Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | December 4, 2009

The Twin Detective

near Montreal, Canada. November 1, 2003.

Joanna stared out the car window, nose squished against the glass. With her eyes squeezed just right, the world became lines of vibrant color: yellow, green, red, blue.

Somewhere out in that world, somewhere between the colors, was a girl who looked just like her. An identical twin.

“Hey, you’ll smudge up the glass!” Her mother’s voice called from the front seat, as a ghost-white hand reached back, fluttering in Joanna’s face.

Joanna leaned back, her mind swimming with colors and words. How many words could she think of for the colors she saw? Ochre, vermillion, cerulean, sienna.

The distraction didn’t last long. They were on their way to Charlotte, North Carolina, where Joanna had been born. Where her twin sister Josie might still live.

She was adopted, and she wasn’t supposed to know about Josie. But her mother left the papers out one day, when Joanna was only five years old and had already taught herself to read. She didn’t understand all the words, but she memorized them and looked up the hard ones in the dictionary.  Identical meant exactly-the-same, Possible Developmental Disorder meant Josie had something wrong with her.

Even at five, the logic seemed strange to Joanna. If she was exactly-the-same as her twin sister, shouldn’t she have a developmental disorder too? And why did Mom adopt one but not both? Joanna had never asked.

She was ten now, and the answer she’d come up with on her own was that someone made a mistake. Josie was out there somewhere, maybe alone and scared, and this trip to Charlotte might be Joanna’s only chance to rescue her. That meant she had to ask questions.

“Are we there yet?” Joanna touched one finger, then a thumb to the window. Testing. Maybe Mom wouldn’t notice.

“Eh eh! We just got the car cleaned, you know that. One more hour.”

“Mom, did I have a twin?”

The car swerved, tires screeching against the pavement. Joanna bit her lip in surprise, and tasted the tang of blood.

“Whatever makes you think that?”


So much for questions.

Mom pulled into a rest stop, and Joanna started her search with the girls’ bathroom, the convenience store, and the newspaper stand. There, in the bottom corner of the front page of the Charlotte Times was a grainy photo with a phone number and the caption: Alfred A. Bunstable Detective Agency.

Joanna looked to her left and write, then tore out the corner and stuffed it in her pocket.



  1. Both “Scar” and “Radar Rockefeller” are the beginning of compelling stories. I hope I get to buy the books someday. What a gift for writing you have!

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