(Short story)
Rhiannon Turner hasn't been to the Cornish village of Pur Lowen in years, not since her Grandfather died. In that time a lot has changed, and Rhiannon has found himself, and become Ryan.
When Ryan returns to Pur Lowen for the summer holidays he finds himself oddly drawn to Raven June, the beautiful girl next door, who's unsettling past keeps her, and her sister Mapelli, silent most of the time.
But Ryan knows a thing or two about overcoming challenges, and he's determined to reach Raven, despite her selective mutism.
What Ryan doesn't realise is that there's more to Raven and her sister than that which meets the eye...and Raven has a secret


13. Chapter 13 ~ Mapelli

A part of me hated myself for locking Raven in that dreadful attick, even though all I wanted was to keep her safe, to know where she was so I could protect her, it felt wrong, I felt like a monster, like him.

But, I also felt relieved. I’d spent hours waiting for her to come home, panicking every other second, worrying about all the things that could have gone wrong...at least that way I knew she’d never put herself at risk like that ever again.

Raven’s lucky, she was born second, she’s too young to remember what we went through when we were little...but the absence of those memories also makes her irresponsible, she doesn’t realise how cruel people can be, how horridly they can act if provoked. True enough, Raven doesn’t remember our first home, with our birthparents, with our birth-father...but I do, and I know I will never be able to forget.

Dad was a teacher, but above all, he was a devout christian. He taught at a catholic private school forty minutes away from where we lived. So he left early in the morning, and returned late at night. He wouldn’t read fairytales to me before bed, he’d read extracts from the holy bible, and he’d often force my mother to sit and listen also. You can imagine them, the horror this uptight and traditional man felt when his wife gave birth to, not just one, but two ‘deformed’ children. The devil's spawn’, that’s what he used to call us. One night, before Raven was born, I came home from school, a public one just around the corner, to find him home early, in a particularly bad mood.

I heard the yelling from outside the house, but I knew I had no choice but to venture inside. I placed my bag at the bottom of the stairs and walked into the kitchen, trying to ignore the argument and stay in the shadows. I shut my eyes and exhaled deeply, feeling the soft burn of my warm breath against my chapped lips. I tried to pretend as if I’m wasn’t in the room, like I was somewhere else, far, far away. I don’t hear his insults, but I felt a tug as I was forced to the ground, pulled down by my sleeve which teared and ripped right off. I was unable to cry out as my hand was trampled on whilst I scrambled to get up, nor did I yelp when his boot collided with my soft stomach, forcing me back down on my back, gasping for air. He knelt down to loom over me, yanking at my hair to pull my head up so our eyes could meet at last.

“Show me, show me, show me! Open your damn mouth!” He roared, thrusting me back and forth with each word he spat out. Finally, he dropped me to the ground, his anger lessened. He took my mother upstairs and left me there, staring up silently, gazing out of the window, up to the sky.

It was only when the sun went down that I finally opened my mouth, letting out a long, painful, and tearful scream.

Things only got worse once Raven was born, so much alike me in her appearance. It made him angry at everything, especially mum, especially me...especially Raven. She was only thirteen months old when he first hit her, and after that things only seemed to escalate.

We were ‘rescued’ when I turned seven, by which time Raven was three. She grew up scared only physically. I doubt she can even recall what he looks like.

Then again, neither can I.

In my dreams he’s just a pair of glowing amber eyes…

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