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I always knew I was a little different. I possessed no special powers. Nothing definitive marked me as being different, except maybe my red hair. I just wasn't like anyone else.

My grandmother would say that the spirits touched me when I was born and marked me as one of the special children. My mother said the angels watched over me, and my father just said I was lucky. I wasn't sure what I believed, but everyone seemed to agree on one thing that I couldn't argue with - I was stubborn. 

That stubbornness paired with the need I felt to be independent and equal to, if not better than the boys is probably what constituted a large portion of my "luck". Or maybe it was in spite of those things. I'm really not sure. I just know, looking back, that I likely should have been killed a few times over. Or at least seriously injured. However, I managed to escape my childhood with a few broken limbs and plenty of scrapes and bruises. 

According to my parents, there had been many memorable incidents, but the earliest I can recall was when I was six. I was extremely jealous of my older brothers Ian, Jeremy, and Stephen. They got to have fun while I was stuck with Cecily. Her entire goal in life was to be a proper lady, and she was determined to make me the same way. Convinced she could rid me of my unladylike tendencies, she would make me wear the frilliest, most revolting dresses and bonnets, forcing me to sit for hours on end while she curled my hair and treated me like her personal dress-up doll. 

I hated it, and I would whine and carry on until she let me up. It infuriated me that all my mother would say was that I had to mind Cecily because she was older. Secretly, I think she hoped it would take and that I would start behaving like a lady. 

It was not to be, however. I only wanted to tag along with the boys. They got to run and play, climb trees, and even fight. In fact, beginning at age eight, boys were trained to fight. I resented my brothers for that. All I had to look forward to was cooking, sewing, cleaning, and one day having babies. I was determined to prove myself to my brothers. Maybe then they would start including me. Even if I was just a girl. 

It was a warm summer day and I was in the meadow behind our house with Cecily. She was sitting under her favorite tree, reading her precious romance novel and supposedly watching me.

I remember feeling particularly bitter towards her that day because she had forced me into the most nauseating purple dress and matching bonnet. If that wasn't bad enough, she had repeatedly slapped my hand for things I was doing that she didn't like. It didn't hurt much, even though I suspect she thought it did. It was simply the indignity of being hit and bossed around. Cecily wasn't exactly an adult. She was only eleven.

In any case, I really wanted to do something that would irritate my sister. I wanted to rebel against the stupid rules she set for me. And maybe in the process, gain some respect from my brothers.

Pretending to be enthralled with the flowers, I waited as Cecily became more and more absorbed in her book. Every few minutes I drifted closer to the designated tree, inching a little further out of her line of vision each time. When I felt sure that she could no longer see me, I ripped the bonnet from my head and threw it behind me as I ran full-speed toward my goal.

I reached the tree, breathing hard, partly from running and partly from adrenalin. Ridding myself of the foul bonnet had been exhilarating. How much better would it be to get to the top of the tree? I was never allowed to climb before.

Feeling giddy, I hiked up the dress and began my ascent. It was the best feeling in the world! And it went wonderfully. My worries that the unfamiliar task might be tricky faded quickly as I learned how natural and easy climbing was for me. Even while wearing the wretched dress. My plan was to reach the top and yell for everyone to come see. My brothers weren't too far off. They would hear, and they'd have to be impressed when they saw me. The thought of Cecily's reaction made me laugh out loud though. She would be completely horrified. 

Perhaps it was a little louder than I'd intended because Cecily was finally roused from her book and she began to look for me. It didn't matter if she saw me now though. I was getting close to the top and I wasn't about to come down. At the very least, until she promised to stop putting me in such horrible clothes.

Cecily stood up, irritated. "Keira?" she called, looking everywhere but up. 

"Up here!" I panted, climbing higher and grinning happily.

"What are you doing?" she screeched when she spotted me. "Come down right now!"

I smiled bigger. Her reaction was better than I pictured. I could probably get her to promise to let me wear pants like the boys!

"Uh uh! Not till I get to the top!"

A minute later, my brothers began to appear, having heard the noise.

"Keira, stop!" Ian yelled. "You're going too high!"

I picked this particular tree because it was the tallest one I saw. Of course I was going high. "No!" I growled, irritated. "I can do anything you can!"

I think I felt it before I actually heard the snap of the branch I'd just grabbed. It was one of the highest - the one I pictured myself sitting in, in fact. Cecily screamed a split second before I did as I lost my balance and fell. It was strange the way everything seemed to happen in slow motion, yet at the same time, so fast that I couldn't even think of how I might protect myself. It felt as though I hit every branch on the way down, and with a final thud, I slammed into the ground on my back, dazed and winded. Cecily was sobbing hysterically and Ian was yelling at Jeremy to go get our mother. For a moment, I just lay there unmoving as my brain tried to catch up with what just happened. 

Once I was able to breathe again, I sat up and saw Cecily, Ian, and Stephen closing in on me. Jeremy was running toward our mother, who'd apparently heard the screams. 

I attempted to get up but Ian pushed me down. "Don't move yet," he ordered.

"Don't be stupid." I was still a little breathless. "I'm fine."

"What do you mean, you're fine?" he barked. "You must have fallen thirty feet! You could have been killed!"

"So?" I said, defiantly. I despised being yelled at and treated like a baby. "It didn't even hurt!" Honestly, I never felt so much pain in my life, but I couldn't have cared less just then.

Ian looked like he wanted to call me a liar, but what could he say? It wasn't the first time I should have been crying in pain and wasn't. If there was one thing my brothers knew about me, it was that I was no cry baby.

"Keira!" I cringed when I heard my mother. She was going to be so mad. She raced toward me, frantic but not crying. That's one thing I loved about her. She didn't get all weepy like Cecily did. She always stayed calm. 

When she reached me, my mother threw herself on the ground and hugged me more fiercely than she ever had before. She pulled back and placed her hands on my shoulders. 

"What were you thinking?" she demanded. "Are you hurt?" She began checking me over, not waiting for an answer.

"No," I reported happily. "I'm fine!"

She sighed. "You're all cut up. And look at these bruises!" She turned my arms over getting a good look. 

I looked down at myself for the first time. Sure enough, I was completely covered in gashes and newly forming bruises. I stared, fascinated. I couldn't remember too many bruises before this. Under Cecily's normally watchful eye, I'd never been allowed to do anything to acquire bruises before. I felt as if each one was a badge of honor.

With glee, I realized that my dress was torn beyond repair. Perhaps I was a little too enthusiastic when I announced that fact because Cecily had finally stopped blubbering and she glared when I said it.

"She was trying to be like the boys." She turned her angry gaze on our bewildered brothers, as if they were the ones to suggest I climb the tree.

"I'm sick of being treated like your little doll!" I screamed. I wanted the boys to be impressed with what I'd done, not getting in trouble for it!

"Oh, Keira." My poor mother sounded exasperated. "Wait till your father hears about this."

I grinned. For most kids, that would have been something to fear, but not for me. My father was the only one who understood me. He loved who I was and told me he never wanted me to change. He would probably think of this as a great story to tell people.

"Well." My mother stood and scooped me up in her arms. "Let's get you inside." 

She carried me the whole way, and I thought it best not to push my luck by asking to walk like I wanted to. Once we were in the house, she checked me over better, cleaning me up and making sure everything still worked as it should. When she was satisfied, I was exiled, despite my many protests, to bed for the rest of the day. I'm sure my mother knew I was fine by then, but I guessed she did it just in case I harbored any lingering feelings of invincibility.


The indignity of being carried like a baby and confined to bed, I later realized, was a small price to pay for my new found freedoms. Much to my siblings' dismay, I was now allowed to tag along with my brothers sometimes, and Cecily's control over me was limited. The only condition was that I promise never to do something that stupid again, which I agreed to without a second thought. I knew what to watch out for in trees now.

In the following months, I learned quite a bit about myself. Not only could I keep up with my brothers and their friends, but before long, I was able to beat a lot of the boys at things. I ran faster, had better aim, and was just tougher than many of them.

My competence was not appreciated at all and it didn't take long for the teasing to start. Apparently they were embarrassed. After all, girls were supposed to be sweet and delicate. Weak and helpless and stupid. Boys were suppose to be better at everything but housework and taking care of babies. 

When mere teasing didn't make me cower and go away, they started bending the don't-hit-girls rule, especially for me. And once they figured out that I was not easily intimidated and could, in fact, hold my own, they decided I could handle real fights. 

Their attempts only strengthened my resolve to outdo them and I was glad they were beginning to take me seriously. I rarely lost a fight, and some of the boys were at least two years older than me. 

My brothers were nervous when I started getting in fights. They'd automatically intervene, and pull whoever it was away from me, but they soon learned, as the others did, that I could take care of myself. If I ever really needed help, they'd defend me, but mostly they would laugh when one of the boys picked a fight. Sure, they'd grumble when I would follow them, but it was mainly for show. Ian was close to fifteen. He wasn't supposed to want his baby sister around. But I think he and Jeremy and Stephen were proud that I could beat up boys older than myself. And I loved that they thought of me that way.

Looking back, I don't know if I would have preferred to know what was coming. I suppose it would have ruined my happy, carefree childhood. On the other hand, it might have made me appreciate it more. I certainly wish I'd have appreciated my family more. Especially Cecily.

Submitted: February 04, 2013

© Copyright 2021 kanne83. All rights reserved.


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Add Your Comments:



Hello, lovely! :)

What a character you're made, she's very interesting.

Keira reminds me of myself when I was younger. I was never really like a "lady" should be. I wanted to get into fights, loved to cause trouble, and beat any boys at sports. I also loved to climb trees.

And many people treated me like how they treat her, so I can definitely relate.

When you put "oh" you're suppose to put a comma after it. Like when you wrote, "Oh Keira" you forgot a comma. I only saw minor grammar mistakes.

This chapter is informative, which can be a good or bad thing. I mean, it could have been a drag (though you managed to keep it interesting).

I must say that I'm impressed, I didn't think I'd like this.

Good job.

Have a great day.

Sun, March 24th, 2013 6:23pm


Thank you!
I'm glad you were pleasantly surprised :)

Ok, thanks. I read my chapters over and over and over AND over before posting...but I know there's probably still a ton of things to fix. And commas are my mortal enemy, lol

Sun, March 24th, 2013 4:25pm


By the way, I like her name--Keira, I wish I had that name.

Sun, March 24th, 2013 6:24pm


My characters can go SO long without names because I have to get it just perfect :)

Sun, March 24th, 2013 4:26pm

Noah Stone

LOVED IT, amazing it had my face glued to the computer screen. I cant wait to read more, lovely characters.
i look forward to seeing more of your work
Noah Stone

Wed, April 3rd, 2013 12:44pm


Thank you! I'll be sure to check out your stuff soon.

Wed, April 3rd, 2013 10:29am

Joy Shaw

I liked your chapter. I’m not too sure I loved it or am compelled to read more. The beginning fell flat for me as it felt like an info dump. Too much telling not enough showing. Anyway I like the premise.

Fri, February 9th, 2018 5:24am


Yeah, beginnings are not my strongest point. One of these days I'll go back and rework a bunch of things.... Much more going on in the story in the coming chapters though!
Thanks for the comment :)

Thu, February 8th, 2018 10:02pm

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