You can just feel that Caroline’s only going to get worse, can’t you?
Julia watched the movie with one eye on the film and the other on her sister. Retaliation could occur at any time with Caroline. There were no safe moments. Caroline had other plans. Her retribution would be forcing Julia to discuss Penny. One way or another. On the TV, the bad dog Cujo was dead and the good people were a little worse for wear but alive.
“That’s a good outcome for those people. Better than the outcome for Penny and I,” Caroline had started the retribution.
Trying her best to ignore her little sister and holding up the movie covers, Julia asked, “What do you want to watch next?”
“You choose,” shrugged Caroline, “I’m easy.”
“You are so not easy. Nothing about you is easy! You’re not easy to get along with, you’re not easy to like, and you’re certainly not easy to love!” Julia had broken. Caroline could now begin her inquisition.
“If you want me to start being easy, we’re going to finish this Penny thing once and for all. You are going to tell me the truth,” Caroline snarled.
“I told you the truth. I told it to you a long time ago, when it happened. I’ve never lied to you about this. Never. When will you get that through your thick head. I never lied. It just happened. I never meant for it to happen. It wasn’t my fault. How could I know he’d be there? Answer me that, genius,” Julia screamed. Her face had turned red and she had run out of breath. Had she not needed to inhale, her tirade would have lasted another full minute at least.
Caroline sat back on the sofa and let Julia recover. She was going to get to the bottom of this tonight, if it was the last thing she did.
“You think you’re such a perfect person, sitting there all righteous and pious. Well you’re not. You’ve done bad things. You’ve hurt people. And worse still, you’ve never shown an ounce of remorse for what you’ve done. Mum and dad thought you were this little angel, but I always knew what you were like. It’s a competition between you and the Devil to see who’s the worst. And Carrie, I think you’ve got the title of biggest cow in the universe hands down! You are nothing but an evil little monster! You always have been and you always will be. That’s it. That’s the end of it. Do you hear me? No more!”
Julia rose to leave but Caroline caught her off guard and pushed Julia back down on the chair with her foot.
“No Julia, that’s not it. You lied about Penny. You’ve been lying since day one – ”
“I have not,” Julia interrupted.
“Yes, you have. I was there Jules. The day it happened, I was there. I never told you because I didn’t understand what I saw. And then, things started falling into place. I started getting these flashes of memory or something.”
“Carrie, you weren’t there. Mum had taken you to Deborah Stevens’ house for a sleep over,” Julia said.
“Yeah, and I forgot my pyjamas, so Mrs. Stevens’ let Debbie and I walk back home to get them. Debbie waited out the back for me, and I went in, got my pyjamas and I thought I’d take a video back to Debbie’s as well. I was in the lounge room when I heard you scream Penny’s name. I looked out the lounge window and I saw you Julia. I saw you.”
Tears had started to stream down Caroline’s face. She brushed a few away. It had always hurt so much to talk about Penny, but she had to go on. She had to get Julia to confess.
Julia shook her head at Caroline’s words. She was beginning to understand why, in the last few years, her little sister had harboured an intense animosity towards her. Now that she thought about it, Julia could pinpoint the exact moment she thought Caroline had begun to remember the details.
She spoke her words calmly, “This is because of the guy with the Dalmatian, at the surgery about five years back, isn’t it? Jesus Christ Carrie. You were eight years old when Penny . . . get over it!”
“You were seventeen years old, and you should have known better! She was my friend Jules! I saw what you did, with my friend. You expect me to get over it! You said it sis, I was eight years old. You don’t just get over something like that, when you see something like that and you’re a kid. Would you say that to your own kid? Just get over it?”
“What do you want me to do Carrie? It was years ago. Twenty five years ago!” Julia yelled.
“Tell me the truth. And say you’re sorry,” Caroline said as she got off the sofa and walked into the kitchen.
Julia buried her head in her hands, exasperated that her kid sister had been harbouring a twenty five year old grudge. Had she known her actions would cause Caroline to suffer so badly, she would have told her parents the truth about Penny from the beginning. But she didn’t and she had lied to save herself from the consequences of her actions. She had not known that little Carrie had seen everything. And she couldn’t possibly, at seventeen years of age, have foreseen that little Carrie would go to the lengths she had to exact revenge on behalf of Penny.
Nor could she have foreseen Caroline’s resulting mental instability which presented itself in the form of obsessive-compulsive behaviours and a very short temper. Julia certainly did not foresee Caroline re-entering the lounge room armed and ready to cause her great pain.
. . . To be continued . . .