Hannah's "Evil Twin"
"Hannah!" called Taelia, waving. Hannah grinned and waved
back. "Where are you headed?" asked the Snow Faerie.
"To Armin's house," said Hannah, fingering the
rope she was pulling her toboggan with. Taelia nodded and smiled.
"I don't think I've ever seen you so close to
someone before!" she said. "Were you ever?"
Hannah thought back and grimaced. "Once," she
said. "But that was a long time ago." Yes, she had had a best friend before,
closer than friendship. But then he came and it was all different. But
she just forced up a smile and the Snow Faerie fell for it.
"Oh, okay!" said Taelia. "Bye!" Hannah waved
again and started for Armin's little hut. She knocked on the door.
"All right, buddy," she said. "You're learning
how to steer if it kills ya!" There was silence from the other side of the door.
"Armin, are you there?" Hannah knocked on the
door again. There was still no answer. Where IS that kooky Bori? Hannah
pondered. He said he was going to be here so we could go sledding! Hannah
tried the doorknob out of spite. It was open.
The Usul went inside and gasped. The place looked
like it had been turned upside down! The dining table was on its side. Broken
plates were everywhere. The curtains were ripped and the windows smashed. And
in plain sight right in the middle of the room was a necklace obviously put
Hannah picked it up. A pendant of half of a gold
heart hung from the thin gold chain. Underneath it was a crude drawing of a
mountain. Hannah took out a chain from under her coat and put the two half-hearts
together. She instantly knew who had Armin and she grimaced.
Hannah looked up at Terror Mountain for a moment
before she started climbing. The drawing obviously meant this mountain. If she
was right, and the kidnapper wanted her to find Armin, there would be
a signal of some kind that would single out which cave her best friend was being
kept in. She knew it wasn't a trap. Knowing the kidnapper the way she did, Armin's
captor was not after her hide.
She reached the cavern that housed all the smaller
caves. She looked around and tried to single out a smudge against white. Then
she saw it: a sturdy slingshot lay at the mouth of a cave. It was Armin's. Hannah
picked it up and went inside.
It wasn't that hard to find Armin. There he was,
in a cage on the small side, turned away from her. Hannah knew that she'd find
"Emily, where are you?" she spoke quietly. Armin
whirled around at the sound of her voice.
"Hannah!" he said, looking relieved. "We've got
to get out of here fast! It's the-"
"Don't worry, Armin," said Hannah, looking around.
"There's no rush."
"What're you talking about?" he asked incredulously.
Hannah ignored him.
"I know you're here, Emily," she said. She felt
a rush of wind behind her and an echoing voice.
"I thought I told you never to call me that."
The gust of wind blew to face her and the shape
of an Usul appeared. It became blacker than pitch, blacker than night; like
a shadow within a shadow. Soon the Shadow Usul stood before her.
"You sure have a weird way of getting someone's
attention, sis," Hannah gestured at the curious Bori.
The other Usul replied, "This is coming from
someone with their own comic and a tattoo." Hannah winced.
"Do you think I actually like this thing?" she
asked as she unrolled her sleeve and grimaced at the mark. "I never get to wear
anything sleeveless anymore because this ugly thing will show!"
"Nothing," said the Dark Usul quickly.
"Is this about that time years back? You know;
when we still looked like twins?" Hannah asked skeptically.
There came a sarcastic reply of, "Oh, of course
not. I just captured this Bori and lured you here to talk about the weather."
There was a silence between the two Usuls while
Armin stared at them with eyes as big as Draik eggs. Each sister knew the other
was thinking about that night at the orphanage.
"Not a lot of people wanted to adopt us anyway,"
said Hannah after a while. "But if there came an out-of-the-ordinary someone
who wanted to adopt us-"
"We'd act like devils," finished the Shadow Usul
in her echoing voice. "We knew that somewhere our real father was looking for
us. Then came that day when he actually found us." Now her voice was cold. Hannah
met her "evil twin's" eyes, shamefaced.
"Why in the name of Fyora did you scare him off?"
asked the other Usul, her pitch black tail looking bushier than usual. Her cold
yellow eyes were becoming colder. Hannah found herself on her knees, hands in
her lap, staring fixedly at the icy ground and forcing back the tears.
"I was scared," she managed in a choking voice.
The two sisters were completely unaware of the shocked Bori by now. "I was afraid
of change. I didn't want to get to know him. So that by the end of the day he
left without us, having given us these charm necklaces." She shook the two chains.
"What?!" blurted Armin. He knew this was a traumatic
moment, but he had to have his say. "This doesn't make any sense! Hannah," he
said to his friend. "Why didn't you tell me before this?! A twin sister??? And
the Shadow Usul to top it off?!"
Hannah just stared hopelessly at the Bori. The
other Usul looked at him skeptically. "Little snotrag can't keep quiet for a
second…" she muttered.
Armin opened his mouth angrily to retaliate,
but Hannah said, "Armin, let it go. I'll tell you everything when we get back."
So Armin crossed his arms and waited, annoyed. So Hannah turned to the Shadow
"I didn't expect you to take it the way you did,"
sighed Hannah. "You got so heartbroken and furious that your heart turned cold
and black, and with your heart, everything about you did."
She timidly reached for the other Usul's paw.
The Shadow Usul drew back. For years, she hadn't had contact with others. "I'm
glad you told me why you drove him away, Hannah," she said. "But it still hurts."
Hannah nodded, tears spilling. "I know. It hurts
for me, too," she said. She grasped the other Usul's paw and the other allowed
it. "Emily," she said. "I'm sorry." There was a flash, and for a moment, Hannah
was facing an exactly identical Usul. Then the moment passed, and she slipped
back into shadows.
The Shadow Usul turned away. She blew a gust
of wind and Armin's cage opened. "Go," she said. Armin scuttled out of the cave.
But Hannah stayed behind for a moment. She went to her sister and placed her
paw on her shoulder.
"Leave me!" hissed the secretly confused Neopian.
Hannah bit her lip and drew back. When she knew she was alone, the dark Usul
held up the necklace to catch the light. It reflected in her protuberant eyes