Changing Faces - Part Five


Annette and Raven do not like each other. I feared this would happen-no, I knew it would. Raven does not remember Annette, and Annette is disgusted by Raven. She shudders whenever she enters the room.

Annette is here only for the summer, but it cannot be long enough. She brings me news from the city-talk of a machine that can move as a horse, that has people sit inside it. Such a fantastic thing. She tells me of the latest fashions, the freshest gossip; things I need to know. Mon Dieu, it seems as if it has been forever since I heard another voice besides my own. Of course, there is Eloise's chatter, but I find myself wishing to throttle her whenever she opens her mouth. Raven is still very young, and is not talkative at all.

There are times, where I find myself wondering; would it be easier for Annette to accept her sister if Raven was more lacking? Would they get along better if Raven was a deaf, dumb disfigured child? Is the fact that Raven talks, and walks, and is in full control of her facilities seen by Annette as yet another failing?

I ask these questions, because, you see, I feel that way. Perhaps if Raven were bedridden, retarded, unable to see, or hear, or think, perhaps I would care more for her. Instead, she walks about, as though nothing at all is wrong; a constant reminder to me that if only her face and hair wasn't so freakish, she could be a normal child--

No. I shall not lie to myself, I will not be one of those mothers who says their child is no different than anyone elses under its deformities. I wish I could say that--I wish I knew that she is really just a victim of fate, her life cruelly twisting an innocent soul.

But that's not true. I stand there sometimes, and she stares at me; stares at me with those terrible demon eyes of hers and I _know_ she is not like me on the inside; she is _not_ a normal child under her skin--

She is something dark and terrible and she scares me at times, even if I am bigger and older she knows things she looks at me and knows them.

I want her to go away.

That's not going to happen. It's a sin to kill, espiecially your own child. It is just as bad as to abandon them, and I know she could not survive on her own in this world. Others would fear her, and hunt her down and kill her.

So I stay here; as much as for my own soul as her safety. I stay here and survive on second-rate gossip from my ten-year-old daughter. I stay here, in this house, day after day, night after night, never leaving because I am not welcome in this town. I went, overnight, from queen of the social circuit to outcast, just by birthing one hideous baby. Isn't it amazing how quickly everyone can turn agaisn't you?


She sighed, stuck the diary into her satchel, then went downstairs to begin dinner.


Raven watched Annette critically. The girl ran her fingers through her curly hair, allowing the ringlets to recoil back into place. Reaching down, Annette picked up her whale-bone hairbrush and carefully swipped it through her mass of curls, counting as she brushed.

"13, 14, 15"

Raven reached up and touched her own hair, feeling the slick strands upon her fingertips.

Annette had hair like Mere; a fine full-head of delicate ringlets. Whereas Raven's hair was a light, garish red, Annette had Mere's pale blonde locks.

Annettte turned about on her seat, her counting in the mid-twenties. Her--sister--stood in her doorway, wearing that horrendous pale green shift. She looked like some terribly deformed beggar child. Raven had her childish hands entwined in that strange hair of hers, gazing at Annette quitely as she brushed.

Annette gritted her teeth. "35. 36, 37, 38.."

Raven narrowed her bright yellow eyes. (She isn't so great) she decided, noticing the ugly sneer Annette had upon her lovely face (she just looks nicer)

"52, 53, 54..."

Annette stopped brushing at the count of sixty. Placing her brush upon the table, she turned to face her sister. (Time to put this little interloper in her place...)

"Raven, darling, come here." Annette said, plastering that sweetly sickening smile on her face. Raven's lip screwed up, and she took a step back. "Are you curious about something, sweetie?" Annette asked, kneeling before the girl.

Raven shook her head and backed up. "Are you sure? You're staring at me like you are."

Raven hesitantly opened her mouth. "How come you get to go to a seminary and I don't?" she asked. She really wasn't all that curious, but it seemed like something an adult would expect her to ask.

Annette smirked. (Ah, so the little freak wants to know why I do things she can't)

Annette scooted forward, wrapping one arm about Raven's waist, puliing her into an embrace. Raven's lip screwed up; she didn't get hugged much anyway, and certainally not by this stranger.

Annette spread her fingers underneath Raven's, so that the slender fingers of the older sibling were only partially covered up by the rough, tiny fingers of the yelloe eyed child.

"Raven, honey, what's different about our hands?"

Raven frowned. What was this girl, blind?

"Yours are paler than mine."

"Excately. Yours are blue. Mine are yellow. That means I can go places. You cannot."

Raven bit her lip. "Why?"

"Because, sweetheart, yellow is normal. Yellow is what people see all the time. Yellow is better than blue for skin. I'm yellow. You are blue. I go places, see things. One day I shall even marry. You will stay here for the rest of your life."

Raven gently pushed her way from her sisters embrace. "That's a rule?"

"Yes, it is."

Raven frowned, staring at her hands. Who ever made that rule was stupid.

Annette chuckled as she sat back at her table.

"61, 62, 63...."

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