The path to the cemetery is well worn, and as Trudy follows her mistress down it in the dim light of dusk, she knows it will be the last time they walk it and she steps a little lighter, the weight of her existence already not as heavy.
Trudy carries a basket of the flowers Mistress will place on the grave, just as she’s done once a week for as long as she can remember. Mistress turns to her shadow and takes the basket.
“Thank you, Trudy,” she says in Trudy’s voice, smiling Trudy’s smile. Though, who they actually belong to is questionable. Mistress was technically here first and Trudy has only owned the smile, the voice, the nose, the eyes, all the features staring back at her, for the past decade. But they still feel like hers.
“Your life was a gift given to you by the genius of men,” Mistress always tells her. “This face”—and here she cups Trudy’s chin—“is only yours because it was mine first.” She says it with a smile, but there is always a tone of warning swimming just beneath the sing-song voice. Trudy is only able to exist because of the science of the Masters; it is her job to serve them loyally and faithfully. This is the Doctrine of the Duplicate.