safety.”

Mad Maddie sniffed. “That’s rough, girl.”

“I don’t exist,” Madeleine said. “That’s rough.”

“Course you exist. You’re here now, ain’tcha?”

“Oh, never mind,” the original Gaseous Girl said. “Okay, so we’ve got to get the princess back. How?”

“Perhaps we could construct an Einstein-Selvik bridge?” Lady Smith-Harrington asked.

“A wha’ now?” Mad Maddie said.

“It’s a remarkably simple concept.” Whereupon Lady Smith-Harrington launched into several minutes of technical discussion that went way over Mad Maddie’s head and of course was completely incomprehensible to the princess. Madeleine, on her part, vaguely understood that there was some sort of Outer Space Thing near the Eagle Nebula that, if they all flew out to it, would get everyone back to their own universes. She disliked outer space things almost as much as time things. Outer space things usually involved nasty aliens who wanted to eat your head, or else sprawling galactic empires who wanted to strip-mine your planet or build a hyperspace bypass over it. Madeleine much preferred dealing with ordinary human bad guys on Earth.

“So…” she asked, when it looked like Lady Smith-Harrington was winding up. “How do we get to, ah, whatever it is?”

“I have,” Lady Smith-Harrington said smugly, “a Superhero Corps Century Comet starfighter in orbit.” She produced a small device from a pocket in her mecha-suit and pressed a button. “I have engaged the teleporter.”

“Wait, you did what?” Madeleine had no time to object. In a flash, all four Gaseous Girls had disappeared.

Silence reigned near the library. Then a ghostly figure appeared above the library’s steps. Its translucent face curved into a sneer. “Excellent,” it said, in a high, cold voice. “Ooh, I love it when a plan comes together.”

This post was written as part of the ongoing adventures of Gaseous Girl; it was also written for the Grammar Ghoul Press Mutant 750 challenge. Thanks for reading!

  1. Sooooo fun!

  2. I was hoping for a Doppelganger sequel. Making small talk with a knock-off killed me! Good story, Michael. Well done!

  3. I like your humor: “She wound up with a desperate exhortation, which no one there understood.” . Reminds me of my son’s latest critique of my poetry, lol.

    • I’ve never done much with poetry myself, other than my recent space otter sonnet. …
      Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  4. Ooh, the plot thickens! So exciting. And what a great interaction among the doppelgängers. 😀

  5. Haha! I love the uncomfortable silence between them. Apparently all only know how to talk about the weather. A really funny story as always. I wonder who this new guy is, though. You’ve got me intrigued with this lovely cliffhanger.

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