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The most accurate way to describe Cath was different. She always had been different. For as long as she could remember people had pointed at her from across the street, some hurled hurtful comments at her as she walked to school in the mornings.
They probably had reason to do this, but it was nothing that Cath at eleven years of age could figure out so she just ignored everyone else around her, blocked out the hurt they caused, or as much of it as she could.
Cath was sitting in her garden on the damp grass while her sister, Anne, was expertly baking a cake indoors. Cath was a pretty girl, at 11 years of age she had glossy black hair that fell to her waist in a waterfall of darkness. Her eyes were a delicate hazel, flecked with greens and browns. Her sister looked very much the same, but had lost the youthfulness that Cath possessed. Anne had been told to watch her younger sister as both her parents were busy trying to help with the war efforts. They weren’t expecting their mama back for at least an hour or two, even though the sunset was almost past. Everyone was busy those days, it was 1939 and war had just broken out, so people weren’t equipped with things like gas masks or bomb shelters yet, even though many, many people were working on getting them out to everyone.
The sky was lit up with amazing reds and oranges, and Cath was looking up at the sky wondering what delights tomorrow would bring, tomorrow Cath would be twelve, and finally she would be able to have the new dresses that her parents had tried to hide from her.
“Cath!” Anne yelled, “I need some more flour from the shop, and I need it now!” So Cath dutifully set of to the little corner shop that was tucked away at the other end of the small village that the two sisters called home.
She walked into the shop, pretending to be one of the fine ladies that her mama cleaned for, but the shopkeeper just looked down at her as if she was just a little girl. Of course this was true, but it sent Cath into a right mood, and after receiving the flour she grabbed a handful of sweets before running out of the shop and down the road.
Once she thought she was out of eyesight of the shopkeeper she snuck down one of the little side alleys into the woods, which she ran happily through, not even thinking of the poor lady who owned the shop.
She had got quite far away from the village without even realizing, and the dark was starting to close in pretty fast. So Cath did what she was best at, she ran. She almost flew off the ground; she was in such a hurry, because the dark was the only thing that had continued to frighten her, right from when she was a little toddler.
She was almost back in the town when she tripped on a protruding tree root and almost broke her ankle.
Cath was just picking herself up when the first bang went off. It was so loud, and close too. She couldn’t work out what they were at all, and they started getting closer and closer, sending birds flying up all around her.
She tried to run but fell almost immediately, so she just lay there unmoving until the noise had stopped. Then she picked herself up, flour forgotten by now, and started walking as best she could into the tiny village.
Once the dust around her had settled she could see what really happened, what those ear splittingly loud bangs had been. Because there was nothing left of her house, or street, or even much of the village. Just rubble and darkness, and the ghosts of the dead.