The Bond

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
The unusual relationship of a set of twin young women.

Submitted: April 10, 2014

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Submitted: April 10, 2014

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“The Bond”
Eugene King


It was an afternoon in June on our estate’s croquet court that Amanda finally - as they so politely came to term it - “crossed over.” Amanda was never more than a passive player at the game, and seemed content to allow me this rare bit of sporting pleasure. She would shuffle alongside in silence as we traversed the lawn. Once in a rare while I could gently coax her into actually placing her foot upon our ball as I drove the mallet against it, sending the opponent ball hurtling away. It was several turns later when, oddly, on a double tap committed by myself that Amanda suddenly began to shudder and writhe, emitting the direst of wailing as though some wounded lamb. She crumpled to the ground and, our being conjoined twins, I in due course followed.

We were lifted and carried into the ground floor parlor which had been made over for convenience into our sleeping room. Our family doctor was summoned directly, in addition to one of our solicitor father’s clients, a noted professor of chemistry and biology. As the hours progressed into evening, Amanda became colder to one’s touch, paled considerably, and around seven that evening was pronounced dead.

That night was the oddest of limbos for me. I was offered sedative, but refused. In actuality I was not distressed, but overwhelmed by a curiosity of what our own fate was to be. Long having been informed that separation was never to be a possibility, I knew that there was no way to be parted from my now departed sister. I allowed a shameful giggle to my mulling over this dark thought and macabre pun. But despite Amanda’s inert form beside me I could not shake myself of the feeling that she was not truly dead. I still felt some faint life-force coursing between our tethered flesh.

It was shortly after midnight; mother and father having quit their vigil over us, leaving for much needed sleep their selves. I surfaced from a deep state, a dream in which our entire house was being buffeted in a cataclysmic earthquake. I awoke to the realization that Amanda’s body was animated in fits and grunts. I was now for the first time frightened, yet also calmly fascinated. I called out loudly for my parents, father often dozing in his study next to our room and always first to come running in to soothe either Amanda or myself from any bad dreams.

Amanda now emitted an almost constant low mumbling in addition to bouts of shivering. The family gathered about the foot of our bed, looking quite flabbergasted. The professor only was summoned this time. Upon his arrival he cast an incredulous yet almost knowing look towards my sister and me, approached my father, and grasping his arm escorted him from the room while whispering animatedly.

As hours progressed there was awareness of a fetid odor wafting from beneath Amanda. We had assumed she had voided herself, but upon closer examination, the professor let show a brief furrow of concern on his brow. He realized that the fluids were putrefaction. Not perhaps occurring in the usual manner of a decomposing body, but a breakdown of tissue nonetheless. Two additional persons came to assist the professor in his examination of Amanda. From their youth and deportment I assumed the young man and woman to be students of his. After a change of our bedding and gently sponge-bathing her, they then thoroughly measured Amanda with a seamstress’s measure tape, all the while casting an occasional kindly glance my way. On every half hour, the professor entered the room and administered a hypodermic injection to Amanda. These had the effect of keeping her convulsions to a minimum.

The attack upon the assistant came in a flash. Amanda had been quite still for several days, when upon one of the assistants lifting Amanda’s left arm and placing calipers to measure the upper portion, she lunged from her prone position, lurching me forward as well, and to face the gruesome image of her biting onto the fellow’s midriff and muzzling away furiously. With a sound of wet tearing and fabric, she wrenched her head back and settled once again onto the bed. I could only lay back in stunned silence at the gruesome sight of Amanda staring ahead and masticating a bloodied mass.

The assistant, by some miracle of composure did not cry out, but hunched over and stumbling retreated from the room. Panicked voices sounded from the hall, followed by the professor and the female assistant rushing in, each carrying lengths of rope and what appeared several rolls of canvas. This day the family doctor was present at home, and through the doorframe I saw him rushing to aid the grievously wounded assistant.

Amanda was quickly pressed down against the bed, the professor looking my way and imploring me to remain calm as he deftly prised the flesh from Amanda’s mouth. The ropes and canvas sheets were used to wrap Amanda into as restraining a posture as possible. Her torso then made fast to two of the bedposts and headboard as well as could be under the circumstances. Additional injection was administered to make Amanda cease her writhing.

That day, with mother and father present, it was somberly revealed to me by the doctor and professor in depth and quite graphic detail what the prospects for my remaining life with Amanda would entail. The consequences could be unbearable, and options were discussed, the direst of which my sensibilities could not fathom. For me it would be a sin to knowingly take my life, and in effect, Amanda’s as well. Knowing the brutally harrowing conditions I would be subject to, I dredged soul and girded myself to the core to persevere. After all, prior to this moment in time I had long resigned to living a life of eternal and withered melancholia, so foundation of a kind had already been laid to condition me to whatever may come.

Living dead? Never in my life had I heard such a distressing and desolate description. By my understanding it was the most astronomically chanced of any known existing medical condition. And by his counts, most all of the professor’s fellows pooh-poohed that such a possible state of being truly existed.  But the professor spoke of one journey abroad years ago, when as a young medical student he encountered such an instance during a sojourn in the Orient. He became obsessed with insights coaxed reluctantly from tribal high priests and herbalists, and thereafter for many years made it a quietly parallel pursuit of his to study this rare anomaly. The professor had at one time years later been accused of the most beastly dealings involving cadaver procurement, and in this manner had made the acquaintance of my father whom he had hired as counsel.

My safety and that of others required that Amanda be encased in restraints of a hideous nature. Soon as was possible, attempts at temporary restraints similar to that utilized after her initial attack were abandoned in favor of a most frightful looking armored cocoon. Incorporated at some junctures into this vile corset were multi-layered patches of woven bamboo, which I assumed were a legacy from the East of knowledge gained regarding restraints for those afflicted same as Amanda.

I wish not to reflect upon how Amanda’s sustenance was maintained, suffice to say it was barbaric and beggars one’s sanity. Fortunately her feeding was but once in a blue moon, this determination having been calculated by some formula the professor had worked out involving weekly study of various cultures acquired from Amanda.

In order to facilitate mobility, the services of several blacksmiths were engaged. With their crafty ingenuity an amazingly compact and portable rolling harness was cobbled together. It was even designed to navigate without too much difficulty inside our household environs. Not only geared wheels with pneumatic tires but even gyroscopes were in some way incorporated to allow smoother travel across virtually any surface. Amanda and I could sit in a dual bench suspended from an overhead crossbeam, her side of which could be hinged out of the way. This was done whenever I felt like walking on my two legs, the gearing built into the contraption allowing for me to do so without exhausting myself too quickly. Sadly, in order for this, Amanda’s seat was adjusted and her legs and subsequently all of her had to be hoisted into a hanging position so her leaded condition would not cause drag upon the ground. As much as I appreciated the limited sense of movement I attained, I felt so sorry for her and guilty at the dreary image of Amanda hanging helpless like some side of beef. It became all too unbearable should in this position an especially violent episode of attack occur and howls emanate from her leather and mailed helmet.

Father hired fulltime nurses to assist us. These were two stout women from a Bavarian spa, and it was heavenly the manner in which they expertly assisted us into and out of the rolling harness. We felt as if light as feathers in their capable, transporting arms. Oh, what would we have done without these blessed souls? I have often wondered were it not for father’s position as a quite respected solicitor that the family would have been shunned as a whole by the society his profession afforded our family to move within. As it was, I do faintly recall an occasional family allusion to the so-and-so’s, and how one or another of a family had ceased interactions and invitations for mother and father to soirees and other outings. Sadly, several of the few small number of playmates we had did drift away as we all grew older. Those who did come over on occasion to visit I somehow sensed were there more from some urging of their parents to be polite and sociable.

As I became even older and more well-read, I recall our family doctor on one particular visit sharing with me a book among the small private selection of his which father allowed him to keep on a shelf of the study. The doctor simply asked that I take some time to read one chapter. It detailed the life of Joseph Carey Merrick, and the severe physical deformities this man had endured in his life. Though due mainly to what could well have been a morbid and fantastical fascination from some others, Merrick would in time have experience as perhaps a reluctantly accepted part in a small diameter of so-called high society. I in no way took the doctor’s sharing this biography with me to imply that he associated my sister and I as a mirror image of Merrick’s lot in life. Rather I sensed he was attempting to instill in me further values to weave into those already learned and nurtured through not only family, but my increasing spiritual endeavors as well. I took this essay to heart and resolved to spend more time reading to Amanda, herself rarely glancing at books other than to scrawl pathetically with colored chalks onto the occasional page of a painting book.

I often read to Amanda from books of the great religions. Just how much she understood or retained I do not know, but it was for me an opportunity to bond further than even nature had deemed. We would set our self upon a shaded bench, the very same bench where as children I had to remain beside Amanda and endure her abominable treatment of small pets such as ducklings and bunnies. What began as pulled ears and clasped bills and nostrils, in time became squashed and compacted bloody balls of down between her tiny palms. Flailing rabbit’s legs would be stilled upon the sound of snapping neck. Mercifully this phase did come to an end, but Amanda remained always dour as our adolescence progressed. Despite on the brink of changing and maturing, still I longed to skip through our daily jaunt into fields of wildflowers in untended portions of the estate grounds. In childhood, as now and to my heartache, Amanda’s leaden gait made such gay, synchronized frolicking impossible.

Today during our mechanized walk through a garden, I tore the wings off a butterfly. As I held the delicate being between fingers, I sensed a morbid desire building within me. Try as I might to simply pry my fingers apart and let the fragile beauty flutter free and away, I could not. I had the sickest of pleasures, even quivered as I felt its form’s feeble resistance to the tearing. That threshold moment convinced me that I myself had begun to turn, as Amanda had so long before her severe collapse on the court. The last several months I have suspected as much. An emotional lethargy of sorts had arrived, evident at first in my having increasingly less interest partaking in family dinner conversations. I simply felt as though some valve within had been turned and my capacity for empathy and light slowly bled away.

I feared a long, agonizing descent into crossing over. In my initial panic I almost screamed aloud at this revelation. We continued our walk, but the remaining daylight hours were in essence an erased slate to me. This evening at dinner I made a feeble attempt to compensate by keeping up a near fusillade of enthused babble in response to any other’s commentary, desperately attempting to ward off an avalanche of doom engulfing me. By dessert’s conclusion I was spent and could now discern expressions of concern especially upon mother’s face. I shyly giggled, and navigated Amanda and I over to mother’s chair, extending an arm and hand for her to clasp and squeeze. Then I went to father, who rose and gave just a brief embrace then flinched, as Amanda at that moment had begun to flail and twitch in her harness.

By bedtime tonight, as I prepared our self for sleep, a decision had been made. As usual, I brushed Amanda’s hair cascading out and down an opening at top back of her leather skull cap, all the while speaking with her of dreams and all the fanciful voyages we would someday embark upon. Amanda somehow seemed best soothed by my attentions whenever I braided her hair. At this particular application to her inexplicably still beautiful locks, she remained incredibly calm and serene, but eventually I would have to proceed with bottle feeding her the nightly and much heavier degree of medication. This dosing put Amanda into the deepest of states, and subdued the constant shuddering; I in turn was allowed a more restful sleep. How often I wished to simply wail in frustration and pity at the sorrowful sight of her pinched mouth and lips barely peeping through the tiny “O” provided in the face mask. I hummed lullabies as she made small sucking noises, whatever flavorful ingredient added to this concoction in addition to laudanum making it apparently pleasant to taste.

Rather than administer the bottle, tonight I have determined that I instead will partake of sister’s medicine. I pry off the rubberized nipple and take several deep draughts. I know I might possibly succumb fast to its effects and so quickly set out on my last preparation. I push aside the extendable writing surface on which my diary sets so I may have more room. There were many clasps, buckles and shackles on Amanda’s armor, but a sufficient number within access of my reach. With just these undone, I know with certainty that her constriction will be considerably lessened. When the convulsions again came upon her in the wee hours of morning, she would be aware of this. Knowing her natural ferocity of strength, I could see her defiantly and gloriously reveling in freedom of movement so cruelly long denied her, and tearing clear of her bondage.

Whispering my love one last time, I lay down now, my inside already vibrantly humming not only with the warmth from sister’s elixir, but also from the expectation of Amanda’s touch. I do hope that her eventual embrace will not cause too much hurt. For either of us. I know that she cannot help herself. I pray that her gift of death to me will give us for once and all, a life together.

END


© Copyright 2018 Eugene King. All rights reserved.

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