by Hope E. Davis
Remi and Raina are mirror-image twins, and most people in their lives can’t tell them apart. Which is a bit disappointing, as their personalities are nothing alike.
Although the sisters think they are close, the book begins when something terrible happens. Remi wakes up trapped in a cement room, and Rayna wakes up at her home alone, to find that her life is a mess, and her boyfriend isn’t who she thought he was. But what happened to bring them to that point? And where is Remi?
Told in alternating viewpoints in both the past and present, Before Now evaluates the power of secrets, the consequences of lack of communication, and the realization that no one is 100% honest as both main characters learn dark secrets about their boyfriends, friends, and ultimately, themselves.
Why I Wrote This Story
One of my favorite questions in life is “What if?” and I find myself asking it frequently, not always with great results. Sometimes my mind wanders a little too far, and a story like Before Now is born.
I was inspired as a teen by mystery writers like Lisa Jackson and Ron Roy, and as I grew older, I enjoyed Dean Koontz, Freida McFadden, and Petra Hammesfahr. I love a good book that I can’t put down and I wanted my readers to stay up late for the same reason. “Just one more chapter” was always my motto and we all know that this is never the case!
During one of my rougher points in life, I found myself sitting in a salt room at a sauna and wondering what it would be like to wake up in there with no recollection of how I got there. How would someone get me there? How would I feel? And most importantly, why would someone put me there—and that’s how Before Now was born.
I’ve also always liked the idea of twins. Maybe it’s because my closest sister was 4 years younger and arguably a pest more than a best friend, but I always thought having a sister your same age would be so cool—except for the part where they look like you.
When I wrote Before Now I focused on a unique type of twins known as mirror-image twins which are some of the rarest types of twins in modern society. I was only aware of this type of twin because my grandfather was a mirror-image twin with his organs on the opposite side of his body from those of his twin brother.
Sadly, I never met my grandfather’s twin as he died before I was born, a true testament to while twins may look alike, they are different people with wildly different lives, something I tried to make clear in Before Now. Just because one twin is happy, doesn’t mean the other feels the same and communication is critical in order to bridge this barrier.
Why The Title Before Now?
Well, this story is told in both the past and present, before and now. For some reason this simple title just seemed to fit this story the best and I went with it.
She doesn’t know anymore if she’s awake or asleep. The room is too dark to tell. She isn’t sure what day it is, or how long she’s been in here.
Remi has yet to see or hear anyone enter or leave the room. At some point, she acquired another water bottle, probably filled with the same spiked water. She knows she’ll have to drink it at some point, but she’s trying to hold off, to keep her bearings. It’s tough, and she’s starting to get really thirsty. Her stomach rumbles, reminding her it’s also been a while since she ate.
She stands up and reaches above her, trying to feel for a ceiling. She isn’t short, but even with her arms outstretched she can’t feel the ceiling—so this probably isn’t her sister’s cellar like she originally thought.
Trying to keep her thoughts off her hunger and thirst, Remi walks around the outside of the room, placing her feet heel to toe as measurement. The room is twenty-four of her feet on the long sides, fourteen on the short sides. She’s basically in a large rectangular closet. She crawls along the floor, noticing the occasional small cracks she noticed before, across the room and back. She looks for anything, a nail, slivers of glass, something she can use to defend herself when whoever put her here comes back. She finds nothing.
She sits back down by the door, wondering what to do. She’s already run out of ideas. There seems to be no way out, although she knows one must exist for the water bottles to be placed inside.
Speaking of which… She opens the half-filled bottle from earlier and takes a long drink. She knows it will put her back to sleep, but she resisted as long as she could. The water, although it tastes funny, helps ease the tension gathering in her muscles. Definitely a roofie or sleeping pills.
Although she can’t gauge time, she knows some has passed, and she hopes someone’s noticed she’s missing by now. Her initial thought is John, but then she winces as she remembers the horrid fight they had the night before. He probably doesn’t care where she is now. The thought makes Remi sad, but she pushes it away. She can worry about him later.
She thinks about her sister, whom she was with the night before. Rayna has to know she’s missing, right? Remi pictures her carefree other half and shakes her head. Rayna wouldn’t notice if her own hand went missing.
Well. Guess that leaves Daisy, her roommate, who will notice when the rent and power bill don’t get paid. Which is at least a month away…meaning Remi is screwed.
She lies down on her back on the hard cement, waiting for sleep to overtake her. Before she drifts off into oblivion, a thought peeks around the corner of her mind. But before she can grasp the idea, it’s gone as quickly as it arrived.
by Hope E. Davis