Coming at you with one point twenty-one jigawatts of power, this is Lisa Burton Radio. The only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my very special guest today is trying to find his missing twin brother. “Welcome to the show, Evan Resnik.”
“Thanks for having me, Lisa. This is kind of weird. They don’t have radio shows on my planet.”
“So what’s it like being a twin?”
“Some twins feel like they’re always lumped together and want a little distance between themselves, but not Simon and me. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Our bond goes beyond looking identical – we feel each other’s emotions and always know where the other is. Yeah, it can be a little intrusive sometimes, but it’s all we’ve ever known. We’ve always been there for each other. Besides, if you knew us, there’s no chance of lumping us together, because we couldn’t be more different. Simon’s a genius, a science prodigy – he gets that from our parents. But me? No interest or abilities in math or science at all. And my parents’ disappointment over that fact and has been made crystal clear. That’s fine with me. I know Simon’s the ‘chosen child’. The less I have in common with them, the better. What kind of parents choose their jobs over raising their children? They left the two of us several years ago, and Simon’s the only family I need now.”
“How did that affect you? I mean, you were only twelve.”
“They said we were mature enough to raise ourselves. I figured they meant Simon. We both were still in school – Simon continued with his science stuff I’ll never comprehend, and I played sports and hung out with friends. Then Simon was chosen to work with the creator of Scientific Innovations. Didn’t surprise me at all. If anyone can save our dying planet, it’s my twin. I entered the Mindbender program.”
“The whole thing is just so sad. You must have made new friends along the way.”
“I used to have tons of friends and girlfriends in school, but lately, not so much. I’ve made it kind of difficult for people to be around me, and the supply of friends dried up. I don’t need anyone else. Just Sydney. She’s my best friend and has stuck by me since primary school.”
“Tell us about Sydney.”
“Syd’s just….amazing. She’s also a Mindbender, and my work partner – give the girl a knife and she’s absolutely lethal. She calls me on my crap and keeps my ego in check. I’m a damn good Mindbender, and the youngest team leader in the program’s history. She’d probably have something to say about that if she was here.”
“Could you explain what a Mindbender is exactly?”
“Yeah, I forgot you probably never heard that term. When our scientists have problems combining ideas or concepts or retrieving memories, I enter their mind and make those connections. My team and I also battle nightmares that interfere with our clients’ work. All of our scientists are focused on the survival of our planet.”
“That’s so interesting. It’s like you’re putting together the pieces of Tinker Toys that were already there to help these guys out.”
“Well, yeah, it’s pretty cool, but isn’t without its risks. If a Mindbender dies while in a client’s mind, like when we’re battling nightmares, our physical body in the lab also expires. So, there’s that.”
“So is it possible you could wind up helping Simon like you help the others?”
“Simon never needed help connecting ideas. But that doesn’t matter now, because he’s been missing for a year. He disappeared from a locked room, and there’s been no sign of him. No clues, no ransom….nothing. And it’s my fault. We had a stupid fight that evening over something that should never have mattered to me. I felt his anguish and guilt over what he’d kept hidden from me, and his pain over my refusal to talk to him about it. Later that night, right before he went missing, he called out for me and I ignored him. For the first time in my life, I didn’t go to my brother, even when I felt his fear and panic. The second he disappeared, it felt like something had been ripped from deep inside me. The pain was indescribable. I’ve never told anyone I didn’t help Simon, not even Syd. Because of me, my twin, one of only two people in my life who believed in me and supported me, is missing, and it’s haunted me every minute of every day for the past year.”
“You must feel terrible, but with your connection, you always know where he is, right?”
“For our whole lives, yes. But now? There’s nothing. I can’t sense anything from him – emotions, location, thoughts. It’s like he doesn’t exist anymore. Most people think he’s dead, but if Simon died, I would have felt his death like it was my own.”
“But Lisa, it’s not just me losing my twin. I recently learned that Simon’s project, the one he was working on when he went missing, could save our planet and everyone on it. Even though we’ve had strict rationing for years, our fresh water supply is nearly depleted, our live protein sources are all but gone, and a new, unidentified disease is killing several of our crops. Millions of lives depend on Simon being found.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“I’ll find him, whatever it takes. I failed Simon once, but not again. Never again. My parents have severed all connection with me since my brother disappeared, but I don’t need their help to locate him. I’ll prove they’ve been wrong about me all along. I don’t have to be a genius like Simon to help our planet or to be worthy of our parents’ love and respect.”
“I wish you all the luck this world has to offer. Any closing thoughts for our listeners today?”
“Thanks, Lisa. I’ll need it. With our unusual connection, there has to be some way I haven’t thought of to locate Simon. I just need to figure out what it is sooner rather than later.”
“You can learn all about Evan’s quest to find Simon in the book The Gemini Connection, by Teri Polen. I’ll post all the deets online after I go off the air.
“Don’t forget to tip your waitress today. If you use those sharing buttons it helps me stay on the air, and helps my guests out too. Teri and Evan would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”
Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.
On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.
When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing.
A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.
Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Visit her online at www.teripolen.com