Dear readers, tonight we print a police interview, together with the detective’s notes and observations about the interviewee — a young woman, who claims the disappearance of her autistic sister is due to magic and time-travel.
From the closed files relating to the Ms. Orlova’s house fire and the disappearance of Sasha Orlov: Transcript of Alex Orlov interview with Hillsborough police department’s Detective Hendle. (Additional observations were added after the interview by Officer Tony Davids.)
Notes & Observations: Ms. Orlov appears young for her age. She is very thin, but it is hard to tell just how thin—she is hiding underneath a gray sweatshirt with a UC Berkeley logo that is several sizes too big on her. She has shoulder-length dirty blond hair, which looks unwashed and unbrushed. The girl’s overall appearance is a bit bedraggled. Given what her family is going through, I suppose it’s understandable.
Detective: Tell us, Alex, a little about your sister. How you grew up? What was it like?
Alex: As you know, this is a very difficult question to answer.
Notes & Observations: As she talks, Ms. Orlov continuously fidgets with the extra-long sleeves of her sweatshirt, picking at the unraveling fabric at the hem. She is obviously very upset. She avoids meeting the eyes of the detective and other officers in the room.
Detective: You mean so soon after your twin’s…we know it must be very difficult—
Alex: No, it’s not what I mean. And it’s not even like Sasha died recently. It’s been almost three decades now.
Detective: But you are only nineteen…
Detective: Can you explain what you mean, please?
Alex: I guess I should start at the beginning…or as much of the beginning as it’s really possible given…well, given that time is not really linear for my sister and me. We were born at the turn of the century.
Alex: Does it really matter?
Notes & Observations: I’m noting this as a classic avoidance behavior. I assume Ms. Orlov is lying to us. She is not a very practiced liar.
Alex: Sasha, as I’m sure you know, was…is…was severely autistic. Of course when we were babies, I didn’t know that. So we played together like other sisters, I guess. Only it was different. I usually ran around and got into all sorts of mischief, but Sasha toyed with things that were right next to her—a rocks, a pinch of sand, a flower petal, a spoon, her toes. Basically, whatever was within her reach. She wasn’t really into baby toys. She didn’t like clothes much either.
Detective: You were just babies.
Detective: Please go on.
Alex: We were born in Brooklyn, New York. But when Sasha was formally diagnosed, we moved out to California. There are more resources for kids like Sasha out here. And Aunt Nana was out here and she helped the family a lot in the beginning. Nana helped us buy a home and helped with finding Dad a job out here… Nana babysat us. But she was…
Notes & Observations: Ms. Orlov’s face flashes every time she mentions her great aunt—Ms. Nadezhda Orlova. “Aunt Nana” or “Nana,” as the girl refers to her. Note the variation of the family name spelling—something to do with Russian language.Continue reading “Alex Orlov (of Twin Time, by Olga Werby)”