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I was only five years old when it happened, just a baby. Not but a day before my birthday did it occur. Taken in the dead of night and never to be heard of in the Village of Lavendear again, at least that’s how it usually goes. Every few children would be taken the day before their sixth birthday from their home and would never hear the voice of their parents again. No one but the people taken knows where these children go. When you are first brought there they explain all these things. Saying we were chosen before we were even born. Forest children, that’s what we call ourselves, because by definition we do live in the forest and off the forest only surviving on things we make or trade for in our personal villages.
Now I’m almost 14 to the day I have been here for seven years. If you are inquiring, yes, my birthday is tomorrow I’ll officially be 14 in twelve hours. My name is Anne well at least that is my name here. I do not quite remember my former name for it no longer matters. This is my home now and has been for quite some time. My family here is wonderful they make sure I’m taken care of because I am the baby of the family. With a brother two years older than me, a sister a year older than him, a brother four months older than her, and a final brother two years older than him I am quite young. So as an additive to that torture I am usually the one teased for the most part, really it’s only by my youngest older siblings, Dawn and Peter. Ty, John, and Lynx defend me for the better half of the time. The name Anne was chosen for me because of my large blue eyes and pale skin. My hair is the color of gold in the spring and straight as a rod I am betting that I’m mainly Dutch from my features.
I don’t particularly like myself. I’m constantly getting sent out of classes for my constant babble and boys at my school find me hard to keep up with and girls find me too rambunctious so in truth I haven’t many friends but the ones I do have are worth keeping because they understand me and I’m not constantly having to watch what I say or how I say it around them. They can constantly keep up with my mind which is funny because some of the best teachers at my school have difficulty with it. I don’t know why but they are constantly calling in Lynx to discuss my situation at school. It is always behind closed doors in my village. I am not saying that the adults in my village smile upon talking behind others backs, but they certainly don’t frown upon it. I am supposed to be going into the ninth grade this year if I were in other villages, but since I am so advanced in my learning I’ll be in the eleventh grade this semester. I guess that is another reason why I don’t have many friends in this village, because in other villages I met the children my age understood me. Unfortunately I don’t get to leave this village until my oldest sibling allows me to, and I know for a fact that that may take a while because he doesn’t think I am old enough to even go to parties let alone another village. So here I am trapped.
“Anne! Get in here now before Lynx and Ty return. You have chores to do,” shouted Dawn from the upstairs window.
“I am coming, would you please give me a moment,” I replied rolling my eyes to Bell, Nina, and Wen. They are my best friends and know that I am constantly at odds with the beast that goes by the name of Dawn.
“Bye you guys,” I said to my friends. They all stood when I did and Bell and Nina hugged me good-bye.
Wen just stood there for a moment before he mussed my hair and said, “Bye, shorty.”
“You know what Wen?” I asked and when he turned I continued, “I don’t think I am going to allow you over my house any longer if you insist on doing that every time you leave.”
“Oh, c’mon you know I mean it with love,” he replies, flashing me a crooked smile before running off to catch up with his sisters.
I walked up the steps into my house and collapsed on the chair that sat by the window.
“What was all that about?” asked Dawn coming up behind me and smoothing my hair with her fingers.
“Oh, it was nothing Dawn. He just gets a good laugh at calling me short because of how it bothers me so,” I replied.
“Uh huh, sure,” she replied snidely.
“I mean it!’ I practically screamed at her.
“Go to your room if you are going to behave like that,” she said calmly.
So with that I was sent to my room before Lynx and Ty could get home. Where I have been sitting doing homework for the past hour. I’m starting to wonder if the boys are ever going to get home, when all of a sudden I hear Ty run in saying that there is a new child coming in now.
With that we all run out of the house Dawn completely forgetting about my punishment and grabbing the things we will need to present to the family retrieving the child. Old clothes, toys, and pretty much anything else we don’t use because I am the last child this family has had and will probably get for a while. So we rush to the town hall where I see Nina and Bell but not their brother anywhere.
I ask Ty if I can go over to them and he nodds and said, “Just be home by supper if you know what’s good for you.”
With that I travel the small distance to them and ask, “Where’s Wen?”
“Oh he is just running a little late I am sure he’ll be here eventually,” answers Bell with a smile.
“Why Miss Greene, do you fancy Wen?” asks Nina so sweetly that if you didn’t know her better you would have thought she was sincerely asking and not trying to find information.
“What? No not at all. Anyway I like Matt you guys know that.” I say proudly.
“It is just too bad then that he has it in for you Anne,” replies Bell with a toss of her hair.
“I highly doubt that dear friend,” I reply with a toss of my head.
“Oh don’t be so sure Anne,” said Bell and with that the ceremony began.
We sat there for what was nearly an hour with nothing but the droning music to distract us. I don’t quite remember most ceremonies, but I do know they can take forever. After about forty-five minutes of the dull music Wen made an appearance next to me.
“Why Wendell, how lovely for you to join us,” I say around a smile.
“Why Anne how dear for you to notice my absence,” he replies with a flourish of is hand.
“Wen, she doesn’t like you. Apparently she holds fancy over someone else,” Nina says with a twirl of her hair. I shoot here a theat pointedly tells her to shut her big mouth before sneaking a peek at Wen’s face. His face is set in a grim mask. He looks straight ahead and doesn’t make eye contact with anyone.
I nudge his arm trying to get his attention. He looks over at me with a strained look of happiness on his face, “Yes?” he asks.
“Are you ok? You don’t look too good.” I say concern showing on my features.
“I’m fine Anne. Don’t worry yourself.” He said. He made a point of looking straight ahead and not taking his eyes off the small girl being presented to the Eissenhoure family. They have the least amount of children out of everyone in the whole village.
Finally, the ceremony ended and everyone fleeted to their homes. Nina and Bell asked if I wanted to come over and I said yes, but would have to talk to somebody first.
I walked away with Wen looking at me curiously. I saw Matt across the field and walked straight toward him.