All Of Us Were Sophie
What if the only way you could save your own life was to kill yourself?
Someone is trying to kill Sophie Rippetoe, and she has no place to hide. But Sophie has a unique option. Her husband designed and built a duplicator machine to make exact copies of complicated and sophisticated machine parts. She knows how the duplicator works.
Will it work for people? No one knows.
There’s just one problem: the duplication process destroys the original. The only thing Sophie knows for sure is that trying to make copies of herself will end up killing her.
Sophie isn’t sure who’s trying to kill her or why – but she has her suspicions and has gathered some evidence. Before she takes the leap of faith to use the duplicator on herself, she creates a trail of clues, hopeful that at least one of the Sophies she creates will figure it out in time to save herself.
Excerpt: All Of Us Were Sophie by Resa Nelson
The metal door next to the garage door rattled loudly.
They’ve found me!
The four tall barrels stood between Sophie and the door, blocking her view of it. Her heart racing, she knelt close to the ground and eased her head around the container to peek at the door in time to see someone walk away from its window.
It has to be now.
Lying on the floor, she snaked one arm to the nearest gym bag and reached inside, feeling for the familiar touch of one of the cells phones she’d bought and programmed yesterday. Pulling it back toward herself, Sophie crept out of the line of sight from the window in the door and curled up at the base of the container. She dialed 911 and talked over the dispatch operator who answered, ignoring his questions. “Someone is trying to kill me. I’m locked inside the office building at 3 Danvers Court. Someone is outside and they’re trying to break into the building. They’ve tried to kill me before, and if you don’t send someone right away they’re going to try again!”
Sophie hung up.
She froze at the thought of what she had to do next, suddenly terrified she didn’t have the courage to go through with it. She’d had the same feeling several years ago when she’d spent a weekend in Toronto with Jack. They’d gone up to the top of the CNC Building, which featured an observatory where a small section of the floor had been replaced with Plexiglas. Adults laughed as they’d stood on it, seeming to hover above a twenty-seven story drop. Children had laughed in delight while jumping up and down on the Plexiglas. Sophie had assumed she’d be able to step right onto it, but something deep in her primitive brain wouldn’t let her. Every time she placed her foot on the glass, she jerked it back in an act of self-preservation. Jack had laughed, joining the kids in the middle in their jumping frenzy. “Come on,” he’d said, reaching his hands out to her. “I won’t let anything happen to you.” Finally, she’d let him pull her onto the glass, but she’d squeezed her eyes shut and clung to him until she realized she wouldn’t fall to her death.
I won’t let anything happen to you.
A fresh wave of guilt washed over her, remembering what she’d done to Jack, leaving when it turned out he’d needed her most. He hadn’t deserved that.
The door rattled again but held strong, keeping the killer outside.
The police were coming. They’d be here soon.
Sophie ventured another peek in time to see a figure sweeping past the door, seeming to head toward the back of the building. She stripped quickly, leaving her clothes in a pile on top of the nearest gym bag.
Taking a deep breath, she gathered her courage, remembering her days on her college swim team. Ironically, Sophie hated jumping into a cold pool. Inevitably, the shock would put her in an irritable mood for the rest of the day. Instead, unlike any other competitor, before the meet began, she’d ease her way into the water and let her body adjust to the cold temperature gradually. She only had to do it once. After that, she could get on the blocks and dive in without a care.
It was a matter of getting over the initial shock to the system.
It’s just like swimming, she told herself, taking another deep breath. You can do this. Be brave.
Sophie ran to the laptop and began the process again, this time focusing on the four sheets of crystal suspended above the large tanks. Working quickly, she took care to make sure everything lined up on the screen. Jack had made it easy to create red outlines with his software program to mark the alignment of the crystal sheets with the cameras and the tanks. On the opposite side of the machine shop, another side door rattled loudly. Last night she’d discovered it had a broken dead bolt, so she’d propped a few boxes in front of the door. They wouldn’t keep an intruder out but might slow him down.
She considered giving herself more time, but Sophie kept the fifteen-second option. She pressed the Duplicate button. In her haste, her fingertip accidentally grazed a different key when she pulled her hand away from the keyboard. She caught a glimpse of the misalignment displayed on the screen but knew she’d run out of time. Promising herself that three duplicates of herself would have to be good enough, she ran to the right spot.
She noticed she’d forgotten to remove her engagement and wedding rings.
The door rattled again, louder this time.
Like the swimmer she had always been, she took a few deep breaths, holding the last one.
Sophie steeled herself, ready for the duplicator’s beams to kill her and disintegrate her body.
Her last thought was of Jack.
Resa Nelson’s first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series, which also includes The Iron Maiden (Book 2), The Stone of Darkness (Book 3), and The Dragon’s Egg (Book 4).
Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."
She has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Resa lives in Massachusetts. Visit her website at http://www.resanelson.com and follow her on Twitter @ResaNelson.
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