"Hello, my name is Serena. I'm 14 years old and I love to read." Mr. And Mrs. Hite looked up. They were looking at the adoption agency's kid screen.

"She sounds nice." Laura Hite said in her British voice.

"Yes, but before we make a decision we should look at all the children." Another child came up onto the screen.

"Hi. I'm Charity. I'm 14."

"Honey," Mr. Hite pressed the pause button. "She looks exactly like that Serena girl." Mrs. Hite pressed COMPARE then she hit the numbers 123 and 124.

"Yes, dear they do look exactly alike. Mrs. O'shea?"

A lady who looked around the age of 50 walked into the small room.

"Yes, is there a problem?"

"Well," Mr. Hite began, "We were looking through the listings of all the children and we were wondering what the possibility of twins was.

"Oh, well we have a few sets of twins and even triplets. Would you like to see a certain set? Maybe the blond German boys." Mrs. O'shea think Irish accent rang through the small white room.

"Not the German ones. But the two brunette girls. I think their names are Charity and Serena?"

"Oh!" Mrs. O'shea seemed surprised, "Are you sure you don't want a different set? Maybe boys, or even blonds?"

"No, these girls."

"If you're sure." Mrs. O'shea left the room. Her skirt swished and swayed as she walked, almost as if it were a dance. She soon returned with the girls. "Here you are. Charity," She pointed to the brunette on the right, "And Serena." The girls smiled.

"Are you the ones who have come to take us home with you?" One of the girls said. She, too had an Irish accent like that of Mrs. O'shea.

"Serena," Mrs. O'shea scolded, "You will not ask such questions. It is rude!"

"Oh we don't mind." Mr. Hite answered.

After much debate between the Hites and Mrs. O'shea, the couple decided on Serena and Charity. After all they seemed like such nice girls. They left the World Wide Adoption Place with the two girls in the back seat. It was a quiet ride home. But, it was Charity who broke the silence.

"I just want to thank you for accepting me and my sister into your home. We have been at that place for so long."

"It was nothing, dear." Mrs. Hite said. She noticed how polite Charity seemed. She also noticed the scowl that Serena wore on her face. "Is there something wrong Serena?"

"Nothing." Serena mumbled.

"Are you sure?"

"Look, I said nothing. Okay? Do you need to see some ID?" Mrs. Hite was almost hurt by her answer and decided against scolding the girl. After all she was just probably tired and a little scared. Who wouldn't be? Going to a new home and all.

After they got home the Hites showed the girls their room.

"I'm sorry you have to share a room, but we didn't expect to bring home two little girls."

"Oh, it's alright." Charity answered. Serena was scowling more than ever.

"Alright, I have to make a quick run to the store, and Mrs. Hite is going to get some laundry done. You girls get settled in." Mr. and Mrs. Hite left the room.

After they left Charity started to unpack. "Hey, what are you doing that for?" Serena asked coldly.

"Serena, this is our new home. Get used to it, okay?" Charity continued to unpack even though Serena had started to put things back in the suitcase.

"You know as well as I that as soon as they find out what we are," she said it like it was a disease, "What we carry in us, they will return us right back to that hellhole!" Serena threw a glass vase at the wall. It shattered into a million pieces. Mrs. Hite came running up the stairs. Her skirt swished around her legs as she climbed each stair.

"Girls! What happened? Is anyone hurt? Good lord, look at this." She looked down at the broken vase and the clothes all over the floor. Slowly, keeping an eye on the girls she began to pick the vase up. "Don't worry about it, I'm sure I can get another one." Mrs. Hite left the room after suggesting that the girls get unpacked and dressed for dinner.

"Charity, stop it!" Serena tried to keep her voice down. "You know your not supposed to use your influence on me!"

"Whatever Serena." Charity continued to unpack. "Don't ruin this for me. This is my chance to show everyone who I am." Charity pulled out a slinky rose-colored summer dress. "This will look great on me." She pulled it over her head and added a light, white, jacket to it.

Serena went to her suitcase and reluctantly unpacked her clothing. She put on a pair of khaki pants and a purple top. Then both girls brushed their hair and washed their hands and walked downstairs. Before leaving the room, Serena added a blue necklace to her ensemble. As Charity went down the elaborately decorated staircase, she touched every piece of artwork on the wall. "Charity," Serena scolded, "Don't touch anything!"

"What, are you afraid?" Charity continued to rock each painting and shift each sculpture. "Besides Serena, you know I'm more powerful, I can put on whatever fa├žade I want and control you whenever I feel like it."

In the kitchen, Mrs. Hite prepared dinner. She made a chicken with Italian herbs and spices and rice. She called Mr. Hite, "Honey, the vase you gave me is broken, can we get another?" Mr. Hite seemed angry, but then softened.

"What!? That was hand painted from India!" He sighed, "Honey, we need to discuss something before we make this final. I found out some interesting information this afternoon. Mrs. O'shea called me and told me why she was hesitant to give us the girls.

"Well?" Mrs. Hite's voice rose with anticipation. She had been wondering all evening about the strange behavior.

"Let's not discuss this over the phone. Maybe we should give the girls a chance to explain."

"All right." Mrs. Hite did not want to witness an outburst by anyone, herself nor the girls.

"I'm only about 10 minutes away. Is dinner ready?"

"Just about dear."

The girls entered the kitchen. Mrs. Hite looked them both up and down looking for an answer to the evening's previous incident. She looked at Serena and saw a smile. This was the smile that the girl showed in her profile. Charity also showed a smile.

"Hello, would you two mind taking these dishes into the dining room?" Mrs. Hite handed them four solid colored plates, one blue, one pink, one white, and one grey. Serena took the plates and charity took the glasses. They walked around the dining table in opposite directions. Serena placed the dishes in a certain order, blue and the head, then grey at the center of one side, followed by pink at the other end, and white in the center of the other side. Charity didn't seem to notice the arrangement, however she did notice the necklace on Serena's neck.

"Serena, take that off!"


"Yes! Take it off now before I do something and you know you don't want that!"

"Charity, as long as this necklace is on my neck you can't do anything to me. Cut the shit. I don't want to hear it." Serena sat at the white plate. Charity sat at the grey. Mr. Hite came in and took a small bag of groceries to the kitchen. Not a moment later he sat at the blue plate and looked at the girls. He noticed the smile on Serena's face and the unique necklace.

"Serena, that necklace is exquisite! May I ask where you got it?"

"Sure, Mr. Hite." Mr. Hite interrupted her.

"You girls may call me Ludworth if you'd like."

"Okay, Ludworth, this necklace is a rare blue stone only found in Africa. My father gave it to me as a young child. It is supposed to protect from evil." With that word, Serena looked at Charity. Charity scowled.

"Girls, rise and shine!" Mrs. Hite opened the curtains and let the bright sunlight show through. Serena pulled the covers back over her head. Charity did the same. Mrs. Hite came over to the beds and gently picked up each quilt. "Get up ladies, we are going shopping today." With that she left the room to let the girls get ready.
"That was some trick you pulled last night, Serena. You almost let our secret slip." Charity put on a blue top and a black skirt.
"So what? Maybe they should know. That way they can't get hurt." Serena went into the bathroom and brushed her hair. She touched the necklace that still hung from her neck, she would make sure it stayed there, for the rest of the time.
"You're still bitching about that man called father aren't you?" Charity grabbed the brush.
"Dad loved us. Before you ruined things that is." Serena turned to leave the room. Charity grabbed her arm.
"Don't you think for one minute that I'm letting you run this, dear sister. I will get that necklace. No matter what."
"Girls, are you ready?"
"Almost Mrs. Hite." Charity called back in her sweetest voice. She continued to brush her hair. "Remember, I am stronger and always will be."
The group of three climbed into Mrs. Hite's car. She started it up and began to pull out of the driveway. They drove for a little bit until they came to the main road. Mrs. Hite sat up and turned into the parking lot. She finally spoke to the girls, "Is there anything you want to tell me?" Silence. "You girls know you can say anything to me. Anything, even if it is a secret you don't want anyone to know about. I won't say a word, if you ask me not to." Serena sat up in her chair. Should she? Would she dare? She had to tell them. If she did, maybe they could help her get away. Maybe they could help her find her father's family. Maybe. "Well, Mrs. Hite, there is something actually." "NO! Serena, you will not!" Charity's voice exerted an authority that Serena had not heard since the day her father died. Serena sank back in her chair. "Charity, let Serena speak. If there is something she would like to tell me.." "You don't understand, Mrs. Hite.." "Catherine, please." "Whatever, Catherine. She cannot tell you what she is about to. It will throw off the balance of the world!" Charity made a scary motion with her hands for added suspense. "Stop goofing off. Please continue Serena. Charity, you will not interrupt." Serena sat up again. She would tell Catherine. She would not let them be hurt like the others. "Well, my sister and I." Where would she begin? Where would she end? "We. um. we share something." No, maybe not share something. That wasn't right. "We are part of something." Wait, share sounded better. "Share. Yes, we share a curse. Or a gift, but a curse nonetheless. We represent two parts of a whole. We are what people mean by the yin and the yang. We are two halves of a whole. We are. the good and the bad." Mrs. Hite turned in her seat. She stared at Serena, and then at Charity. How could these two girls be all that? They were just girls.