The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 23

Saturday, August 12th, 9:25 PM

Traveling from Denver to Albuquerque


Muscle achiness. In the thighs. Lower back. And some parts of his forearms and shoulders. Yet all of the achiness seemed much milder than it should be. And nothing like the workouts at the beginning of football season. 

Evan pulled on the side end of the drab, olive-colored fabric, until closing the curtain near his head. Certainly felt more private, but gave added emphasis to the small, box-like confinement of what Greg called their ‘coffin cubicles’. Quite the term. More like bunk bed cubicles. He adjusted the pillow under his head and held his iPhone so he could see it easily. The slight rattling and humming of the bus’s constant motion along the highway definitely felt rather sleep inducing. But he didn’t want to sleep now.

Yet he closed his eyes. He thought about seeing Dana today. Well, one thing was for sure. Like when he was viewing Dana walking, floundering to the event center’s entrance in Casper, he didn’t see her as Syrrah. Gosh damn. That stupid mind screw-up had no problem at all having him see Heidi as Syrrah, but the one person in the entire world who he should have seen as Syrrah today, Dana, appeared exactly as she looked, and behaved. As Dana. Dana Zypher.

“Have to contact Neraeh,” he whispered to himself. Sure, there could be ramifications, for sending texts between his phone and Neraeh’s phone, like any malicious government agencies intercepting their messages, but he had to do this. And he wasn’t about to use Art’s Unihertz.

Besides. Sure didn’t seem like Dana could be Syrrah, so why worry?

He sent her a text.

Neraeh. You still up?

Thankfully she texted right back.

Yes. How did it go? Tell me everything, especially about Dana.

I will. But did the drive go ok, and how did your dad react?

The drive went well. Freddy was very careful with your Ram Girl. But, my dad was mad. Don’t really want to talk about it now. But what about Dana?

He thought about the best way to break it to her, but there was no easy way. 

Honestly, doesn’t seem like Syrrah, at all. I think Art is wrong. Or else he’s deliberately deceiving us.

Her text back to him came even quicker than her first one.

Why? Tell me.

She was insulting, rude, laughed at me, nearly shoved me to the ground. I get it she’s upset about me supposedly calling her by her last name, but didn’t seem like the kind, charming Syrrah in your videos, not even in the slightest.

Maybe the terrible stress of living this life and being trapped.

Possibly. But losing hope.

What you gonna do?

Don’t worry. Not giving up yet. I will stay longer. I plan on staying until the tour ends, no matter what. Good money.

Yes. I suppose.

Sorry, Neraeh. Didn’t mean to be so abrupt about this. Just discouraged.

It’s ok, Evan, I know. Miss you Evan.

Miss you too Neraeh.

Aww, thanks Evan.

Of course, hon. Maybe I should watch that video again.

The one I gave you, Syrrah singing You Wreck Me?

Yeah. I need to look for clues in her personality.

Wait. I have another video.

Evan did wait, and soon Neraeh sent an unlisted YouTube video link.

She next sent a description.

Me and Syrrah, about six months before…Dana event. We were at the Mall of America. Wasn’t that crowded. Talking more. Syrrah somewhat upset with me, for recording her. But we were having fun too.

He clicked on the link and began watching the video.

Yes. I see, you’re behind her, while walking, checking out the stores.

Right. See if it helps.

He noticed the video was 8:54 minutes long.

Ok. I’ll text you later after watching.


Evan removed the small earbud headphones from his backpack and plugged them into his phone. He gradually turned up the volume. No one should be able to hear nearby.

He stared intently at the video. Syrrah, walking in front of Neraeh, hit him like a lightning bolt; her beautiful, longer than he recalled, wavy blond hair flowed softly around her shoulders and on her back. She was wearing a lacy white top over a white, tight-fitting shirt beneath. And when she turned sideways, revealing her profile, he realized this girl was even more beautiful than he had recalled. His heart began beating hard in his chest.

He drew in a deep breath, attempting to calm his pounding pulse, and recalled from his past, that years-ago memory, uncomfortable, strange, ethereal yet soothing, of Syrrah standing before him, so much smaller though so incredibly beautiful and alluring. And that’s the thing. She was Limati then, an entity unreal. But here, now, yup, this was really her!

A chill passed through his body and he didn’t even try to stifle it.

He kept watching her like a hawk. She walked forward in her path through the mall and turned into a shoe store. When she did, he was able to catch a clear view of all of her. Her body was absolute perfection. Her breasts weren’t so large, but she was so well proportioned it didn’t matter one iota. She was wearing jeans that simply hugged her slender waist and legs and exemplified her perfect, fine ass. She was so slim, but not too skinny. She was any guy’s dream girl – feminine, petite, and hot as hell.

Got to calm down, Evan, he thought to himself. Ignore her body, listen to her voice!

And pay close attention to her behavior. Anything could be a clue.

Syrrah left the shoe store and walked ahead on the bright, artfully lit mall walkway. As she and Neraeh drew closer to the rail, some of the phone’s camera views swung outward; he could see they were on the third floor. They kept walking, away from the rail and toward more stores, Neraeh sometimes flipping the camera back on herself. Syrrah would speak to Neraeh on and off and occasionally check her own phone.

He kept observing closely. Hmm. She did have some behaviors that stood out. When Neraeh would ask if Syrrah liked a certain thing, like a clothing item, she would often form that typical ‘OK’ sign by curling her index finger to her thumb. And when Syrrah was looking downward, like at some folded clothes on a display table, she would gently, in such a cute, adorable manner, hold back strands of her hair near her forehead with a light sweep of a finger or two. His heart just melted watching her do this.

Another thing she did. Syrrah would often wave one hand near her face, like fanning herself, whenever Neraeh mentioned something Syrrah didn’t like or wanted to hear. Neraeh would often comment that she thought Syrrah acted weird, and then Syrrah would smile or laugh and say, “You’re the weirdo.” They basically seemed to get along well, but their combined, interactive behaviors gave the impression Neraeh was the older sister, not Syrrah.

A few times, contrasted with the fanning behavior, Syrrah would give a thumbs up, along with that ‘OK’ sign, when agreeing with Neraeh. But even more noticeable, and interesting is when they both really liked something or were agreeing quite eagerly with a statement or idea. Evan chuckled quietly to himself; they used their hands to create the Spock Vulcan sign, and quickly say “Live long and prosper”, along with some smiles and giggling afterwards. They only tended to do this when no other people were close by. 

Evan smiled. Yeah, might want to keep that one under wraps.

A few other speech things stood out too. Sometimes when Syrrah was not sure of what Neraeh was talking about or she simply didn’t agree with it, she would say “That’s so bogus!” or “Never, ever.” Other times, when they were in agreement, especially with something harsh or difficult, she, often along with Neraeh too, would say “How will we survive?” or “Yeah, we’ll never survive that.”

Syrrah certainly had some silly, quirky things she would do. But overall, her personality emanated a sweet, charming, nice girl. And combined with her beautiful looks? Yeah, she was simply devastating.

Once he felt convinced he had caught enough of her voice and behavior traits, Evan merely relaxed and only watched Syrrah talk and meander about in the video. And he pushed the fact that she was gone into the far distant reaches of his mind.

When the video ended, he immediately hit the replay icon and began watching the video again.

A text arrived from Neraeh. He checked the time; ten minutes had passed since he last texted her. He paused the video and read the text. She wanted to know if he had seen anything of Syrrah in Dana.

He sighed. His answer wasn’t going to be pleasant for her, or for himself.

Sorry, Neraeh, but no. Not a thing. They’re total opposites.

Ouch. Darn. Makes me sad. But you’re still staying until the tour ends?

Yes. Of course. If between now and then, no evidence she could be Syrrah, at least looks good on the resume.

And they found no issues with your background check?

Right, I suppose. No complaints said to me. Just had me start working so I guess I’m good to go.

But your band. And NDSU. Or your two jobs.

Right. And my dad, Matti, and my mom. All of it. I know. But I need to do this, or I’ll never have peace of mind, like what you felt.

Thank you so much Evan, from the bottom of my heart.

Of course, Neraeh. No need to thank me. And besides. It’s so early. I just met her once. Need to give it some time.

Yes, you’re right. What do you do tomorrow?

We’re driving overnight to Albuquerque. Then the bus drivers have off until Tuesday night, after the concert. Tomorrow I just rest, but then Monday they want to train me. And then Tuesday we set up for the concert.

You see Dana during this time?

I don’t ride on her bus, at least not yet. She’s on a separate bus with other singers, dancers and musicians. They even have a bus for the road crew, A.K.A. roadies. Our bus has some roadies and then the rest is security. But might see her tomorrow, Monday, and for sure Tuesday, since she tends to be around while we set up.

Sounds busy. Before I forget. Did Art contact you on that Unihertz?

No. Not yet. But there’s always tomorrow.

Do you worry he read your thoughts, knows you believe he’s wrong?

No, not worried. He doesn’t run my life. Besides, he would realize why, with the way Dana treated me.

Sure. That makes sense.

I might try contacting him tomorrow myself, we’ll see.

Ok. Keep me up to date on things. Take care, Evan. Good night.

Good night to you too, Neraeh.