(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


2. Chapter 2 ~ Raven

I watched them as they pulled up, getting out their suitcases and unloading into the old barnhouse. Through the mesh curtains I could make out the shapes of two adults and a tall boy, like shadows. I stared blankly as Ms Alma rushed out to greet them, tuning my ears so I could recognise the odd sound of laughter and chatter. She embraced them all in long, tight hugs, then hurried them all indoors. (Ms Alma hasn’t had family visits in the time that I’ve known her, she’s been a bit like me, stuck in a house which is far too big, unsure of how to waste her minutes. I used to come and sit in that window and see her shadow sat at a chair, rocking back and forth, and for some reason, seeing that similarity between herself and I comforted me.)

Then I felt a presence behind me as Mapelli came up to me, drawing me away from the window where I spent too much of my day lingering. I had felt her hand on my shoulder as I looked up, using my eyes to say ‘why?’, but she had just shook her head and continued to pull me away. (Mapelli always takes care of me, I suppose that’s what older sisters are for, but sometimes I just don’t understand her. She lead me to the front garden, facing north of the fields, and sat me down.)

Now we just sit here, opposite one another, she pours me some tea, but I still don’t really know what’s going on. I suppose I never do, it’s Mapelli’s job to understand the world, and it’s mine to learn from her. She’s almost like my second mother, and believe me, she’s much better than my first. I don’t really remember my early childhood with mum and dad, but Mapelli does, and when I look into her eyes sometimes I can see just how lucky I am to be the younger of us both. My hand wanders over to my right shoulder, as I feel the outline of my burn. Mapelli notices my movements, and smacks my hand down, shaking her head as if she’s disappointed with me...or perhaps herself? I just keep my head down and sip at my tea, staring out at the scene before me. Our house is the only one in the village facing north, all the others have their entrances facing south. It’s rather fitting to be honest, the way we choose to be different in this. Our house looks out at the open countryside, bursting with colours of green, brown, and blue, facing towards an infinity of nothing, rather than a small set of houses and buildings providing the bare ‘essentials’ of living in our time. I like it this way, facing the green means facing peace and solitude, facing the village means facing all the people, and at that comes with them; rumours, screams, and judgements.

I continue to drink my tea, looking at nothing much in particular. I am all too used to this sort of routine, just sitting, doing nothing, thinking about whether or not anything will ever change. Every lengthy day is exactly the same, I wake up, I wander around the house, I go to sleep. Sometimes I wonder if Mapelli gets as bored as I do, if she does she never shows it, she’s always so upheld and proper, like strings control her actions. I glance upwards, gazing out at the sky, and when I go to look back down again, I notice a boy staring at me. I think he’s the grandson who was moving in to Ms Alma’s house over the summer. He's got a freckled face and tangled short brown hair, that almost looks as if it’s been cut with paper-scissors. He had these bright blue eyes that seem to be bubbling like a boiling chemical, excitement lighting them up as his pupils dilate and explode out towards the edge of his iris. Without really meaning to, I smile. He grins back at me, flashing his teeth in a sort of cheeky grin, and I wish I could do the same back, but my lips remain firmly shut as I maintain my slight smile.

Suddenly I am drawn away again by Mapelli, who half-drags me back indoors. Unlike me she really longs to be alone and away from the outside world, sometimes I even think she’s afraid of it, which is odd, because I’ve always believed Mapelli to be fearless, afraid of nothing. I look back once more as I step inside the house, but the boy is with his family, no longer looking at me, and Mapelli slams the door shut behind me, separating us completely. She goes upstairs to sit with the others, but I return to my window, sitting on the sill and resting my head back against the hard concrete wall, looking through the mesh curtain to the world which I so rarely get to explore, and probably never will.

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