Separation Anxiety


The twin boys were born joined at the rib cage, their arms permanently around each other’s shoulders. Each with their own separate organs, the doctors assured the crestfallen parents of an easy separation after a time. Beautiful, angelic boys with white-blond, peach fuzz hair and stunning sky-blue eyes, Evie and David Arlington didn’t know if they were sad their children weren’t perfect or enamored by their sweet faces. Christening them Lukas and Dash, their peculiar personalities became apparent from the moment they could sit on their own.

Never needing much adult interaction as they grew, they chose to communicate only between themselves using their own divergent language which David affectionately called ‘twin-talk’. Evie would often enter their bedroom after hearing them laughing hysterically, only to find them strangely silent, as if having never heard them at all. She divulged to no one how she found her own children creepy and conspiratorial. David, unsure of what to make of them, tried his best to be a father, even going so far as to sign them up for T-ball at the tender age of three. It was a disaster as the other children teased and questioned the conjoined twins mercilessly. Finally, the other fathers and the coach politely asked that he take the boys out, not only for the sake of their own children, but for Lukas and Dash as well.

When the boys were four, David had enough and spoke his mind at the breakfast table.

‘Evie, I think It’s time we talked about getting the boys separated,” he said cautiously, “We’ve waited long enough. The doctors said they were old enough to withstand the surgery two years ago.”

She nodded, agreeing. Maybe separating them would stop this strange fascination they had with each other. “Let’s talk with Dr. Marsh today. I’ll call him first thing and see what he suggests.”

Neither David nor Evie heard the twins in the other room as they listened to their parent’.s conversation, their arms tightening around each other. Walking to their bedroom, they shut door, talking quietly among themselves.

The trip to Dr. Marsh’s office with the twins was oddly quiet as the boys sat in their car seat, specially made for conjoined twins. Uncharacteristically difficult to deal with, they fought and cried and kicked the back of the seat, making the ride stressful. The waiting room wasn’t much better as they cried and quarreled. Evie and David breathed a sigh a relief when a nurse called them in.

“Hello boys!” she greeted them cheerfully, “How are my favorite twins today?”

She was rewarded with angry scowls. “Uh, oh,” she remarked, “I think I see two very unhappy little boys! Let’s just see how your hearts are beating, how’s that?”

Bending over, she placed the stethoscope over Dash’s heart listening and timing the beats. Dash leaned over and whispered softly into the nurse’s ear. Gasping, she pulled back in shock and walked quickly out of the room much to David and Evie’s surprise.

Soon after, Dr. Marsh walked in, his face stern. Pulling Evie and David aside, he told them what was said to his nurse.

“My nurse just informed me that your boy, Dash, said something inappropriate and quite frankly, this concerns me,” he said, “He told her go fuck herself with her big, black dildo.”

“I’m sorry, but we didn’t hear him say anything to her at all!” David said vehemently, outraged, “Are you sure your nurse didn’t misconstrue his words? Dash would have no knowledge whatsoever of those words!”

Turning away angrily, he went back to the examining table.

“Dash, nurse Barbara said that you said something inappropriate to her,” he told the wide-eyed boy, “Can you tell daddy what that was?”

“He didn’t say anything, daddy,” Lukas said in his defense, “She bent over to listen to his heart and then stood back up and ran away. No one said anything to her. I swear on my Teddy, daddy.”

“Yeah, daddy, I just leaned over to her ’cause her hair smelled pretty,” Dash confirmed innocently, “I didn’t say anything.”

“There, you see?” David said, “My boys don’t lie. I’d rather Barbara didn’t come back in here, if you don’t mind. Now can we please get on with the exam so we get this surgery over and done with?”

Hesitating, Dr. Marsh nodded, studying the x-ray that revealed the second and third ribs fused without any organ involvement. He smiled at them encouragingly.

“This looks good, very good,” he told them, “This operation will be one hundred percent successful, much easier than I’d hoped. Let’s schedule this for next week, if that’s okay with you. The sooner the better.”

After getting their appointment for the surgery, they left the office feeling happy and confident. They were going to have normal children! The boys gripped each other’s shoulders tightly in the back seat, whispering quietly in twin-talk.

That night the twins enjoyed dinner and a movie with their parents before bedtime, laughing and joking with one another in high spirits. Over the boys’ heads, Evie and David smiled contentedly at one other, no words needed to describe how they both felt. Their boys were going to have a normal life. They seemed happy as well as they giggled and talked with each other at bedtime, enjoying a book before settling down to sleep.
Evie woke suddenly, not sure why, until she smelled the smoke.

“David!” she yelled, panicked, “Wake up! I smell smoke!”

Leaping up, David felt the door, pulling his hand back as the heat seared it. Using his shirt, he turned the knob only to find the door wouldn’t budge. The boys! He had to save them! Evie screamed in terrified panic as she beat on the door with her fists.

“Dash! Lukas!” she screamed, “Fire! Get out of the house!”

As David tried to kick open the door, he could have sworn he smelled the faint odor of gasoline.

“Get a blanket to put under the door!” he yelled at Evie, “Hurry, the smoke is getting thicker!”

“No, David! The boys!” she yelled, “We have to get out and save the boys!”

He ran to the window, breaking the glass with his fist, not caring as it sliced deep into hand. He cursed himself as the iron safety bars kept them prisoner. Looking outside, he was shocked to see his sons standing on the front lawn looking up at their window. They were smiling.

“Get down on the floor, Evie!” he ordered her, “There’s less smoke!”

They lay on the floor, choking and coughing as thick, black smoke filled the room. Flames licked around the doorway, entering as the fire grew more greedy by each passing second. Within minutes, the couple passed out from lack of oxygen.



The caseworker led the twins up the drive to the steps of a cottage style home and knocked on the door. A kind looking older woman answered, smiling widely as she saw the twins.

“Albert!” she called out, “They’re here!”

Dash and Lukas looked at each other and smiled. No one would separate them now. Ever.



Author Notes

17 Comments for “Separation Anxiety”

reigny dai


Creepy kids are cool and one of my favorite subjects. It’s not uncommon for twins to develop their own language, something in and of itself that can be frustrating, if not unnerving at times.

I paused at them laughing “hysterically” because that means “crazed.” After finishing the story, your word choice seemed spot on.

Raymond Tobaygo


Good morning, Riss

Interesting premise. Flow, imagery, character interaction and dialogue were good. Loved how the twins became four-year old psychopaths. The interaction with the nurse…was dash telepathic? Enjoyed!

I see the nits were addressed. One suggestion :
Walking quietly to their bedroom, they shut door, talking quietly among themselves. Quietly used twice in the same sentence.

Take care and stay safe,




Thank you so much for reading, Ray! Dash wasn’t telepathic, as “Dash leaned over and whispered softly into the nurse’s ear.” No one heard him say it, he said it very softly. I will definitely edit the the world ‘quietly’. Thank you for catching that.

Anisa Claire


Hey Riss,

Love the opening to this. It hooked me instantly and had me feeling for the twins right away.

their parent’.s conversation, their arms – You have a period in there.

I swear on my Teddy… Awe. How cute. Lol

Creeeeeeepy! Love the twist at the end. Wouldn’t they be worried, though, that the caseworker taking them away might still bring on the surgery?




Hi Anisa! Thanks for reading and spotting mistakes. As far as the twins case worker, well, that might mean another story…hahaha!

Tim Hillebrant


This was a great bit of story telling, Ryss.
I loved the evil tendency of the boys, and found the story quite fitting for the season.

Well done!

Kim Bussey


Beautiful, angelic boys with white-blond, peach fuzz hair and stunning sky blue eyes, Evie and David Arlington quite know if they were sad their children weren’t perfect or enamored by their sweet faces. – HUH? I don’t understand what this sentence is suppose to be saying.

only (to) find them strangely silent,

Evie and David breathed a sigh (of) relief when a nurse called them in.

“My nurse just informed me that your boy, Dash(,) said something

Over the boy’s heads, – since boys is plural, it should be boys’

Flames licked around the doorway, entering as the fire grew more greedy by the minute. Within minutes, the couple passed out from lack of oxygen. – You don’t want to repeat ‘minute/minutes’ so close together.

Quite a chilling tale. This reminds me of a good Twilight Zone episode.

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