Dinner (4)

They were ghosts in the hallways of their own home. She followed her brother, his shadow since she could walk, through the ivory paneled corridors and landings. Time had passed; the traces of them were now wiped from the pristine surfaces and exorcised from the spaces. Her old bedroom was a cold unused study, his, a sleek guestroom without personality. The lonely spaces swallowed any noise they made, quieting them like their father’s disapproving eye had in the past.

Their erasure was not complete. They were still here. Beneath layers of paint and buried in the garden she remembered crayons scrawled on walls and improvised pirate treasure. Those things remained here, and thus the house remained the only home she’d ever known, still frigid as always.

The aloof parents and their staff had never been able to quell them. Especially her brother. He was always too loud, too bright, too angry. He never let them ignore him. She smiled to herself, trailing behind as his designer shoes cracked against the tile.

Summer afternoon sun filtered into the foyer as the twins descended the staircase. Her brother’s car, a sleek and loud thing he’d bought himself, waited outside in the courtyard. He didn’t let the staff hide it away in the garages. Dinners with their parents sometimes required a quick escape.

His hand was on the french doors when they found him. She inhaled in alarm, darting back to hit the stairs. Her form broke, dissolving into the air with only whispers of static. Softly she breathed again, safely hidden and dissipated into the cold tile and polished oak.

Her brother sighed and turned, abandoning the path towards the gardens. “I’ll be there in a moment.” He said. The servant left without argument. Her brother paused for a long moment at the space she’d occupied the second before, frowning at the emptiness in the air.

He shook his head and turned away from the empty foyer. She watched tension spread up his spine and through his shoulders as he walked towards the dining room alone.


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