Resonance

Resonance by Chris Dolley Read Free Book Online

Book: Resonance by Chris Dolley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Chris Dolley
Tags: Science-Fiction
round. "Dad! You're back," he'd shouted, jumping up and wrapping his arms around the man's legs.
    The man had ruffled Robbie's hair then grabbed him under the arms and swung him up over his head. "More! More!" Robbie had shouted.
    "Later," said the man, setting Robbie down. "I've got to see your mother first. You play with Graham."
    Graham had watched the man trot up the steps and disappear inside the house. He couldn't understand it.
    "Why did you call that man 'dad'?" he'd asked.
    "What do you call yours—papa?" Robbie had replied, putting on a posh accent and dissolving into giggles at his cleverness.
    "But he's not your dad. Your dad's dead."
    Robbie's smile had vanished in an instant. Graham could see it still. The shock in his eyes, the quiver in his lower lip.
    The two boys never spoke again.
    "Why do you say such hurtful things?" His mother had asked him the next day. And many other days after that. Every time Graham opened his mouth he either offended someone or convinced them of his stupidity. So one day he stopped talking. It wasn't worth the pain.
    "You don't say much, do you?" asked Annalise.
    Graham looked up from his plate. Annalise was looking at him expectantly. Graham smiled and shook his head.
    He had so many questions he wanted to ask her. Did she have any memory of saving him on Wednesday morning? Did she know anything about ParaDim, about why people were after him, who they were and what they wanted?
    "Don't you like talking?"
    He felt awkward, torn between his need to know and his fear of making things worse. How would she react if he asked her if she'd ever spent the night in a cardboard box? Would she laugh, get upset, change the subject? He hadn't the slightest inkling. Conversation was a complete mystery to him. Normal people understood the rules, he didn't.
    He closed his mouth and looked down.
    "You know, I used to be shy. About a gazillion years ago. Not now, though. Want to know how?"
    Graham shrugged and rotated his coffee cup, bringing the handle around until it was at right angles to his knife and fork.
    "Someone told me to imagine that everyone else in the room was in their underwear."
    Graham went bright red, he couldn't think of anything less helpful.
    "Can you imagine that?" Annalise laughed and peered around the side of the table, looking at Graham's hips. "Why, Mr. Smith." She clapped her hands to her face in mock surprise. "Not the purple boxers with the yellow elephants . . . again!"
    Graham giggled, he couldn't help it.
    "You try. You can't be intimidated by a roomful of people who can't even dress themselves, can you?"
    "I can," he whispered, head bowed, surprised at the sound of his voice, so thin, so fragile. He cleared his throat and swallowed hard.
    "Why? Look at me. I'm the only other person at this table. And I'm a wreck! I hear voices. I quit my job yesterday and flew four thousand miles to save someone I met in a dream. I'm the last person you should feel intimidated by."
    She was right.
    "I've seen you before," he said, his head still bowed.
    Annalise's lower jaw dropped. "In a dream?"
    Graham shook his head and told her what had happened on Wednesday morning. Annalise listened, her eyes widening in amazement.
    "You're sure it was me?"
    He nodded. "Your hair was orange, but it was you."
    Annalise gasped. "The girl in my dream had orange hair! That was one of the reasons I thought it must be a past life. I've never had orange hair. That is so spooky."
    Graham took several gulps of coffee. His mouth felt dry and his throat sore.
    "Do you think I might have a doppelganger out there? Or a twin?" She took another sip of coffee and then almost dropped the cup. "The girl in my head! I bet it's her! She needs help so she contacts me. What do you think?"
    Graham shrugged. He couldn't tell her what he really thought: that the orange-haired Annalise had unravelled into non-existence, that her life had peeled away just as another was brought to the surface—the blonde-haired girl from

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