"You were wrong, you know," Eileen said, breaking the silence. She turned her head to look out of the window, tendrils of dark hair that had escaped from her ponytail whirling to catch up with her face. Her fingers gripped the edge of the window ledge, nails digging into the wood chip wallpaper underneath, leaving moon-shaped indentations in the wall as a legacy of her emotions.
"Wrong about what?" Kitty replied. Her own blank eyes bored holes in the side of Eileen's skull, but Eileen refused to meet them.
"Love. I think I've learned enough to know you're wrong," Fingers pressed to the cracked glass of the window pane, casting patches of condensation on the chilly glass bisected with delicate lines of white. So fragile, Eileen thought. Just like you – and me.
"How would you know, little sister? You've never been in love, never been loved at all, if my memory serves me correctly," Kitty hissed. "And I know it does,"
"You told me the opposite of love was hate, the opposite of passion was indifference, the opposite of affection was rejection; but I know better than you, Sister. I know better than anyone who holes themselves up in a room and surrounds themselves with books. Better than those who shut themselves off from the world because of who they think they are without a second thought for who they could be. I know better than you, Kitty," Eileen's voice rose to a threatening pitch, but her eyes remained fixed on something far away, still refusing to meet her sister's.
If she met her sister's eyes, it would be over.
"I have my assistants; they are all I need,"
"'Assistants'! You mean your slaves?" Eileen retorted, the hair framing her face jiggling with the movement of her jaw. "You work them to death because you couldn't bear it when you lost your eyes,"
"And do you blame me? All I did was read, absorb knowledge from page after page, and then all of a sudden, I was alone in the darkness. I was blind, and nobody understood exactly what I had lost,"
"That's all you ever focus on, what you've lost! Think of what you've gained! Didn't I drop everything for you? Didn't I leave my school and friends, my only chance at a normal life, to assist you? You lost your eyes and gained a sister!"
Eileen whipped her head around, and realised her mistake. Kitty stood over her, hands on hips, unseeing eyes looking down into her own. Milky cataracts had long glazed over the dark brown the sisters shared, leaving glassy orbs in their place. The skin around her eye sockets was scarred from the early days Kitty had spent clawing at the useless lumps of jelly in her head, cursing her family and herself and her disease to the seven circles of Hell. The scarred skin was creased and crumpled, a dull pink against the cream of the smooth skin that was rarely exposed to sunlight, and the hair that fell limp and straight from lack of care.
"I gained a sister, and now I intend to lose another,"
Kitty felt in the pockets of her ever-present pinafore; pens, scraps of paper, pins, needles, thread, small scissors, the silky surface of a mirror, and a small, round stone. Fingers closed over the stone, fingernails grazing the palm as it enclosed the worn edges of rock. She inhaled.
The movement was fast and precise; unnaturally so.
Eileen fell from the window ledge, dark hair fanning around her skin; more tanned than her sister's, but it had lost the glossy sheen she had come into the house with. Her own eyes were dark with surprise, shock, pain, and acceptance. She had looked into Kitty's eyes. She deserved this.
Later, Kitty would instruct Lane to remove the shattered corpse of her sister from the grounds of the house. It would be disposed of carefully, so as not to arouse suspicion. The police would be informed at a later date, a distraught housekeeper begging over the phone for the return of a beloved niece. Kitty would never come under scrutiny; it was ironic how blind the police would be.
Two years later, the cycle would reverse, and Kitty would fall out of the window struck by Eileen's stone.
And two years after that, Eileen would fall again.
Because they looked the blind sister in the eyes she wanted.