Monday, December 3, 2012

Gathering Clues

Hi everyone, this is Clare. After our discovery that our old nemesis group may be responsible for poisoning Summer, we spent quite a bit of time debating what we ought to do. In the end, we decided that for the moment, it was probably best to do nothing.

All we really had were suspicions and one piece of circumstantial evidence. There were clues pointing away from the suspects too, though. For instance, as Inna pointed out, there was no obvious motive; in fact, the Elders would seem to be acting against their own best interests if they had done it. Then there's the fact that Summer was poisoned at school - i.e. during the day. It was cloudy and snowy that day, so it may have been safe for vampires to go outside without burning to a crisp, but we aren't certain it would have been. 

Also, the Elders themselves aren't exactly... um... the most normal-looking group of people. They tend to go for the more Dracula-style vampire dress, and they're so old and out of touch that they couldn't really fake modern fashion even if they don't physically look their age. When they were active, they would generally send more conventional-looking lackeys to do their dirty work when humans might see, and used a network of spies to keep an eye on the outside world. Now that they've lost their power, though, the Elders have also lost most of their workforce. Caped and fanged figures lurking around like giant bats would probably attract attention at the local middle school... but no one noticed anything suspicious.

So all this to say, even we weren't sure. Accusing fellow members of the vampire council of a crime like this would really destabilize things. It could be the end of the council if people started taking sides. It could even lead to an all-out vampire war. 

That doesn't mean that we're going to let someone get away with hurting Summer, of course... but it does mean that when we make a case, it has to be so solid that no reasonable council member would be able to accuse us of treachery or using the council for our own gain.

There was a council meeting scheduled for Saturday. Summer is recovering at home (she was released from the hospital on Friday) but we decided that under the circumstances, it would be best if the vampire members of the family went to the meeting anyway. Maybe there would be clues. Maybe the Elders would be acting suspicious, or would somehow let slip another clue if they'd done it. We also didn't want to tip our own hand that we might have figured something out by staying away.

The Elders were not acting suspicious. Or at least, they weren't acting differently from their baseline weird behaviour. There are three of them left, and as usual one was friendly and pleasant to us, one was sullen and petulant, and the other was looking silently murderous. In other words, exactly how they've been for the past almost-year. If they knew something was up, they weren't giving any sign at all. These are... not vampires known for their subtlety, to put it mildly. They were big bullies back in their day, but they've never been great actors. I started to seriously share Inna's doubts.

My doubts only increased when I noticed that a handful of other members of the council were acting... the only way I can describe it is to say they were acting expectant. Whenever there was a break in council business, someone would glance over at us to see if we had something to say next. That's actually pretty typical, because we organized the council so we're kind of treated as leaders sometimes... except that they were trying to hide it for some reason. They were trying not to let us notice they were waiting for us to do something.

I scribbled a note on a scrap of paper, and slipped it to Marie-Grace. She nodded slightly, and passed it to Cécile, who then passed it to Tabitha. I didn't want to let too much slip, in case someone else got hold of it, so the note just said "framed?"

In other words, I was starting to suspect that someone else did the poisoning, and wanted us to think the Elders were responsible. I wasn't sure which of the councilors just knew about it, and which had actually been responsible, but I was starting to think none of the remaining three Elders had anything to do with it at all.

Suddenly, the motive made a lot more sense. The culprit was trying to destabilize the council by getting us to accuse our known enemies, so it would look like the result of a grudge. Proof of the Elders' non-involvement would be "discovered" and offered, and then the council members would be forced to take sides.

We weren't falling for it. We just sat silently, watching. Finally, one of the ones who had been waiting for us to talk asked directly if we had any business to put before the council. He definitely looked surprised for a split second - then he managed to hide it - when Marie-Grace smiled cheerfully and said no.

Between now and the next council meeting, we need to figure out who did this, and make sure we can prove it. Whoever did this seems willing to be patient and let things play out, but he or she probably won't wait forever if nothing comes of it. We don't want to give the person the opportunity to try again.


P.S. No news about Marigold, unfortunately. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

There Conclusions Were

Giles: Yes, let's not jump to any conclusions.

Buffy: I didn't jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.

-Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Phases"

So, when last we spoke, we'd just found out that Summer had been poisoned, and then Marigold had left for reasons unknown.

Summer is doing a lot better now. Doctor M says she can probably go home Thursday or Friday unless she takes an unexpected turn for the worse.

Marigold is still gone. It's late now, and was snowing. We're worried about her. And frankly, we don't know what to think. We don't think she had anything to do with the poisoning - she loves Summer and wouldn't hurt her - but we're afraid she'll think we blame her for it. Maybe that's why she ran. It's dangerous out there, though, and we miss her.

When Doctor M had relayed the news about Summer and then left to continue her rounds, we all took a moment to absorb it. Then Gia quietly spoke up. "I don't mean to leap to conclusions," she said.

We all looked over at her. Although we weren't planning to leap, we were interested to see what conclusions she might think could potentially be leaped to.

"The doctor said it was Nerium poisoning," Gia went on hesitantly. "What people usually refer to as oleander."

"I don't think that grows in Upstate New York," Felicity said.

Gia nodded that Felicity was right. "It requires a warmer climate. I learned about it as a child; in my home country we used the flowers at funerals, and in the past it was sometimes used to poison rats. But my childhood memories aren't what I meant about leaping to conclusions. What I meant was... it was the favourite poison used by The Elders, when they needed to get rid of someone in a way that didn't scream that they were vampires."

We exchanged another look, this time of the concerned and uncomfortable variety.

The Elders were our enemies for months, and they seriously made us worry for our lives. Eventually we had to confront them, and we won with the help of an army of fairy folk. Only three Elders are left, and they agreed to make peace with us under terms we set. They weren't too happy about it, and we assume still aren't. (Gia's on our side now, but she knows stuff about them because she used to work for them.)

"There's one thing I don't understand," Inna finally said. "I wouldn't put it past them from a moral standpoint. If it was really them, though, what do they hope to gain by it? I don't see a logical motive."

"To kill Summer," Molly replied immediately.

"Alright," Inna said doubtfully. "But how does killing Summer actually benefit them? She's only one person in an exceptionally strong family. There are only three Elders left. Killing Summer wouldn't even the odds significantly, and attacking any of us would break their truce with us. They'd trigger another battle that they're in no position to win. Why would they do that?"

Why indeed? The Elders have an understandable grudge against all of us, but as far as I know they had nothing against Summer in particular. Why would they risk reigniting a conflict that they agreed to end because they knew they would inevitably lose? The remaining Elders joined our vampire council, so we know pretty well what they're doing and how strong they are - their current position isn't noticeably better than when we defeated them. So how does this make sense?

It's too early for accusations. We need to think this through more, and try to get more information. In the meantime, we're taking turns staying with Summer and going out to look for Marigold.

Marigold, if you're reading this, we don't think you did it. Please come home! It is your home now, if you want it to be, no matter what secrets you're hiding.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

And then came the really bizarre part(s)...

Hi, this is Bree again. Summer is still in the hospital, but she's doing a lot better. The doctors figured out what was wrong, but that's not where the story of today really started, so I'm going to begin at the beginning.

As I mentioned yesterday, Summer had to stay overnight in the hospital while the doctors ran tests. Early this morning, her adoption records and birth certificate were delivered, so we could start tracking down her genetic family's medical history. When Maia opened the packet, the first thing on top was Summer's birth certificate.

That was when the first weird thing of the day happened... although it would seem minor compared to what came later. Evelyn said she was hungry, and Marigold offered to take her to the cafeteria to get a snack. Now, the weird part was not that Ev needed to eat - her school normally has a morning snack time, so that's part of her routine - or that Marigold did something helpful. What was weird was that Marigold didn't seem at all interested in the documents and volunteered to go somewhere else without seeing them first.

I mean, yeah, it was Summer's birth certificate, not her own - but they're twins, so most of the information would be the same. Marigold could find out a lot about her birth and her biological family just from asking to see the papers that came today, and the adults would have let her. If it had been me, I would have been dying of curiosity. Marigold didn't even seem to want a look at the records. I guess everyone is different, though, and I figured maybe she just wasn't ready to find out those things yet, so I let it go without saying anything.

Tabitha glanced over Maia's shoulder, and said, "This has been changed."

Maia frowned. "It's supposed to be the original," she said doubtfully, but followed where Tabitha was pointing. It was only one line, carefully covered with a tiny section of the same kind of paper and typed over, barely noticeable. It blended in so well that I think it took Tabitha's vampire eyesight to spot it.

"That's strange," Maia said. "Why would they alter that part?"

Where the birth certificate had been changed wasn't Summer's name, or the names of her parents, or where and when she'd been born. It was where the type of birth was recorded, the part that said it was twins. Maia carefully scraped off the extra with her fingernail, and underneath, it said "single live birth" - not twins.

"Strange," Maia said again. "I wonder if they made a mistake and had to correct it?"

That didn't explain why they wouldn't just print out a new one when they first caught the error, though, instead of changing it. (When Blakeney's cousin was born, the birth certificate had accidentally reversed the mother's name and the baby's name; a replacement was issued with the correct names. That seems more standard than trying to fix it by gluing on more paper.) It also didn't explain why the unedited version of Summer's birth certificate said she didn't have a twin. It seemed like a weird mistake to make. 

Marigold came back with Ev then, and we all looked a little guilty, like we'd been doing something wrong. In a strange way, it felt like we were spying on Marigold, even if that didn't make sense.

Before we had a chance to say anything - whether it would have been a true explanation or an excuse, I'm still not sure - the doctor came back.

"I see you got those records I asked for," Doctor M said. "It turns out we aren't going to need them, though. What Summer is suffering from isn't hereditary. We got back the screens for some of the more unusual toxins, and it turns out she's suffering from poisoning."

Doctor M went on to explain that this didn't necessarily mean someone had poisoned Summer deliberately; it might have been an accident. She told us that Summer would recover and be fine as long as there wasn't a repeat exposure. We were all relieved - except Summer herself, because she'd slept through the whole thing. The doctor went on about what Summer had been poisoned with and the treatments they were doing... but I admit I was only half paying attention, because I noticed something else at that moment.

At some point during the conversation, Marigold had slipped away. She was gone.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bad, Scary Day

Hi, this is Bree. Something scary happened today. I was at school, in my second class of the day - English, and I'd already read the book, so I was kind of daydreaming - when the school secretary knocked on the door and said the principal needed to talk to me. Everyone started laughing about Bree being in trouble, but then the secretary said it was a family emergency; the other kids got quiet, and I was suddenly really terrified. My legs felt like lead as I walked to the principal's office.

The principal told me that Summer had collapsed at school. The ambulance took her to the hospital. When the paramedics got there, she was still unconscious. They didn't know what was wrong - they still don't - and they were worried because she didn't wake up right away. Marigold was with Summer when she collapsed, and was upset, to put it mildly. She was beside herself.

I'm posting this from the hospital. Summer is awake now, but she's still pretty groggy. She has to stay overnight while they run some tests, because the doctors still don't know what's wrong. Earlier in the afternoon, she started getting short of breath and her heartbeat was irregular. She's better now, but they need to figure out what this is before they let her go home.

The doctor asked us about family medical history, but because Summer is adopted, we didn't know very many of the answers. We don't know what diseases run in her genetic family. The doctor said that if possible, we needed to find out.

Summer was born in a province where adopted people can get their adoption records and original birth certificates when they turn eighteen. (Believe it or not, in some places those records are sealed forever, and adopted people can never know their genetic history, so Summer is lucky about that.) Because of the situation, we applied for a medical exception to get that paperwork right away. Even though she's only twelve, this information might save her life. The exception was granted, and we're waiting for the information to get couriered here. Hopefully it'll help.

It also may shed light on the Marigold situation. At the moment, though, we're mostly worried about Summer.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

What Hasn't Happened

Hi, this is Summer. Sorry it’s been so long since we’ve written. We had some problems with our internet, and then things got really busy for our family, especially Blakeney. Life has been going pretty well for us in the meantime. We’ve settled into our new school, and we’re making new friends. It didn’t take long before we were back into our activities, either.

Here’s what hasn’t happened, though. Marigold hasn’t gone home. In a way, that’s a good thing. No… I shouldn’t even say “in a way.” It’s been wonderful having her here and getting to know her. She gets along really well with all of us, and she fits right in. It seems like she belongs here. Sometimes it’s hard to remember she’s a guest.

And that’s the weird part. We thought she was just coming for a visit, but she’s been here for three months. No explanation, no estimated time of departure, and apparently her parents aren’t concerned.

When she first got here, she didn’t bother about calling home. Finally, the adults insisted she had to give them a phone number so they could talk to her parents; we’re all happy to have her here, but Inna pointed out that we could get in major trouble if we kept her here and her parents didn’t know where she was. Marigold procrastinated as long as she could get away with it, but finally she gave Blakeney a number.

Every time one of the adults tried calling, the phone on the other end would just ring and ring. No one ever picked up, and it never went to voicemail. For a few days, they thought they were just calling at inconvenient times, but as more time went by and there was never an answer, the adults started to get worried again. Marigold just shrugged and said that clearly her folks weren’t stressed about the situation. But obviously, Blakeney, Inna, Maia, and Gia weren’t convinced.

School started. We knew Marigold was supposed to be homeschooled this year, and she said her parents would be fine with her just going to school with me. The grownups just exchanged a look. Homeschooling is one thing – several of the kids in our family are homeschooled – but generally the parents would want to have some input in terms of what their kid was learning. Homeschooling is very different from the kid just going to some random school, know what I mean?

Finally, the adults decided that they just weren’t going to get anything out of Marigold, and they were going to have to get some answers themselves. It was awkward going behind her back, but how else were we ever going to figure out what’s going on?

While the rest of the girls in our family were in school, Blakeney, Inna, Kirsten, and Bree – they had the day off – drove up to Ontario. They figured that if they couldn’t get Marigold’s parents on the phone, they would have to go to the address and talk to them in person. When they got to Toronto, they had no problem finding where Marigold had told us she lived… but there was no house there.

It wasn’t like that time we went to visit Cécile and Marie-Grace, and found the house they’d been living in had just been burned down. This was a vacant lot. There had been nothing standing there for a long time. There were just a few foundation stones overgrown with waist-high weeds. There was no way Marigold and her parents had been living in a house here as of August.

Bree wondered if maybe they were homeless, and they’d been living in the lot but Marigold was too embarrassed to say anything about that part. There was no sign of anyone camping there, either, but we figured maybe they’d already moved on. We asked around, but everyone in the neighbourhood told us that no one had been staying in the vacant lot for years, homeless or otherwise. So that didn’t turn out to be it, either.

After that trip to Ontario, we’re even more confused than we were before. We’re not quite sure what to do. If this were a normal situation, we would have called the police a long time ago and let them sort it out… but as you recall, we aren’t normal. Marigold is one of the fairy folk. She still hasn’t admitted that, but we can tell. Involving the human police isn’t likely to help.

We’re not sure if we should confront Marigold – she’ll probably just make more excuses if we tell her what we found. I’m not sure how to find out more if she won’t tell us. I hate having to be suspicious of my own twin. The truth is, though, I don’t really know her all that well, even though we’re biological sisters.

We’re happy to have her here. As long as she wants to stay, she can. We’re worried about her, though. We need to figure out what’s going on.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Questioning the Sister

Hi, this is Summer again. I know you've been waiting for an update on the strange situation with my twin sister showing up out of nowhere after disappearing for awhile. And I know I should really have been asking her questions. I know you guys want to know... and I realize that we need to know.

To be honest, though, I've been putting off asking those questions, like where she went, or how she got here, or how she knew where to find us, or why she isn't contacting her parents. I was scared to ask. I was afraid she'd disappear again, like she did the last time I questioned her. I'd rather know nothing than lose her. So I didn't ask.

The adults weren't quite so relaxed about it, though. They gave her a night to settle in before pushing the issue, but then Blakeney said Marigold had to call her parents and let them know she was alright, because if they thought we'd kidnapped her than we'd be in big trouble. Marigold said okay, but then Blakeney said that one of the adults needed to talk to them too, and then Marigold didn't seem quite so happy about the whole thing. She put it off for several hours, and then when she finally called, it just rang and rang and no one picked up. We've tried calling them many more times since then, but no one ever answers.

Obviously we're starting to get both worried and a little suspicious about what's going on.

Inna took Marigold aside and asked her if anything bad was happening at home. If someone was hurting Marigold or mistreating her, she needed to say something, and we would make sure she was safe and got help. Inna promised not to do anything that would put Marigold in danger, and not to say anything to anyone who might harm her... but Marigold just smiled and said again that nothing was wrong.

Marigold has been cheerful most of the time, and we're having fun. She and Kaya have been comparing modern dance moves, and they tried to teach the rest of us - hilarity ensued. Marigold has even been hitting it off with Kiwi, which is good, because I was afraid Kiwi would be jealous again. Instead, they're out turning cartwheels together in the yard.

We're not sure what to do, though. We're happy to have Marigold stay here as long as wants. She can even move in, according to the adults - but it's hard when everything is so secret. I hope that soon she can open up.

There's something else weird, too. Bree, Inna, Fiona, and Senara all get the sense that Marigold has some kind of fairy ancestry. But... she's my twin! How is that possible when I don't? Very weird...


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On Our Doorstep

Hi everyone, this is Summer. Sorry it's been so long since we've posted. We planned to keep writing while we were in the process of moving, but it just didn't work out as we'd expected. Our plans to go to North Carolina fell through, so things changed at the last minute and we're living in Western NY. Our whole family is still living together, fortunately. No one was left behind, including pets. Inna and Maia have settled into new jobs - Maia is teaching again, and Inna is working at an art museum - and us girls are getting ready to start school soon. Blakeney is still job hunting but feeling optimistic.

We'd been procrastinating posting because we had so much else to do, but something big happened that I wanted to tell you about.

This afternoon, we heard a knock at the front door, and I went to answer it. I almost passed out when I saw Marigold standing on the doorstep.

As you may recall, Marigold suddenly dropped out of contact, and we had no way to reach her. First we thought maybe it was just a miscommunication, and then we were really worried... and then we just kind of accepted that we would probably never know. But then she showed up out of nowhere!

"Hi!" she said cheerfully, like nothing was amiss. Like she hadn't disappeared for over a month and left us worried sick. 

I tried to act cool about it, but I couldn't manage it. I'd been afraid that either I'd lost contact with my twin biological sister forever, or that something terrible had happened to her. I gave her a huge hug because I was so relieved.

"How did you get here?" I babbled, looking around for a taxi and not seeing one. "Can I help you carry your luggage inside?"

"I don't have any luggage," Marigold said. "I'm so excited to see you!"

I was surprised. She'd come all this way with just the clothes on her back? She wasn't even carrying a purse.  I guess the trip was just really spur of the moment.

"I'm happy to see you, too!" I said sincerely. "Do you need to call your parents and let them know you got here safely?"

She shook her head. "I'll call them later," she said rather vaguely. 

I guess it was a little weird, but I was so happy and relieved that I didn't care.

Then a little while later, I remembered I'd never given her our new address, because I haven't talked to her since all our plans changed.

Not that I mind, but... how did she get here? 


P.S. Here are some pictures of Marigold I took when she arrived, and a couple with me. We don't look very much like twins, huh? But we're fraternal, and Inna says she sees a resemblance in our faces. Maybe other people will see that too?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Hello, everyone. This is Josefina. I haven't written a blog entry in awhile - you guys may have forgotten about me. ;-)

We wanted to let you know that next month, we're going to be moving. We're going to be leaving Newfoundland and heading to the southern United States. In some ways this was a really tough decision for our family, but we think it's going to be for the best.

We still plan to blog in our new home! However, there may be a delay in getting any posts done when we're busy with moving our household and getting everything set up on the other end.

In the meantime, we'll still be around. We just wanted to give you some advance warning, so we aren't springing this on our friends. :-)


Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Disappearing Twin

Hi, this is Summer again. You're going to be sick of hearing from me, but there are new developments in my twin saga. Well, actually... the new development is sort of a lack of a development. I should back up, though.

A couple of days ago, Marigold told me she wanted to come visit. She was pretty vague about some things, though... like when she was coming, or how she was getting here, or what her parents had to say about the whole thing. We hadn't really resolved anything when she said she had to go, but I figured I'd just talk to her about it the next time we chatted.

There hasn't been a next time. I haven't heard anything from Marigold since that conversation. She hasn't been online or answered e-mails. I've tried phoning her, but it always goes to voicemail. I'm starting to get really worried!

I'm not sure what I can do about it, though. She lives really far away. I don't know her street address, or her parents' first names. All I know is her surname and that she lives in Toronto - but it's a pretty common name, and there are dozens of families in the phone listings. I don't want to bug her, but I don't know if she's alright or not, and I don't know how to find out.

In other news, Inna has been hearing rumours that the group of fair folk (fairies) we rescued Senara from - we found out that they call themselves the Stonecrown Court, after our rocky landscape  - are really upset at us, and are planning to do something to get back at us. This... isn't really a big surprise. We actually kind of figured. Maybe we should be more scared, but this was kind of just the expected result.

This isn't the first time we've had powerful supernatural creatures after us. I'm honestly more worried about Marigold.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Visit News

Hi everyone! This is Summer. Ever since I found out that I have a twin sister, I've been e-mailing Marigold and talking to her on the phone. Today, we were chatting online and she suddenly asked me, "Would it be okay if I come to visit?"

I was a little bit surprised, because we'd already talked about meeting and it was something we both really wanted to do. It seemed odd that she was asking me again. "Of course," I replied. "Like I said."

She typed back, "No, I mean, can I come visit right away?"

This startled me, but I replied, "Yeah, I'd like that."

"Great, I'll see you soon!" she told me.

Then there was a pause. Um... I was excited to see her. But I need a bit more information than that!

"Are you coming with your parents?" I typed.

"Nope, just me," Marigold replied immediately.

That seemed... unusual. We're only twelve! I know kids our age fly alone all the time, but not usually halfway across the country to stay with people they've never met! Yeah, she's my twin, but her parents have never even talked to our guardians.

"Your parents are going to let you?" I asked doubtfully.

"Sure, they don't mind," Marigold replied, again really fast.

I don't mean to judge, but that seems kind of irresponsible of them. Marigold hasn't ever told me much detail about the parents who adopted her, but what little she did say seemed positive. Would they really not care?

"I think Inna and Maia will want to talk to them," I told her, trying to be diplomatic.

"Okay," Marigold typed. "I'll have them phone."

Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't seem like she was exactly rushing to get everyone talking. I didn't see any point pushing it, though, so I just asked, "When do you think you'll be coming?"

"I don't know. Soon. Oops, got to go! Love you, Summer!"

I barely had time to type back "I love you too" before she went offline.

Now, please don't get me wrong - I'm really, really excited to meet Marigold. Something about this visit seems really weird, though. I hope everything is going to be okay. I hope she really comes... but that nothing bad is going on, too!