Annie leapt from the sofa, eyes wild and unpredictable. “That’s why Jane had the knife,” she said, adding, “you’ll have to call the police, now you know I killed mum.” As Annie spoke she edged towards the open upstairs window. Jane smiled when her sister jumped, then left the room.

The Hardest Word

The End

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“Annie made me promise not to tell anyone,” explained Jane, “she said she’d kill me too if I did.” Margaret and I looked at Annie. “Is that true?” I asked her. Annie remained silent. “I’ve lived with this for thirteen years,” said Jane, “but I couldn’t keep the secret anymore.”

The Hardest Word

The twins told the rest of their traumatic story in fragments which we pieced together. The death of their mother at the age of four had left them foraging in the woods for food until they were rescued. Baffled by their silence I asked, “Why didn’t you tell us before?”

The Hardest Word

“I was only four years old,” Annie said defensively, “I was just playing with the gun.” “I know,” snarled her sister, “I was there, remember?”  It was clear now why Jane had always shown so much hatred towards Annie. Margaret broke down as the full extent of their revelation dawned.

The Hardest Word

The hardest word – part ten

September 26, 2013

Margaret and I stared in disbelief. “We know why we were in the forest,” Annie said quietly. Jane looked away, leaving Annie to continue. “We lived with our mother in a cottage that backed onto the trees, but there was a terrible accident.” “An accident?” hissed Jane, “you killed her!”

The Hardest Word

The hardest word – part nine

September 25, 2013

It was always assumed that Annie and Jane had no recollection of their time in the forest. Years of therapy had failed to uncover any clues, but finally they were poised to tell a secret of their own. “We…” said Annie, hesitating. Then together they added, in eerie unison, “…remember.”

The Hardest Word

“Do you think that’s why I get so angry?” asked Jane. “Definitely,” my wife said, sitting between both girls with an arm around each. At last, our story was told. Margaret and I were relieved it was no longer a secret. But nothing could prepare us for what happened next.

The Hardest Word

Thirteen years ago, when the girls were four years old, they were found living wild in the New Forest. When we fostered them they still had no verbal communication. They were aggressive, even towards each other, and couldn’t be left alone. Annie and Jane had been with us ever since.

The Hardest Word

The hardest word – part six

September 22, 2013

By the time Margaret returned, Jane was sobbing inconsolably on the sofa, appalled by her behaviour. “How could I do that to my own mother?” she said eventually. “Actually, that’s what we need to talk to you about,” I said. Annie remained speechless and pale. And so our story began.

The Hardest Word

** at the time of writing I honestly have no idea where this is going. But that’s the great thing about stories – anything can happen.

The hardest word – part five

September 21, 2013

We should have told the girls years ago, but it was never the right time. They would be leaving for university soon and deserved to know before they went. Shock setting in, Margaret went to find a dressing for her slashed cheek. “I think we’d better sit down,” I said.

The Hardest Word