They both sat in an awkward silence for a moment. But of course, it was only Eugene who was feeling awkward after all. While Dana locked her eyes at her with such a joyful look, Eugene lowered her gaze to the ground feeling as if her whole body was being scorched by Dana’s gaze.
“Jin, my child. We have not seen each other in such a long while, have we?”
“Yes…” Eugene felt a cold sweat racing down her back. She never expected for such a situation when she entered the chamber as Patrick had only asked her to come in to give a brief regard to Dana. She felt a sense of crisis as it was only a matter of time before her lies were revealed.
All of her lessons with Charlotte throughout her journey to the Holy City had been erased clean from her mind. Her mind was in a total blank that she had literally forgotten how Jin would have spoken or what kind of expression she would have worn in this kind of situation.
“This reminds me of the past. What I’m about to tell you might be a long story, but would you like to hear what I have to say?”
After closing her eyes for a moment, Dana reopened them and stared into the empty space. Then her gaze eventually fell back on Jin. Dana was heartbroken to see her daughter feeling so uncomfortable in her presence.
“It’s already been twenty years. And it all happened when you were only three years old.” Dana related that day’s tragedy with equanimity in her voice, of how she had cried her eyes out for three days and nights after her baby daughter was abducted.
Listening to Dana speaking of the events that occurred twenty years in the past, Eugene recalled on her life, back in twenty years ago.
‘I didn’t know Jin had gone through such hard times. Just like I did.’
On the premise that the unit of time are the same in two universes, it seemed like both Jin and Eugene’s life was in danger when they were three and nine years old respectively. However, the incidents which they had experienced were never the same as Eugene was involved in an accident rather than abduction.
A single room in the poor hillside neighborhood, which Eugene had lived with her family when she was nine, was so old and shabby that cracks were visible all over the walls and the floor of the house as it had never once been properly repaired. Carbon monoxide poisoning was pretty common in such a neighborhood that it happened every once in every while.
During that year’s winter, Eugene’s family fell victim to the accident as well. As the gas from burning the coal briquettes leaked through the crevice of the floor stone in the house, the whole family was taken to the hospital as they had all lost their consciousness while in sleep. Eugene had almost died from the accident and was in such a critical condition. She fell into coma for three days.
“My baby daughter was found only after three days. But I instantly knew that she wasn’t my daughter when I hugged the girl in my arms.”
Until then, Eugene was only listening as if she was being told some old tales from an adult. But she immediately looked up from the ground as she was so shocked by Dana’s comment.
[How dare you call me mother?]
The lady before her seemed nothing like the lady with cold glaring eyes as she had seen in Jin’s memory. Soon, Eugene had a sense of foreboding to see Dana looking at her with great affection in her eyes.
“There’s something special in the blood that runs in my mother’s side of the family.” Dana explained that she was gifted with the powers to discern the unique auras that each person possessed.
“So, I clearly sensed that there was someone else inside my baby’s body. But I never knew how to drive it away nor how to bring my daughter back. There was nothing I could do but to watch that thing pretending to be my daughter for as long as twenty years…”
Dana ended up choking on her words as she was too agitated with her emotions. Eugene, however, was confused as she witnessed Dana catch her breaths. None of the lady’s words made sense to her. Who was the lady’s daughter and who was not?
“Jin, my sweet girl.”
There were now tears in Dana’s eyes and Eugene flinched when she took her by the hand. Strangely, Eugene felt a pang of pain in the heart as she looked into Dana’s tear-stricken face.
“I recognized you the moment I saw you. I can’t believe you are here. You’ve finally come back to me.”