Raven: The Raven Saga Part I

After the inexplicable disappearance of Lilly Taylor's parents, she has no choice but to move to Canada where she unravels some frightening yet intriguing family secrets...
Her whole life had been based on a lie. Lilly had grown up in a loveless home with a father who she had barely ever seen and a mother who was... well, not very motherly.
After they mysteriously disappear without a trace, Lilly is sent to Canada where she finds a whole new way of life. A life filled with love and people who care for her. But that's not all she discovers, Lilly also finds out that she isn't who, or what, she thinks she is.
Lilly has a very special ability and it's just a matter of time before her true self starts to shine. And when it does, her life will never be the same again.
Raven is a fantasy novel for children and young adults set in the beautiful province of British Columbia.

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1. Chapter One

CHAPTER ONE

The summer months were coming to an end when my parents disappeared. Although the day had begun like any other, it became one that I would never forget. That morning, as usual, I sat at the kitchen table listening to the noises drifting up from outside - traffic, police sirens, people laughing and shouting - while I struggled to swallow the piece of dry bread that was shoved in front of me. “Eat,” commanded my mother. A small glass of milk just about helped it go down before she snatched the plastic tumbler from my hands, pulled me to my feet and shoved me out of the front door of our London flat without another word. Turning around to search her eyes, I attempted a smile in the hope that she might return it. But the door was shut in my face. A deep ache filled my stomach. I needed something that I had never experienced. I needed to know that she loved me. Leaning against the door, I heard the familiar sound of her footsteps walking into the other room. She closed the door and locked it behind her. My mother and father had locked themselves in the spare room once again, just like they had done every day for as long as I could remember. I had always assumed they worked from home. I've no idea what they did, they never told me. I never asked. I wasn't allowed to ask questions. Running down the four long flights of stairs, I pushed open the large heavy door that led outside. The noises multiplied and hit me, as did the dull smog and the intense London humidity that seemed to accompany every hot summer. As my feet touched the edge of the pavement, I stopped for a moment to allow a few cars to pass by before rushing across the road to school. I had to be quick. She was watching, she was always watching. My mother would peer down, staring blankly at me from the fourth floor window of the room she and my father spent their days. It was as if she was making sure I was actually going to school. Like I would dare do anything else. She never smiled. She never waved. She just stared. Sometimes it was almost as if she was looking right through me. Returning home at lunchtime, as I was forced to do every day, she was there at that window staring at me again, as if her stare would physically guarantee that I came home. She had done it every day since I'd started school so it was normal to me. I unlocked the front door with my key and gingerly tiptoed into the kitchen where I found her waiting for me. “Eat and get back to school,” she said with a glare as I perched myself onto the old metal stool and began spooning the cold soup into my mouth. It was the same cold soup I'd eaten every day. It would have been nice to have something else, a different flavour, perhaps, but I would never have asked. Oh no. I'd experienced my mother's anger one too many times before. It's not that she had ever hit me, but I knew. I just knew that she wanted to, so I avoided making her mad at all costs. It was my belief that my mother's actions were the same as all other mothers. I imagined that she did what most mothers did. I didn't know any different. At least not until I met the newest girl at school, December Moon. When she had first arrived at the school, the other kids had sniggered and laughed when she had been introduced. Even I had thought it was a silly name to start with, but as soon as she spoke to me, I knew it was perfect. After her introduction to the class, the only spare seat available was next to mine. As my fellow students were in the habit of ignoring me, I was a little startled to have this pale but pretty flame-haired girl smile at me as she approached and sat down. I shyly returned the smile as she quietly took out her books and a pencil case from the orange rucksack she had carried on her back. Her clothes were multi-coloured and flowing – a long heavy purple flowery skirt was paired with an orange and pink striped top, and brown boots. A brown headband held back her straight shoulder length hair and when she turned I noticed it had a pink flower sewn onto it. Ordinarily, the colours wouldn't work together but on December, they just seemed to fit... perfectly. When the attention was no longer on her, December turned to me and whispered “hello”. She smiled again and her whole face changed. It lit up. It didn't take long for December and I to become best friends. We were both shy and quiet and were mostly ignored by everybody else. It made sense that we should spend school time together. More than anything though, I wanted to be friends out of school hours. My mother, however, had always made it quite clear that friends of any kind were strictly forbidden. Fortunately, she couldn't see past the school gates, so December always waited for me inside, out of mother's view. She was my secret. December and I had spent many a break time chatting about each other's lives. She was an avid reader of all kinds of books, even magazines. In fact reading was pretty much all she did when she was at home. I was in awe of her and I knew then that she must know a lot more about other people's lives than I did. That was how I learned that my parent's actions were not entirely normal. Her own parents, however, could not be described as 'normal' either. “My father died when I was three,” she had told me soon after we'd met. “He was a very old man and I was very young so I don't remember him.” The edges of my mouth turned downwards as the heavy feeling of sadness took effect. “And what about your mother, December? Where is she?” “She dumped me with my father's family shortly after he died and moved back to America on her own. She was from Seattle, Washington, apparently.” Her response was so matter-of-fact that I didn't quite know what to say, other than “Oh.” “Basically, my Aunt Penelope – that's my father's younger sister who I live with – tells me that my mother married my father for his money but when he died, leaving her with nothing, she dumped me with her and took off.” “Aunt Penelope basically makes sure I am fed, schooled and clothed. Other than that, we don't have much time for each other.” She shrugged her shoulders. “But that's fine with me. She doesn't like to be seen with me, especially when her super rich friends are around. Being my mother's daughter lowers the tone of her family... I even heard her say that to Monty once. Oh, Monty's our butler, chauffeur and sometimes gardener,” she shrugged again and that's when I saw a glimmer of something in her eyes. She wasn't quite so emotionless about it all after all. Having never known anyone rich before... and with a butler too, I  thought it was quite weird for her to be a student in the same school as me. “December?” “Hmm?” “Why doesn't your Aunt Penelope send you to a posh school?” “Like I said, she'd rather I didn't exist so she'd rather keep me as far from her friends as possible.” “That makes sense, I guess. In which case, I'm glad! I would never have met you otherwise! So do you not know anything about your mother?” I asked, intrigued. December shook her head, “Nope. Nothing.” The sound of the school bell put an end to our conversation and December didn't mention her mother or her father to me again for a very long time. Discreetly waving goodbye to her on that fateful day, I knew there was something wrong the moment I stepped foot out of the school grounds. Looking up to the window expecting to see mother, a vision in white as usual, there was no sign of her. My heart began to thud faster in my chest as I ran as fast as I could up the stairs two at a time. I grappled with the key and pushed open the front door. She was nowhere to be seen. Neither was my father.

 

 

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