Hey!! What's the story?
I'm sure the twins I childmind must be psychic. I know they're very close, but it does freak me out when Florence finishes what Elizabeth starts saying. I've a little test in mind for them; I hope they'll play along because there's not much else to do in their dark old house. There's no TV for entertainment, the twins play with their china dolls, Gertrude and Ethel, while I do my homework. It gets boring and maybe the two nine year olds feel the same way, so I can only try with my test...
"Florence," I say. "Come and look at this."
She turns and glares at me, they both do and their eyes say it all. Why isn't Elizabeth included? The twins are always suspicious of me, they tolerate me, even like me a little, but I'm just the silly schoolgirl who sits with them when their mother goes out. I must never come between them, that would NOT be forgiven.
"Don't do that," says Florence.
"We don't like it," says Elizabeth.
"I'm sorry," I say. "It was only..."
"We know what it was," they say in unison. "We're twins, not freaks."
How totally insensitive of me. I feel ashamed of myself, trying to experiment with two young minds, blundering around with no clue as to what hurt I could do. At least they sense my remorse, their eyes soften, they smile and whisper to each other. I think they will play, only on their terms not mine.
"Show Gertrude," they say.
"Go on, show Gertrude."
Their suggestion is ridiculous, but the twins aren't laughing. Florence hands me her doll, then returns to kneel on the floor next to her sister. They look at me with expectant expressions, ready and waiting for the test to begin.
"Okay, Gertrude. Look at this."
I really am a silly schoolgirl, showing an old china doll a shape in my school notebook. I make sure the twins can't see and I guess some childish joke is about to...
"A triangle," they both say.
"You showed Gertrude a triangle. Didn't you?"
"Hold on a minute. Let’s..."
Wow. I sit back and look at the doll I'm holding. What on earth? How?
"Our dolls have very clear voices," says Florence.
"That's why we play with them." says Elizabeth.
What's going on here? What kind of dark world have I just stepped into? My thoughts are racing with all the possibilities, but above all the dangers posed by two Victorian dolls. And the rest of it!
Florence takes back her doll and play resumes for the twins. Why not? Nothing shocking has happened for them. I'm the only one completely freaked out.
"What's wrong?" Elizabeth asks me.
"She can't do her homework," says Florence.
"Do you want Ethel to help? She knows all about shapes."
"Sure. We could tell you what she says."
Oh Lordy. Perhaps Ethel could just explain how an isosceles triangle...
I'll worry about going mad later.
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