Corpe and Bloor

On the rural islands of Corpe and Bloor the annual Fight Week is about to begin in which champions are chosen and lives changed forever. The Fight is between a champion from Corpe and a champion from Bloor. Girls are chosen as prizes for the man who is crowned the winner of the Fight. Faith Rathbone is the unwilling prize of Corpe and the life she had always known is tipped upside down in the form of Alec McFadden, the champion of Bloor. She must decide if she can begin to hope for a life on Bloor but leave her family behind. But her fate is not her own.

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6. Four - Faith

          My days at home are numbered, and it feels like everything I know now lays in shatters. I cannot walk around the High Street for the fingers pointing and the whispers escalating. It is unbearable to think that I will never walk these streets again if Roland bloody Katesby loses. I hate Roland, for his cruelty to everyone and to the women who he takes to bed. They should not have to be disgraced because of him and his devilish ways. Tonight I must do something, anything to ensure that he wins.
          But that involves talking to him in person, preferably without spitting in his face. That’s something that I’m going to find rather difficult.
          It’s dark now and I have spent the entire day outside, away from my father because he is in a violent rant that has already broken two vases and the edge of the table. Charlotte isn’t in, for she’s off with her latest lover whose name escapes me and St Xavier knows where my brothers are. Though I don’t really want to be around them, either, for they have unfortunately inherited Papa’s temper and will become far too over-protective of me. So I’m heading for the tavern – The Pig’s Head, to go and find Corpe’s champion.
          Anger makes my pace quicken and the closer I get to the tavern, the more I’m trying to convince myself that I’m doing the right thing by going in by myself at night to a notorious bed rat and his cronies. I’m sure Lesley will behind the bar tonight and she’ll keep an eye out for me. I take a deep breathe, steady myself and enter The Pig’s Head with my head held high.
          It doesn’t take long for me to find him, for Roland Katesby is one of the largest men in the room. Though he is not that much older than Daniel, his reputation for being a drunken numbskull and a meat-head gives him about five years in his muscles and his family jewels. I hate him and I march over to him full on, standing in front of him with my arms over my chest.
          “Woo-hoo, lookie here,” Katesby crows as he looks up drunk at my face. I have the sudden urge to spit on his boots, and if this conversation doesn’t go the way I want it to, then that doesn’t sound like such a bad option.
          “Tell me how they chose the prize.” It isn’t a request, it’s a demand no-brain. Katesby still gives me this glance like he is looking at me, but he isn’t seeing me. Oh I want to slap him, I really do.
          I repeat my question and something I hope is sanity flashes before his eyes. “Well now,” he says and sways a little in his seat. He takes a large swig from his pint and smacks his lips together afterwards. My foot begins to tap impatiently.
          “Well now,” Katesby repeats and I raise an eyebrow, my temper wearing thin. This has to be one of the worst days ever and he is pushing my sodding limits. I’m about to open my mouth when he finally says something, half slurred but still eligible. “I said it should be you.”
          The whole tavern has grown eerily quiet, like it’s just me and Katesby in here. I can practically feel large men breathing down the back of my neck. My anger boils over and I reach out and grab a large fistful of Roland’s sweaty blue cotton shirt. I stare at him hard in the eye, my words laced with venom and menace.
          “You bastard,” I say and I can hear the silence behind grow heavy. Everyone is holding their breaths to see what’ll happen next. “You have single handily ruined my life and when you die, I’ll spit on your grave.”
          He tries to sit up, but I’m stronger than he thinks and keep him exactly where he is. Katesby’s eyes take on a hard glint. “Should be thanking me, girly, I’ve just saved your arse.”
          I let go of him, too repulsed even to hold onto my fight. Thanking him, thanking him! I am shaking with rage that before I know what I’m doing, my fist is raised and ploughs into the left cheek of his ruddy face. He recoils from my punch and holds his cheek tenderly. It was a good right hook, I think, Papa will be proud of me. I spit on his shoes and leave, the crowd of slightly drunken men parting for me without a word as I run out of The Pig’s Head, run away from Jackats and Katesby, run away from Papa and my brothers, run away from it all, down to the sandy beach.
          That is where I scream and scream into the ocean until my lungs run out of air and my heart continues to cry.

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