Twins

Free Twins by Caroline B. Cooney

Book: Twins by Caroline B. Cooney Read Free Book Online
Authors: Caroline B. Cooney
but Madrigal and I have buried her. Refrain from mentioning Mary Lee again.”
    People faded and blurred.
    Walls left and returned.
    Mary Lee found that she was walking beside Jon Pear again, deeply exhausted, as if they had hiked miles together over rugged terrain in difficult weather. “Why did you fall in love with me?” she whispered.
    “For your name. Madrigal. Song of the murmuring waters.”
    She tried to remember what Van looked like but found that she could not. Van, she thought, first syllable of vanish. Perhaps that’s all he is, a thing that goes away.
    She did not know why she was putting so much value on a mere hour anyway, a mere hour months ago where nothing really had been shared except a snack.
    I could be Jon Pear’s song of the murmuring waters, she thought.
    “And,” said Jon Pear, “because you are the twin I have always needed.”
    She could not snuff out her twinship like a candle. “I’m not your twin, Jon Pear.”
    Jon Pear’s laughter went in and out like tides slapping underground caverns. It passed from good to evil and back.
    “Ah, but you are, Madrigal. You and I are twins of the soul.”
    She was drawn to him like a child to sticky candy, and could not tear herself away.
    Jon Pear walked her to her car.
    The school day had been so short! Where had it gone, that collection of classes, acquaintances, and curiosity?
    She was filled with thoughts of Jon Pear. They seemed to have multiplied in her, so that there was room for nothing else: his strangeness, his beauty, his familiarity, his ugliness … his evil.
    She could take neither her mind nor her thoughts off Jon Pear.
    Who are you? she thought, for she knew he was nobody ordinary. She wanted knowledge about him. She wanted detail and background. All girls who have crushes on boys want more: they want to see his house, and see his clothes; they want to talk to his friends and see him in sports; they want to read his papers and touch his books and know his life.
    She wanted to know which car was his, what he drove, where he was going, but he simply stood waiting for her to drive away.
    “Tell me everything,” she said to him.
    He laughed. It was an ordinary laugh. “You know everything, Madrigal. I didn’t leave anything out.”
    “I want to hear it all again. I love it. I want you to tell me everything over and over, like bedtime stories.”
    He smiled, and the smile was like Van’s: warm and easy.
    He slid the key in the ignition for her, and turned it, and the radio came on with the engine. A fifties rock station. Mary Lee loved that stuff. So soft and easy. But when she danced her shoulders to it, she remembered her dead sister, who would never dance again.
    She needed to be alone after all. Scream into the wind and sky, cry out for the sister she had lost. She waited for the tears to come; the tears she wanted, for they would make her feel both better and worse. The only way I will ever feel about Madrigal now, she thought.
    No tears came.
    Her eyes were dry. Her thoughts were still mainly of Jon Pear, and the dead twin had hardly a sliver, hardly a splinter, of her emotions. And not a single tear. “I can’t even cry for her,” she said desperately.
    “I have your tear,” Jon Pear reminded her. His smile increased, blocking roads and mirrors and thought.
    She stared at the tiny glass tube on the thick gold chain. “What will you do with it?” she whispered.
    His smile grew even larger, like a mushroom cloud. An explosion. “I like this game, Madrigal,” he said. “I’m glad you thought of a new one. We’ve played the old ones enough.”
    When she got home, the house seemed more isolated than Mary Lee remembered, the neighborhood more remote, the road less used. Even the house itself looked smaller, its windows blank and dead.
    How silent, how sinister, her own driveway felt.
    The sky had grown dark early. Shadows were vapor, wafting up from the frozen earth, caressing her legs.
    The key trembled in her

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