O, Death: Part VIII

by Matt P.

“Shit!” Siobhan cursed as she and a brown-haired girl tumbled to the floor. Antigone didn’t even have time for an invective as she joined them, the brown-haired boy on top of her. Siobhan kept going with the momentum and managed to end up back on her feet in a crouch, while Antigone ended up laying on the ground blinking. The boy on top of her looked up, and blinked owlishly with his brown eyes.

“We can touch you?” He asked, a little bit stunned. His voice was a little bit hoarse, as if he had spent a lot of time screaming. His hair was in a neat bowl cut that looked both very fresh and very dated, and his face had shock written all across it. “How can we touch you?”

Siobhan smirked. “Hopefully a little less, because that’s my sister,” she pointed out wryly. She stood the rest of the way back up to her feet, and reached out a hand to the girl who ran in to her, and one for the boy on Antigone. Despite the smirk her eyes were wary and curious, looking between the two of them quickly as if placing them in her mind. “You’re Natalie and Matthew, aren’t you?” She asked, somewhat cautiously—after all, there was no telling if they really were who they said they were, when they had come out of nowhere to tackle them accidentally.

They both nodded slowly, with the kind of clockwork timing that only twins could manage—the same kind of timing that Siobhan and Antigone routinely displayed as well, often to great consternation from family and friends. “I…we saw you, didn’t we?” Natalie offered, mirroring her brother’s bewildered expression. “Coming in to our room. We’ve been seeing people more and more.”

Antigone stood up once Matthew had taken Siobhan’s hand, dusting herself off as she considered the other set of twins. “Something is happening, and we don’t know why. All of the lights just exploded, and we chased it down the hallway when you ran in to us.”

The younger twins shared a concerned look, and then looked up overhead at the blown out lights. “That happened before, too…we don’t know why, but whatever it is seems to like the dark,” Matthew offered. “Right at the end it was in total darkness, in the basement. I don’t even know how we managed to trap it, but…”

A thought seemed to occur to both of them at the same time, and they shared a glance before looking back to Antigone and Siobhan. “How…how long has it been?” Natalie asked, reaching up to squeeze her ponytail in what Siobhan thought was a nervous gesture. “I mean…it’s been some time, but how…” she trailed off, as if nervous that she would find out if she finished asking it again—and that she really wasn’t sure whether or not she wanted to.

“I…” Antigone began. She was clearly trying to find some way to say it nicely, to break it to them without hurting them. Siobhan knew it in her bones that was what was going on in her twin’s head, the “peel it off slowly” approach to band-aids. It had never been the approach that Siobhan favored, as she believed it hurt much more in the long run.

“29 years,” Siobhan answered directly, looking at the siblings in concern. “Or just about. You disappeared in 1986, and it is almost 2015—just give it a week. On the plus side, you can probably buy beer now?” She tried to make it a joke, to soften the hammer blow by making light of it. She couldn’t tell whether or not the fact that both of them fainted was a good sign our a bad one—but she was inclined to believe it wasn’t good.

**** ****

“They’ve been out for a couple of hours, do you think they’ll be alright?” Antigone’s voice was concerned. She hadn’t stopped hovering by their bed since they had managed to get help. She reached out to smooth some hair away from the girl’s brow, her hand twitching like she wanted to do more. Siobhan gave a little shake of her head, smirking. She was further back, leaning against the wall and watching them. Paolo was standing near her at the nurse’s station, typing away, while Paul had gone to be with Antigone and the two children.

“They haven’t eaten in the better part of thirty years, Annie…we probably just need to find them a cheeseburger or something and they’ll be fine,” Siobhan said with a light voice that belied her own frustration and concern. She looked down to where Paolo was working furiously. “You’re sure that you can hide them?”

Paolo smirked. “Oh sweetheart, you work here long enough you learn how people get lost all the time. You think this is the first time some billing has mysteriously disappeared? Other departments learn how to finesse supplies from one another, while about once a year I make somebody’s bill disappear so they don’t go bankrupt.”

That lit up Siobhan’s face with a perhaps unwholesome amount of glee, and she leaned in to see what exactly he was doing on the computer. “You’re like a better accessorized Robin Hood,” she complimented.

“Occupy Border,” Paolo agreed, as he finished. “There. They basically have a dummy file now which should keep them going until we can figure out what to do with them long term. They’ll get what they need, and no one will question anything. And we can juggle the power of attorney stuff by bringing in a friend of mine who works the night shift.”

Antigone looked over from where she was standing, and gave a nervous smile to her sister. “You know who we have to bring back in at this point, right? We’re in to,” she looked around quickly, and then whispered “forging records, and magic ghost children reappearing from the grave.”

Siobhan gave a slow nod. “Probably both of them. If we don’t tell Dad now, and probably bring in Uncle Ryan, we’ll be grounded after we’ve beaten whatever this evil thing is.”

Paul chuckled, relieving some of the tension that was building around his eyes like pressure behind a dam near to bursting. “I like that the thing you’re most concerned about is your dad grounding you, and the rest of this is just normal.”

Siobhan sighed, running a hand back through her hair. “It is depressingly common, it seems. I’ll step out and give them both a ring. Call me if anything else explodes while I’m out.”