Granted

Glenn Riviera lives in Cirus, a wild and hostile land of the Wind in the world of Twyne. Here birds are revered as enhancers of the wind and some Faris are Granted that ability too. Glenn only wants to be free but soon she is tied on a purpose that cannot be avoided ...

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2. Granting

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As I briskly walk back through the stoic standing trees memories fill the silence before the storm. One in particular catches my wondering mind and I smile recalling the evening. The evening of my sister’s Granting.

*******

Umber wrings her delicate hands together, expressing her all too obvious anxiety.  Her pretty corn hair is intricately plated and looped so that it sits in perfection like a shimmering headdress. Neurotically she glances at her little cream face in the looking glass as if to check that she was still all there. Ten winters old, I stand in the corner of our communal sleeping room as our mother fusses over her, powdering her face and smoothing her creaseless ceremonial shift. Her brow is furrowed and her eyes determined, but this is one of the happiest days of our mother’s life. There is light in her eyes. Strangely, Umber and I are from the same mother, although other than that we have nothing in common. Sisters are just what we are and yet it means nothing. As I stood in the corner I found myself comparing: her golden, thick flowing locks and my short, dark shaggy mop; her calm, pale skin and my smudged, nutmeg skin; her frail, small frame and my lean, wiry limbs. Finally her soft amethyst eyes which are filled with worry and barely contained excitement, nothing like my dark indigo-black eyes like oppressive storm clouds. She’s is lovely, I’m not. She’s virtuous, compassionate and naive, I’m not. My mother was much the same as Umber, but not anymore.

Our father knocks tentatively on the door frame, all we have for a door is a hanging rag, he smiles warmly at Umber until his eyes crease and tells her she looks beautiful. I remember him well that night, lilac eyes, dark unruly hair and weathered skin. Umber dips her head demurely and her rose lips curve up in a bashful smile. Someone else will tell her that tonight- and then she will really smile. Walking out of our measly hut and down the packed dirt lane towards the Meet hut we see the other children in their white, ceremonial shifts also making their way. All twelve winters old and born in the same season as my sister: Fresh Winter. I walk a step behind my parents and Umber keeping out of the light of the torches as I watch Umber’s fragile body quake beneath the crisp sheet she wears. Her clogs tap on the frozen ground in an uncertain rhythm and as the Meet hut nears she wipes her sweating palms together. Calmly our mother bends down until she is looking into Umbers nervous eyes and stares at her confidently as if trying to share it through a glance. No words are exchanged, she only taps Umber on her petite nose bringing the whisper of a smile to my sister’s face and then she stands, apparently satisfied. Suddenly our father reaches out to grab me as children who have not yet been Granted cannot watch others be Granted and therefore have to be cared for whilst the ceremony takes place in another hut where my younger brother Nark is now.  However I’m too quick, slipping away and hopping onto a barrel, I swing myself up onto the wooden roof of the closest hut. He sighs but doesn’t pursue me, knowing that he’d never catch me. I grin roguishly from my vantage point before scurrying off to find a way into the rafters of the Meet hut. I’m not missing my sister’s Granting.

My mother doesn’t even glance as I leave. She gave up on me years ago.

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