The Perfect Shadow

Summer and Rachel are identical twins. They look alike, speak alike and when they were younger, they did EVERYTHING together. They live in a house with their mum, step-dad, step brothers and step-sister.

However, Summer has always felt second-best to her perfect twin sister. She feels that, in order to step out of Rachel's shadow, Summer must transform into a replica of Rachel - like when she was younger. But when her attempt to do this goes pear-shaped, it will impact the whole family, not just her.


1. Summer

This story contains issues on eating disorders. If anyone feels uncomfortable with this subject, feel free to read the first few chapters, but after that, reader discretion is advised. Thank you! :)



I don't know what wakes me from my slumber. It may have been the family of foxes who live in our garden and stir at night, baying. It may have been Rachel turning over, but I doubt it. It was probably my own dreams, which I cannot remember. I never can. I stretch, my muscles cramped from sleeping in the same position for hours on end. The room is still covered in the intimidating shadow of darkness, and for a second confusion swamps me as to why. Then I remember my clock and my eyes lazily drift over to it.


4:08 AM


That may or may not explain it.


I can just make out the creamy curtain slicing the room in half, pulled across. I can't see my sister's shadow beyond it though. Dwelling on this for a few moments, I look up to the gloomy ceiling.

I live in a huge, 18th century mansion, however I still share a room with Rachel. The reason for this is because we're twins. Rachel came into the world a full 14 minutes before me, beaming and ready to shine. Then I followed, red-faced and a shadow to my twin. Ever since birth - until recently, I guess - we've always had a special connection with each other. When we were younger, we would constantly pretend to be each other, and it would really annoy my parents! The memories of their faces, confused and red with anger always springs a smile to my pale face. Eventually, our joy always ended with one look at our lockets. We got one each when we had been born from our grandma Margery; she's a great laugh, even in her old age. Mine has an 'S', with vines wrapped around it. Rachel's had an 'R' with rabbits. I've personally always preferred her, but I'm not exactly going to say so! That would just be rude, and I'd hate to offend anyone...

Anyway, our parents always told us apart by looking for a locket. Rachel didn't wear hers often, which I think is a little bit offensive, however I never take mine off, so just seeing the chain confirms that it's me. Eventually, my sister persuaded to take mine off. That made my parents furious.

On reflection, I think I should've kept it on, just for my fathers sake. So when he died when I was 8 - which was devastating - he would've gone with the knowledge I stayed 'true to the locket'. He died in a car crash, after drinking. I've hated the very mention of alcohol after that incident. I'm aware Rachel has aswell. Originally, mum did also but... well... since she met Paul, she started drinking... lots...

Paul is my step-dad. My mum and he married in August last year, and we moved in with him and his 3 children. His wife had divorced and moved to Canada when the youngest was only 1. Before we moved in with them, we lived in Newcastle, up north. Moving there only a few years before, my sister and I only carried a faint northern lilt on our tongues. The car journey down to the town of Linbridge, down on the southern coast of England. It was an aganisingly long journey, and when you're stuck in the back with the luggage, well...

Paul's house is gargantuan! 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. That's why Rachel and I still share a room, but I don't mind. Rachel minds, I think. I'm not sure. So, there's five people between the ages of ten and eighteen under one roof. As you can imagine, this equals many a clash! Four of the five are gifted in things...

Dominic, aka Dom, is 16. He's Paul's oldest, and a complete nerd! He's just starting his exams next week, but he isn't stressed... well, ok, he is a little. However, he's going to ace these exams. He has nothing to worry about!
Benjamin, aka Ben is 14, just a few months older than myself. He's the rebel of the family. He's always getting into trouble at school. Despite this, he's crazily good at football, and plays for so many teams I can't count them on one hand!
Natasha aka Tasha is 11. She's the baby of the family, although she could easily be more grown up than myself. She does ok at school, but excels in the creative projects - drama, art and music. She may still be in Primary right now, but she'll soon be at secondary and it's obvious which clubs she'll be joining!
Then... there's my twin, Rachel. She's 13, like me. She's bordering on perfect. She gets consistent good grades without even trying. Sports is her forte, being in the netball, hockey and cricket teams. Tasha is good at Hockey and looks up to her. Rachel also is very popular and people naturally flock to her. She looks effortlessly beautiful.


Now, I know what you're going to say. Rachel's your twin, this is basically describing you. Huh, I wish! I look like her, that's confirmed, however, I'm different. I have to stress over grades. My hair hangs limp instead of flowing. I'm rubbish at sport, and people tend to ignore me. I feel like I'm fading into Rachel's shadow...

That's the life of Summer Harding, I'm afraid.

Welcome to my living on earth.

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