GRANITE & STONE
by Mary Wright (me)
The wind whistled through the hole in the roof, and although it was still dark out, Granite rose from her bed. The tree branches that hit her window every night reminded her not to be afraid. There was such a thing as an escape – and that escape was outside. Inside, the people who called themselves her parents fought each other, and she knew that the next person they would fight would be her. That couldn’t happen tonight, not tonight. Right now, she had to force her muscles to make her put her mouth into a smile shape. Everything was fine.
She stood ten feet away from her bedroom window, waiting, her nightgown whipping slowly in the cool breeze. The raised voices of the two adults in the house now sounded like hearing some angry rats squeaking at each other – or at least that’s how she liked to imagine them.
“It’s the 15th of July,” said a voice behind the row of dark, shivering bushes.
“Yes.” Granite said. “It is.”
A shorter form of herself arose from her hiding place, standing not straight, but in a sort of uncomfortable slouch.
“Hello, Stone.” Granite greeted her. “How is your half of life doing?”
“You already know,” Stone with a sigh, “The boys in the home are sewing, and the girls fight like cats. And then there’s me, who can’t stop looking out the window.”
“If that’s all you have to complain about,” said Granite, crossing her arms across her chest, “then you shouldn’t complain at all.”
Once every few days, Granite sent mind messages to her twin, Stone. She told her little of what was really happening at the home she slept in, but now, with distance not being part of the equation, she sent all the information and images of the last month’s happenings to her.
“You can’t live like that!” she exclaimed.
“I must.” Granite replied.
“One day, they will fight,” she said, pointing towards the house as she spoke, “and one will kill the other. They do not agree on anything, and have many secrets.”
“But then what?”
“Police will arrive. Whichever of……the parents killed the other one will go to jail, and by that point I will have escaped.” Granite said confidently. A real smile formed on her face.
“You wish to live in my home.” Stone said suddenly.
“You are my twin, and where you live sounds boring and annoying at times, but never dangerous.” Granite said, “I thought you would be okay with this.”
“It is only that my home….well, the people who are in the home are the people who decide who will live there. And there is already eight people including me there to feed.”
“I will feed myself, if that is what it takes to get away from here.” Granite said.
“It takes a lot to be able to feed oneself.” Stone said.
Granite angrily remembered the image of a large family eating together at a table piled high with food. Tears tickled her eyelashes. “I already know how much, sister. You should already know that.”
Stone burst into tears, and after a minute, she took a deep breath and she stood up a little straighter. “I have an idea, Nit. And it will solve all your problems.”
“Switch places with me. You deserve to have boredom and annoyance. I shall take my turn with fear,” Stone said confidently.
“I would never ask for you to have my fear, Stone, and I do not think I could accept that choice even for boredom and annoyance if you were in my place.”
Stone sighed, slouching back to her normal dejected-like stance. “Then we must employ my other idea, I fear.” Her voice told Granite that she did not fear, but only thought she would regret doing so afterwards. “We must both kill them ourselves. Steal all of the cash they have kept from your well-being. Have them think it was some random robber. Safer that way.”
“Kill them?” Granite whispered. She did not want to admit that in her twelve years of life, six of them had been consumed with that same idea.
“Do not tell me, sister, that you have not thought about that.”
“Of course, of course,” Granite muttered.
“Well then tonight, your fear shall go away for good.” Stone said.
With a knife from the kitchen, and rope from the garage, the deed was done before the sun came up. Blood was on her hands; blood was on her clothes. Granite smiled, smiled like she had never before this night. In front of both of them, sat both parents…..each tied up like mummies and each with more than a generous amount of stab wounds.
“Thank you,” she told her twin after the killing was finished, and the fear in Stone’s eyes was clear on her face.
“You’re welcome, Nit,” she said cautiously.
“You are afraid that my killing is not done.” Granite said.
“I did not know you had the strength to do this, that’s all,” Stone muttered.
“You fear me?” Granite asked.
“You are my sister.”
“You are my twin.”
“Yes, I fear you, okay?” answered Stone, trembling. “I’m afraid.”
Granite sighed heavily, putting down the knife. She took her sister’s hand in hers. “Don’t be afraid of me. There is no reason to fear anything anymore,” she gulped, “They separated us when we were babies. And here, all of this, has happened. But no more fear, sister.”
“What then?” Stone asked.
“Only boredom and annoyance.” Granite said, smiling. They washed their hands, cleaned their hands of rope burns as best they could, took all the money they knew of, and then ran from the crime that was mostly Granite’s doing.
It took a few months, and a few crying testimonies from Granite, but at last, both Granite and Stone sat at the big family table in Stone’s “parent’s” house, along with her six siblings – the siblings that Granite would now be able to talk to.
“It must be difficult, to remember how your parents were killed,” one of her now-siblings said at the meal. One of the parents rebuked him, glaring at him for bringing up the subject. Granite pretended not to see the exchange. She was glad that no one questioned how she had acquired a savings account with $300 in it – only that it was assumed that her parents had put money aside for her.
“I was afraid,” Granite said, now just turned 13 years old, just as Stone was, “But now I have my twin, and I am safe.”