“I’m sorry Mr…Enchantment, your request has been refused”. Curio nodded.
“OK, if you change your mind” he said, “then please give me a ring”.
“The decision is not mine to make, but I will certainly let you know if they decide otherwise. OK, bye”. He slowly put down the receiver. He didn’t expect permission, but knew he had to ask. Walking back into his living room, he put on the radio. ‘Jazzstyle’ fm filled the flat with an eclectic mix of rhythm and blues. It was 10:46am and cold sunlight angled into his abode. He sat on his well worn armchair opposite the blank television and looked down at the coffee table, at the book on it, the reason for his telephone call. It was a well worn copy of: ‘Macabre Lancashire tales of myths and mysteries’. It featured fifteen stories that basically held little truth about them. They were essentially sensationalist versions of tales that were probably second or third mouth, scant rumours that have built up to make them more interesting and strange. Somebody sees out of the corner of their eye a shape or figure that the brain confuses as a ghost. Of course it vanishes when looked at properly, but then they tell a friend. ‘Our Sandra says she saw a ghost the other day, and Sandra wouldn’t lie’.
‘That’s strange, didn’t someone die there 84 years ago?’
‘I think they did yes. It must be the ghost of them’ That friend will then pass it on to another friend who knew of somebody whose great-grand father died there, and therefore that place is now haunted by them, simply down to word of mouth, and a distortion of certainty, because of somebody’s eagerness to believe their brain’s initial interpretation. It, however, could very well have been a ghost, and could hold a hundred percent truth, but the balance of likelihood in Curio’s book seemed to favour doubt, as it was written by an ex-journalist who once worked for a tabloid newspaper. Sensationalism would always win out over fact. Some truth was probably in there somewhere, but as always, it was down to the reader to decide, and Curio’s susceptible mind believed it all. He had bought it from a discount book centre, and was brand new when he had obtained it. After countless re-readings, there was one story more than the others he felt he had to investigate. The hub of its story was focused 14 miles away in Saint Emilia’s junior school in Crosby. He had rang to see if he could go into the gymnasium after closing time to see if he could contact the subjects of the story which was unjustifiably called: ‘The terror twins’.
The tale or ‘legend’ began when two girls, Stacey and Milla, were eight years old. They were mirror images of each other, virtual clones, born to a Norwegian mother and a Scottish father. They had settled in Skelmersdale in 1958, the father plying his trade as a baker, the mother as a matron. The girls grew up normally, talking alike, playing alike, dressing alike. They would never tussle or argue, and were strongly emotionally attached, until their parents had decided to separate. The divorce courts seemed like the only option, but both amicably agreed that they would each take one of the daughters. There was no emotional farewell. The father had simply one day took Milla on a train, and didn’t even look back at the house. He had taken her when they were not together, and Stacey had not heard Milla’s crying as she was taken away. She was taken 174 kilometres away, to York, and soon settled there, but without adequate transport, and her father’s refusal to even think about going back, she was to get used to life without her sister, and Stacey, likewise. They could not cope without their bond, without their friendship, and neither were the same after their parting. They were both moody and morose, and were like that for the next nine years. Both parents kept them from travelling to see each other, because of the dangerous journey, as well as a twisted sense of principal which kept all involvement with the other half non-existent. They controlled their money, and trains were not frequent, or cheap. Cars were impractical, and nobody they knew was going to secretly drive them all that way. They never got used to life without each other, and one night, both fast asleep, they had dreamed a similar dream, where they both left their beds and walked out of their respective homes. Stacey had walked all the way to her school. She seemed focused on entering the gymnasium, and had subsequently found all of the gates and doors open. Milla had walked to the train station. Nobody had been around. The train was at the platform, steam billowing around it. One of the carriage doors was open, seemingly inviting her in. She entered, the door closed, and the train began to move. She had sat at a window seat, looking out at the dark landscape, at distant, red, blue and yellow sky. The journey was quiet, save for a mild humming of wheels on rails. After what seemed like ten minutes, the train slowed and stopped, the door opened, and Milla knew to vacate. The platform was deserted, but did not seem sinister. There was something warm and inviting about it, but it was after all, a dream. Her instinct was to head for her old school. It was all she focused on, and the streets did not seem hostile, the walk taking only around five minutes. She, like Stacey, found all of the entrances open, and entered the gymnasium, to find her sister standing near the middle. They had stood opposite each other. In the gloom, they had glowed a radiant blue, and standing approximately ten feet apart, they had smiled at each other. Between them, a grandfather clock had shimmered into view. It was so placed that both girls could see the face. It showed 1:30am, its pendulum slowly tick-tocking, the sound piercing the calm space around them.
They had both awoken then, and spent the following day pondering it, trying to decide if it had any meaning. Yet, that night, when their respective watches struck 1:30am, something had clicked in their minds, and there came an overwhelming urge to travel to the gymnasium. Both had left their beds as they had in their dreams, and found everything exactly the same, except for the fact that they had entered their kitchens and retrieved the sharpest knife they could find. They had left the house, and reality had mirrored their dream. It seemed as though the 01:35 to Crosby had been laid on especially for her. Even the timing was the same. Normally the journey would have been much longer, and also the journey from the platform to the school, but they were not. They were identical, even the atmosphere of the deserted platform and roads. Again, the entrances had been open, and soon Milla faced Stacey in the gymnasium, ten feet apart, but without the grandfather clock. Their nightgowns had billowed slightly, yet there had been no breeze, nor was there any sound. They were illuminated by the light blue glow that emanated around them like a visible aura. They had smiled at each other again and stayed like that for around fifteen minutes in silence. Then, as if on cue, both of them had lifted the knives to their throats and did not hesitate in slicing it across. They had then walked towards their sister, arms outstretched, necks pumping out blood, embracing each other, collapsing to their knees. With their heads resting on each other’s shoulder, they knew that their sacrifice would ensure they would never be apart again. Together forever.
Curio had never heard about them other that what he had read in the book, and he wanted to speak with them, but such was his temptation to learn psychic communication, he knew he had to get in there somehow, so decided to visit there in the evening. According to the book, their apparitions had been seen occasionally throughout the school, but the gymnasium, Curio had guessed, was probably the best place to commune with them, where they had entered the spirit world. He had never visited that school, nor knew of its existence outside the book, so he wondered if it was still there, still standing, still occupied. Just a slight fracture of the law would alleviate his curiosity and urge to develop the gift he knew he had. Depending on how long it would take to commune with them, he was sure he wouldn’t be there long, but how to go about it. If he was caught, he wondered, then that might dent his future career. It might damage his credibility. A criminal record would hinder his path to fame, yet, may also create publicity for him that could have a positive effect. After all, publicity was publicity, and being caught communing with twins in a gymnasium was hardly crime of the century. He would obviously try and not get caught, but if he was, no kudos lost. This seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. It was simply a small break-in, which probably happened all the time. Yet, he knew he could not purchase a crowbar, because if he did, that might link him to the crime. A security camera may picture him buying it at the counter, and then that may correspond with the incident, and then there would be a knock on the door from Constable Bobby, he had guessed, but creating publicity for himself by advertising the fact that he had done it would not create too much in the way of positive regard, because he knew his star was not bright enough to warrant such a reputation. He was a Z-list ‘celeb’, and would maybe be laughed at for being so blatantly obvious as to declare his little foray into the world of crime. He decided he was definitely going to do it, but there was no way he would relish being caught. This was all necessary in the path to fame. Slight risk taking for good results. He knew that nobody got anywhere by following the rules. Those who did follow, who didn’t make a sound, who kept their heads down beneath a metaphorical radar, where soon forgotten, where soon confined to the attic in a few photographs in a shoe-box to be looked at by future generations.
‘Who’s that, mummy?,’ little Chantelle would say on a rare attic clearance foray, pointing at a picture of a man, who may be looking at the camera as if to say: ‘What are you doing? Are you taking my picture?’ They would never be camera friendly, always awkward with painted smiles, frozen in time, a small testament to their existence, a little window into that world at that time, captured forever, but fading in the memories of those related to them, at the person who never made a mark. They may well have had children, and continued their bloodline, but there wouldn’t be anything else. Memories would fade in their future grandchildren, and their graves would go untended. They would make no impact on their generations. Nobody would know who they were, and even if they did, would probably barely think of them except when come across in a photograph.
‘I’ve no idea,’ Chantelle’s mother would say. ‘He might be your Grandad’s brother, or something’. Next picture. No way, thought Curio, not me. OK, OK, I haven’t got any kids yet, but if I get famous, then I…No, when, I get famous, I can feel it, women will be begging for me to give them children, and why not spread my seed far and wide? He nodded. Yes, the children will automatically be born famous, because of me. That was good, he thought, have as many kids as possible, widen the bloodline. He hugged the book to his chest, closed his eyes, lounged back in his seat, and listened to Jerry Altkin’s experimental bebop infused jazz recordings from 1956.