With Friends Like This. A Clarence Cove short story by Emma Clark
“You’re! Not! Real!”
A plate smashes against the wall next to the full length mirror. A scrawny girl faces the mirror her whole body trembling. “T-They said you don’t exist th-that you’re just a nightmare.” The girl slowly sits on the floor unable to stop the shaking. She slowly looks up at the mirror whimpering out sadly. “D-don’t say that Kim I-I didn't mean to do it, I-I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, y-you’re my best friend…” she reaches out her hand hesitantly placing it on her reflections cheek. “S-stop crying Kim I-” she pauses as if listening to something before stuttering out “I-I know Kim b-but he can’t h-hurt you now I swear.”
The young girl caresses her reflections face before shakily tucking her limp blonde hair behind her ear. She gives a forced smile quietly saying “I-I did it all for you Kim, I-I never told mama when he hit us o-or when you-” She flinches back suddenly. “N-NO! Y-you can’t say that h-he beat me too,” she reaches up touching the blood soaking her cheek. “y-you didn't go through it alone.... I-I helped you as much as I could I-I bandaged your cuts e-even though you teased me…”
She glares suddenly at the mirror her nail-bitten hands curling into fists “Y-you always bullied me Kim n-no matter what I did for you!” She slowly rocks back and forth on the ground listening to what no one else could ever hear. “N-no st-stop it I-I didn't mean to…I-I didn't want to…. Wait.”
The girl’s eyes flash as she gets to her feet, pointing an accusing finger at the mirror. “I-I DID MEAN IT! Y-you were a horrible best friend y-you always did nasty things to me y-you cut off my braids!” she runs her hands angrily through her cropped, tangled hair as she begins pacing in front of the mirror kicking trash and cigarette butts out of her path. “I-I hated it Kim!” She continues as she walks along the threadbare, stained carpet. “Y-you never really loved me y-you bullied me and stole my favorite shirts a-and when you needed money y-you… y-you tr-tried…” Her voice trailed off as she came to a sudden halt hugging her-self against the painful memories that bombarded her.
“y-you tr-tried selling me t-to the wh-wh-whore house!” she grabs the nearest object (a gray chipped vase) and throws it angrily at the mirror, watching it shatter and send glass flying across the living room. She looks down and picks up a palm sized piece of mirror that’s still in one piece. Staring into it she yells “You’re not real Kim! Not any more, y-you can’t be b-because I-I-”
She’s cut off as the front door flies off its hinges, filling the filthy apartment with sunlight. Men and women run inside many of them circling the girl in the baggy clothes and the cut off hair, aiming weapons at her, the other people exploring the apartment. A deep voice yells from down the hall “We got bodies!” A tall woman in a dark uniform steps forward speaking slowly and clearly. “Karen Fletcher. You are under arrest for the murder of your twin sister Kim Fletcher and your step-father Joshua Fletcher.”
Karen doesn't argue she just looks down at the piece of mirror she still holds in her hand smirking at her reflection.“See Kim you don’t exist now, I made sure of that.” She drops the chunk of glass letting the last piece of the mirror smash into a million pieces. She doesn't resist the police as they handcuff her, doesn't even try to run when they take her away.
But this was the last time anyone in Clarence Cove would ever hear of Karen, Kim, and Joshua Fletcher.