Friday, February 24, 2012

The Other One

I'm working on a story about sibling rivalry, ghosts in the attic and revenge.  Sometimes it gets confused with another book that's been in my head for awhile.  Both contains elements of sisters, the strange bond that they share and the elements of competition and jealousy that are at the root of all female relationships.    I asked myself what lengths the sisters in these stories would go to to get what they wanted.
In one story it is unrequited love that drives the wedge between the girls, although the man that wields the sword is not a lover at all but the girls own father. It speaks to the desire we all have to be seen, to have our existence validated; to be the favourite and to the cruelty of a disinterested parent.
In the other story  the sisters are twins. A tragedy brings about a circumstance which leaves one sister with a burden of tremendous guilt and the other a perpetual child hidden from polite society.  What would happen, I thought, if somehow she were to take her sister's place.  Would the ultimate revenge be to reverse the roles?
As I have mentioned I sketch out my ideas in freeverse.  I find it's the quickest way for me to get the just of the story down without doing the outline.  Here are two versions of 'The Other One'.

The Other One

I have a sister
Who is hidden away
In that room
The one with the lock
And the rusty hinge
She is so small in her mind
Her reasoning is unreachable
She plays with dolls and reads story books
Dresses up in pretty things and
Never sees the sun for more than an hour
She is the skeleton in the closet
The ghost in the mirror and the elf that moves your treasures
And plays a game of hide and seek – cat and mouse-
But she isn’t she?

The Other One continued
The other one is singing
A nameless tune
It dances through the stairway
And floats into the room
Do you hear it?
The other one watches  from a secret place
and picks the lock while you’re sleeping
to steal a look or two
she is lost or given up for dead
a ghost that can’t be seen
a blemish
an aberration
a twisted trunk in a stunted tree
she waits
and then by chance she walks about
a shadow
 no longer content to grow
in the darkness
she hides in plain sight
The tunes begins
But who is doing the singing?

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