6 - Morgan: 1878

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Morgan and Malchus Dappleford were born identical twins, sons of Mary and Michael Dappleford. From a very young age it was clear the two boys were as different as two sides of a coin. Morgan was mischievous and Mary couldn't let him out of her sight, especially once he had begun to take his first tentative steps around the cabin.

When he was four, Mary left him and his brother for no more than five minutes to draw water from the well. When she returned, she found Morgan poking the coals in the pot bellied stove they'd installed the year before. Fearing for his safety, she cried out his name. Hearing the anguish in his mother's voice Morgan spun toward her too quickly, lost his balance, and seared his arm on the stove door. Dr. Algernon was called to dress the wound, but Morgan would have a scar midway down his forearm for the rest of his life for his mischief.

When next the doctor and his mother left him alone with his brother, Malchus snickered. "Idiot," he said. "I told you not to play with the fire."

Morgan ran across the room as fast as his legs would carry him and punched his brother in the shoulder with all his might. Rather than cry—which would have satisfied Morgan immensely—Malchus turned his head and grinned, which frightened Morgan to no end, and he skulked back to his corner of the room.

When they were six, the twins began to attend the little schoolhouse in town. They grew quickly tired of the townspeople gawping and pointing at them as if they were geeks in a circus sideshow. They desperately hoped the novelty of their being would wear off soon.

During morning recess the first day, Morgan attacked a boy when he deigned to ask of the particulars of their routines, down to the number of burps and farts each of them made in the course of a day. Morgan was angry at the boy's persistence and at Malchus's playing along with the tyke, answering each and every question he asked ad absurdum. When he could stand it no more, Morgan doffed the boy on the back of the head. The boy ran in tears to the teacher who made Morgan sit in the corner. Because he was new, she withheld the cap this time, but if he persisted, all would know he was being a dunce in school.

Morgan seethed the entire afternoon, vowing never to return to the Hell mouth that was the school. But he did return. The next day. At his parents' insistence. Too young to till the fields, the boys needed something to occupy their days, and so school it was.

Once he settled into his surroundings Morgan got quite good at cooperating with the other children, if not in his studies. Yang to his yin, Malchus began to shine in his studies which alienated him further from the other children. Malchus methodically tended to his studies, each and every evening, by lamplight. When his eyes began to fail as the result of reading in the near dark, his parents wasted no time having Dr. Algernon fit him for a pair of spectacles so his studying could continue unabated.

When Morgan turned thirteen and began to fill out, the dreams began. They seemed folly at first, entertaining tales of those he knew, engaged in activities that would drop them in the hands of danger, or worse. The first time he'd correlated his dreams with premonitions was the livery cab stable fire in the fall of his thirteenth year. He'd dreamt of a large fire that used hay and wood from the structure as tinder to grow, until it enveloped three horses and the cab driver. In his dream he watched as the smouldering hay grew to hellish proportion, watched the horses, eyes wide with fright, bucking and kicking as the hair on their haunches singed. He heard the animals whining as the flesh beneath the hair turned red and then blackened as it caught fire.

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