“So, do you like them?” Riley asks, beaming with pride over the stellar gift she’s gotten me for my birthday. Reece, Riley’s twin brother and my boyfriend, just sits back grinning. Of the two of them, he’s always less showy – never expectant of accolades like his sister.
I stare down at my custom Converses in awe, with their black paisley inner layer and red striped tongue. The skull head laces just add to their perfect design. They are everything I wanted and nothing I could ever justify buying for myself.
“I love them! Thank you so much, you guys.”
Riley hugs me quickly around the shoulders before hopping off the back of Reece’s truck where we sit. Reece simply squeezes my hand with a pleased smile on his face. Both actions are big efforts for the Pinkerton twins; they’re not ones for public displays of affection. In fact, to most people they appear standoffish. I’d been confused by their persistence to not come in physical contact with people myself when I’d first met them, but it all made sense when I’d found out they were shape shifters.
Reece explained that, “Every touch with another person or animal imprints their make-up on our soul, storing a million different characterizations in us,” which could become overwhelming for them to hold their own shape at times if they didn’t “use” the traits they’d picked up by touch.
For the most part they could shift on demand to anything they’d come in contact with, but if their library of faces grew too large, shifts could occur unexpectedly. Sometimes they spend a whole day shifting on purpose just to exhaust their collection of faces and make room for new ones. These kinds of days are always trouble.
There’s something empowering about taking on another being’s skin. Cloaked as someone else, they partake in all sorts of mischief – playing pranks on people, stealing things, all manner of questionable behavior. Reece says part of being a shape shifter is learning to tame the natural evilness within them, to appease the urge in less destructive ways so they don’t go around murdering people.
Most shape shifters don’t bother themselves with curbing the evil desire, but the Pinkerton twins aren’t like most shape shifters, or so they say. I’ve never met other shape shifters, never even knew they existed until I met them. So they’ve stolen a few things and scared the crap out of a couple of people – these things weren’t life threatening and I should be happy they’re able to withhold the natural urge to be far more criminal.
I swing my legs back and forth off the back of Reece’s truck and take in my new shoes, knowing they were probably stolen too, but I tell myself to forget it. In their attempt to do something good for me, they’d done something bad. I guess they canceled each other out.
With Riley dancing around the parking lot eager for our night of celebration to begin, Reece slides off the truck and extends his hand to help me down. I jump off, my yellow plaid skirt flying up and ballooning around me as I hit the ground. Reece makes a face like he enjoyed the show of panties. My face burns red.
“Where to first, Birthday Girl?” Riley asks, ready to lead the way.
I’m still shocked we are actually here, at the Harvest Fair, where hoards of people will be brushing against us with every step we take. Usually this kind of place is out of the question for the Pinkerton twins so I was terribly surprised when they suggested it, knowing I really wanted to go, but would never ask myself.
“Um… the Scrambler, then candy apples?”
“Sounds good,” Reece says, and I start towards the fair’s entrance with them on either side of me.