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Short Story of the Day #6: “What Sisters Take” by Kelly Sandoval

Escape to Witch Mountain taught us that everybody has a twin. The One said we’d have to kill our double to achieve primacy. In Kelly Sandoval’s “What Sisters Take,” supernatural events lead to the births of three hidden twins, each of whom has only one goal: to siphon life from her human sister.

Why “What Sisters Take”?

My sister and I are not close—not in age, nor in bond. I had a few female cousins close to my age, but seeing one another for a few days a year—even if those days stretched on for weeks at a time—just isn’t the same as living with someone, day in and day out, for years on end. Mostly, I spent time with my two eldest brothers, who were almost grown by the time I came along. So when I say that I don’t often relate to stories about sisterhood, you can see why.

I think that’s what makes this story so interesting to me; I do relate to it.

Two tiny cliques, made up of three girls each, rest at the heart of “What Sisters Take.” Cuckoos fated to kill their nestmates, the three hidden twins come into this world knowing who and what they are. Circumstances force their human sisters into friendship, if only because no one else can possibly know what they’re going through. Caught in the middle is Jessi: a human twin who believes she has a healthy relationship with her cuckoo, yet finds herself increasingly pressured to choose sides in a battle that will eventually transform into a life-and-death struggle.

Anyone who has lived through millennial mean-girl culture will feel these toxic relationships right down to their bones, sister or no sister.

My favorite line:

Whatever reason you love someone, you love them. It feels just the same.

Click here to read “What Sisters Take.”

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