The Lies of Mansion Mawthore

In the Mawthore household, the ladies of the family are isolated and imprisoned. They are taught to respect men and men are taught vice versa. When Meraine's cousin, Raya, is tortured for attempting to escape, Meraine knows she has to take up matters in her own hands. For the first time in the Mawthore history, a woman will stand up to face the cruel wits of men and that woman will be Meraine Selena Mawthore. -------FOR THE HISTORICAL FICTION COMPETITION 2017---------- [Amazing cover by NamesfromGraves]

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2. Ruined Me

When Raya started talking again, she only spoke to her mother and sisters. I knew she was cross with me – I was the one who had run when Edmund found her and she had every reason to be mad at me. I was afraid that she was going to be mad at me; the last thing we feared was for a fight to break through the women themselves.

But, one evening, after I and my two cousins, Aria and Josephine, had just finished cooking supper for the whole house, my mother came up to me and told me Raya wanted to talk to me.

“She misses you,” Mother said.

I raised my eyebrows. “Did she say that?”

“I could feel that. She could hardly make eye contact with me. Meraine, you should speak to her. She is feeling awful and only you can help her.”

So I got my apron and bonnet off and walked to Raya’s room. She was sitting on the bed, just done with brushing her hair.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi,” she replied, looking at her feet.

“Mother said you wanted to talk.”

“Oh… yes.”

Her cobalt blue eyes were looking so insecure that my heart softened immediately. I walked to her and sat down beside her on her bed.

“Raya, is it about the ‘men’?” I whispered, putting my hand on her shoulder soothingly.

She shuddered and just looked at me with a pale face. “Meraine, they ruined me,” she whispered, tears beginning to swell up in her eyes.

I opened my mouth to speak, but her voice was so strong in a heart-breaking sense that I couldn’t get myself to talk. It was strong in voicing that she had accepted her defeat. It was strong in showing to everyone that she was forever broken and that she could never stand up again.

“They took away all my dignity,” she went on tearfully, “All my rights. I felt like an animal there. Like I had no value.”

“Raya, please…” I said, trying to cool her down, but I was unable to say further.

“They put me with the pigs, Meraine. Think about it, the pigs.”

“Raya.”

“I couldn’t even feel strong if I wanted to. They fed me stuff that they knew I wouldn’t be able to eat.” Raya had fat tears rolling down her cheeks now and she turned to look at me and choked, “Do you know what the worst thing was?”

“Raya, please, don’t. Don’t do this to yourself,” I was quick to speak but she shook her head.

“Some of the men even laughed at me. They laughed, Meraine. They laughed. They laughed as I cried. As I fell. As I threw up. Even as the blood ran from my nose, they laughed. They thought I was a joke. A joke. Nothing more. Nothing more at all,” she sobbed, burying her face in her hands.

I wrapped my arms around her and she cried on my shoulder. I felt like crying myself, but I had to stand strong to be pillar for her.

“Even Edmund laughed,” she whimpered, “He is my brother. Brothers don’t laugh when their sisters are locked up and dying. He was supposed to cry. But he laughed.”

“They always laugh, Raya,” I whispered, “They are always looking at our tears and laughing. They can’t do better, honey. That’s all they can do.”

Raya removed her head from my now-damp shoulder and looked at me with wet eyes and flushed cheeks.

“But Edmund… he should have helped me…”

“That is how he was raised, was he not? Taught to disrespect women? Did you see how he talks to your mother, Raya? I cannot imagine that a person like him would have any sense of right and wrong. He will always laugh when you will be pain, Raya. To him, you are not his sister. Just another woman who has no value. But you have to be strong. Don’t let him get to you,” I said as calmly as I could.

“Why doesn’t God help us?” she sniffled.

“At the right time, He will help us.”

“The right time? When will that right time come? When half of us are lying dead in these halls and the other half are crying on the point of death?” her eyes flashed angrily but that only lasted a second before insecurity overwhelmed her and she sobbed in my shoulder again.

“One day,” was all I could say. Even those two words sounded uncertain to my ears, but I managed to choke them out somehow. Raya and I sat quietly for a few minutes while she silently sobbed with great pain.

“Raya, I am sorry,” I said when things seemed quieter.

She didn’t reply but just hugged me a little tighter. I exhaled with a pang of guilt and looked at my hands.

“I shouldn’t have run,” I went on, “If I had not left you like that, maybe things would have been better.”

“Nothing would have been better,” she squeaked in a hoarse tone, “You tried to persuaded me to run, didn’t you? You did your best, but I was stubborn and did not listen. If I had run, then things would have been better.”

“What? No, you had a right to fulfil –”

“A right that have seized from me with such force that I will never see it again,” Raya scoffed.

“Raya, don’t say that. That’s not true,” I soothed.

“What do you expect me to say, Meraine? You know that is, in fact, true. Everyone knows that,” she enforced, shaking her head as she rose from my shoulder.

“It is not true. It is only true if you believe in it,” I persuaded, trying to calm her down.

“I do believe it,” she whispered, her tone sad and blunt, “Tell me, Meraine, do you think I still have any rights, any dignity, left? After Lord Mawthore pushed me to the floor in front of the whole house? After they locked me up? After they laughed at me? They slapped me and I couldn’t even stop them. They hit me till my dress ripped. No one did anything about it. No one could. If we had any respect, wouldn’t we, in the least, protest?

Hell, no. We don’t even have the right to protest. It feels like we are animals, does it not? Who would actually think we have any value? We don’t, Meraine. And we can’t get any either.”

We were sitting in front of each other now, completely parted.

I shook my head. “If we had no value, they wouldn’t have a reason to keep us captive, would they now?”

It was only after the words had rolled off my tongue, did I realize how truthful they were. Raya stopped to look at me with her eyes big.

“T-that’s true…” she whispered, “but we can’t do anything about that, eh?”

“At least, we know that we have some value,” I tried, a smile tugging at my lips.

“The value we are never going to find,” she sighed, “Know one thing, Meraine: I am done fighting for freedom. Nothing has happened and nothing ever will.”

I placed my hands in my lap and looked down. “I am sorry for you, Raya. We all are. But, you know one thing: I am going to avenge what happened to you. I am going to avenge what is happening to all of us.”

Raya passed me a sad smile

“One day,” she whispered.

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