Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Twins By peter slater



Peter Slater

It might be possible, of course, that far from being one, we may possess two selves: we are both the self that wants to live for ever, and the self that wants to end it all. In Sam’s beginning lay his end.

The seed was stuck in a groove on the floor of the underground train. Sam picked it up. It is the small acts that have the most influence on our lives. This seed was to change Sam’s life forever.

She saw everything.

Sam was forty and lived in a flat in Stockwell.

The radio was on when he got back with the seed. It was good to come home to friendly voices.

The next day, he bought a bag of compost and a pot, planted the seed and placed it on the window ledge.

She watched.

Throughout that summer, Sam watered the plant and it grew. He collected the seeds in Autumn.

Winter came.

‘Time’s ticking,’ said his cruel mother whenever Sam did his duty and went home for Sunday lunch. ‘When am I going to get grandkids?’ She had always blamed Sam for being born alive, whilst the sweet girl who would have been his twin, had not survived. It is the small acts. The miniscule movements of a twin in the womb might have devastating consequences.

‘Murderer,’ he had once heard his mother whisper.

‘She lives in me,’ Sam often said, but never to his mother. ‘You can’t believe how close I feel to her.’

Sam wanted children too because he wanted to make up to his mother; but he never had any luck with girls. There was, though, someone kind in the office and perhaps she might smile if he came in with a huge bunch of sunflowers.

Spring came. Sam took the seeds and a small fork to Epping Forest.

She chuckled softly.

He went to an isolated glade and began to dig.

Every week, Sam visited his garden, but the plants grew feebly.

‘What a pity!’ sighed a thin voice behind him one sunny afternoon, making him jump and scream in soft recognition. ‘But together we can make our dreams come true.’

The knife slit his throat and the treacherous blood spurted as though this release was what it had been waiting for forever.

In the woodland glade, the woman cut up her victim and buried him.

‘Plainly mad,’ they said in court when she kept repeating, ‘Now at last we are together again.’

The empty cell discovered next day was hailed as one of the great escapes in history.

All the digging – to bury the body parts and then to disinter them – and all the blood, did wonders for the soil. Every year, new plants sprang up from the seeds of the old and the sunflower garden bloomed as never before. The mother visited often and, in the act of mourning for both her children, at last found a sort of peace.

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