Running. Running as fast as 12-year-old legs can run. Through this vast house — up wide staircases, down shadowed halls. Searching. Endlessly searching — floor after floor, room after room. The house creaks and groans with age. My footsteps echoing. My dress whispering. Can’t find her. Anywhere. Must find her.
Reaching the uppermost floor. Pausing, breathless. High above the stairwell, the ceiling flies away, peaks and leans one plane against another. Set in the farthest, narrowest wall — a doorless threshold. Running again. Passing door after door. Stepping beneath that lintel, crossing that open space. Entering a small room cluttered and stuffed with dusty antiques — dark waxed wood, turned legs, clawed feet; silk and gilt and brocade. And, to the immediate left, a mirrored drapery. A shimmering, subtle screen concealing another doorway. Beyond this shifting veil, I see her, my twin, trapped in that other space. Captive. I see them both obscured, edges furred. He, chastising, berating. She/me, weeping.
Leaning, now, against the drape. Pressing right shoulder to its surprising solidity. Bracing left hand over firm folds of gauzy reflection. Forcing my right hand through, slipping it between too-solid fabric. On a molecular level, it parts, allows my arm to pass. Groping. Reaching. Cheek pressing to cool veil of not-fabric. Fingers settling upon her shoulder, clutching, pulling. Tugging her through the barrier, into this glorified closet room. Pulling her to me.
Staring at her, seeing myself. Echoing grins. Hurriedly pushing random pieces of furniture against the not-curtain. Fleeing. Leaving that austere, dark-clad man to curse and rail.
Leaping together. My twin and I descending the stairwell’s open, central throat. Feet lightly touching walls, banisters, rails, newel posts. No need of steps. Gravity does not rule us.