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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8. Six - Faith

          Its only when the sky has begun to lighten does Stefan find me, curled up in a ball, rocking back and forth on the sandy beach. Stefan is one of my quieter brothers, who doesn’t always show the way he’s feeling to the outside world, and only after spending every day of my life with him have I learnt to read his emotions. For instance, right this second, he merely mirrors my crumpled state and also gazes out across the moggy marshes to Bloor.
          “What am I supposed to do, Stefan?” I ask, my voice barely carrying a whisper. I hate how it makes me sound; like a scared little girl who can’t hold her own. I hope to be seen as anything but that, but there is only my brother here to see me tremble. He holds my shoulders and I lean my head against his chest, listening to his steady heartbeat.
          “I think you should throw as many punches as possible.”
          I look up at him and smile a little. “So you heard then?”
          Stefan shakes his blond, curly head. “The whole bloody island heard how the prize smashed the champion’s face in. What did he do?”
          Because it was my brother asking in such a curious way, I knew I had to answer. “He said that he suggested that I was to be the next prize to Jackats and his crew. I got mad when he said I should be thanking him and punched him in the face, spat on his boots and left.”
          I hear Stefan blow out a breath. “Well, I can’t say he didn’t deserve it. He was just lucky you got to him before Dan or Joe.”
          I know exactly what he means, for if my eldest brothers heard what Katesby had been muttering to me in his drunken state, he wouldn’t have just got off with a bruised cheek. I look out over the marshes, to the glinting, white structures that sit upon Bloor’s shore, giants in their mighty castles. I remember Mama used to tell me that only one family lived in each towering dwelling. It still shocks me now, seeing them catch the early morning’s gentle fingers on their bright glass. It seems like an alien world, a world to which I will never belong. There must be some way that I can get out of being a prize, there must. But there is a tiny piece of me that is telling my brain that it is all just wishful thinking; that there is nothing I can do but accept what has happened.
          I’m not the sort of person to do that.
          Stefan rubs my shoulder up and down, trying to will heat into my frozen muscles. He’s probably the gentlest of my brothers, for he is old enough to be mature, but yet he still has that boyish charm that my older brothers have lost during the last couple of years.
          My future has never been as uncertain as this. With every step I take it feels as if I’m walking on eggshells.
          I bury my nose in Stefan’s shoulder and whisper, so that only he and the sea can hear me, “I’d rather die right here and now than to be bartered and bargained like a mule.”
          His other muscular arm comes around me and he holds me close, stroking my long mahogany hair. I am so different from my brothers, for I do not look anything like them, but we all have the same fierce devotion for one another, burning bright in our hearts. It is something that no one will ever take from us and I hope that it will stay with me in the next weeks.
          For I fear that I may need it.

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