I can’t prove it yet, but I think my conjoined twin is a murderer.
It’s possible; I’m just a head and she’s got all the limbs. And I’m a heavy sleeper. “Drink up, Spex” she says to me, holding the glass of night-milk to my lips. “Ignore the powdery aftertaste” she says and I bloody do as well “Time for bed.” Then I’m gone til morning.
She’s got the opportunity, that’s all I’m saying.
Once I woke to find her wiping me off with a warm flannel. As I opened my bleary eyes, I saw the flannel come away from me stained red. “Sssh” she said with her own recently-cleaned face “Sshhh. Nearly done.”
She doesn’t call me Spex because I need glasses. I do need glasses, but it’s because Spex is short for Spectator. That’s her nickname for me, because I just sit there on her shoulder, being a head, my spinal cord plaited around hers like a pigtail. I watch when she eats enough for two of us and I watch when she writes letters to Cosmo asking them to make shoulder tea cosies a thing so she can take me out to a club and have sex or something.
Once, I woke up in the middle of the night. I had spat out some of the milk when she wasn’t looking, in an experiment of cleverness. I didn’t have my glasses so everything was smeared and blobby. We weren’t in bed, that was for sure, but bumping up some stairs. I couldn’t make out the faces in the framed photos, but the wallpaper was duckchick yellow. My sister bobbed me around a corner, and I was about to night-burble one of the things she hated me saying like “Where are we?” or “I love you” when she pushed through into a bedroom.
“Girls?” said an old voice and then something happened too quickly for me to see and something splashed on my face and I closed my eyes tight and fell away into a different kind of sleep: frightened, necessary sleep.
When I woke, my sister was rubbing my face with a flannel. “Sssh.” she said “Nearly done.”
We saw about it on the news. Ted had been killed. It was only up the road, said Mum. I told you we should have sold up last year. Who’ll pay a bloody penny for our house now, eh? Dad said something and my sister said something too, but I was too busy looking at the TV, looking past the old lady on her doorstep sobbing into a microphone, looking through the open door and to the wallpaper on the stairs.
I’m not sure why she would do it. Perhaps it’s because she’s put upon. Perhaps it’s because I got put upon her. I don’t think it’s fair to blame myself though. I’m good conversation and pleasant at dinner, and I don’t even get to have one of our fingers. My itches go unscratched and I don’t do murders.
I can’t tell anyone. She’d probably hear me. So I’ll drink all my night-milk down and hope for the best. And we are friends, you see. We literally get on each other’s nerves, but we’re sisters and we’re best friends.
It’s night-time now and when I look over I can just about see a clean pair of wellies sat ready, next to the bed. I’m falling asleep but my sister whispers something to me.
“Yes” I whisper back, slightly slurredly.
“Do you… do you think that I would die if you did?”
I pause for a moment. My head’s getting foggy but I know that this is an important question.
“Yes,” I replied. “Yes I definitely think so.”
“I think so too.” she whispers back, brushing the hair from my eyes and giving me a soft kiss on the forehead. “See you in the morning.”