At the Switch residence, lights blazed. From the outside the house looked dark and quiet, but inside Fa and the remaining Switch sisters were all awake, with not a drop of sleepiness in their bodies.
They were gathered in Fa’s bedroom, just like the night before. And, just like the night before, Mara was not there. This time no one asked why.
Mina had curled up on her mother’s bed, fat tears running down her face. Marie sat next to her and held her hand. She looked at Morgan, who was pacing at the end of the room, occasionally grabbing fistfuls of her hair and letting out yells of frustration. Fa stood silent in the corner, the ends of her long jacket completely still. She was deep inside herself, thinking.
Finally, she said, “Morgan.”
Morgan stopped pacing and looked at her mother.
“Morgan,” Fa said again. “I need you to tell me the truth. Did you extinguish the lights at the party?”
“What?” Morgan walked to the bed and plopped down on it. “Of course not! Why in the world would you think that I had anything–”
“Well you were dancing with that Tony boy,” Marie said. “Something he said upset you. And you know how you can get when you’re upset.”
Morgan looked at her twin, indignant and angry. “Are you serious? Tony Lane could not upset me enough to make me do something so stupid!”
“Don’t you remember when you liked Johnny and found out that he was dating that Elena during Chemistry lab?” Marie’s voice was steady and analytical. That time, Morgan had flown into a rant about Johnny to her lab partner, and across the room the bunsen burner’s flame had seemed to reach up and lick Elena’s hair. It was only the fortuitous tipping of a nearby uncapped water bottle that prevented the poor girl from going to the hospital with a scalded scalp. “You can lose control of your powers sometimes, Morgan. Especially when it comes to boys. You know that.”
“Oh come on!” Morgan said. “I was so much more careless then! Do you actually think I would slip up so bad? Plus I’m not nearly powerful enough to take out all those lights at once. And I would have felt it, if it had been me, but I was just as surprised as everyone else.”
Mina sat up. “I believe you Morgan,” she said, reaching out her hand to grab Morgan’s hand too. “Mara didn’t do anything wrong, and neither did Morgan. Didn’t you hear Mara? There was a shadowed man. It must have been him.”
Marie looked at her mother, who hadn’t spoken since asking the question and seemed still to be lost in her own thoughts. Fa walked looked out the window and turned back to her daughters. “Girls,” she said. “That’s enough. I don’t think it was Morgan. Whatever killed Graham must have also extinguished the lights. In any case there is nothing we can do about it now. It has been a long day. It is time to go to bed.”
Morgan jumped up, recovering immediately from her sister’s accusations. “But what about Mara? Don’t we have to get her out? She’s innocent, for goodness sake!” Marie nodded. “We can’t just leave her–isn’t there something we can do?” Mina began to cry again.
“Enough!” Fa said, striding toward the bed. Her voice was soft but stern. “Mara chose to go. Just as she chose to marry that man. Anything we do now will only make things worse.”
“But–” Morgan began to say.
“Don’t you understand!” Fa raised her voice now, and the sisters could feel the walls stiffening to muffle it from the outside. “There is something very dangerous out there, and who knows what it is looking for. We are all in danger, and there is nothing we can do right now except wait for things to become clearer. Bed! Now!”
Fa swept the girls off her bed and marched them to their rooms. She stood and watched as her daughters crawled into bed and turned out the lights.
After their mother had gone, Morgan and Marie turned to each other. “There is no way I’m letting Mara stay in jail tonight,” Morgan said. “If Mom is right, and there really is something dangerous out there, shouldn’t she be here with us where it’s safe? Who knows what will happen to her out there?”
“I know,” Marie said, “But how are we supposed to do anything about it?”
“Come on,” Morgan said. “Aren’t you forgetting who we are–what we can do? How hard can it be to break someone out of jail?”
“Yeah, but like Mom said there’s something really dangerous out there–”
“Screw mom! She’s still peeved at Mara for bringing so much attention to our family. Look, I don’t know about you, but Mara’s my sister, and if there’s something dangerous out there I don’t want her out there.”
“It’s not like she’s completely helpless though,” Marie said.
“You know she’s not going to use her powers!” Morgan said. “Plus, she’s heartbroken. She just lost her husband, for goodness sake!”
Marie turned on her back and thought for a moment. Morgan was right: Mara would not use her powers under these circumstances. Out of all the sisters, she was the one who wanted most just to be normal. She had deeply absorbed Fa’s warnings about discretion, and, especially now, would not do anything to further jeopardize the family’s secrecy. Even though she was not responsible, she felt guilty for Graham’s death, and she would certainly not do anything to bring even more attention to the matter. She was most likely so devastated that she would willingly sacrifice herself up to whatever was out there.
“Alright,” she said. “We have to move fast. Let’s make a plan.”
Morgan sat up and moved her hand over the candle at her bedside, which lit up immediately. She was starting to get dressed when the door creaked open.
The twins turned immediately, their hearts jumping. They looked at the door but there was no one there. Then, Mina peeked her head in.
“Mina, You nearly scared us to death!” Marie said. “What are you doing here? Go back to bed.”
“I couldn’t sleep,” Mina said. “I heard what you were talking about. I want to come too.”
Morgan and Marie looked at each other and turned to their little sister.
“Absolutely not,” they said.