Three peas in a pod… but can you really trust the ones you love?
Kent, 1981. Triplets Ilona, Maya and Khalu are born to devoted parents and have a seemingly idyllic childhood. But after a fatal accident, two of the three children are left orphaned.
As Ilona attempts to adapt to her new life in the care system, Maya becomes increasingly disruptive, thwarting the pair’s chance of a happy upbringing in a loving foster family. After a series of disturbing events at a care home sees the sisters split up for good, Ilona is given the chance to piece her life back together again.
That is, until Maya returns.
As Ilona becomes increasingly disorientated, haunted by the events of her past as her fresh start threatens to unravel, she is forced to question everything she knows. Who is Maya, anyway? And does she really have Ilona’s best interests at heart?
Three Faced Doll. A psychological thriller from the author of The Travelling Philanthropist.
Extract from Novel
‘Don’t you get them mixed up?’
People always ask this. Mummy said when we were in her tummy, we curled up together like three peas in a pod.
‘Why don’t you go and play on the swings?’ says Mummy.
We run across to the swings and practise forwards and backs while Mummy and the lady chat.
‘Let’s go on the slide,’ says Khalu.
Maya and me don’t want to leave the swings but Mummy’s still talking so we follow.
‘Come on,’ Khalu shouts, already halfway up the ladder.
I circle one of the metal poles while Maya hangs, monkey-like, from the other. ‘Maya doesn’t want to,’ I say.
Khalu glares down at us from the slide. I wait for Maya to untangle her legs before climbing the steps. Khalu’s at the top, holding onto the bars either side. I guess what she’s going to do before she does it. As I step onto the metal platform, she starts to jump. The platform creaks, bouncing up and down and I fall to my knees. Behind me, Maya pauses on the top step.
‘Don’t,’ I say.
‘Don’t,’ Khalu mimics, jumping even harder. The platform squeaks noisily as the rusty nuts and bolts stretch. It’s going to collapse.
‘What’s the matter?’ Khalu taunts. ‘Gonna be sick?’
I glance down at the ground. Everything’s blurry. I squeeze my eyes tightly closed.
‘Stop it, Khalu.’
Did I say that or was it Maya? My ears hum and puke rises in my throat.
Something or someone brushes past me. A scream. A thud. The whole world shakes. Everything goes quiet.
I open my eyes and peer over the edge of the platform. Everyone is frozen, like in Sleeping Beauty when the bad fairy casts a spell. Far below us, on a worn patch of grass, Khalu’s not moving.
Someone shouts. ‘Oh no, oh no.’ Mummy runs towards the slide, skidding to a halt on her knees. She strokes Khalu’s forehead and lifts her hand, but her arms and legs are floppy like Raggedy Doll.
I look at Maya.
She holds out a hand to help me up.
‘Is Khalu dead?’ I whisper.
‘No.’ Maya puts an arm around me. ‘Don’t be silly.’
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