The Sinclair sisters were much the same as any identical twin siblings in appearance; one could hardly tell them apart with their bright blue eyes and dark brown hair and petite stature—until the two grew into their adolescent years and morphed into young adulthood. Their outfits and choice in make up were really the only indicators of who was who. Amity preferred solitude, to delve into the darkness of the world and attempt to find her own meaning. She was often found holed up in her room with her inky cat, Juniper, reading the days away while plants withered and rotted in her windowsill, collecting cobwebs that she was rather fond of.
Abigail was the complete opposite, as one would expect. Gracious, keen, compassionate and light. Her room was kept tidy, almost bare of anything that would define who she was as a person—no photos adorned the walls, all her books remained tucked away. Perhaps because Abigail still didn’t quite know who she wanted to be, something that irked her about her twin, who leaned into her desires with abandon. Abby didn’t have that unrestrained side to her, especially after their father’s untimely death. Being three minutes Amity’s senior, she felt the crushing weight of responsibility settle on her shoulders every morning.
They’d grown up in Los Angeles, their father a successful lawyer. Their mother, they never knew. She’d run once she realized children were a lifetime occupancy. Amity hated their mother for that. Abby brushed it aside, for it had no place in her neat and organized world. Not many emotions did, at least, not on the surface. After his death, they were exiled (or rather sent, in Amity’s mind) to Salem, Massachusetts, to endure their final year of high school in a completely new town, under the flighty supervision of their eclectic grandmother.
Abby often wondered how their father had come from such an eccentric woman. But Amity, well, she thrived, for the first time in her life. The attention was thrown to her at school this time around, her craft (as grandma Agatha called it) was honed and given direction, and Abby had truly never seen her sister so happy, so vibrant. She was completely in her element.
Upon graduation, Abby took the next step into adulthood and signed up for classes at the local college, maintaining a job at a quaint coffee house and bakery. Amity chose to travel, and had a knack for disappearing for weeks at a time before cropping back up unexpectedly. If Abby was being honest, she needed her sister, now more than ever, but being so tightly wound and composed for so many years, she never knew how to ask.
Grandma Aggie passed at the end of summer, leaving the girls her entire estate, and their father’s fortune with it. They lived, tucked away and secluded on twenty acres of farmland, the lush green scenery even dotted by an old red barn. The house was equally as ancient, but both girls had fallen in love with its charm—the wraparound porch, the chipped white paint, the smooth, creaking wood floors and claw foot tub. It was picturesque, and in the midst of the tragedy that seemed to surround their lives, they found some solace.
Amity had always insisted their father’s death wasn’t an accident, and her and Abby had argued on it so many times that both knew better than to bring it up ever again. Abby often wondered if there was a secret Amity was keeping from her, for twin telepathy was real, in her mind. She knew when her sister needed her, and she made a vow to herself to always be there.
And so it was on Labor Day weekend that poor, uptight Abby was pushed to take a trip with acquaintances to a concert a few hours away. Amity had all but begged, even offering to buy the tickets for all of the annoying, vapid girls her sister spent time with, until Abby pointed out they had the same amount of money from their father, and that she should save it for the future.
Amity had rolled her eyes, unconcerned for the future. She never had been. As soon as the taillights faded from view in the kitchen window, Amity dashed to her room, rolling up her old sheet, candles and rusty knives and colorful cards jostling together as she made her way to the dirt floor barn. She studied her text for the thousandth time. It had to work. This had to be the time. If not, she was going to just take matters into her own hands.
Tongue between her teeth, she drew the circle and star into the dirt, Juniper crouched and watching with bright green eyes, tail flicking and scattering a few pieces of hay. She lit the candles, fumbling for her cards to ensure she said the right words. With a prick of her thumb and a few drops of blood thrown into the center, she repeated the words, over and over and over, feeling a calm sort of power flow through her.
Eyes flashing open, heart hammering, she was once again greeted by nothingness—just the empty barn as a chilling breeze rolled by. She slumped, defeated, eyeing the words, knowing she’d said them right—grandma Aggie had told her exactly how to say them. She waited a few minutes, listening as the old barn owl’s wings beat the air as he took flight. With a resigned sigh, she blew out the candles, bathing them in darkness. Juniper hissed and spit and growled, dashing from the barn. Amity would have been attuned to such a display, but she was completely crestfallen. This had been her third time trying this ritual, her third time failing.
She locked her cat inside with plenty of food and a huge bowl of water. Abby would be back Sunday night. She was responsible enough to take care of Juniper. She left a note so Abby wouldn’t worry too much, but kept it vague enough that she wouldn’t come looking for her, at least for a while. She knew her twin all too well.
Headlights painted their kitchen a bright yellow. Amity shouldered her backpack, locking the front door and hiding the key beneath the mat, watching as her hand shook, her chipped black nail polish needing a repainting. With a parting glance she pried open the car door, greeted by a blast of warm air. She’d have her friend drive her to the bus station before she disappeared, this time for good.
The barn loomed in the darkness as she drove away, its gaping doors shuttered tight, holding within it something ancient, something sinister.
A/N: This work will be taken down June 1st, 2021 to be edited and eventually published.