1 a: perception of objects with no reality usually arising from disorder of the nervous system or in response to drugs (such as LSD) b: the object so perceived
2: an unfounded or mistaken impression or notion: DELUSION
Merriam Webster's, 1998
Darkness settled over Rosace Park. Stars began to flicker one by one and the full moon cast an eerie glow over the neatly trimmed grass. A slight wind made the playground swings sway and the colourful equipment whine metallically. There was a silence which can only be heard during the night, that silence which seems mysterious and expectant, behind the chirping crickets and hooting night birds. Somewhere past the trees, the sound of a car passed, getting fainter and fainter, leaving the still air in an even quieter quiet. It was late September and the air was crisp, though not yet the cold of early October. A hint of summer still rested in the air, struggling feebly to stay alive.
Mrs Switch was not a reckless person. She was rational and sturdy. However, she found herself, on that particular September evening, in that very park with nothing but the wind as her company. Perhaps it was the dull drone of her life, or the yelling, the tears, which could have been heard earlier that night. Whatever the reason, she was regretting her hasty decision to leave the four walls of her home. Fear was gathering in her stomach like a heavy stone. Every small sound seemed fraught with menace, every shadow a looming monster.
Had Samantha not left her home that night, there would be no story to tell; which might have been for the better. As it was, she did leave her home, to wander in the unknown darkness pressing in on all sides. It was a strange thing, indeed, that she awoke the next morning in her bed, with no recollection of how or when she had gotten home. Her hair was sticky and tangled and her makeup was smeared down her cheeks, though she was wearing her nightgown which bulged under the thin covers, heavy with a child.
Mr. Switch had left for work early, avoiding his young wife and their conflicts. They had wed for their child, conceived by two young people not ready for the responsibility their carelessness had left them. Samantha absently rubbed her belly, struggling to remember everything from the previous night. She noticed her belly had grown since she'd last done this. Nearing the end of her sixth month pregnant, the child was kicking and her clothes fit less and less each passing day. Her thoughts strayed to her unborn child, as they so often did. She pictured a young boy, with large blue eyes and dimpled cheeks, that she would dress in lemon yellow, baby blue, and lime green shirts and tiny overalls. Her naive mind believed that even though her relationship with her husband was strained, the baby would never suffer what she had with her parents. How was she to know what the future really held?
One cold night, in the depth of winter, Samantha Switch lay in the hospital. Her breathing was laboured as she was, in fact, in labour. It was a small hospital and the only light for miles was coming from the small room on the second floor where Samantha lay at this very moment. Mr Switch was pacing the floor of the waiting room, nervously biting his lip while her screams echoed through the deserted hallway. The wind beat upon the lightened window and a chilly draught blew through the place, but Samantha was feverish and covered in sweat.
Finally, panting and relieved, Mrs Switch gave birth to one healthy baby boy. She died immediately afterwards, from complications. However, before her husband was even aware of the matter, the doctor realized that another child lay in her still body. Had he not made this discovery in time, the little Switch would have died along with her mother, and the world would have continued along without her.
She was extremely premature, unlike her twin, and the first ten minutes after they pulled her out were spent coaxing her to breathe properly. Side by side, the Switch twins were as unlike as any babies could be. The boy's flesh was a plump pink, warm and soft. The girl's, cold and clammy, had bones jutting out and a slight grey colouring. He was smiling and giggling, his brown eyes crinkled in laughter. Hers were wide, almost sorrowful, and the brightest, most stormy grey.
As the nurse gazed upon the children, she thought the girl's expression most peculiar. Where her brother looked normal, a carefree, ignorant baby, the nurse saw a kind of understanding in her little eyes, an impossible kind of intelligence for a newborn. The boy Switch glanced around the room happily, not focusing on anything. The small girl looked right into the nurse's eyes, as though seeing inside her. Impossible, she thought, and resumed her work, though she couldn't help feeling a little innerved.
Meanwhile, the doctor had gone into the waiting room, prepared to tell Mr Switch the night's good and bad news. It was empty. He decided the man must have gone to the washroom or gotten a coffee, and waited, and waited some more. As it turned out, Mr Switch had run away moments before he knew anything of his wife or children. Perhaps he had fled from the commitment, from the burden of his life, thrust upon him too soon. All anyone could do was guess; the hospital heard nothing of him again.
Days later, in his little office, Dr Johansson pulled out two blank birth certificates, one blue and one pink. He filled in the parent's names in black ink and the hospital's, the date they were born, their weights, and signed his name. Then he went to the blank line that read name. He paused, and furrowed his thick, grey eyebrows. Had the children been named? Just then his pager beeped anxiously. He collected the certificates and placed them in an envelope, deciding to let their guardian fill in the blanks.
Though they were orphaned, the twin Switches weren't alone, and found themselves at Aunt Melody's, who was the worst kind of melody one could find. That is where an important event occurs, one that would change their lives forever. Perhaps seven years prior this event, the death of a certain Switch child would have been for the better, at least for Aunt Melody.