Marti and the Doppelganger - Chapter 4

Marti and the Doppelganger
Chapter 4

By Portia Bennett

Introduction: This is another story in the Cynthia Chronicles series. Other stories in the series are An Incremental Journey, Cynthia and the Reluctant Girlfriend, Cynthia and the Dumpster Diver, Cynthia and the Moment of Truth, Cynthia and the High School Years - Part I, Cynthia and the High School Years - Part II, Charli and the Girl Cave, Bobbie and the Glass Ceiling, Randi and the College Professor, Adam and the Three Wishes, Lisa and the Culinary Quest (aka Howard and the Completed pass), Cynthia and the Solicitous Sisters-in-Law, Cynthia and the Queen of the Knight, and Cynthia and the Dropped Ball. The time frame of this story follows about three to four years after Charli and the Girl Cave. This story takes place a little more than a year after Bobbie Anderson wins the (British) Open and about ten years after Simoné and the Second Time Around.

Some of the girls go on a moderate nature walk. Edna learns a bit about alligator lizards. They make the short trek to Jenks Lake to go swimming. Marti, Lanu and Rhonda realize they have to do something about Lilly and Wanda.


This work is copyrighted by the author and any publication or distribution without the written consent of the author is strictly prohibited. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of the characters to persons living or dead is coincidental.


Their first full day was pretty much what Marti expected. There were craft projects, archery lessons, miniature golf, and nature walks pretty much restricted to the camp area. Marti and Lanu opted for the nature walks. After all, what fun would there be in having all the arrows be dead center, all the strokes being holes in one. They wouldn’t have done that; however, there just wasn’t any challenge in doing it. If it ever came down to having to use a bow and arrow for self-protection, there wouldn’t be any doubt where the arrows would go. But in a case like that, it would probably never get to the point of having to use a bow and arrow.

“Oh look, there’s a chipmunk,” Marti exclaimed. Lanu had never seen anything like the little beast before.

“Close, but no cigar,” Rhonda said. “That’s what is affectionately known as a GMGS: a golden mantled ground squirrel. Chipmunks are about a quarter their size. We might see some chipmunks later on.

“Okay, I’m going to turn over some rocks. We’re going to look for a little critter that’s pretty common around here.”

It took three rocks before they found what she was looking for. The little gray creature was trying to hide in its little burrow that wasn’t as secure as it thought it was.

“Ewwww, what is that?” Wanda exclaimed.

“That is a scorpion,” Rhonda explained. “It can give you a pretty nasty sting, but it’s relatively harmless. There’s one that lives in the Sonoran Desert that can be deadly.

“Always check your shoes before you put them on. These little fellows like to hide in places like that.”

“Why don’t you kill it?” Lily asked.

“There’s no reason to. They have their purpose in the overall ecology of the area. They have their own struggles; their own predators. We’ll just leave them alone. I’ll put the rock right back where we found it.

“Anyone know what this tree is?” Rhonda asked.

“It’s a pine tree. Anyone can see that,” Lily said.

“Right, you get five points out of ten. Anyone, want to pin it down a bit closer than that? There’s an old television show that you can still see on some of the cable channels.”

“I think I know,” Lanu said. “We get a lot of the old shows on television. There is a show called Bonanza, and the name of the ranch was The Ponderosa. This tree looks just like the trees at the beginning of the show. I think it’s a ponderosa pine. That yellow bark is beautiful.”

“You nailed it. Yes, this is a ponderosa pine. Anyone want to guess what that pine with the long branches is?”

“I know,” Wanda jumped in. “We used to go up in the mountains to get pine cones for Christmas decorations. That’s a sugar pine, and those cones are huge.”

“Right, there’s only one pine that has cones that are bigger. We will see some of them when we take a field trip over to Big Bear and Baldwin lakes. You will have no problem identifying the tree when we see it. We will see several other pines if we are able to do the San Gorgonio hike. We’ll see some other interesting trees on that trip as well.”

The rest of their little nature walk went quite well. Among the animals they saw was a blue tailed skink; a small smooth scaled lizard with a bright blue tail befitting its name. The alligator lizard was a different matter. It was probably about fifteen inches long. Susan Wong from another cabin had spotted it first where it was lying under the edge of a Mountain Mahogany bush. Susan had already been the subject of some not so quiet discussion between Wanda and Lily. They obviously had a ways to go in their ‘training’.

“That thing is huge,” Edna Millet remarked. “Is it poisonous?”

“Not at all,” Rhonda answered, “however, it can be pretty aggressive.”

“I’m going to catch it.”

“I don’t think I’d do that if I were you,” Rhonda said. The comment fell on deaf ears and was far too late.

Those who had been watching could see that the large lizard was fully aware of its observers. It had cocked its head and was closely watching as Edna’s hand approached. Edna was quick, but not that quick. She gave a shriek and jumped back. The lizard was firmly attached to the little finger of her right hand.

Marti gave a quick command, and the lizard released its grip, fell to the ground and raced to the shelter of some thicker bushes.

“Are you okay?” Rhonda asked

“I think so. That surprised me more than anything.”

The marks of the lizard’s firm grip were easily seen. Lanu grasped her hand and quickly cleaned and closed several small lacerations. Unnoticed by the others, the lizard’s fine teeth had penetrated in several places. They would have started bleeding fairly soon had they been left alone.

“A word to the wise folks, most of these animals are wild. Whether you can approach them or not, they are not pets. Many of the deer have had fawns, and the doe leave their fawns alone while they are browsing. Do not touch the fawns. Do not pick them up. They have not been abandoned. Mother deer can be very protective and they won’t hesitate to kick the daylights out of you if they feel you are threatening their little ones.

“There may be one exception to my warning. Ricky wasn’t around last night. I’ll call him tonight.”

“Who’s Ricky?” Marti asked.

“Just wait until tonight after dinner and camp fire. I think you’ll like him.

“Okay, we need to get back for lunch. We have an hour rest period after lunch, and those that want to may go swimming.”

Jenks Lake was a natural lake basin that had to be supplemented with water from the Santa Ana River that ran to the north. In times of drought, the lake had nearly dried up; however, since the drought had let up a bit over the last few years, the lake was at its maximum level.

“Here are the rules. Unless you can pass the swimming test or show a Red Cross Certification you may not go outside the roped area.” That was not a problem for Lanu nor Marti. They had submitted their certificates with their applications. Lanu easily swam to the raft that was a few hundred feet beyond the border of the designated swimming area. Marti was close behind her.

“I’d guess coming from a South Pacific island like you do that swimming comes pretty naturally.”

“Not really, I was taught at an early age. I was ‘drown proofed’ before I could walk, but I was taught how to swim well. Dad runs a tuna fleet, and before I could go out to sea I had to prove I could handle being washed overboard. I got my sea legs pretty early. Dad insisted that all of us learned the business from the ground up. So as soon as we were old enough we’d go out with the fisherman to help. I’m not old enough to be allowed to do any of the dangerous work. You have to be eighteen before you can do that legally. My brothers work full time with the company. They graduated college a while ago. My sister’s not sure what she’s going to do. She’s a healer like I am.”

“Who’s your associate?” Marti asked.

“Associate? Oh, you mean my familiar. She’s Anita. Her sister is with my sister. They were feral. Great Gramma didn’t have one until Anita’s mother moved in with her. They’re very fond of each other. Mom has Felicia. According to her Felicia just appeared one day when she was about twelve. It wasn’t long before she realized they could communicate. Of course it wasn’t too long before Felicia was talking. Not all of Great Gramma’s descendants can understand them. My dad and brothers can. So can Samaria’s boyfriend.

“Of course no one really understood the magic thing because Great Gramma was the only witch around. Everyone protected her, but she became quite a legend because of her healing powers. She had to keep a pretty low profile in some ways. She’s a Christian. Well, at least philosophically she is. In a place like Samoa where there are very strong Evangelical feelings, witchcraft is looked upon as the devils work rather than being a blessing. Then Mom showed up as the adopted daughter of much loved missionaries. Her powers showed up when she was about eight or nine.

“Great Gramma showed up one day. Grandma and Grampa had heard legend of her, but they had trouble believing this ‘young’ woman was more than 150 years old. All Great Gramma asked was that they protect her and allow her to instruct Beth. She convinced them that what she could do was not evil but a God given power. Gramma and Grampa were great. They still are. Of course, when my sister and I showed up things began to get complicated. Fortunately by this time, Great Gramma understood the genetic thing.”

“This is really fascinating,” Marti said after taking all this information in. “I do have a question, though. Remember when I showed you the picture of a young woman and you said she looked like your Great Gramma.”

“Well, yes.”

“I think you missed something else I said. Where did Great Grandma leave the US from?”

“She was pretty sure it was Atlanta, Georgia. She’d taken a pretty good blow to the head apparently, but she remembered leaving Atlanta with her first husband. She knew he’d been killed in the shipwreck. They were going to New Zealand to start a new life. That’s the way she put it; however, considering the circumstances, she decided to remain in Samoa. Then she fell in love with Great Grandpa and had all those kids.”

“I thought so. You missed something that I said yesterday. When you showed me the picture of Great Gramma I mentioned she had two daughters.”

“I guess I did miss that.”

“That woman who looks like your Great Gramma is your Great Aunt. She is Simoné Enescu. She is married for the second time to her greatest love and lives in Romania. It’s a wonderful story. The resemblance between her sister and Great Gramma isn’t as strong, but it’s there. You have cousins all over the place. Obviously, that blow to the head knocked out about 40 years of memory. The Wizard will fix that.

“Great Gramma left Atlanta alright, but she moved to New Haven, Connecticut in the early 1860’s. Your aunts were shipped to Europe to avoid the Civil War. Bev came back and married after the war. Simoné stayed in Europe. Great Gramma left New Haven in 1877. Until now, that’s the last anyone heard of her. Now it all makes sense. I’ll get Myrna to send a family tree to you. When this all comes out Myrna will be able to sort out who has the magic trait and who doesn’t. She’ll also find out who’s carrying the wizard trait.

“This is so cool.”

“I’ll certainly agree with that. It really amazes me how organized you are.”

“That didn’t really start to happen until around the time your Great Gramma disappeared.

“Okay, we have more to catch up on than we’ll ever be able to do over the next two weeks. I’ll show you how to access our web site. I’m sure The Wizard has already enabled your access. I think right now we need to figure out how to salvage two human beings,” Marti nodded at the figures of Lily and Wanda who’d separated themselves from the other camp members on the beach.

“I have an idea. Rhonda’s coming and I want to get her approval. I think it’s time for some drastic measures.”


The girls get together for a little intervention meeting. The results are far better than expected.

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