Many years ago, their were two happy, fortunate children, Fred and Lucy. They lived in a big house stuffed with all sorts of lovely things like dark rocking horses and bright books and dolls and soldiers and board games to play. They sang and danced in pretty manicured garden and had delicious food. There mother and father taught them to read and write and sing and paint and draw and Fred and Lucy were intelligent, articulate, dapper twins who smiled a joyful grin constantly.
One day, Fred and Lucy were told whilst eating a delicious breakfast of boiled soldiers and dilly eggs that their mother and father were having a baby.
“A baby!” cried Lucy, thrilled. “Babies are such pretty things, with their sweet docile eyes and button noses!”
“Is a boy or a girl?” asked Fred, whilst mentally wishing and wishing frantically that it would be a boy for him to climb trees and play battles and marbles with all day instead of house and silly stitching.
“We don’t know whether it will be a boy or a girl, darling,” soothed his mother, looking down to her stomach.”
“Aaaahh, yes, the babies inside you,” breathed Lucy, as though it was the strangest thing that she had ever heard of, with a wide, curious smile.
The twins were very excited about their new sibling. Fred fantasised about having someone to play marbles and climb trees with and to play adventurous pretend games with. He had a whole new forest of stories just waiting to acted out, worlds to explore, all with his new twin. He pictured vast sailing ships, to be sailed along exotic seas to find Islands full of dark caves, birds with glorious plumage, and fiesty pirates. He would have never shared these worlds with Lucy, because Lucy didn’t tinier how to act, or put expression into anything.
Whilst Fred conjured up exciting realms for him and the baby could explore, Lucy thought about being a big sister and practised pushing a pram and changing a diaper. She sang sickening sweet lullabies every night before she went to sleep, which were pretty but did not help Fred sleep. There was a new step in both of their strides, which in Fred’s was a big boisterous step and in Lucy’s a pretty skip.
Their parents were very excited too. But all changed when the baby came and their mother died…
The father suddenly changed with grief. He trim whisker became a dark mass of a beard, whilst his light smile turned in a menacing scowl. His green eyes were dark and tight, his nose long like a hawk’s beak. He did not want to see anybody, he was angry.
“TAKE THE FILTHY BABY AWAY FROM ME THIS INSTANT.”
A bolder nurse stepped forward, clutching the puny, red, bawling baby. “Look at her. sir. Look at her big blue eyes. She’s a perfect sister for Fred and Lucy, “ she simpered thrusting the baby forward.
Looking down at the child with utter disgust he screeched “ARE YOU BLIND? TAKE THE GHASTLY THING AWAY FROM ME THIS INSTANT!” Turning to his secretary, he bellowed, “MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR HER TO BE PACKED OFF TO AN ORPHANAGE IN TIMBUKTU!”
Trembling, the secretary stammered, “Yes, sir.”
In a dreadful, high pitched mimic the master cried, “Yes, sir, yes sir, three bags full.”
All the servants were now terrified of him. They were constantly on edge as to what would annoy him, scuttling in his room with food, unsure of how to move, what conversation to make, how to breathe, when he would want things. He began to feel neglected as well as down right miserable. But when they did come, he disliked their presence, wishing to be left alone, finding there placid smile, the sound of their tiptoeing steps immensely irritating.
Fred and Lucy were not attended to. They were left in their big bedroom, with their lavish toys which they didn’t feel like playing with. Peering out of the window, they saw the greying day, and a cab taking away their fathers secretary, who was holding a white parcel…Why would a parcel be white?
When someone did come in they rushed forward, eyes down, bursting through the door. They brought bowls of stodgy, revolting cold porridge that smelt so disgusting and tasted so grotesque that they eventually threw them out of the window, where they were left to rot.
Fred and Lucy were bored silly, though they had so many pretty toys and books. The only thing that really interested them was the way no-one came and suddenly life was very different. They knew their mother had had the baby. They knew their father liked them very much? Had all the servants been killed in a fire? Stabbed ruthlessly by a savage invader? But, no, this was impossible. The house was in one piece. More than one servant came. Food was still being made, even though it was detestable. This was quite the queerest thing ever.
The twins decided they wanted to go foraging and find out what had happened.
“Yes, “ said Lucy. “It will end our great puzzling and solve the mystery.”
So the children set out, eyes peeled wide with curiosity. What would they find? Huge snakes with a venomous tongue, poisoning all the staff? A huge party with massive banners, barrels of champagne and piles of glorious cake that they could at last devour? Find so, so, so many hordes of identical twins that every single servant in the house had to tend to them and they had to employ so, so, so many more?
The twins discovered that the corridors looked exactly the same except a little more dusty. The twins discovered that the bedrooms looked exactly the same, except a little more dusty. The twins discovered that the staircases looked a little more dusty. The twins walked round the whole mansion until their feet hurt, but they found that their whole house looked exactly the same.
Except…they were the only people there…or were they?…
Fred pondered over phoning a policeman, though he decided that might be a little too brash and he didn’t have any idea where the nearest police station was.