strange thing have been happening to Jean. one morning she woke up to find her hair snipped. confusion and suspicion threatens to tear her family unless she finds the culprit in time....


2. Puzzled

Mom wrenched the bathroom door, closely followed by Josh. She stopped up short when she saw me.

   ‘Who-?’ she started but stopped.

   ‘I don’t know,’ I mumbled, frightened. Someone had snipped through my long black hair and had cut it in all sorts of odd directions and waves.

Mom reached out and ran her fingers through my hair.

   ‘Who did this? Did you do this, Jean?’

   ‘No,’ I shrieked.

   ‘Did you do it then, Josh?’ she asked rounding up on him.

   ‘What? Cut through Jean’s hair? No way!’ he replied, defensive.

   ‘What’s going on?’ Ann began, her head popping in. ‘Hell! You cut your hair?’

   ‘She says she didn’t do it,’ mom told her. ‘Did you?’

   ‘Why would I do that?’ she murmured, looking at me horrified. ‘Who did this? Your hair’s ruined!’

   ‘I can’t tell.’ I wasn’t crying. Fear had stolen my tears. But I was deeply upset and sadness was fiercely burning within me, kindled the moment I saw my hair. ‘What am I going to do?’

    Ann pointed out that I couldn’t go to school. She suggested that I wear a cap until mom took me to the saloon. Mom looked plainly worried but buried her anxiety to perk me up. She fed me breakfast then took me to a parlor across the streets.

    ‘It’s not bad,’ she told me during dinner when she caught me studying my reflection in the back of the spoon.

    ‘Yeah, you look prettier. Told you you needed a haircut,’ Ann added. Mom was looking at her suspiciously and I could tell that Ann was her primary suspect, probably because we had quarreled the previous night.

   We were in the living room, watching T.V when mom said, and ‘your birthday’s only a week away, Jean. What would you like?’ mom liked giving us presents and going out with our friends but absolutely detested parties.

   ‘You are turning fifty right?’ Josh joked

   ‘Sixteen,’ I told him

   ‘Coulda fooled me,’ he said before turning to mom. ‘Mom, remember that twin of Jean’s that you talked about?’

   I looked at mom. I knew she did not like talking about the subject just that she did not like bringing up that Ann was her step daughter and my step sister. It was dad who told us about her. He told me about how upset mom was when the doctors told her that only one of us could be saved during the labor. I quickly steered the conversation in another direction. ‘I think I would like a new cell phone,’ I told mom.

   ‘What? Oh, alright,’

   ‘Wait,’ Ann began turning to her. ‘You are getting her a new cell phone? You refused to get me one on my birthday!’

   ‘Hey you damaged my old one; it’s only fair,’ I said and that led to the bickering. But still I did not think that it provided a solid reason for any girl to snip off her younger sister’s hair.

   When I went to bed that night I decided to sleep with the lights on. I was frightened but too proud to admit so. Halfway through the night I remember party opening my eyes. The lights were turned off. It was the first thing that struck me when I woke up the following morning.

   ‘Mom must have turned it off,’ I told myself.

   I suddenly realized that something was not right. My bed sheets felt wet and sticky. I pushed myself up. I was drenched in blood.   My eyes ran over the carpet. There was a trail of blood on them trailing to the mirror. On the mirror a single word was written in blood. ‘Jean’.


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