(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


20. Chapter 20 ~ Ryan

It’s not possible...it can’t be, but it is. I can’t deny it, I’m looking right at them, at her…

“Are you a-a…?” I tremble, not able to bring myself to say it.

“Ryan I wanted to tell you a long time ago but...I just couldn’t, Mapelli’s so over-protective and, well, this is a pretty big secret.” She begins to explain, guilt weighing down her face.

“...You’re a-a vampire.” I finally spit it out, pointing outwards at her glistening fangs.

“What? No! I mean, I have the teeth but not the whole blood drinking immortal part...I’m, I’m a misfit.” She corrects me, getting to her feet and waving her hands around in the air. I can’t stop staring at them, the white, glossy icicles dangling from her gums…

What on earth is a misfit!?I ask, lost among the confusion and lies. Should I run? Should I even give her a chance to explain?

“It’s me, it’s Mapelli, it’s everyone else...it’s just what we call ourselves. All the people born different, with some sort of deformity. For me it’s the fangs, for Mapelli it’s her tongue-”

“So wait...you’re not a vampire?” I cut her off, needing some final clarification.

No.” She stresses, “I’m just a seventeen year old girl with fangs.”

Just a seventeen year old girl with fangs?”

“You know what I mean,” she sighs, “I was born with these odd teeth, it’s always been this way for me. When the sun is up, I’m mute; but when the sun is down and it’s safer, I can open my mouth and speak freely.”

“Well but, how? I mean, why? No...um, did you ever see a doctor?” I fumble, looking away.

“And what? Get tested on for the rest of my life? I had Mapelli, she looked after me. She’s got her own little deformity too, her tongue, it’s well, green.”


“Yeah...a sort of dark, ferny colour.” Raven nods, “But that’s not really my secret to tell. What’s important is that I’m not some mythical creature, I’m a human being...I’m just different.”


A feeling I know all too well. That feeling you get when it seems like everyone in the world moves to a different beat, or speaks a whole other language, or just seems to get things that you can’t seem to get. I’ve felt different before. All my life getting dressed up in skirts and dresses, playing dollies when I wanted to run around outside in the mud, toppling over people and having fun. Could it be, perhaps, that I’m a misfit too?

“How come you can only speak at night?” I ask, changing the conversation topic, my own thoughts making me nauseous. Raven sighs, looking down at the ground. It’s not as tense in this clearing as it was before, and we both sit back down, ready to talk, to listen to one another.

“I’m not really sure, it’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Mapelli theories that it’s because people don’t see things as clearly after sunset, so if someone were to notice they’d doubt it more, whereas when the sun is up people are more confident in what they see. I’m not fully convinced though, I mean, what about torches and flashlights? And-” She stops talking, put off by my uncontrollable giggling. I didn’t mean to start laughing, but it just sort of happened, like a litre of serotonin had hit my brain all at once, elevating my mood up to new and weird levels. “What? What’s so funny?”

“It’s just...your voice.” I confess, “It’s just so so nice to hear your voice. It’s like a song, like a hypnotic, addictive song.” Raven blushes, smiling.

“Ryan, before when we were… well, I understand if you don’t want that anymore. It’s okay if you see me differently now.” She fumbles, unable to look me in the eye as she speaks. He words hurt me, striking a nerve somewhere deep inside me. Does she really think I’m that shallow? That cruel? Of course the fangs are a little odd, but so are beauty spots, and people don’t hate people for having those.

“What are you talking about? Raven, I still find you impossibly beautiful, that hasn’t changed. As long as you still like me, and you still want me around, I’ll stay.” Her face lights up in the darkness as she looks up, beaming at me.


“Of course.” I promise her, “I just have one more question.”


“Before, when you were explaining, you said ‘it’s everyone else’, and people always hear voices coming from your house. Are there others like you and Mapelli, living there?” Something shifts in Raven’s expression as she listens to my question, but I can’t quite tell what.

“Yes...yes there are others, misfits, like me and Mapelli.” She nods, “But they’re not like us, they have deformities that mean that they can’t ever go out in public. They have to keep themselves hidden.” She pauses for a moment, allowing me to register all the information, “I should have known you’d figure that one out, you’re very good at this you know.”

For a few minutes we just sit in silence, unsure of what to say to one another. I can’t stop at looking them, at first they repulsed me...but now they intrigue me, they’re so beautiful…

“How about I take you back to my place, we can’t stay here forever and sooner or later Mapelli will find out you know. It’s best to tell her, and the others, straight away. No more secrets.” Raven suggests, thinking about what needs to happen next.

“The others too?”

“Yes, you should meet all of us.” Raven nods.

“What if they don’t like me knowing?” I ask, getting nervous.

“Well really it’s the me telling they wouldn’t like,” Raven reminds me, “And I’ll defend you.”

“I suppose I don’t really have a choice.” I concede, sighing. Raven smiles, happy with her victory.

“Come on, it’s this way.”

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