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*Your Hand in Mine

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Shilo's Point of View

The day was windy, I remember that the most. The walk from my Psych class to World Literature was one I'd done hundreds of times that semester but this time I wasn't paying as close attention as I should have. The impact was hard enough to knock my books out of my hands and send me falling on my butt to the concrete. I looked up intending to glare at the idiot who wasn't looking where they were going. His eyes stopped me and the harsh look melted. His eyes were blue, like my own. But where as mine were as icy as a frozen lake, his were a darker blue, like the clouds during a thunderstorm. His voice startled me from my wonders about his eyes. "Are you alright? I'm so sorry, my mind was elsewhere. I'm Dennis Rafkin by the way." I must have looked like an idiot, sitting on the concrete, just staring at him. His voice, deep and soft did something to me, something a freak like me never hoped for: it made me feel safe.

Blushing, I got to my feet, dusting off my jeans as I did so. "I'm Shilo Coulter and it's my fault too, I was…distracted." In reality I was thinking of my sister Dana Newman. Lately, instead of acted like the loving, best friend of a sister she has been quiet and withdrawn. 'Ever since she interned at that plastic surgeon's office really.' I thought to myself before brushing away any more theories on the subject. Instead I turned my focus back to Dennis, realizing he hadn't offered to help me up. A thought struck me like lightning. Could he be a tactile empath or something? See the reason I'm a freak, at least according to my stepfather and the kids I grew up with, is because on top of being able to control fire, I can sense others powers, if they have any. And this guy, Dennis, certainly had some.

The air seemed to crackle between us as I stretched out my hand. My fingertips brushed his and I felt a zing of shock run through him. Was he expected something else? A negative something else? This time I bucked up the courage to ask, "What are your powers?" The question floored him, his eyes bugged out and his mouth dropped open.

Dennis's Point of View

How did this slip of a girl know what I was? I took a closer look at her, taking in her petite frame, shaggy black hair, and ice chip blue eyes. 'Beautiful.' was the word played in repeat in my head. Her look turned from inquisitive and puzzled to piss off and I realized I had been gazing at her. I mentally slapped myself and answered her earlier question. "Well I have the ability, through touch to see people's lives, the past and present. There is a downside to this trick however, I go into horrible seizures every time I touch someone, accidental or not. Except, it seems, with you." I trailed of hoping she wouldn't walk away. She didn't, instead she just tilted her head and looked at me before gripping my hand tighter. Then in her sweet voice she said words I'd longed to hear for forever. "Dennis Rafkin, we are soulmates."

6 months later

Shilo's Point of View

Everything was going wonderful for Dennis and I. We had been dating for 6 months and it has been like we've known each other our whole lives. He just gets me, in every way. We can talk about anything and we have no secrets from each other which means our relationship is so much stronger than any I've encountered. My only worry, the thing that keeps me up at night, is my half-sister Dana. She slowly seems to be sinking down into depression and I have no idea how to stop it. I have done everything I can to help her, sisterly lunch dates to talk about how she's feeling, having her set up on a date or two because she confessed she was lonely, and the whole nine yards. Nothing has worked and frankly I'm at my wits end. Even mine and Dennis's powers have done nothing. Sometimes I feel it's hopeless but as always, Dennis is at my side, ready and willing to help in any way.

One morning, in mine and Dennis's apartment, I felt the need to see my sister right away. It felt as if I were dying. I told Dennis and he ran out to hail a cab as I race after him. Shouting the address at the driver, we jumped in the back, praying we could get there in time. I was breathless when we got to Dana's apartment. My hands were shaking and I was chilled to the bone. My body, I knew, was telling me what I would find there, but I went in anyway. Dennis followed behind me as I went through the living room. "Stay here, I'm going to go check on her." I told Dennis as I when through the rooms, calling Dana's name. It was immaculate, as ever as was the kitchen with its stainless steel everything. In the bedroom, however, things had been thrown around and scattered. Her bed was rumpled as if she had tossed and turned in the night. Dread filled my heart as I approached the closed bathroom door.

My hand reached out and turned the knob, it was cool and dry to the touch but I knew that inside would be a different story. It was. The bathroom was a mess, water had slopped over the edge of the bathtub and lay stagnate on the tiled floor. The water was still running and I went to shut it off. As I turned the knob I glanced down at the water and screamed. There, in the cold water was Dana, white flesh even whiter against the ruby red slashes on her body. Without a second thought I grabbed her now lifeless form and jerked her out of the water. It was then that I really saw her body.

The water she had been in was cloudy with her blood but it was her body that appalled me. Shaking with tears I looked at my sister. Her once beautiful skin had been marred by dozens and dozens of deep, flowing cuts everywhere. Her hair was limp and ragged, like she had pulled it in indecision before plunging into the water. A glinted of metal caught my eye and reluctantly tore my gaze away from my sister's bleeding broken body. There, on the pristine tiled floor, wet with water and the edge coated in blood, was a butcher knife. Looking at its wide blade, black heavy handle, and the droplets of bloody water I longed for its cold touch on my own pliant flesh.

I bit my lip, hard enough to cause blood to drip don't my chin but I took no notice, the song of the blade was enticingly sweet, too sweet and melodic to ignore. So, even as my brain was screaming at me, begging me to call the hospital or police for Dana, I crawled on my hands and knees to the blade. Trembling, my right hand reached for it, and I felt a low hum of triumph course through me as I raise my hand and smiled at the knife, as though greeting an old friend. Crawling back to Dana, I took her in my arms, laying the knife down for a moment, I pressed my cheek to hers, rocking her as one would a baby. Tears dripped down my cheeks, mixing with the blood on my face from hold Dana so close. The voice of the blade, so sweet and dark and dangerous, called to me again and I picked it up.

This time, without another thought I cut my left arm, loving the cold kiss of the metal on my warm flesh. The blood trickled down and bathed Dana's skin in its ruby glow as I gave in to the blade again, this time making a larger, longer cut and watching, morbidly fascinated the path the liquid made going down my arm. Time lost all hold on me as I cut over and over. My only thought was that my sister, my best friend was dead and it was my fault. The next thing I know, Dennis is in the bathroom, bending down in the red tinged water and taking the knife from my hands. I grip Dana's frail form tighter and rock faster, intent on keeping her with me always.

Dennis's Point of View

I knew something was wrong when, after a few minutes I heard a scream then nothing else. I should have checked on her right then but I waited to see what else would happen. Then my arm brushed against the counter top of the bar in Dana's kitchen and I saw it all; her getting the butcher knife, filling up the tub, cutting herself beyond saving. I knew then that I needed to check on Shi. Running as if the devil was after me, I skidded to a stop at the open bathroom door. What macabre scene lay before me was one I never expected; Shilo weeping and holding Dana's body for dear life and…cutting. The red slashes on her left arm matched those on her sister's and it was then I knew what I had to do to save my soul mate. I lunged forward, my knees smacking against the tile, splashing water everywhere as I grab the knife.

As I take the blade, dripping with my love's blood, she begins to rock back and forth faster and faster, clutched her sister's broken body to her like some twisted treasure she can't bear to part with. Slowly I get up and go get the phone to call an ambulance. Once that is done I get a towel and try to staunch Shilo's bleeding. Now all that is left to do is wait.

3 days later, the funeral

Shilo's Point of View

The day after we found Dana's body, and the words 'I'm sorry' scrawled across the bathroom mirror, passed in a blur of white coats, needles, and bandages soaked through with my blood. I had to have a psychologist talk to me about what I had done and why, all the while my thoughts were back in that blood soaked bathroom and the body of my sweet sister. After being questioned, bandaged, and doped up with pain meds, they let me go home with a strict warning for Dennis to watch me. The day things were clearer, the sharp blade of grief cutting through me. The day of the funeral dawned bright and sunny, just as Dana would have wanted it. The funeral itself was beautiful, a picture of Dana happy and smiling blown up for all to see. The eulogies were touching and perfect. I was too upset and in shock to even make an attempt at a speech. But I knew in my heart Dana and everyone else knew how much I loved her.

After the funeral Dennis and I begged off from the refreshments, citing we needed to get Dana's things packed as soon as possible. Which we really did of course, the sooner the better. The apartment was just as quiet as it had been two days prior. With barely a glance toward the bedroom, we started packing up the living room and kitchen. Photos were bubble-wrapped and boxed first, then books and other such things. The kitchen went through much the same routine before we went down the hallway to the bedroom. At first the sight of the room made me shake and freeze but then I caught sight of the bed, still rumpled. This time, instead of sleepless tossing and turning, I thought of sex. My breath quickened and I turned and kissed Dennis wildly. It took him a second but when he responded it was like fireworks. Walking us backward, I stopped when my knees hit the bed. Skin on skin and roving, loving touches were all either of us knew for awhile as we were lost in love.

Later however, as we surfaced from our haze of pleasure I remembered why we were there in the first place. "Dennis baby we need to get dressed and pack the rest of Dana's things." I said, nudging him before doing just that. After going through her closet and dresser drawers, boxing some clothes and keep a few I thought looked good and would fit me, I decided to start in on her desk. The desk was oak, heavy and ornate dark wood with silver handles and knobs. The first couple drawers were small and held nothing more than a few bills and scraps of paper. Then I reached the last drawer, it was bigger than the others and looked like it had something important within. Closing my eyes, I opened it. Dennis's gasp of surprise made me open my eyes and look down into the drawer. Inside was a thick manila folder and an envelope with my name in Dana's handwriting.

I stared at the objects, scared to know if it was what I thought it was. "You'll never know if you don't open the letter and look in the folder." Dennis said, his hand rubbing my back gently, giving me courage. I nod once and reach in to get the envelope first. I sit on the floor, leaning against the desk as I tear it open.


First off I love you so, so much and if you are reading this then I am finally free of all my hurt and pain. I am sad that I'm leaving you behind but I know without a doubt Dennis will take great care of you. Don't mourn me too long little sister, you have the world at your fingertips so seize it. Learn and live and grow, but most importantly love. Now if you have noticed the file, which I'm sure you have, then yes it is just what you are thinking it is. I can almost picture your amazement and the tears in your eyes. Anyway I finally, after months of tirelessly research, found the answer to your question, the one you've asked since you could talk. I sincerely hope this doesn't disappoint you, that I haven't disappointed you with what you learn. I tried my best to tell you all the facts about him in such a way that you won't hate or be disgusted with him. But only you can decide that. Look into your heart little sister, as you read the folder, and see him for him, not what he did before or after. That's all I ask.

I love you,


The tears froze on my face as shock became my main emotion and with trepidation I grabbed the file and before I could stop myself, opened it. A black and white photo of a young man was off to the left side of the paper, his details written out beside. Eagerly I drank in the sight of my father, one Ryan Kuhn. His eyes, I could tell from the picture were bright like mine but on closer inspection I could see the barest hint of brown around one iris. His hair, as done in the style of the day, was pulled back in a black ribbon. It was inky black and straight, just like mine. The sharp jut of his cheekbones made him look sickly and I could see the deranged gleam in his eyes. His lips were thin and pursed as if he was always angry. I turned my attention to the details on the right side of the paper. He was only 25 when he died; he turned himself in at 21, in 1908. It amazed me to think my father died the year the Titanic sank, 1912.

The asylum he was in was situated in Borehamwood, in the Whitechapel District of London, hence the name. But that wasn't what I was after in terms of knowledge. Flipping through the papers, I lit upon what I wanted, the reason he had turned himself in. My eyes zipped back and forth as I read. 'Patient admits to raping and killing women and wants to rid himself of the dangerous urge.' One part said. Then I flipped over a few more pages. 'Patient attacked and clawed at a nurse. Straitjacket administered.' Further down it read: 'Straitjacket torn and ripped, trying the padded cell and head cage.' I continued reading, finding out that when the padded cell didn't work they tossed him in the basement in a wing of the asylum where he lived out the rest of his days as no more that a dangerous animal until the fire.

Sighing and gently putting the file down I decided to tell Dennis what I did when I went out. "Dennis there something you should know, my father wasn't the only killer in the family. I am called The Black Rose." Taking Dennis's hands in mine I stroke the skin of them with my thumbs and look at him, knowing what I will find in his blue gaze. There is a small spark of fear but the majority is determination and love. To soothe that inkling of fear, I say "I have never killed an innocent person; I would never, ever harm you in any way. I promise you that Dennis. I love you too much to even think of it." With that I let go of his hands and stand up, walking out of the room. Before I leave I turn to him. "I'm going out for a bit, I need to take this all in. I'll be back at our apartment soon."

Dennis's Point of View

I was shocked when Shilo, the woman I gave myself heart and soul to, told me just who she was. It some way I should have known when we found how about her father but a part of me didn't want to believe it. So, against my better judgment here I am at our apartment waiting on her. I don't have to wait more than five more minutes when the door opens. I'm greeted by the sight of a blood-flecked Shilo, her petite frame stiff with an eerie air of satisfaction. Then she says, in a soft whisper, "I did something bad."