Hi all...this was the result of a writing prompt from my introduction thread, and it was suggested to me that I post it here. Hope y'all enjoy it.
I heard a noise in the night and rose from my bed to investigate. Slowly walking along the corridor I heard the floor boards creak behind me.
Turning ice cold with fear I looked back over my shoulder and I saw him. I hoped I was looking in the mirror, but when he half-grinned at me, I knew he'd come back.
When I was a little kid, I had always thought it would be cool to have a twin brother. A co-conspirator, partner in crime, a ear to listen to my secrets, a mouth to whisper his secrets to me. I didn't have a twin--I had no siblings at all. Apparently my parents decided enough was enough when I was born. What I did have was a lot of spare time, a sketch pad and a big box of crayons.
So I made myself a twin. I invented Owen.
At first, I just drew pictures--the two of us on safari, wearing pith helmets that looked like church bells, firing muskets at Winnebago-sized lions. Sharing a telescope as we gazed sighted the cannibal's island from the crow's nest of our pirate schooner. Swinging our torches at the mummy, its bandaged fingers greedily grasping for us, in the newly-discovered tomb.
But then, I started talking to him. And he started answering.
I didn't need the sketch pad anymore. Owen went everywhere with me, he was my constant companion. I had a real, live, imaginary twin, and I loved it.
Until Owen started taking our games a little too far.
He thought we should make believe that Mrs. Scott, the mean spinster at the end of the road who told Mom and Dad that I broke her window with my baseball, was a witch who was kidnapping kids to cook them up in her crock pot, and that we would be the witch-hunters who would save the day. Or, he thought it would be cool if we pretended that our next-door neighbor's dog, Greta, the mean doberman that once bit me (hard! I was bleeding pretty good.), was actually a werewolf, and we should hunt him down before the next full moon. Owen made up some pretty twisted stories about our revenge on the wicked Mrs. Scott, or our expedition to put down the shape-shifting beast.
He was starting to freak me out. I told him, no way, dude, that's just too freaky. So Owen smiled, that weird half-grin of his, and let the subject drop.
At least, I thought so.
I woke up one night, police sirens shrieking, the pulsating red glow from their lights staining the wallpaper of my bedroom through the window. I tried to rub the sleep out of my eyes, and I stumbled downstairs to ask my parents what was going on. There was a group of people standing around in the street; Mom and Dad were with them. When she saw me on the porch, Mom rushed over and ushered me back upstairs. I found out the next day that someone had broken into Mrs. Scott's house and hurt her pretty badly.
The story in the paper said that the police couldn't find one of her hands or either of her ears.
A few days later, our neighbors started posting "lost dog--REWARD!" signs on all the telephone poles. A bunch of my friends and me, we got pretty excited about finding the dog and getting the reward. We, with very deliberate accounting, figured out that we could each get a new Nintendo game if we split the cash. (Aaron had just gotten "Battletoads" and I really, really wanted it, too.) We looked all over, in the woods near the power lines, all along the dirty little stream that ran under the overpass, but nobody ever found the dog.
In my underwear drawer in my bedroom, though, I found a dog collar tucked in between a couple pairs of my tighty-whities. It was sticky, and when I picked it up, my fingers were crimson.
Owen half-smiled at me when I showed it to him, and said that "Battletoads" was lame, anyways.
I stopped talking to Owen much after that. I figured that, having a twin maybe wasn't as much fun as I thought it could be. So I told Owen to go away. We had a big fight about it one day. He even hit me on the shoulder, really hard. When Mom asked me where I got the bruise, I told her that I fell off my bike. But after that, I gave Owen the silent treatment. He sulked, the threw tantrums--he even broke the windshield of my parents' car. But eventually he went away. Oh, sometimes I would see him, hiding in the corner behind the tv, or I'd hear him jumping on my bed, but once I laid down the law, he left me alone.
I'm married, now. Julie and me, we moved back into my parents' house a couple of months ago, after dad passed away. I guess Owen never left.
He still looks just like me, all grown up. His teeth are white and straight in that pensive half-grin. He needs to comb his hair.
Neither Julie or I cook, so that fancy cutlery set her parents gave us for the wedding has always been packed up in a box in the basement. I wonder how Owen knew about it. His grip on the butcher knife is so tight his knuckles are white. The blade gleams moonlight, though there are no windows in the hallway.
Owen wants to play.