Zayden and Jace. Jace and Zayden. They were Greenvale School’s very own set of twins. It wasn’t unusual to have an opinion on the brothers given that they were identical right down to the number and placement of freckles on either side of their noses and, if such a thing could be measured, the graphs would clearly show the number of opinions fluctuating throughout the day. Eating times and break times had a particularly mysterious way of drawing out the thoughts and feelings one held in regards to the lives and behaviours of the twins, with the students feeding off one another to justify why it was OK to even hold an opinion about them in the first place. As for my justification? Well, we’ll get to that. For now, though, let me do something favourable and provide you with as much information as I can about the events leading up to the announcement that we were no longer allowed to speak about the twins or acknowledge that they had ever existed in the first place.
Three days before the teachers made the announcement, the eating areas at the wooden tables beside the school’s library block were buzzing with rumours, gossip and hearsay. I know because I was there, receiving an influx of embellishments. I would take no offence if you wanted to call me a connoisseur of canard and the tables outside of the library block were the number one place for anyone with an unquenchable thirst for tall stories to spend even a minute of their time. Over the years, I had developed a sixth sense for being able to sort through the trash and find the treasure, relying on my skills as an avid listener and keen observer to get to the truth at the heart of the story. Motivation played a key role. What did the person stand to gain by beginning the rumour in the first place? In this case, very little. The rumour that the twins had snuck out of their bedrooms after dark and had made their way to Crow’s Nest Pond was started by their very close friend, Jonathan Taylor. Jonathan’s grandparents had asked him to ride his bike over to Zayden and Jace’s house in the hopes of borrowing a jar of sugar. When he arrived, he overheard the twins’ mother and father arguing over the details of the event. As Jonathan was telling the story to the those of us lucky enough to be at the tables, the seriousness of his voice caught the attention of every other student walking by to return their library books.
Another skill to adopt when establishing the truth is to pay attention to the commonalities between the many variations on the stories. I was confident that the twins had left their house and that they had indeed made it to Crow’s Nest Pond. Outside of those two facts, however, the perpetrators of this intriguing rumour were surprisingly comfortable employing a significant amount of artistic license when projecting their own version of the events on to the ears of the eager listeners in front of them. The twins had disappeared. They had morphed into the one person. They were no longer human. Their parents had already met with the headmaster. The list went on, making each new point appear increasingly irrelevant.
Lastly, I prided myself on my ability to match up the pieces of reality with the puzzle of the rumour. If history was anything to by, then, by this stage, my experiences and interactions in the real world should have allowed me to discard 99% of the rumours spreading like wildfire amongst the students and teachers alike. But, this was not the case. On the contrary, with every new bizarre theory added to the already murky pool of ideas, the teachers and school staff themselves were behaving noticeably weirder. Keeping their heads down as they walked around the school, staying on the line for several seconds in uncomfortable silence every time they received a phone call, hosting impromptu meetings in the faculty buildings. All the while, a palatable sense of unease grew amongst the students of Greenvale as our questions about the twins went answered. When the twins didn’t arrive at school for the third day in a row since the rumours began, the students of Greenvale School were summoned to the school hall to hear an important announcement.
It wouldn’t be safe for you if I were to explain everything they told us in the hall. It wouldn’t be safe for me, either. But that doesn’t really bother me. You can’t be on a never-ending quest for truth if you’re not willing to take a few risks or rock a few boats. That’s how I justify the opinions that I hold, anyway. It’s all about finding the truth. And, what is the truth? Well, the truth is, that the headmaster has given me a new buddy to show around the school. His name is Jayden, and he recently moved to Greenvale from a town known for its annual pumpkin festival. How much truth is there to any of this? I’m sure you’d have an opinion on that, and I’m sure that it’s an opinion I would love for you to tell me.
See you at the tables.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.