Chapter 12: The Real Arvid Bergfalk

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I stared in disbelief at the bizarre landscape. This can’t be real, I told myself. I must be dreaming. Or hallucinating.

“I’m sorry,” said Aksel from behind me. “I was just as shocked when I first woke up here.”

I whirled around. “Where is here?” My voice came out shrill. “Where on earth are we?”

Aksel shook his head. “That’s the thing. We’re not on earth anymore. They brought us here, to the planet Bixsi. Thousands of light years away from earth.”

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“Who are they?” I grabbed his hand. “Who brought us here?”

Aksel pressed his lips together in a grim line. “A family you know all too well. The Bergfalks.”

The blood drained from my face. The Bergfalks? My host family, who had been so kind and perfect? I didn’t want to believe it. Aksel spoke in a rush, explaining what he knew about the planet, Bixsi, and what he had learned about the Bergfalk family.

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“They’re fakes, Phoenix. You have to believe me.”

I shook my head vigorously. “No! You’re lying.” Arvid Bergfalk was not a fake. He loved me. He wanted to marry me. He’d said so.

“I’m not lying. Listen to me – they’re dangerous. They’re not what you think.”

“Shut up!”

“Yes, Aksel,” said a voice. “Shut up and stop boring the poor girl.”

I spun around. Then I screamed.

“Really?” said Arvid. “That’s how you greet the love of your life?” He rolled his eyes, which were no longer his eyes, but round and bulbous. Alien eyes. His skin was a sickly shade of lizard green, and his thorny ears pointed toward the purple sky.

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“You’re not…you’re not…” My words came out in gasps. “Arvid, what happened to you?”

Arvid’s eyes widened in surprise. “Nothing happened. This is the real me. Ta-da!” He grinned, then leaned forward, lips puckered.

I step back. “Don’t touch me! You’re a…a monster!”

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There was a silence. Then Arvid’s alien face twisted into an ugly sneer. “Oh, so that’s how it’s going to be?” He clicked his tongue. “Very foolish girl. Well, until you’re ready to be my girlfriend again, I’ll just have to treat you like my other slave.” He nodded toward Aksel, who stared quietly at the ground.

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Twenty minutes later, I was wearing the most humiliating outfit I’d ever been forced to wear. It was uglier than my school uniform in China. “I’ll never be your girlfriend again!” I yelled at Arvid. “And I’m not your slave, either.”

Arvid’s voice was quiet, dangerous. “Oh yes you will. You will spend every moment of every day caring for my earth garden. Or you won’t eat.” He looked toward Aksel again. “And neither will he.” Bitxi (11) Bitxi (12)

My legs trembled. He would starve us both? What else would this new Arvid do? I swallowed down the sobs that rose in my throat. “Okay,” I said in a whisper. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

Arvid smirked as I stooped over the nearest plant and began to yank weeds from the ground. “Good girl,” he said.

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The Secrets of Hiver Park: The Music Video

And now, for your viewing pleasure, The Secrets of Hiver Park, the Movie:


Chapter 20: The Groovy End

Perfect (3)  Grayson Tanaka was not filthy rich. Still, he and his husband JT lived in a beautiful home in a quiet suburb, which was filled with Grayson’s paintings and sculptures.Perfect (22)perfect (5)

“I’m not a famous artist or anything,” Grayson explained, “but I’m well-known locally, and I’ve sold a few important pieces.”

“He is far too modest,” said JT, rolling his eyes. “This man has had half a dozen successful shows in the past three years, in Calgary, Ottawa – even Quebec.” Ivy and Adao were impressed. They were also impressed when they met baby Diamond, JT and Grayson’s daughter. perfect (4) perfect (8) perfect (7)

“She’s beautiful!” said Ivy, running a finger along the baby’s soft cheek.

“You will never guess who our surrogate mommy was,” said Grayson, grinning. And right on cue, a very familiar woman with a zany hairdo sauntered into the room and scooped baby Diamond out of Grayson’s arms.

“Were you guys talking about me?” asked Virginia, her hazel eyes twinkling. perfect (6)

“We were just telling our guests that you had a groovy show lined up for us tonight,” said Grayson.

Ivy raised her eyebrows. “Groovy?”

Grayson shrugged. “It’s one of those words that came back in style a couple of years ago. Kind of like saying awesome.”

Ivy just shook her head. “Seriously? Groovy?”

The show turned out to be a wild rock concert held in Grayson and JT’s backyard. Dozens of neighbors came, including Adao and Melanie. And Virginia – Virginia was a superstar. Ivy danced along with the crowd, getting so wrapped up in the magic that she almost forgot that it was her friend, Virginia, who was singing like a bona fide pop star. perfect (14) perfect (13) perfect (11)

She did not, however, get so wrapped up that she failed to notice Adao and Melanie sneak away early. She had had a strange, nagging sensation about those two since they met yesterday. Like they were too perfect. It was eerie. She had tried to convince herself that it was only her imagination, but years of training to be a spy had taught her to trust her instincts.

Something was up.

Moments later, her suspicions were confirmed when she saw JT look in her direction and give a slight jerk of the head. Silently, the two slipped away from the party. Ivy could not participate, of course, but she hid in JT’s car and saw it all. Perfect (24)

Perfect (23)

Adao and Melanie and their robot army

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Adao and Melanie use robots to detonate teddy bear-shaped bombs around the city.

Perfect (18)  Perfect (19) Perfect (20) Perfect (21)

Later that night, she returned to Grayson and JT’s house. “I can’t believe you missed that amazing concert!” said Adao. “Where were you?”

A slow smile spread across Ivy’s face. “Sometimes, it is better not to know what’s going to happen in the future,” she said.




Coming soon, Hiver Park the Music Video. Don’t miss it!

Chapter 19: Return to the Future

“Are you sure?” Adao asked for the tenth time. “I mean, you don’t have to come with me.”Future 2

“I’m sure,” said Ivy, her voice firm. “I have to see for myself that everything turns out better this time.” She stepped toward the strange bluish-white flames, which blazed and crackled with energy.

“It may not be better to know what will happen,” said Adao.

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“I know. Let’s do this,” said Ivy. She took a breath, then stepped into into the flames. Adao followed, and was quickly overcome by the sickening sensation of a sharp roller coaster drop. The air around him was squeezing him like a boa constrictor. He flailed his arms in the nothingness, fighting…then suddenly, all was still. He and Ivy stood on a rooftop thirty years in the future, the electric flames of the time machine dying behind them.

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“It looks the same.” said Ivy, staring out at the barely recognizable city. “No snow. Hardly any water.”

Adao shrugged. “Maybe that’s just the effect of global warming.”


“We may as well be in the Sahara desert. Or worse, Texas.” Her voice was full of disappointment. “Oh well…let’s go track us down. Hopefully future me didn’t turn into some crazy cat lady.” Their cell phones turned out to be useless in this future (“New communications protocols,” Adao explained), so they ducked into what appeared to be a robotics shop to ask directions.

“Of course I can direct you to the house of the great Adao Rocha Morinho,” said the bot behind the counter in a smooth, human-like voice. “He and his lovely wife were the inventors of the modern A.I. companions and assistants which you see for sale in this very shop.”

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“I’m famous!” Adao told Ivy as they left the store.

Ivy rolled her eyes. “Fame isn’t everything.”

“Jealous much?” he grinned.

“I’m never jealous,” said Ivy. However, an hour later, when they arrived at future Adao’s house, she changed her mind. “Okay, maybe I’m a little bit jealous.” Future Adao had a beautiful, amazing house. He also had two perfect children, named Harry and Holly, who shook their hands and made polite conversation. (“Maybe they’re robots, too,” Ivy whispered to Adao when the children were out of earshot).

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Adao's perfect children, Harry and Holly.

Adao’s perfect children, Harry and Holly.

But most impressive of all was Future Adao himself. He didn’t appear to be in the least bit insane this time. In fact, he had become fit and good-looking, and confidently strode around, showing off his home and his wife.

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“Melanie!” Adao was speechless. Sure enough, Future Adao had married Melanie. His eyes shining with pride, he told the story of how the two had fallen in love, gotten married, and created life — both biological and  artificial. future2 (8) future2 (10)future2 (7) future2 (9)

“Any new inventions in the works?” asked Adao.

“Ah ah ah!” Future Adao waved a good-natured finger at him. “Mustn’t spoil the ending.” Adao and Ivy spent the night with the Rocha Morinho’s then asked for directions to future Grayson’s house. future2 (5)

“I’ll take you there myself,” said Future Adao. “Just turns out that those crazy kids are throwing a huge party tonight, which Melanie and I were planning to attend. And trust me…you do not want to miss the entertainment!”

Filled with excited anticipation, Adao and Ivy agreed to join them.




Chapter 18: The Wisdom of the S.I.M.

SIM (6) It wasn’t that Adao didn’t want to pass on Grayson’s message from his future self. It was that he didn’t know how to begin. Over the next few months, he barely spoke to Grayson, who was busy with college life. But finally, he returned home for spring break.

“So how are things here back here in Antarctica?” Grayson asked jokingly. SIM (4)

“Oh, you know. A lot of the same,” said Adao. Which basically meant that Adao had been sequestered in his basement, fine tuning his time machine and cranking out his first set of humanoid robots. Well, he had managed to leave a few times, to go to the gym and workout, or to meet with Ivy and sometimes with Virginia, who was finally out of the mental hospital and thriving on her new medication. SIM (1) SIM (2) SIM

“Oh, and well…I met a girl,” he told Grayson, the tips of his ears burning.

“A girl?” Grayson’s face split into a huge grin. “A girl who’s not Ivy Malik? ’Bout time! What’s she like? Tell me everything.”

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Adao laughed. “Why? So you can steal her away?” Although he was pretty sure that Melanie wasn’t Grayson’s type. For one thing, she was a girl. But also, Melanie was – well, quiet, and sweet, and even smarter about computers and robotics than Adao. SIM (7)

“Hey, I’m really happy for you,” said Grayson. His face didn’t quite match his voice, though, filled with regret and wistfulness, which Adao understood, having met the unhappy future Grayson. SIM (5)

“Look,” said Adao, “there’s something I have to tell you. But you won’t believe me unless I show you.”

“Show me what?” Grayson asked. But Adao refused to say anything until later that afternoon, when Grayson came over.

“Grayson, I’d like for you to meet S.I.M,” said Adao. “It stands for Smart Interactive Machine.”

Grayson’s face drained as white as the snow outside. “What…what is this?”

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“Hello, I am pleased to meet you, Grayson Tanaka,” said SIM in a choppy robotic voice, which Adao was still working to make more human-like.

“No way!” Grayson stared at the robot, his mouth hanging open. “No freaking way!”

Adao smiled and gave a half-shrug. “Well here’s the thing. Robots aren’t the only thing I’ve invented.” Taking a deep breath, he began to explain to Grayson about the time machine, about traveling to the future, and about meeting the future version of his best friend.

When he was finished, Grayson shook his head in disbelief. “So let me get this straight – the future me is loaded, the CEO of a huge company, has a gorgeous wife and kids, and hates his life? What the hell?” He laughed. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! What more am I supposed to want?” SIM (8) SIM (11)

Before Adao could answer, SIM spoke up. “The logical answer appears to be that the future Grayson Tanaka did not feel as though he was fulfilled. In the midst of his fame and fortune, he forgot to be true to himself.”

Grayson and Adao both stared at SIM. Then Grayson asked in a hushed voice, “So…how much can I pay you to have this robot?”

“Sorry,” said Adao. “He’s just a prototype.”

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Before Grayson returned to university, the four friends – Grayson, Adao, Virginia, and Ivy, got together for a party at Neon, where they drank too much, and danced all night. SIM (13) SIM (14) SIM (12)And just as Ivy and Adao had planned together, Ivy pulled Grayson aside. “There’s someone I want you to meet,” she said. “This is J.T. He and I work together at…a bank. I think that the two of you may have a lot in common.”

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“Hi,” said J.T., his eyes locking with Grayson’s.

“Hi,” said Grayson.

Eyes twinkling, Ivy melted back into the crowd.



Chapter 17: Nothing But Bots

Just like that, they were back. Ivy felt such a strong sense of relief at seeing the familiar, dull gray walls of Adao’s basement workshop, that she wanted to leap in the air and weep with joy. They were home! No more Crazytown robots. No more weird blue-eyed clone Ivy. No more desertified Hiver Park with its dried-up river and disturbing lack of snow.

“Are you thinking the same thing I’m thinking?” asked Adao.

“Um…” Ivy doubted it. The first thing she wanted to do was meet with J.T. and tell him what she had learned. This time machine business was dangerous. If the government didn’t intervene and shut it down right now, then…she shuddered. Return (2) - Copy

“We have to help them,” Adao was saying.

“Huh? Help who?” Ivy blinked.

“The others, of course!” said Adao. “Virginia and Grayson. I know that you think that fate is somehow written in stone, and that nothing we do now can change the future. But I refuse to believe that.” He shook his head. “We saw how unhappy everyone was. We have a chance to make it better.”

Ivy pressed her lips together. “I don’t know, Adao,” she said. “You seemed pretty content in the future, to tell you the truth.” Screenshot-16

Adao sighed. “Look, I get it. The robot marriage thing was bizarre. But…I kind of get it, too.” He turned away from Ivy. “You get rejected enough by real people, and…well, I just get it, that’s all.”

Ivy didn’t know what to say. She felt bad for not returning Adao’s feelings for her. But that was something she couldn’t change. “Maybe there’s someone out there for you – someone real,” she told him. “Just spend a little less time down here in your basement, and out in the real world, and who knows?”

“Sure. Who knows?” Adao didn’t sound very convinced.

Ivy, as always, put her work first. She contacted J.T. and asked him to meet her as soon as possible. “I know what Adao Rocha-Morinho has been doing all this time,” she told him.

They arranged to meet at Pescado’s later that evening. “What did you discover?” J.T.’s voice was eager. “Is he building spy equipment for a foreign agency? Weapons? A bomb?”  Return (3)

Ivy smiled wryly. “Oohh, maybe he’s figured out how to build a time machine!”

J.T. laughed with her. “Good one. Okay, seriously, though. What is it?”

Ivy shook her head. “I’m afraid the DHS will be terribly disappointed,” she said. “See – Adao is a genius with computers. But all he’s been doing is building artificial human life forms.”

“Robots?” J.T.’s face fell. “Not bombs?” Return

“Not bombs. Just robots that he’s programming to do domestic work. He’s been working on them for the past six years, it seems. I know.” She heaved a dramatic sigh. “More hard-earned tax dollars, allocated toward the wrong project.”

The next evening, Ivy sought out Virginia. She tracked her down in a seedy local bar, where Virginia had performed earlier that afternoon. “I got booed,” she said to Ivy, her eyes welling with tears. “Actually booed. Can you believe it? I was singing My Heart Will Go On, and doing it so well, too!” She wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand, smearing her mascara and reminding Ivy of the future Virginia, drugged out and destitute, sobbing in her kitchen.

“Can we talk after I’ve had a shot or two?” asked Virginia, turning toward the bar.

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“No!” Ivy held out a hand to stop her. “I mean – just wait, okay? I’m…worried about you.” Without sharing anything about her trip to the future with Adao, Ivy explained how she was concerned about Virginia’s state of mind, and about how much Virginia had been drinking lately. “I think that you have been self-medicating with alcohol. But what you really need is medication.” She has thought that Virginia would take offense, but to Ivy’s surprise, that did not happen.

“You’re right,” said Virginia. “You’re so right! There is something wrong with me, I know it!” She grabbed Ivy’s arm. “Will you help me?”

“Of course,” said Ivy. And together, they left the bar. Return (10) Return (11)

Chapter 16: Flight From Crazyland

Crazyland (9)It took about an hour for Ivy to decide that Future Adao’s house was Crazyland. Unfortunately, she and normal Adao were stuck in Crazyland until Adao the Robot King told them how to fix the damned time machine.

She and Adao tried asking several times. “So, how do we f—”

“Have I introduced you two to the rest of the family?” Future Adao cut in. Then, instead of giving them repair instructions, Ivy and Adao had to meet the other four robots who lived there in Crazyland. “This is C3PO. Get it? Haha…he does the cleaning. Then the one with the ponytail is Luka. She’s the baby of the family. Isn’t she so cute?” Crazyland (3)Crazyland (2)

Then he would get distracted with robot repairs or robotics research, and would refuse to say anything at all to his human guests.

“We have got to get out of here,” said Ivy.

Normal Adao agreed. Then he came up with a brilliant suggestion. “Forget about Future me. Let’s ask the robots for instructions!” And so, later that evening, after Future Adao headed out somewhere on his HoverCycle™, Ivy and Adao approached a couple of the robots and asked them if they happened to know how the time machine could be repaired. Crazyland (8) Crazyland (10)

“Of course,” said Miffy.

“Certainly,” said C3PO. The two robots happily(?) shared the instructions, complete with images and GPS directions. And the moment the sun rose the next morning, Ivy and Adao fled Crazyland, headed toward the Hiver River, which ran along the edge of town.

That is, the Hiver River which used to run along the edge of town. But, just like the winter snows, the Hiver River had completely dried up, leaving behind a vast wasteland of dirt and rock.

Adao slumped onto a wooden bench, his face pale. Ivy joined him. She felt sick to her stomach to see what their town had become in the future. What they had become in the future. “I want to go him,” said Adao, moaning. “I want to fix this. There must be some way to change our fate.”

“Maybe,” said Ivy. “Or maybe fate is fate. And no matter what choices we make in the past, we will always end up with the same future outcome.” Crazyland (4) Crazyland (5)

“Well, we have to at least try, right?” Adao jumped to his feet. After a quick glance at his GPS, he began to run across the dried out riverbed, headed for the spot that the robots had told them about. And suddenly, there it was. The abandoned underground shelter, which future Adao had once used as a secret laboratory. Where he had abandoned the time machine experiments due to government interference. (Ivy felt a twinge of guilt). Crazyland (15) Crazyland (14)

“The tool must be somewhere in this rubbish,” said Adao, digging through the piles of rusty junk that littered the ground around the old lab. “What was it called again? Cyca…what” Crazyland (11)

“Cychamo,” said Ivy. She scanned around the dirt, noticing that, among the trash piles, strange flowers grew here and there. Strange, because although they looked like organic flowers, they appeared to blink like they were covered with tiny LED lights. Ivy gasped. “Cychamo,” she repeated. “Cy-chamomile. Adao…we have to use the plants!” They both stared at the flowers, fascinated by the bizarre blend of plant and robotics. Crazyland (13)Crazyland (12)

“Wow,” said Adao. “Future me may be nuts, but he’s also a genius. The circuitry running through the stems of these flowers is just what we need to fix the machine.” They carefully gathered up what they needed, then headed back to where they had abandoned the machine. Adao got to work immediately. By late afternoon, the machine sparked to life. And by sunset, it was time to go home.

“You ready?” Adao asked.

Ivy’s stomach lurched. The feeling of time travel hadn’t exactly been pleasant. And there was still a risk of being ripped to shreds during the journey. But still she nodded. “Ready.” She stepped onto the platform and into the strange, cold, electric flames.  Crazyland (7) Crazyland (6)