I woke up late, the near afternoon sun heating my sheets up a little uncomfortably. Unlike the day before, I was still in yesterday's clothes with one shoe on and one shoe off, seeming like I crawled in by myself during the night.
I sat up on the edge of the bed, stretching out the stiffness of sleeping skew, feeling all the tension from the heavy work that had been done the day before at the same time. I stood up on shaky legs, trying to blink away the stars that now danced before my eyes.
I dragged myself to the wash basin, trying to splash the sleep from my eyes. I felt so drained, not enjoying the lack of energy I was experiencing. With all the effort I could muster I got dressed into fresh clothes, feeling a little better after getting cleaned up.
Dragging my feet into the kitchen area I noticed a very obviously missing Raisa from the scene. I could hear the sheep bleating softly outside alongside the goats, with the cows adding in their moo's to the symphony orchestrated in the animal pens. The only other sound was the sound of my shoes on the wooden floor boards, squeaking as I shifted my weight uncomfortably, not sure what to do with the change in morning traditions.
I peaked out around the back to the animal pens to see if Raisa had woken late and was trying to catch up on her morning duties, but I was only greeted by the sights of animals enjoying the sun light of the early afternoon sun.
I walked back into the pantry, searching for something to nibble on, feeling my stomach kicking into action with my body that was gradually waking up. I cut a few slices of cheese and found some dried fruits and nuts to accompany it.
I walked through the house, taking my time to chew through my snack, checking all the rooms and finding them all empty. Luckily I wasn't the type to start stressing over the lack of people around as the house was normally quiet and left all to myself on more than one occasion.
After finishing off my snack and feeling like my stomach was satisfied for the time being, I wondered outside, squinting my eyes against the sun that was now burning high above the village. I spread my arms out, welcoming the warmth, enjoying the Summer time sun. I never missed an opportunity to enjoy the sun, knowing that when Winter came I would be less than thrilled.
I wandered over to Rylan's house, knocking shyly at the door, hating the fact that I had to disturb the peace that may be inside.
The door opened with a slight creak, Braden's face greeting me with a look of disgust when he realised who was disturbing his peace.
"What do you want?" He was obviously not wasting anymore time than he had to on me.
"Good to see you too Braden. How are you doing? Seen what a lovely day it is today?" I smiled sweetly at him, knowing that I was killing him with kindness like my Mother had always taught me.
"Miss sunshine is here for you Rylan!" He shouted behind him, turning back to me to throw another glare before leaving me unwelcome at the open door.
I stood there with a gaping mouth, not too sure what I should be doing with myself. Just as I was about to push the door further open to see what was happening, Rylan popped his head around the slightly open door.
"Why didn't you just come in?" He asked, genuinely curious at my actions.
I shot a hand up to my face, trying to hide my embarrassment with a gesture of annoyance. "You know I don't just barge into people's personal space unless I'm invited in."
"You should get over that when it comes to our house." He shrugged his shoulders, not really seeing how uncomfortable that made me. "It is like your second home anyway."
"Sure, I'll remember for next time." I mumbled and followed him in.
We walked in, the only other person in the house was Braden who kept himself busy with his animal carvings, picking away carefully at the wood with the knife he had made for himself as part of an initiation process by the Black Smith. We walked by him, either so enthralled by his work or trying his very best to ignore both of us.
Rylan and myself sat on the floor near the fire place and began prodding at the coals, wondering how to start the conversation.
"Where are your parents?" I looked around, only really realising at that point that they were missing from the scene.
"They were gone early this morning already, left me to sleep when they left. Braden said that they were busy with important meetings and set ups at the Town Hall."589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡQQRDQsNwEi
"Town Hall? Without my parents?" I was a little surprised that there were meetings taking place without the people in charge of our little town.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ3JSFI1gaEl
"That's what Braden said. If you ask my opinion, I think he's lying to sound large and in charge."
"And yet I'm the one they leave in charge of you, so keep it to yourself." Braden scoffed at us all without lifting his head from his work.
Rylan stuck his tongue out at Braden, quickly recoiling as if nothing was wrong when Braden glared at him out the corner of his eye. I just stifled a giggle, shaking my head at the two boys obviously trying to one up each other all the time.
"Are we going to go hang out by the-" I leaned in to whisper so Braden couldn't over hear us. "Secret fort?"
Rylan leaned in, continuing with our whispering conversation. "We should try make it more enclosed."
I looked at him, wondering what he was going on about. "I thought we weren't going to do that?"
He suddenly got a mischievous grin on his face. "Well if we want to use our bows and arrows today, we have to blend in more into the background to stay hidden."
I matched his smile, enjoying the idea of finding a place to practise my shooting skills. "I like the way you think."
"What ever you two are planning to do, leave me out of it." Mumbled Braden, still not looking at us.
"Since when do we ever invite you anywhere?" I retorted, really enjoying the fact that our simple whispering was getting on his nerves.
Braden sighed heavily, like he had the burden of the world on his shoulders, turning with all the energy he could muster in order to look me in the eye.
He leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees and hands interlinked in front of him. "Laila, I don't like you, and I know you don't like me. But that will never change the fact that I'm thirteen and you're barely even eight, making me an adult compared to you, so act accordingly and show a little respect. Okay?"
"I'll start treating you like an adult when you actually are an adult. For now you're nothing more than a kid, just like us." I gestured towards Rylan who was obviously not liking the way his older brother was treating me.
"Then don't expect me to treat you with any respect." He gave an eye roll, obviously trying to show dominance through sarcasm.
I had to try stifle another giggle, enjoying how easily I could get on his nerves. "Not that you have ever." And Rylan joined in with trying to smother his laughter.
"Get out you little brats." Braden stood up in a huff, hating the fact that he had no influence over us in any shape or form.
Running out in laughter and face pulling action, we ran past Braden outside and onward towards the weapon shed at the far side of the training field. We gathered our bows and took a quiver of arrows to use between the two of us and headed towards the treehouse.
We came to a halt, gasping for air while we clutched our knees at the base of the treehouse. We noticed how some of the Meadow's critters had found our little platform and interesting new improvement. Little birds hopped around a few squirrels, pecking at the seeds and bugs that had found themselves on the deck.
We scrambled up our makeshift ladder, the birds and squirrels scurrying away quickly at our sudden movements. We got comfortable, laying out our things neatly that we would be using soon.
"So what are we shooting at?" I asked, looking around for a decent target.
Rylan looked around too, scanning our surroundings. "How about that apple hanging there?" He pointed towards a tree.
I squinted, trying to find the elusive apple. "That red one in the far tree?" I asked, spotting a target that was not only small but quite a distance away. 589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ3Q9bL9GT6E
"Yip, that one. Bet you can't hit it." He laughed, enjoying his little taunt.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡPmJffXIi1d
He knew all too well that I couldn't say no to a bet, especially when the odds were in my favour. "Oh yeah? And what are you willing to bet on it?"589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡxIcRwj22n2
I stood there, rubbing his chin again as he thought. "Well let's do this, first one to shoot it gets to eat it."589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡDxWU6OG6wx
I shrugged my shoulders in response. "And bragging rights I suppose. But knowing how bad you get when you win, that's probably not the best idea." I eyed him wearily, a smirk on my face.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡITbQOg4I02
"Says you! Last time you won the race to see who could tie their shoes the fastest you wouldn't shut it for a week!" Rylan threw his hands up in exasperation.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡfXXui2pknW
Meanwhile I threw my hands up in mock defense. "Because of the mere fact that I'm a year younger than you, meaning you had an extra year's worth of practise." I smiled, enjoying his struggle for a come back, but he sagged his shoulders in defeat.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡUJKgV3atjJ
"Fine, in that case I get first shot at the apple." He puffed his chest up, a new sense of boldness surrounding him. He quickly notched an arrow, getting the feel of the bow comfortable in his hands, and pulled it back slowly. He aimed at the distant target with one eye closed, placing his pulled back hand towards his face and resting the bow string on his lip. He took a deep breath, let out a small sigh and let the arrow fly.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ7ZEgsplHo8
We could hear the arrow schhwaff effortlessly through the air that was very quickly followed by the small thud as it hit the tree, centimeters below the apple target. Rylan squinted, trying to hide his frustration behind an analytical gaze. 589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡgbSDgtblzR
"Your turn." He said emotionless, stepping out of the way for my chance.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡiGHZAle6Ks
I followed his lead, notching an arrow and drawing the bow string back. I felt the tension grow the further I pulled it back, enjoying the fight it gave back with the strength I had put in. I lifted the bow, placing the bow string to my lip and focusing on my target, eyeing the apple with patience. I felt for the slight breeze, waiting for the world around me to grow silent in my concentration. I took a deep breath in, waited for the perfect moment with a small sigh, and let the arrow fly. 589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ5c77enAtzf
Again the arrow sang through the air, quicker than the one Rylan's did, and then the thud. Following the arrow the whole time, both Rylan and myself knew that this was my win.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡdwnWrTG4Xj
"I don't know how you do that." He looked, awestruck at the apple target wedged between the tree it was hung on and the arrow.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡAjLgxhR5l2
"Lots of practice I guess." I shrugged, enjoying my victory but feeling a little uncomfortable with the attention as always.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡallRwryNee
"And a whole lot of luck." Rylan turned to face me, the look of respect he always gave me when he saw my bow skills.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡqksVnNmSvG
"That comes with the practise." I smiled back, trying to reassure him that I wasn't perfect.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡtHaNycvKkl
I climbed down the tree ladder, jumping the last three blocks when I reached the bottom, and ran in the direction of the apple. I counted the trees that it would take me to get to the right one, and looked up, pleased to see that my tracking skills were not too waste. I clambered up the tree, enjoying the challenge of climbing an unfamiliar tree that never grew to be climbed. At the last stretch I pulled Rylan's arrow out before my own, trying not to drip any of the juice on myself, and worked my way back down. 589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡye5oIgTeig
On my return to the treehouse I was greeted with the view of Rylan poking his head over the edge of the platform. 589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡSK7dQoKfRA
"Did you get it?" He asked curiously, not wanting to sound too much like he doubted me.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡJwJBXJ2X0a
"I'll be up in a second." I called back, sticking the arrows between clenched teeth so I would have two free hands to climb with.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡimF5HOmRXU
At the top Rylan helped me up, pulling me up and over the edge, forcing me into a very awkward landing. We both laughed at each other, both in a good mood together again. 589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ6k5gyAi3NJ
"Well done." He said, gesturing towards the kebab apple.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡcDom8Uub1m
"Thanks." I said, still feeling awkward about it. So I put my awkwardness into action, gripping the apple in one hand and holding the arrow in the other. With a quick flick of the wrist the apple split in half. I held out one half for Rylan, already munching away at my own half.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡZ69Myvp8Fg
"I can't, it was part of the bet." He said, now standing in the awkward position.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡQgW9LWkLRJ
"Take it before I change my mind." I chucked it at him, forcing him to catch it.589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡxcm8GWHhPX
He shook his head at me but bit into it anyway, looking at it fondly as he savored the sweetness. "So when are you going to show me how to shoot an arrow like that?"589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡrF5gMzzfhw
I looked at him, trying to see if he was joking or not, finding no sign of mockery. "We could set up some targets around here, get some practise in everyday we're here."589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡZRD2yLVGY2
He nodded, contemplating possible places to put the targets. "We can do that tomorrow then. Right now I think it's time we head back home. Mother said we shouldn't be out too late tonight."589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡswOPXB3pcU
I nodded back, finishing off the last of my half of the apple. "Then we better get going."589Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ73ohgbfQb6ns 220.127.116.11da2