Once upon a time, in a world where being yourself mattered a great deal, a pair of identical twin sisters named Anne and Sally were admiring their faces in the mirror before getting ready to go to school. Both girls had blonde hair that reached well past their shoulders and they both had blue eyes with matching freckles on each of their cheeks. No one except their parents could tell them apart and, even then, there were occasions where the girls managed to trick them if only for a few seconds. Of course, the girls used the fact that they looked identical to their full advantage. At least they used to, anyway. Right able until the day the girls forgot who they were.
Something that people never really thought about was how vastly different the girls were on the inside. Anne was very good at mathematics and working with numbers, while Sally was great with arts and drama, always taking her characters very seriously and practising until she felt like she was living their lives. Both girls, however, performed exceptionally well at school. This was entirely by the girls’ design as they decided in grade three that they should play to their strengths and only attend the school subjects that they liked. Anne, therefore, had not participated in an art or drama lesson in the past four years, nor had Sally had to deal with the trials and tribulations associated with navigating the confusing world of addition and multiplication.
Because it appeared people were so easily tricked, the girls enforced two strict rules about when and how they could trick people. They were never allowed to trick each other and they were never allowed to be mean or hurt other people in the process. These rules made sure that they always enjoyed their pranks, but this didn’t mean that the girls were still able to predict how much of an impact their jokes could have.
One afternoon, the twins decided that they would try and plan their ultimate prank. The original idea was Anne’s, though Sally eventually contributed enough to the plan so that it was no longer recognisable and could, therefore, be classed as their plan. The premise was simple enough: Meet someone new, become friends with them and then spook them into thinking that they were seeing two versions of the same person. A new boy in Sally’s class, Cain, seemed like the perfect target.
Sally and Cain had been paired together for a drama performance. They had five days to write a scene and perform it in front of their class. It involved a part where Sally came out from behind a screen to tap Cain on the shoulder to get his attention. The plan was for Sally to walk out during their final rehearsal, tap Cain on the shoulder so he would turn around, then for Anne to step out from the other side of the stage and touch Cain on the shoulder again. Cain would turn around and see “Anne” staring back at him. The genius of the plan was in its simplicity, even if the girls thought so themselves.
Cain and Sally spent their lunchtimes practising, while Anne kept a low profile by heading off to the library each play break. The girls rehearsed the scene at home, making sure Anne knew precisely when to come out. They could hardly contain their excitement when the day of their prank finally arrived, but they remained patient and calm, acting as if everything was normal. During their final lunchtime rehearsal, Cain spoke his lines without missing a beat. Sally used this as her cue. She walked out on to the stage, tapped Cain on the shoulder and, remaining in character, he turned around. Except it wasn’t Cain. It was someone she didn’t recognise. Sally jumped back and asked who he was. The boy who should be Cain asked what she meant and wondered why she wasn’t still rehearsing the play.
“You’re not Cain!” Sally exclaimed.
“And you’re not Sally,” the actor responded. “We’re just acting. But you knew that, right?”
Sally ran behind the screen looking for Anne but she was nowhere to be seen. Her sister wouldn’t be tricking her so how could she abandon her at a time like this?
“Where’s Cain?” Sally asked in a panic.
“Well, he’s meant to be turning around to greet his long-lost friend but you’ve broken character and gone all weird, Anne.”
“Wait. What did you just call me?” Sally asked as she took a step backwards.
“I called you, Anne. Is everything O.K? Maybe we should take a break.”
Sally looked at the actor who should be Cain and asked him his name. “Look, Anne, I’m not sure what’s going on, but it’s best if we have a break for the day. Everything will be back to normal tomorrow, I know it will.” The actor walked off the stage and back out into the schoolyard.
“I don’t want you to go!” Sally exclaimed. Confused and upset, Sally fell down on to her knees and started to sob loudly.
The curtain closed, and her classmates stood up to give the pair a standing ovation.
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