“Here’s your damn baby-wipes, Twenty-Seven!”

Jane stepped aside as her twin sister, Sue, barged into the house.

Sue glared at Jane’s ratty robe. “Have you even taken a shower since we moved you in here?”

“It burns,” Jane mumbled, sitting at the table.

“It does not burn,” Sue snapped. “The plumber checked the settings on the water-heater and turned it way down.”

With gloved hands, Jane reached for the packet of baby-wipes. Tugging it open, she stuffed her nose inside and inhaled the powder-fresh aroma. Even she was bothered by her own body-odor lately.

“I brought you some more soup, too.” Sue started unloading groceries. With a disgusted grunt she tugged a loaf of moldy bread out of the cabinet. “C’mon Twenty-Seven. Can’t you do anything for yourself?”

Jane shrugged and reached for her book.

“Where’d that come from?” Sue snatched the book away. “Secrets of Serial Killers—Really, Jane?”

“I found it in the closet.” Jane took the book back. “It’s interesting.”

“Are you still doing those on-line therapy sessions I arranged for you?” Sue sat across from Jane, her tone softening.

“Not lately,” Jane said, avoiding eye-contact.

Sue scowled. “What? I scheduled a home visit so she could prove to you that there’s nothing wrong with your shower. Did she at least do that?”

Jane nodded.


“I haven’t seen her since,” Jane said.

“Unbelievable!” Sue shook her head. She rose to her feet, her nose crinkling. “You stink, Twenty-Seven.”

Jane frowned. “I wish you’d stop calling me that.”

Sue scowled. “If it was good enough for Mom, it’s good enough for me—especially now!” She stepped behind Jane’s chair and tugged it away from the table. “Mom always said that extra twenty-seven minutes you spent in the womb really messed you up—and I agree! That’s probably why she disappeared without a word—she couldn’t take anymore of your crap!”

“It wasn’t my fault,” Jane mumbled.

“C’mon. You’re taking a shower!”

“No—It burns.” Jane gripped the sides of her chair.

Sue rolled her eyes, then grabbed Jane’s arms and wrestled her to her feet. “Shower, Jane—Now.”

Jane stumbled down the hall, Sue shoving her every step of the way.

Stop—bossing—me—around!” Jane bit out the words.

Sue turned the shower on, then tugged Jane’s robe off. “Get in!”

Jane shook her head.

They tussled back and forth. Jane pushed. Sue fell. The sharp crack of breaking bone echoed.

Jane backed away as her sister’s face transformed from surprise, to pain, to horror—as she flailed on the slippery shower floor—her arms outstretched and eyes growing wider as her eyelids dissolved. Rivers of red slid down the drain.

Jane squeezed her eyes shut and waited for the gurgling screams to stop.

She shut the shower off, then lifted the scissors out of a drawer and jammed it down the drain.

It was always the teeth that got caught in the strainer.


3 thoughts on “2019 Halloween Tale: Twenty-Seven

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