The day had receded into night so peacefully that contentment bore itself to me in flickering visages nearly within my grasp. Chloe and I read for hours, then supped, then prepared for slumber. I tended to mother for the last time that evening, before retiring in earnest, kissing my Chloe’s cheek as she lay in bed before I did. Chloe, for her part, maintained her sturdy mood of pleasantness, and though in prior times I would have found her behavior counterfeit and borne from facetiousness, in the present reformed Chloe, she was sweet, a beaming icon of the potential of joy. She smiled at me as I withdrew from that kiss, and as Chloe closed her eyes, with a light of bliss still upon her, she was a child, in love with the world.
It was pretty fucking hard to keep that fake-as-shit plastic smile on my face that whole fucking day but I did it cuz I’m a fucking trooper. And I guess it was easier to do that than invite more bullshit questions from Anna, and anyway my head was spinning like you wouldn’t believe. I had no idea which way was up down or sideways. I’ll try and explain.
By then I knew who I was. I was Chloe, and my bitch-cunt sister was Anna, the same bitch-cunt who fucking murdered me by kicking me off that cliff. But the frustrating thing was, no matter how much I hated her, she was not only my sister, but the one who brought me back to life with all that voodoo shit of hers, and so if she told me to do something, every cell in my body screamed at me “OBEY!” and so I had to do it. It was like I had no choice. Now you would think this would annoy the fuck out of me, but strangely it didn’t, every time I did what Anna asked I felt some strange form of relief, the same kind of feeling you get like when your headache goes away, you know, the pain stops and you forget you ever had it and you just go on with your day and you don’t question. That didn’t mean I didn’t hate her for what she did to me, you know, fucking killing me and all, but that was done, nothing could change that, and what was the point of revenge anyway, and I mean a full-fucking-scale revenge, me killing her, you know what I mean. I couldn’t do that. She was who she was now, the one who brought me back, and I had to live with that.
But here’s where things got interesting. There were those times when, because we were twins and all, that I got these weird feelings and thoughts in my head, and I knew they weren’t coming from inside my own head, from inside me, they were coming at me from the outside, like I could feel them coming from someplace other than in me. I guess you could say it was like getting caught in a sudden rain, except the rain was always there, you know, more or less, and you couldn’t find a place to keep yourself from getting wet. Those feelings and thoughts were gonna get to me, for sure. Now I knew I had these weird feelings and thoughts coming at me ever since I was a little kid, ever since I learned to remember, and ever since I figured out who I was and who Anna was. Like I said, it was because we were twins. Everybody knows that. Twins can feel alike and think alike and sometimes we can feel and think what the other is feeling and thinking. That’s all well and good. But now, now that I was dead and then brought back to life, and now that I had to obey my fucking sister, there was another, different part to this whole twins thing. Those secret shared feelings and thoughts, the ones that came at me from her, from ANNA, they came at me in just the same way as they would if Anna spoke to me directly, like when she told me to stand still, or go to school, or go be right, or whatever, BUT, because they were weird secret feelings and thoughts, stuff you don’t normally talk about, they had this kinda weird evil to them, like stuff Anna was afraid to say out loud, but at the same time it was stuff that she truly believed, stuff that was really true to her. Stuff that mattered most.
The examples are right there in front of you, if you’ve been paying attention to Anna’s story so far. Like when I threw our mother down the stairs. Anna wanted her dead! Like when I killed Coach and Paolo. Anna wanted James to be quarterback! Now that’s some pretty fucked up shit, but I swear it’s all true. I know, because I had those feelings, even if they are a bit vague as I try to remember, you know, like when you try to remember shit from when you were just a tiny kid or something, but you still know it, you know you had those feelings. And it sure as fuck wasn’t me who was going around killing people. I don’t do that! I don’t even think it! But Anna goes there. She goes to that dark place. Fuck, she’s the mayor of dark town, you better believe that!
But let me get back to where we are in our story right now, because I had changed, I wasn’t just the dumb new kid Chloe who did as Anna told. I knew who I was now, I was Chloe, the one and only, I was Chloe pretending to be Anna so that the real Anna could sit at home on her lazy ass all day, away with the fairies doing God knows what. And while I still had to do what Anna told me to do, while it still made me feel good to do that, I was also ME, and maybe things would be different, now that I was.
So sure, I put on that stupid grin all day, but now, lying in my bed, I could stop stretching my face, and it felt good to relax, my face muscles were actually tired after all day grinning. And besides, I was getting another one of those pesky secret Anna thoughts, something that had lingered for a while, or at least ever since we moved back to this dump in crappy small town Ohio. You’ll see what I mean soon enough. For now, I knew I had to get up, get dressed, and get out of the house. There was work to do.
So I’m dressed and I think I’m being all quiet and shit when I tiptoe out into the hallway but then as I’m just about to go down the stairs what do I hear but that bitch Anna behind me, she’s standing there in her stupid old lady nightgown and she says to me —
— Chloe! Where are you going? —
And in my mind I’m like, where the fuck do you think I’m going bitch, you’re the one having these sick fuck thoughts, I’m just the one who has to do your dirty work for you, cunt! But since it wouldn’t be cool to say that, I say, like a fool —
— I don’t know —
Now I’m not sure if Anna buys that, because she had specifically ordered me more than once to not leave the house at night, you know, ever since that night I wasted Coach and Paolo. So I’m thinking I need to play dumb, like I’m sleepwalking or something, cuz I don’t want Anna to get all worried or paranoid like she always gets. But Anna’s not totally stupid, I guess, so she says —
— You’re all dressed. You’re going out to do something. You need to tell me what it is. Come here, and tell me —
So I do as she says, I walk over to her in that dark hallway, but before Anna can say or do anything else, I don’t tell her nothin’, instead I punch her hard in the face with my fist, and I punch her so hard she gets knocked back a few feet and falls flat on her back and she’s out cold, BAM! I kneel down to make sure she’s still breathin’, and she is, which is good, because, like I said, I don’t kill people, Anna does, so I’m definitely not ever gonna kill her. And you know, as I’m kneelin’ over my twin sis in the dark there, and I see her face which is just like mine, I know I do feel some love for her, I know that and I don’t have to force it, and I just feel sorry for my sis, because she just doesn’t know who she really is, and she’s afraid to just go get what she really wants, and if I’m the one who’s gonna have to go out there and get it for her, then so be it, I will. And I know that’s what she really wants, right?
Okay, let me answer something that I know all of you, especially you geeks out there, want to know (you know who you are!). The one thing you really wanna know about is, how the fuck does she have superpowers? You know, remember when I carried the bodies of Coach and Paolo around like sacks of laundry, or that time I ran to the woods running faster than cars freaking everybody out? I know Anna told me (much later) that she thought it was because I didn’t feel pain, so that my muscles didn’t know when to stop, and that sounded kinda cool and all, but wouldn’t I be doing some terrible damage to my muscles, even if I didn’t feel pain? I dunno. I mean look, I’m never gonna know the answer to this question, but the best thing I can say is, I think that all of us have some strength inside that we don’t use, that can come out when we’re really in trouble or we need it. I mean, we’ve all heard the stories of how people get really strong when they have to, like when they’re about to die or someone they love is about to die, they lift the car off the mushed person, that kinda shit. It’s adrenaline, right? Well I think in the early stages of being a new person, a zombie or whatever, I must have been just a one souped-up ball of adrenaline because not only did I have all this energy and strength, it was like I had to use it, or I was gonna explode. Maybe I was reacting to being dead, I mean my body was, or, I dunno. Maybe my body was just fucking pissed off, before I even could be. What I can tell you is this: now that I’m in my current state, writing to you now with Anna by my side, and we’re all normal (well sort of) and everything’s gone back to normal, I can tell you that I don’t have my super-strength anymore, that as I gradually came back to being just regular old Chloe, and I didn’t have to take orders from Anna anymore, my body went back to being as strong and as weak as it always was. I guess it was fun while it lasted!
Anyway, back to my story. So I leave that bitch (sorry!) lying on the hallway floor and I head off into the night, and I sure as shit don’t need no car to get where I’m goin’, I just run real fast like I could back then. And I know exactly where I’m goin’, hell, I could smell my way there if I had to (but I didn’t have to because I had been there before). It wasn’t too long before I’m standin’ right in front of James’ house, and everything is quiet and I’ve been through this drill before with Coach and Paolo, so I know I can break through the front door without anyone hearing me, I just twist right through the lock all quiet and sneaky and shit. I remember thinking at the time, wouldn’t it be funny if they dusted and found my fingerprints on the doorknob. My fingerprints, Chloe! I’m dead! I remember I smiled a really big smile thinking about that one.
Alright, I guess because you know the story of Coach and Paolo, you think you know where I’m going with this story, right? Wrong! I mean, I do tiptoe up to James’ room, and everyone’s asleep and no one hears me. I do go into James’ room and stand over him and watch him sleep for a minute. He truly is one hot specimen of a boy, I do say! I got wet just standing there lookin’ at him. I mean, maybe he was dumb as rocks, who gives a shit? Okay, maybe he wasn’t too stupid, he was a little sensitive, but hell, none of that mattered! I mean, look at him! Try to imagine, like, the finest looking Greek statue, like David or whatever, then multiply that times infinity and you get some idea of how hot James really was, or is, or, whatever, the point is, no one could resist him, he could just snap his fingers and a woman’s clothes would fall right off, take me my boy, take me! I think you get the idea! Anyway, after I stand and drool for a minute, I get right up to him so I can punch him in face just like I did to Anna, and I know how hard to punch him now without killing him, having tested my technique. Then I grab some of his clothes, scoop up his body, his magnificent and perfect body, in my arms, and I fling him over my shoulder, and like some really cool super-spy I carry him away, and no one heard me, another perfect crime by yours truly, Chloe, super-bitch!
(Betcha thought I was gonna kill him! Wrong!)
So yeah, I carry James through that dark night back to my humble abode, back to where I bet Anna was still face down in the hallway (she was), back to my room, where I put James on my bed, and you better believe that I start taking off his clothes, but I do it nicely, I mean, I’m not a rapist either, I like my men awake and proud! But I have my plan, and it requires James to be naked. Super fucking deliciously naked. So I take off his clothes slowly, gently, so I can savor the moment, I mean, he’s out pretty cold so there’s no rush, I want to enjoy this.
That’s when I must have really gotten lost in the moment because I didn’t even hear Anna waking up in the goddamn hallway, but I do hear her step to the open door of my dark room, and I look up and see her there and I want to explain what my plan was to her but before I can do that Anna goes all mental and screams —
— NO! —
Like the total spaz that she is. Then, to make matters a million times worse, her stupid ear-piercing scream goes so far as to wake up James, I mean, I really didn’t think that was possible, but there he was, naked and sitting up a little, confused as shit no doubt, and both me and Anna go all bug-eyed and don’t do anything for a second (which felt like an hour, let me tell you), and I had to act really fast, so I go and grab James by the throat and start squeezing the life out of him for real this time, which totally freaks out Anna who jumps onto the both of us and tries to pry my hands off of James’ neck. Stupid bitch! Don’t you know that I’m about million times stronger than you right now? I grab Anna’s arm with my free hand and fling her with all my might and she goes literally flying across the room and into the wall and drops and hits the floor hard. I turn back to James and I try to talk to him which was always my play from the beginning, I start to say —
— James! I love you! What I’m about to do is —
And that’s all I can say because that bitch cunt Anna has actually thrown herself on me again! Like, what the fuck! I gotta hand it to her, she’s one stubborn cunt, I mean, I knew that she must be at least a little fucked up from that first throw, and now she’s come back for more, goin’ all beast on me, screaming —
— GET THE FUCK OFF HIM! LEAVE HIM ALONE! GET THE FUCK OFF OF HIM! —
Okay so now I got my hands on both of their throats though it takes me a few seconds because Anna’s gone full spaz and is kicking and clawing me like you wouldn’t believe, and we’re screaming at each other just not even in words, until finally I’m able to toss Anna away like before, and then I turn back to James and I try to start talking to him like I was before but he’s gone all limp in my arms and I realize very quickly that he’s fucking dead! Thanks a lot, bitch-cunt Anna! James is fucking dead! And it’s all your fucking fault!
Much to my surprise Anna again gets up in the corner of my dark bedroom where I threw her, and she limps over to where I’m breathing quite heavy over dead James, I mean, I just look at James, but I hear Anna slowly walking over, and I guess there’s no fight left in her, and I know there’s no fight left in me, I mean, what’s the fucking point now, James is fucking dead. So I look down at him and I’m sad, and I guess I have a twins’ moment because I can feel Anna’s sadness fill the room as well. Some time passes and it’s like our breathing is going to turn into sobs, that’s how sad we both were. Finally I felt I had to speak, partly because it felt like Anna never would —
— I wanted to talk to him while he died —
Anna spoke and just the sound of her voice made me want to cry —
— Why? —
Now I was starting to cry —
— So he wouldn’t be afraid —
Look, I don’t know what love is, really, but if I loved anyone, the way a girl loves a boy, I did then, I did right then.
Anna sat down on the bed. Between us was James, but Anna is not looking at him, she’s looking at me. She asks me —
— Did you think I wanted this? —
What a dumb question, sis —
— Of course you did. You wanted him, and I brought him to you —
So then Anna gets this look like I’d never seen before on her, like she’s really truly mortified or sick or something, I swear I never want to see that look on anyone’s face ever, it was so scary, it was like watching someone die inside. I felt so sorry for her right then. But I knew we had to act. Or, I should say, I knew she had to act. My part in this plan was nearly done. So I told her —
— You know what you have to do —
Anna shook her head, which I thought was pretty weird. Why wouldn’t she jump at the chance to bring James back to life as her love slave? That’s what she wanted, right? But she told me —
— No. He’s seen us both together. Just like mom did, and look what happened to her —
I have to admit, I hadn’t thought much about that part of it. But we had no choice, right? I told her —
— You have to do it. We can’t just leave him dead —
Anna got that sick look again, I think because she knew I was right. I let this sink in a moment for her before telling her the rest of my plan —
— Look, you’re right, we have to just try and convince him that there’s just one of us, okay? He needs to believe that Anna is here for him, and that Chloe’s gone, just like before, I mean, he believes Chloe’s dead, right? He thinks I’m Anna, right? —
Anna must have made some progress because she softly told me —
— Right —
Then I thought to myself, now here’s where things might get a little tricky for Anna. Let me explain. I realized that Anna was right, that James might come back to life all crazy and shit, like mom, but Anna was going to bring him back, no matter what, of that I was now sure, we had no other choice. But when James did come back, he might go crazy and try running about, and you know he’s already strong, just imagine him with his new zombie superpowers, I mean, he could really do some damage to us, the property, you name it. But I had a solution. The only one with any hope of restraining him was me, so what if we set the whole zombie ritual up, just like I had seen Anna do before, but what if, in that moment where Anna says her two special magic words that bring James back to life, what if when she does that she’s not in the room, but out in the hall, and James is with me, and I have my arms around him, restraining him with my own superpower zombie strength, and I could also be kinda talking him through it, trying to calm him down, you know? I mean, if you think about all the zombies in our story so far, me, mom, Coach and Paolo, none of us had anyone to help us back into the world the way I was suggesting. I mean, I guess Anna was pretty nice to me, and look, I turned out the best out of all of them, right? Just think what a little love can do!
So yeah, I told this plan to Anna, and she had to admit it made as much sense as anything else did, but then she asked me —
— But who will you be? —
I admit I had to think about this for a second before I knew what she meant. Then it clicked. Would I be me, Chloe, his real, but dead, girlfriend? Or would I be Anna, the freak he rejected, but who was still very much alive, in the traditional sense of the word, of course. To avoid chaos, there was really only one answer —
— I have to be Anna —
— But you’re not —
— I am to him —
Then Anna’s sad face came back. Look, I’m sorry sis, but this is the way things gotta be (and I told her so). We couldn’t risk James knowing that I came back from the dead, even if that meant he was being controlled by a freak he hated. Anna, she had to agree. So she did. We would go through with the plan.
I know we don’t need to tell you how the ritual goes. Sure, we got to rub down James’ naked body, and I let Anna do most of the rubbing. But she didn’t enjoy it, that I know. She was just sad, and I was sad for her. Even though James was beautiful, naked and dead, neither of us could really enjoy what we were doing.
Anna started saying her magic words but backed slowly out of the room. We could still hear her fine. I got right behind James and we were both sitting on the floor with my back propped up against the bed. I put my arms around him real tight, I wasn’t afraid to squeeze him hard, I mean, he wasn’t alive, at least not yet. I rested my chin on his oily shoulder so I could whisper directly into his ear. I just started whispering all these lovey-dovey things, like —
— Sssh. Anna’s here to hold you, to love you, just as you love me, James. You love me, James, you always have... Sssh. Anna’s here, Anna’s here... —
And stuff like that. I just kept going, I didn’t even pause for breath. Better to be sure, I thought. I also remember thinking that it’s good I’m whispering, because if Anna heard this from out in the hallway it would make her even more sad, so much so that maybe she wouldn’t say those final two magic words that we needed to bring James to life. But, much to my relief, she said them.
Boy, did she ever! James snapped to attention and every muscle in his body flexed and flexed hard. I had to use all my strength to restrain him, and for a moment, I thought that I would lose control, that James would get away and run out into the hall and see Anna there and then we would all be fucked, he might go nuts and kill us both. So I did what I had to do, I kept talking into his ear, except I raised my voice, I had to, I had to talk really forcefully to James so he would stop squirming and settle the fuck down. So I told him —
— It’s okay, I’m here, Anna’s here, and everything will be alright, it’s okay, Anna loves you, and you love Anna, and you always have, you always have, you love Anna, you love Anna, you love me —
Okay, so I had to take a chance there that James would listen to me, that I might be his master, or that he might just think I was, or whatever. Look, I don’t know anything about this zombie shit, Anna’s like the high priestess or somethin’! But that boy was not gonna calm down, and it wasn’t until I kept repeating over and over that he loves me (Anna) did he finally start to relax a little, to the point where I could relax my grip around him, and he turned to me but didn’t say anything, then just kinda went limp in my arms like he was a big baby or somethin’, it was all so fuckin’ weird, but there he was naked and nuzzling me like he was just gonna fall asleep on me right then and there. I told him to get into bed and that I would lie with him, which is what I did. No sex happened, I swear. He just fell asleep. I did too, after awhile, but I always kept my arms around him, to be safe, and I was ready to wake up in an instant if I had to.
It wasn’t until a long time later, after all this shit had blown over, when Anna told me she was sitting just outside the door to my room the whole time, and that she had heard everything I had told James, even the whispers, and it made her silently cry herself to sleep right there in the hall.