Prologue - Two Halves of a WholeMature

Identical twins, Aiden and Austen, are separated in 1963 at the age of three by two despicable acts of cruelty. Now Paul and Jake, they are brought up in two very different home environments which plays a role in the decisions they make as adults. Their lives are on a collision course, and each will make a sacrifice for the other, even though it may cost them dearly.

Glacier Court was a dump. That was the only way to describe the run-down community of apartments and townhouses in the City of Sawyer. Built in the early forties by Jupiter Cannery, the once well-maintained complex housed the factory employees and their families. In 1955, an explosion leveled the plant, killing dozens of third shift workers and displacing those who survived. Unable to recover financially, the owners abandoned the property, allowing it to fall into a pitiful state of disrepair. Many of those now living here do so out of necessity; they are the people polite society ignores. Helena Laskaris might have been the only one who did not care about the deplorable conditions as long as she had her drugs and alcohol for comfort.

***

Helena sat at the kitchen table smoking her first cigarette of the day. In front of her, a large mug of coffee topped off with a generous amount of vodka. She stared at the window as if in a trance until she heard the heavy footsteps of Ray Bachman, her common-law husband.

“Helena, I’m leaving ten dollars on the counter, make sure it’s used to buy food and milk for the boys. The grocery store closes before I clock out of my second job, so promise me you will do it today.”

She brushed him off with a wave of her hand. “Yeah, right, whatever you say, Ray. I’ll take care of it when I’m good and ready.”

He walked over to her, grabbed her upper arm, and pulled her out of the chair. At six- feet-three, he towered over her five-foot-two, one-hundred-pound frame.

“I mean it, you better not blow that money on any stinking booze; those boys need proper nourishment.”

She shrugged out of his grip. “Get your hands off me, Bozo. Why don’t you just piss off and die somewhere.”

 

Austen and Aiden, identical three-year-old twins rushed into the kitchen for their morning hugs from Ray. They loved spending time with their dad but avoided Helena, choosing the refuge of their dingy bedroom over her company. “Can we go with you?” Aiden asked.

“Yeah, why don’t you take them and forget to bring them back,” Helena’s laughter came out as a cackle.

The scared boys clung to their daddy.

“For the love of God, woman, they’re your own flesh and blood.”

“Thanks to the son-of-a-bitch who knocked me up. I gave birth to them; I’m not required to care about them.”

He crouched down, enveloping them with his muscular arms. “You boys have a good day; I will see you tonight.” He ruffled the jet-black hair on their heads and kissed each one before leaving the apartment. “Go have your breakfast.”

The children sat down at the table. Helena dropped a bowl of dry cereal in front of each boy and then lit another cigarette, blowing the smoke in Austen’s face.

“Eat your cornflakes and don’t bother me.”

“Can we have milk on it, Mommy?” Aiden, the more outspoken of the twins, dared to ask.

“Shut up you little brat,” she yelled at him, causing both boys to jump. “Be happy I gave you anything at all, you ungrateful bastards. You two are sucking the life right out of me. I should have tossed you both in the dumpster instead of bringing your whiny asses’ home.” She then leaned over Aiden’s bowl and spit in it. “There, now it’s not dry.”

The End

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