Come back! Morgan heard a voice in her head say. It was firm and steady, with hints of her mother’s severity. It was Marie. Since they had learned to talk, or perhaps even before, they had been able to communicate to each other merely by thinking and directing their thoughts to each other.
While Marie had tucked Mina back into bed, Morgan had put on her coat and slipped quietly out the door. She was now at the end of the block. She assumed Marie would catch up.
No, Morgan shot back to Marie. We’re running out of time. We have to go or it’ll be too late. Morgan felt a pang of relenting frustration that she knew belonged to her twin.
Less than half a minute later, Marie appeared at her side. As she came, a light fog rose from the ground and spread across the street. Good idea, Morgan said, and then the streetlights dimmed and went out. Anybody looking out of their windows would not be able to see the two figures in the thick darkness. Morgan rubbed her hands together and when she opened them, a reddish light rose from her palms to light the path in front of them. It had taken her years to master this trick, but after many nights of sneaking out to meet boys or carry out other mischief, she was an expert at creating this light that only she and her companions could see.
“This is so impulsive,” Marie said under her breath. “We don’t have a plan. We don’t even know where Mara is.”
“If only we had Mara’s sense of direction,” Morgan said.
Marie rolled her eyes. “Seriously, Morgan. We’re not going to just be able to barge in. We can’t let anyone know it was us, or they’ll know where to find her and we’ll all be in bigger trouble than we already are.”
“I figured we would just go toward the center of town and figure it out from there,” Morgan said.
Wait. Marie put a hand on Morgan’s elbow and pulled her off the sidewalk. The fog became denser. Someone’s coming. A faint patter of quick-moving feet could be heard coming from behind them. Morgan extended her light in the direction of the footsteps. It illuminated the short, small figure of a little girl. Marie lightened the fog.
“I think I can help,” their little sister said as she came running up. “Please? I can’t just stay at home while—”
Marie was livid. “I can’t believe this. You need to go back right now,” she said. “Don’t you understand? On top of figuring out how to save Mara we’re going to have to worry about protecting you. Didn’t you hear Mom? Whatever is out there—”
“But I know where she is!” Mina’s face was bright and pleading. She turned towards Morgan.
Morgan sighed. “Okay. Come on. We can’t waste any more time. We’ve only got a few hours before dawn.”
Marie glared at Morgan and grabbed Mina’s hand. “Fine. What do you know, Mina?”
“I heard some people talking before we left the party. They were saying that they took her to the high-security holding cell by the swamp.”
“Is that what that weird building next to the pond is? I know exactly where that is,” Morgan said. “Good work, Mina.”
Marie looked carefully around as they walked. “Now shush,” she said, “We’re going to wake up the whole town with our chattering.” Even as she said it, however, Marie felt a strange sensation that no one could hear them—a feeling similar to the muffling effect that their mother created over the house. She didn’t dwell on it. Even if they somehow carried the silencing power from the house, they could never be too careful.
Mina hung onto Marie’s hand, a couple of feet behind Morgan, who was leading the way to the swamp. Morgan had always been the most adventurous of the sisters, and the most daring with her powers too. When she discovered them and even before she had fine-tuned them, she used them to their full potential to do the things that teenage girls would do. Night excursions such as this one were no big deal to her. This night, however, she felt her blood run with a strange excitement. For the first time, she had a mission—and a righteous one at that, she thought. She felt as if her fun escapades had been building up to this, preparing her for when she really needed to use her powers for good.
There could not have been twin sisters more different than Morgan and Marie. Morgan didn’t need her mother to lecture her—though Fa frequently did anyways—because she always had Marie’s warning voice (literally) in her head. Don’t get power-trippy, Marie would remind her when she knew Morgan was out in the middle of the night. Don’t do anything stupid. Be careful. Marie was the twin who did well in school and succeeded by following the rules. Instead of running out to seek thrills, she stayed in the house and practiced her powers in a regimented, ordered fashion, much like other children would practice the piano. And so, she became a virtuoso. Combined with her calculating, sharp mind, she always managed to use her powers in a way that would make them seem accidental or easily explained by natural phenomena.
As they walked, Marie considered different plans and strategies. Unlike Morgan, she had never wandered over to the swamp and so she had no idea what her constraints would be. She would have to see when they arrived. She felt a thumping in her chest that she recognized as fear. She tried to imagine what the thing that had killed Graham could be, and how they would subvert it if it came to it. But, inquiring and smart as she was, she had never considered that there could be something similar to her family out there. She always assumed that they were alone, and that everyone else in the world was just plain normal. She knew nothing about their enemy: how strong it was, its powers, its intentions. This utter lack of knowledge terrified her. She squeezed Mina’s hand and took a deep breath.