The Conclusion. Julia’s in for a shock, and Caroline’s totally unhinged.
With her head in her hands, Julia did not notice Caroline carrying a pair of Wiltshire kitchen scissors.
She spoke quietly, almost inaudibly, “Say you’re sorry Jules. Say you’re sorry for hurting Penny.”
“Carrie, she was just -”
Before Julia realised what was happening, Caroline had straddled her, pinning Julia’s body against the chair with the weight of her own. Shocked, she looked up at Caroline’s face. It was inches from her own and twisted with a rage that had been incubating for twenty-five years.
“Jesus, Carrie! What the Hell are you doing?”
“SAY YOU’RE SORRY!” Caroline screamed and raised the kitchen scissors to her Julia’s eye level. “SAY YOU’RE SORRY! OR YOU WILL BE SORRY.”
Terrified, Julia felt her bladder expel the shaken can of Pepsi she had consumed earlier in the evening. She tried to push her little sister backwards and onto the floor, but Caroline was strong and weighty. She didn’t budge.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt Penny. I didn’t know she was there. I’m sorry.” Julia wept.
“Now say what happened. Say what you did to her. SAY IT!”
Julia remembered back to that day, twenty-five years ago, when the Penny thing happened. Caroline had been taken to Deborah Stevens’ house for a weekend sleep over. Julia had just passed her practical driving exam and was on ‘P’ plates. She was allowed to drive by herself and had decided to drive to her boyfriend’s house to celebrate.
“Carrie, I got in the car. I didn’t know you’d come back home. I checked everything – seat belt, mirrors, park brake. Everything – ”
Caroline interrupted, “Not everything, NOT EVERYTHING!”
Julia continued, trying to speak in between sobs, “I checked. I didn’t know. I started the engine, put the car in reverse, release the park brake, and . . . ”
The images came rushing back to her.
Seat belt. Mirrors. Park brake. Start the engine. Crank up the radio. Release the park brake. Begin to reverse. Thump. She stopped the car, terrified at what the thump might mean. Did she hit something? Nah, that would have made a louder noise. Julia continued reversing. Another thump, this time not from the back of the car but from the front. She continued to reverse a little further, and then she saw her. Penny lying prone in the driveway. Unmoving. She turned off the engine and bolted from the car to her side screaming her name.
“Penny, Penny! Are you okay? Penny?”
She didn’t move. Julia, unaware that Caroline had been watching, jumped back into the car, reversed into the street and sped off, hoping to deflect all blame by concocting a story that she had been with her boyfriend at the time Penny had been hit.
Then she was back in her little sister’s lounge room, unstoppable tears burst from her eyes. Caroline had moved off of her and back onto the couch beside her. She too, was crying hysterically.
“All this time, and you only admit it because you think I’m going to hurt you. You really are a bitch Julia.”
“I’m so sorry Carrie. I know she was your best friend, and no one understood you like Penny – ”
Caroline threw the kitchen scissors on to the sofa next to her as she spoke, “Shut up Julia. You can’t ever make this right. You lied to mum and dad about how Penny died. You said you didn’t know. And you kept it a secret from me all these years. But I saw you drive off. You’re despicable Julia.”
“I’m despicable? You just threatened me with a pair of Wiltshire, never get blunt, kitchen scissors! Who’s the nut job in this picture?” She rose from her chair, snatched her keys from the table in front of her and headed for the door.
“Julia, you killed my best friend in the whole world. You can’t just walk away from that.”
Julia turned to look at her little sister and laughed in disbelief. “You know Carrie, she’s the reason I became a vet. To give something back. To help out where I couldn’t help out before.”
“No, you became a vet out of guilt Julia, not to give something back. You were just never smart enough to become a doctor of people, so you chose vet science instead. You’re a killer! And you have to live with that for the rest of your life. And I hope that you go to Hell for it!” Caroline’s tears had abated, and only a few sobs escaped her mouth.
Julia opened the door and paused. She knew there were a number of ways she could hurt Caroline and finish the discussion. She chose only one. Before leaving, Julia looked Caroline in the eyes.
“I love you. I loved Penny too. I’m sorry I lied to you, and mum and dad about how Penny died. But Carrie, regardless of the fact you think she was your best friend in the whole world, Penny was still just a Border Collie.”
. . . The end . . .