My name is Calla Price. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m one half of a whole.
My other half-- my twin brother, my Finn-- is crazy.
I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I’m terrified he’ll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me.
I’m doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I’m drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline.
He’s my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I’m afraid, where I belong, where I’m lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me.
He has the power to destroy me.
Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt.
Why? Because of a secret.
A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming.
You won’t either.
Outside, a starless night sky yawns far and wide against a full moon that creates shadows. Inside, those shadows seem to morph into each other, creating twisted hands that drag their broken fingers along the darkened walls of the salon.
My mother insists on calling the formal living room a salon. Since she learned the term when she was in France years ago, it makes her feel sophisticated. And since we live in a funeral home on the top of an isolated mountain in Oregon, my dad lets her feel sophisticated in any way she chooses.
She’s not here tonight, though, sophisticated or otherwise. She’s on her way to her book club, to drink wine and gossip, oblivious to the fact that my entire world just imploded. And since my father and brother are both gone too, I’m alone for now.
Alone and with a broken heart.
Yet not exactly alone. I’m here in a dark funeral home with two dead bodies down in my father’s embalming room.
Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. When your father is a mortician, you learn to sleep under the same roof as dead people.
But tonight, with the storm causing the trees to bend and hiss against the house, and the electricity knocked out from the wind, it’s alarming and dark and a bit terrifying.
My foot thumps against the side of the chair, an obvious sign that I’m agitated. I’m annoyed by my agitation, but honestly I deserve to be annoyed.
Everything in my life was just turned inside out.
I turn my gaze out the windows, and stare at the cliffs. Jagged rock juts into the sky, which creates a haunting picture and only serves to remind me that I’m very isolated here at the top of our mountain. Also, it’s lighter outside than it is in here, which is ridiculous.
I don’t know why I’m scared of being alone, but I am. A therapist might say that it’s because Finn and I are twins, and I’ve never had to be alone in my whole life. I even shared womb space.
It’s why my parents just told us at dinner that they think Finn and I should go to separate schools. And I must say, I don’t agree. I strongly disagree, in fact. Finn needs me because he’s not like me. The mere thought of being apart gives me heart palpitations and I know I have to try talking to my mother about it.
No matter what else is going on with me, or what else I found out tonight, Finn will always take precedence.
I grab my phone and punch in mom’s number because she’s in her car alone, with no distractions. She’ll have nothing to focus on other than what I’m saying. Maybe that means she’ll finally hear me.
The phone rings once, then she picks up.
“Hi Calla. Is everything okay, hon?”
After the bombshell she dropped on us tonight, she’s surprisingly cheerful.
“It’s fine. The storm knocked out the power, but I’m ok. Hey, mom… Finn can’t be alone. He needs to come to with me. I mean it. You don’t understand how important it is.” Because I can’t tell you over the phone.
I eye his journal, lying on a nearby table. If mom and dad knew some of the stuff in there, the weird Latin phrases, the scratched out words, the craziness, then they truly wouldn’t be giving me so much pushback.
But they don’t know because they respect his privacy, and because of that, they’re resolute in their desire to force independence on us.
Mom sighs now because this is a tired argument, and she’s tired of having it.
“You know our feelings on this,” she says firmly. “I get that you want to protect Finn. And I love that you’re so protective, but Calla, he has to learn to live without that and so do you. You’ve got to have a life of your own, without constantly watching over your brother. Please trust us to know what’s best.”
“But mom,” I argue. “After everything that happened tonight with… Something happened tonight. And more than ever, I know I can’t leave Finn. I know him better than anyone.”
“What happened tonight?” mom asks, quickly and curiously. “Did something happen with…”
“It’s nothing I want to talk about over the phone,” I interrupt her tiredly. “I just… I want you to promise me that you’ll think about letting Finn and me stay together. Please. I’m part him, and he’s part me and that’s what being a twin is all about. He might be different than me in one way, but we’re the same in a million others. No one gets him like I do. He needs me.”