Darkness pressed down on Caroline's eyes as she scrambled out of bed toward the screams coming from her children's room. She had put her twins, Jason and Allyson to bed hours ago while her husband Sean was putting the dirty dishes from dinner into the dishwasher.
Sean had never come to bed, Caroline thought as she rushed to comfort her children. I wonder what happened to him.
She reached the door to the twin's bedroom and stopped short. In the darkness it looked like a monster with rotting green skin and sparse, dead white hair was sitting on the bed her twins shared, grinning manically. Caroline gasped for breath and took a very shaky step into the room.
Her fear melted when she saw what the monster was doing. Its hands were wrapped around Ally's neck, squeezing so hard that the two year old could not breathe and her skin was turning blue. Jason was screaming next to Ally and beating ineffectually at his twins' captor. Caroline jumped at the monster with a scream that was more rage than fear.
The monster rolled off the bed and Caroline followed. She raised her fists and huddled protectively over her children.
The monster sprang again. Caroline gasped and clumsily thrust out a fist. She felt her fist connect in the soft skin of the monsters stomach and her eyes widened as the monster groaned. It rolled over on the floor, clutching its' stomach. Caroline stalked closer. Her teeth were barred and protective fire was blazing in her eyes.
The monster huddled by the wall and slowly lifted its face into the small light shinning out of the night-light in the outlet. Caroline jumped back onto the bed and pulled Jason and a gasping Ally to her chest.
"Sean, what-?" Caroline asked. Her voice broke and she sobbed into her son's neck.
Sean, Caroline's husband, grimaced for a second before smiling. "Sean? Yes, Sean. Sean cannot have children. I will not allow it." The man, her husband, laughed. "Run away from me if you wish but one day I will find your children and I will kill them!" He jumped through the open window with a crazy laugh.
Caroline gathered her children and ran.
Three months had passed since Caroline ran from her home. Ally and Jason were safe and perfectly healthy and Caroline was whole in body if not in heart. She had immediately taken her children to her mother's house. Her mother had since sent her daughter to the family cottage, which was where they were still hiding.
Caroline stood up from where she had been crouching over her garden and groaned as stiff muscles protested the movement. It was time to make lunch for the twins. Caroline put away her gardening tools and seeds but as she turned to go into the house her children's screams echoed across the lawn.
"Mummy!!! Mummy!!! The bad man is here!" Jason yelled as he rushed out of the house. He gripped Ally's hand in his pudgy one and rushed to his mother as quickly as his tiny legs could carry him. A tall man with dark black hair and pale white skin slowly walked out of the house and followed the twins to their mother.
"Caroline!" He called. Caroline picked up her children and turned to run. "Please, wait. I promise you; I was not the person who hurt our children."
Caroline turned and glared at Sean. "I saw your face! You were strangling Ally!"
The man stopped walking and his face screwed into an angry grimace. "It wasn't me!" He held out his hands, pleading for Caroline to hear what he had to say. "Listen, I have and identical twin brother. He's been in and out of a mental institution since he was three. I received a phone call from my parents that night while you where bathing Jason. They told me he had been allowed home for a visit and had escaped." Sean took a deep breath and took a small step forward. Caroline pushed her children behind her but did not step back. She was clearly interested in what Sean had to say but doubt and worry creased her face at the same time.
"I went to help my parents look for him. I never imagined he would attack our children."
Caroline sobbed. "Why would he go after Ally and Jason?" She lifted her tearstained face to the sky in confusion as if the clouds could give her the answers she sought.
"I don't really know why. It has been like this since we were children. If I had something he didn't he would steal it. If it was something he couldn't steal he would break it!" Sean shook his head and slowly walked towards Caroline. He moved cautiously, like the rabbit creeping over to a wolf just to see if it was safe.
Caroline looked up into Sean's tired brown eyes and shook her head. "But why did he try to kill our children?"
"Because he couldn't steal them," Sean answered. "He tried to break them instead."
"No, I just thought their little heads would look good if they were detached from their bodies."
Caroline gasped and spun around as Sean jumped in front of his wife. Ally and Jason were safely sandwiched between their parents.
A tall man with dark black hair and pale white skin was sitting idly on the small garden wall. Caroline looked into the eyes of an exact mirror of her husband and wondered how she could have mistaken the horrid man on the wall with her husband. The two may have the same features, but there were subtle differences that were so blatant Caroline didn't understand why they were considered identical twins.
The rage and murderous intent that swam in the imposters eyes, the hate that twisted his features, and the madness that flowed through his limbs all served to imprint the fact that the man on the wall was not her husband.
He stood up casually and a slow smile lit up his face. Caroline wondered how he had ever managed to leave the mental facility with a smile like his. It rang of the happiness that murderers get when they are given the chance to kill freely. It was not an entirely human feature. Now Caroline knew why she had seen a monster when he was strangling Ally.
"You see, my dear brother Sean is not allowed to have something that I cannot. I cannot get married, or have children, so neither can Sean. Besides, those children were screaming so nicely that I could not resist. Would you please move so I can hear their screams again?" The man took a step closer and his smile grew to a grin. "Their screams were so fine."
Sean stepped forward to meet his brother and smiled back. "Unfortunately, I called your doctors."
A look of pure rage covered the fake's face and he stopped walking. A stick cracked behind the man and he spun. Policemen and other people in doctor's cloaks were just walking up to the garden wall. One of the doctors held a syringe in one hand. Several held restraint straps.
"You are going to be spending a very long time in their care," Sean whispered to his brother.
The policemen pounced. One went flying almost immediately with a foot in his gut. Sean's twin was struggling on the ground, his arms and one leg pinned. The doctors with the restraints stepped in.
Caroline took her children and pulled them to her chest. She did not want them to see such violence.
The twin screamed and thrashed but he had already lost the battle. His hands were carefully tied and his feet were not far behind. Four policemen and doctors were holding him down and a fifth was slowly approaching with the syringe.
Caroline closed her eyes as the huge needle speared the monster and she kept her eyes closed until the thrashing and screaming subsided. When Caroline opened her eyes again Sean was kneeling next to his brother's head and was gently stroking his twin's hair. She went to move forward but stopped when the twin opened his mouth.
"Sean, what did you name your twins?" Sean flinched and Caroline looked on curiously. The twin seemed almost lucid. It was as if the calming substance that had been injected into his body had washed away the madness. The twin was now truly Sean's twin in every way.
Sean paused for a moment before answering. The question was not difficult to answer but Sean seemed reluctant to tell his twin. "Allyson," Sean took a deep breath, "and Jason."
The twin sat up suddenly and immediately doctors rushed over. Sean held up his hand to stop them and helped his brother sit straight. The twin looked directly at Caroline and focused on Jason.
"You named your son after me?" He gasped. "You named your son after your crazy brother?"
Sean nodded. "I always wanted you to be near me, even in name, Jason. This way we have something to connect us even if we are leagues apart."
"May I see my namesake?" Jason whispered. Sean nodded and beckoned to a shocked Caroline. She did not know what to think. Her son was named after Sean's insane brother. In the end Jason and Ally took the choice away from their mother. They slowly let go of her clutching hands and walked over to their father and their uncle. Caroline followed.
"My deepest apologies." Jason whispered to the baby two year olds. "I pray that some day you will forgive me for hurting you and for separating you from your father." Jason looked up at Caroline. "Please forgive me as well. Bring them to visit me sometime. The institution is really quite nice." Jason held out his bound hands to the two year olds and gently shook their hands. He nodded to Caroline before turning to the doctors. "Well, take me back to my cell then." He smiled brilliantly and Caroline could see the bright fire that had attracted her to Sean shining in Jason.
The monster may not have been completely gone, but in that moment, Caroline knew that for all his faults, Jason could be a good person. Maybe she would go see him in the mental institution after all.