As a kid I didn’t have all that many friends, I never saw the appeal when I already had the most perfect friend I could wish for: my twin sister Renee. We were absolutely inseparable even though we could not have been more different, appearances aside. I was pretty loud and outspoken, laughed at anything and never found it difficult to get along with people of any age, looking back I could probably have had a lot of friends if I had wanted to spend time with anyone but Renee, maybe it was a sense of responsibility as she would not have had any friends for herself.
She was quiet and often glum and miserable. When people tried to approach her they often regretted it as soon as she opened her mouth. She was armed with the remarkable ability to essentially read peoples life stories after a couple of minutes of listening to them. She could recognise what and who they loved, their greatest fears and the nature of their darkest secrets and would arm herself with them, any attention turned to her resulted in barbs being flung at the poor soul, vicious remarks that would guarantee her continued solitude. Except for me.
She was rarely kind but not cruel, it was mostly as if she just tolerated me. This seems pretty bad I realise that, it’s difficult to put to words how we functioned, we didn’t need the kindness, we needed reliability, the knowledge that someone was there for us. Our parents were pretty shitty people who, from our perspective, could not be trusted. They always tried to separate us. I never understood it, they would always try and convince us that it would be a good idea to go meet new people and make other friends and allow others into our own little world.
They hurt Renee. Never physically, but they made her feel worthless and made her think that she was a bad person. They took her to psychiatrists who would all prescribe her some new “medicine” that always did more harm than good. It made her even angrier but made her keep that anger to herself, made turn that anger on herself because they made her see all the mean things she said and did to other people. She just kept spiralling down into that ever darkening pit of her mind. The medicine always pushed her further and further away from me.
She would whisper at night, sometimes to me but mostly to herself. Muttering away that our parents and the doctors couldn’t be trusted, that they were trying to get rid of her because they didn’t care, that our parents had never loved her. I would always try to coax her away from these horrible thoughts but she stopped listening to me. The rare times where I did invite a “friend” from school to visit us, she would whisper away about how they didn’t really care, they just felt bad for me because I was all alone with a messed up sister.
She would try so hard to pull me into that pit with her, although I don’t think she was doing it on purpose.
It would be so difficult to reach her that it got to the point where the only way I could reach her was if I was in pain, that made her pay attention to me, although she never tried to stop me or help. It was the only way I could help her, bring her back into focus, revitalise her grip on reality when she started to slip. It was the only way I could keep my best friend around.
But eventually even that didn’t work any more, it would take needles or endless bottles to pull her back, to make her care. We were still inseparable, but it would always take more to bring her back to me, to make her truly be present and not in the abyss that was now her mind.
She was the person who always listened when our parents had been cruel and unaware of how their words punched through any wall we had built up, she was the only person who knew that my mind was as dark and twisted as hers despite the cheery mask I wore. She was the only one who knew about the damage I had inflicted upon my body.
But she never stopped me. In fact there came a day when she finally began to pull me down with her. She was the only one who had noticed that I had begun to spiral, and she had turned herself into an anchor, a dead weight to pull me down with her.
It took me a long time to realise that Renee was not a good person, that she was bad for me. But I had become completely dependant on her, after twenty years of it being the two of us against the world, I needed her, she was the only one who understood.
Then came the fateful day when I realised that I had wrecked myself to the point where if I inflicted any more damage to my body, then I would not be around for my sister any more, and she needed me just as much as I needed her. But I still needed to pull her back, to keep her attention on reality. Renee thrived on pain, on brutality. It had become obvious to me around the age of sixteen, her viciousness towards others was not a way to guarantee her isolation, but a desire to see the flash of hurt in their eyes. To see the emotion fade away from their faces as they locked themselves up internally, shielding from the other verbal knives that she would inevitably hurl their way.
It was why my pain had always brought her back, until she realised that I was doing it for her when I stopped for my own self preservation.
His name was Lonnie, Lennie, something like that. A perfectly nice guy who had seen my pretty face in some bar in a town far from our home. His screams later that night brought her back for a long, long time and brought us even closer, made me finally understand the pleasure that Renee got from pain.
I knew what I had done was wrong. I knew that the blood flowing from the mangled corpse of a once handsome young man was a sight that I should never have seen, let alone have been the cause of. But like I said, I was completely reliant on Renee. The imaginary friend who I had created at some point so far in the past that I couldn’t even remember it, was the only person I could trust. The girl in my head was a part of me, she made me stronger, kept me afloat. She gave me purpose, I existed for her, to keep her safe and alive.
She was me, just like I was her.
So I fed her with blood, from so many people that I stopped bothering to try and keep track. They weren’t important. No one was. No one except Renee. My best friend.