The Third Twin

The Third Twin

By:  Crystal Lake Publishing  Completed
Language: English
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Barry Ocason, extreme sportsman and outdoor travel writer, receives a magazine in his mailbox and opens to an ad for an adventure in the Bavarian Alps. Initially dismissing the invitation, which seems to have been meant specifically for him, he soon finds himself involved in a larger plot and seeking answers to why an individual known only as the elephant man is terrorizing his family. Barry and his daughter Kristen, who survived a twin sister taken from the family at a young age, travel from Juneau, Alaska to the sinister Spider Festival in Rio Tago, Brazil, before he ultimately answers the call to Bavaria, where the puzzle begins to come together. Amid tribulation, death, madness, and institutionalization, a document emerges describing a scientist’s bloody bid to breed a theoretical “third twin,” which is believed to have the potential, through its connection with its siblings, to bridge the gulf between life and afterlife. The godlike creature that soon emerges turns out to be Barry’s own offspring, and she has dark plans for the world of her conception that neither her father nor any other mortal can stop. ©️ Crystal Lake Publishing

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20 Chapters
ONE - EGGS AND ELEPHANTS 1
ONEEGGS AND ELEPHANTS1The winter issue of Backtrails magazine appeared in my mailbox in February. Though I’d never heard of the magazine, much less subscribed to it, the following May I was on a plane for Munich answering one of its ads. It wasn’t unusual for me to respond to the call of a distant place or activity. An avid outdoorsman, I’d hiked, biked, climbed, snowboarded, skydived, even canyoned at various locations throughout the States and Eur
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2
Twelve days later we were in Brazil. O Festival da Aranha—the Spider Festival—was an all-weekend affair, so we decided to do it last. Our flight arrived in Rio de Janeiro Friday afternoon, and we spent that evening and most of Saturday enjoying Rio’s offerings. A bus would take us to Tago and the Spider Festival later Saturday afternoon, then back to Rio early Monday morning for the flight home.Rio de Janeiro was splendid, if in shambles. The remnants of its own carnival festival littered the streets, rendering it a city of motley tatters, a sad sort of vision to support a poignant atmosphere of loss. It was back to the misery of life for the residents, while the tourists that had come behind the carnival-goers seemed to linger rather than to explore. Kristin and I paid the mood of the place little heed in the beginning, eagerly
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3
Call me paranoid. Call me what you will. But this place was freakish, and never more clearly than now as I pushed through a crowd gathered around a transparent tank in which an armless and horribly burn-scarred man wearing nothing but a Speedo sat among thousands of hairy spiders that crawled over his body like a shivering coat of fleece. The onlookers squealed as the object of their delight opened his mouth, inviting one of the hairy crawlers inside. When the spider accepted the invitation, their voices grew even shriller. When the man bit into it, they lost all semblance of belonging to a civilized species.A snowboarding buddy once told me that in the Red Light back alleys of Amsterdam he had been dragged into a sex show featuring a woman with one leg ‘doing it’ with a woman with no legs. I asked him why he’d let himself be dra
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4
4The ensuing weeks would prove to be the worst of my fifty-one years of living, to include those surrounding Kathy’s murder. They began with a statement, a strange statement from Felicia’s lips, and ended in death and institutionalization. The period between was a blur of doctors, specialists, and investigators, whose paths, collectively, led essentially nowhere. Some answers were found, but only where there was the raw material to work from. The creature that had glutted himself on the slow brutalization of my family would remain the elephantine shadow upon all of our souls.Felicia’s statement came after a visit with one of the more mainstream of the above mentioned specialists, a psychiatrist who dealt speci
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5
I had one order of business to attend to before making the journey. His name: Bobby Owens. I’d no trouble spotting the young man when he came out of school the next afternoon. Coach Wells, his basketball coach and a friend of mine, had told me to look for a tall kid with younger girls draped over him. His entourage gave me the suspicious eye when I separated him from their company, but I paid them no mind as I suggested to young Mr. Groves that we take a ride. It wasn’t clear whether or not he knew who I was at this point, but he was certainly alarmed by my interest, as evidenced by the meager ‘Why?’ he managed to get out after a difficult swallow. To bring it all together for him, I threw out Dr. Whittler’s name. To this he responded more actively, glancing around to see who was looking before ducking inside the cab of my beat-up 4Runner, squeezing his backpack to his chest like a security blanket.
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Two - HALF-MAST 6
I actually felt calm during the long flight down into South America. For the first time in a while, Kristin’s condition wasn’t constantly at the forefront of my thoughts. Her ‘coming out’, triggered by a vicious nightmare, had been sustained by the decision on the part of her mother and me to refrain at all costs from mentioning anything to do with that nightmare or the whole nightmare in general in our daughter’s presence. Kristin had quietly given herself to participating in this covenant as well, which had made for strangely tranquil skies around the Ocason home for the days that had passed since then. Such that when I asked Felicia if she thought I should still go to Brazil, she said, more adamantly than the words describe: “God yes, Barry. Just don’t bring anything unhealthy back with you.”On the one hand she didn’t want to
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7
To my voiced approval, my hotel had a ‘business center’, which basically consisted of a computer and a printer perched on a desk that barely fit in the small cubicle. The internet service wasn’t the best, the load times irksomely long, but when the results for my search engine entry came up, the wait proved worth it. The very first link led to an interesting article, but when taken in context, became the unearthed Dead Sea Scrolls, a mysterious supporting document to a book built on faith or delusion.The website was a news oriented publication out of the UK. The article, dated January 24, 2009, focused on the abnormal ratio of twins to single births in a small Brazilian town. That fearsome villain of the modern era, Josef Mengele, was named in the title of the article. Strange that a name which ordinarily existed in the pages of history
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8
This time I took a taxi. Not because I didn’t want to walk, but because I didn’t want to be seen in advance. I’d no idea if she would be there, but if I was so lucky, I wanted to surprise her. I didn’t want her waiting on me, not again, flourishing that regal nonchalance as she spoke of her unnatural world and its black miracles. I wanted command, and the morning’s experience in Rio Tago—not least Investigator Pinto’s parting words, which had smacked of mortal psychopaths and investigable, mentally tractable serial offenses—hopefully would contribute to that. But I was to have more ammunition than this by the time I got there. They say cabbies can get you anything you want. Mine did that and then some, and I didn’t even have to ask.It started when I got in the taxi and didn’t quit until we were pulling up at the house.
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9
Having no desire to be caught exposed on the open road, I decided to find another route back. The most obvious option was the shoreline, assuming it was traversable. I suspected the street descended around the next hill to the vicinity of the shore, but even taking it in the opposite direction from town smacked of tempting fate, which I was sure had had enough of me today. If I needed proof of that, I’d only to look at the small gash in my arm. How I’d mustered the balls to even consider it, I don’t know, but when I’d wandered from the shop back to the gate in the rear wall, checking its lock, I’d spooked a rather large but mobile lizard perched on top of the wall, which had managed in its flight to relocate a piece of glass (like castle defender, like castle defender) that caught the edge of my forearm as it fell. Whether I would have followed through with the idea of entering the Cunhedo home was another question I’d no answer to, but I’d taken my
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10
It was over. The search for answers was finished. I could hold on to only one thing now—Kristin’s very soul. Her body had managed, amazingly, to heal its wounds without infection, but that was as far as any recuperation went. The mind cannot fathom such a husk as occupied that white room. That white, padded room. Though I experienced the fits that possessed her only once, and then just a taste, I saw the aftermath again and again. On every visit she looked the same, as if the devil himself had been inside her. And her eyes . . . god, her eyes. You have never seen such holes. I was deafened by her vast emptiness, rendered miniscule, microscopic. She was like I would imagine the true soul of a god to be, so heavy with the weight of mortal screams as to have collapsed upon itself, bringing everything within its event horizon inside with it. I could not look at her for longer than seconds at a time for fear of suffering exactly that fate. Kathy was far
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