1. I

All your life you have only had one dream.

The dream when all you care about is the wide open expanse of the sky and the cool kiss of the wind on your face. All the world to you is the flutter of feathers as you fly, free as a bird, and you are happier than you've ever--

And there it stops. As soon as the fluorescent numbers on your digital clock click to 7.00,  your eyes flick open and you sit up in a mess of duvet and sheets.

Let me just specify your position.

You're a fourteen year old girl, miserable with life overall. Unlike others in your class, you do not self harm, but still feel pain when you come home to an empty, dirty house where your mother's scent no longer lingers.

Oh yes. Your mother left when you were 12. Your father has a job that requires him to be out of the house all the time you are awake; you barely see him and he keeps away from you. And your sister-Well, I'll come back to her. Best to avoid Wren until necessary.

Where was I? Your school, Danville Secondary School For Girls, is full of the rejects, rough kids who smoke in the loos, the don't-care girls who bunk off, and those who worry only of how high their skirt needs to be to display their orange fake-tan legs to their best.

You don't fit any of those categories.

You are alone.

But you still see their eyes dart at you, their conspiratorial whispers, the smirks, the guilty laughs, and worst of all, you feel them judging every inch of you.

Sometimes you skip school just to avoid them.

I think that somewhere, deep down, you would love to be one of those ultra-confident girls, who stand up to teachers and have too many detentions to count.

But you're not.

You're just... 

It's hard to describe you.

Sometimes you wonder about what would have happened if she’d stayed. The one who was meant to guide you through life abandoned you when you were at your most vulnerable.


You hated her then.


But now, now you’re not so sure.


You wish she was still here. There, I said it. You miss your mother, even though she did nothing but provide food, shelter and-and love. Most of all, you miss being loved by your mother.


Love, to your father, is a quick peck on the cheek and an awkward hug whenever he sees you, although admittedly he’s usually about to dash off to some meeting.


Your mother’s love was entirely different. It enveloped you, comforted you, and it was always there, hanging around your shoulders. It did not have the hollow feeling that you always got with your father. Your mother’s love smelled of lilac perfume and honey pancakes. Father’s love-paper and ink and work and hurry.


Then she slammed the door on you, and your life of being loved was over.


Time to jump off this depressing topic and on to another.


Your name.


Your name is Jay Gull Byrd.


Your parents, Hawk Byrd and Robin Merle, met through having unusual, bird-related names.

They decided to carry on with you and--Wren.


Yes, Wren.


I won’t say anything yet, apart from she could be your clone.


Big dark eyes, long, silky black hair, and thick, Bambi-style lashes. The only difference is she is smaller.


You do not know it, but you are extremely beautiful.


The girls at school laugh because they are jealous.


But you will never find that out.


Don’t worry yourself.


I will continue your tale when you’re ready.


Until then, Jay Byrd.


Until then.



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