Sarah Marshall

When they asked me why we cut her hair I said, So no one would know. They said, So no one would know what? So no one would know the identity of your sister, or so no one would know you had killed her?

I didn’t answer. It was a stupid question. If they couldn’t figure that out, I thought, then they could never figure out how much I had done.


When she started puking was when I should have known there was a problem. She was passed out and Alex was in her, was almost done, and he didn’t see it but I did. The puke was white, like in a movie, but the carpet under her was white, too. Our parents had finished the basement three years ago. You couldn’t even go down there with your shoes on.


What I thought about most while the policemen were interviewing me was how I looked. I was wearing a white sweater that Alex had bought me for Christmas. It had a cowl that covered my neck and long sleeves I could pull down over my wrists and hands. But I needed to brush my hair. I knew they were videotaping me, and I needed to brush my hair.

Why did you cut her hair?

I don’t know.

Was it your idea? His idea?

I don’t know.

Were you on drugs? Were you high? Were you drunk?


And you don’t know?

I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t remember. It was a long time ago.

Last Christmas.


Did you cut her hair before you killed her?

I didn’t kill her.

Did you do it before he raped her?



There’s video of the wedding. My parents have it. His too. There’s video of me walking down the aisle, all the pink bridesmaids and then finally me, and video of our vows and our first kiss as man and wife. You should have seen the dress. It was as big as the church. Alex said: it wasn’t made, it was confected. He knew words like that.

I want to tell them they should try it, too. That it’s like everything else: like sex, like love, like marriage, like a job. You don’t know how easy it is until you do it once, and then you can’t see any reason to stop. Those girls looked at me like we were friends already, and it wasn’t long before my sister started looking like one of those girls.

When he put his arms around me they sunk into the folds of the dress, and he sunk in, too. You can see it in the video. He was falling into me like I was snow, and I felt myself taking him in, the heat of him melting me away. He pulled back and smiled, waved at everyone and pointed at me, and then bent down and kissed me again.


Were you jealous of your sister?

No. She was a kid.

She was fifteen.


You’re nineteen?

Almost twenty.

That’s a big age difference.

I guess.

Were you close with your sister?

She was my sister.

Did Alex ever voice an attraction to her?


Then why did he rape her?

He didn’t rape her.

Why do you think so?

He loved her. He loved us both.


Her hair was natural, not out of a box. Mine I had to dye, every four weeks or the dark started to show. Alex didn’t want it any other color.

You’re prettier as a blonde.

I’d be pretty brunette.

You look more trustworthy as a blonde, he said. Don’t you want to help me? You can go another color and I’ll leave you at home. Would you like that?


When she started puking I was worried it would fall on the carpet, but it stayed in her mouth, mostly, a little on her cheeks and neck, and Alex kept going until he was finished, then pulled out, cleaned off, and went to sit beside me on the couch, rested his head on my shoulder and kissed me. When we picked her up a few minutes later she was cold.

Alex was in the next room. I thought of what he told me when we started doing it together: if they catch us, they’ll split us up. That’s what they do to people who’re in love. They try to get them to turn on each other, because they know that’s the only way they’ll catch them. That’s the only way they’ll catch us. Deny everything. Let me talk.

It wasn’t rape, he said, if you did it when they didn’t know you were doing it, and it wasn’t wrong to kill them if you could look at them and know everything about the life they‘d live. I liked what he said: it meant I had never been raped and it was wrong to kill me, because you could never look at me and know the life I’d live.

We drugged her milk at dinner and took her downstairs after our parents had gone to bed. When she passed out Alex undressed her, and I waited. I had seen him do it three times.

You first, he said.

What do you mean?

Fuck her.

I can’t.

Because she’s your sister?

Because I’m a girl.

But he said it again, so I did. There was no reason not to.


Did you sister ever voice an attraction to Alex?

No. I don’t know.

She never spoke with you about it?


Did she find Alex attractive? Did she have feelings for him?

I don’t know what she thought.

She must have been quite impressionable. She seemed to trust you implicitly.

I’m her sister. Why wouldn’t she trust me?

That’s what we want to know.


How’s that taste?


What’s it taste like?

I wiped my mouth. Sweet.

Sweet enough for me?

Sweet enough for you.

You see how much I love you? You think I share with anyone else?

I see how much you love me.

What’s it taste like? What else does it taste like?

She’d started bleeding. She wouldn’t have noticed yet. I didn’t know she’d had her first.


He was taking a shower when I cut her hair. We were going to drop her off at a rest stop, where girls got murdered all the time. Her hair was thick, and the scissors worked at it for a long time before they cut through.

What should I do with it? I asked when Alex came out.

He was already half out the door. Whatever you want. She’s your sister.

Sarah Marshall’s writing has recently appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, the Rumpus, Knee-Jerk, and Necessary Fiction, and is forthcoming from Hobart. She grew up in rural Oregon and is currently finishing an MFA in fiction at Portland State University, and at work on completing a novel. “Sisters” is based on serial killer Karla Homolka, also known as the most hated woman in Canada.