I walked back towards my hut in silence.
If any of the villagers heard me they would not make it go unnoticed. They would make it clear how they feel about me. Again.
I've been living in the village of Devlan for my entire life. Devlan is situated in a clearing in the forest. It's hard being such a small and unpopulated village but everyone manages.
We have very few rules. There is your standard, no murder, no theft, and everyone that is common knowledge but our absolute biggest law is to never enter the forest. Everyone follows that one easily since it's rumoured to have strange creature that roam inside.
I have no choice to enter since I need to find food for my gramps and I. The two of us have been living alone for as long as I can remember.
My parents died when I was barely 2 years old. Anything I "remember" is just stories my gramps told me. I have no natural memories of them.
My name is Cora. Im 17 years old, soon to be 18 and I'm the villages runt. Outcast. Whatever you wish to call it, they despise me. I understand why, I don't look normal.
I have long black hair that reaches my derrière, assets that any woman would be grateful to have and I'm 5'6.
All seems normal right? Well I'm not.
The village hates me because they're afraid of me.
My different coloured eyes make them fear me.
My one icy blue eye and my one red makes the female villagers run.
When the "normal" female are afraid, it's a males instinct to protect. If you're being threatened, your fight or flight kicks in. Sadly, most of the male villagers chose fight. Wish my gramps never needs to know.
The people of the village seemed to have made it their personal mission to abuse me. All because I am different from the stereotyping blonde hair blue eyed women. Majority of the females in Devlan are 5'8, blonde or brunette with blue or brown eyes, they stay in their houses all day cooking or caring for their children. It's no secret I'm the complete opposite of that.
I wish they wouldn't treat me so differently because all I wish to do is live in peace.
I wish I didn't have to sneak out at night to try and find animals so that my gramps could eat. So that he could live.
I've been living like this my entire life.
As soon as I learnt how to walk, talk, and use my 5 sense properly, I was put to the task of caring for my now 87 year old grand father.
I love him so much and I would die for him. He knows this and he wishes that I wouldn't do all this for him but he knows deep inside that he has no choice but to give in and let me care for him.
While caring for him, I must care for myself. It's hard but I manage. I have to.
I finally make it out of the woods near Devlan and see my home in the distance.
It's a small run down shack. It's roof barely hanging on, walls that could crumble any minute, but it's still home.
My gramps is what makes it home to me.
Since I'm out of the forest, I pull the hood of my cloak over my face. It's become a norm to cover my face as to hide my eyes.
The less they see the better. Even though I'm sure that everyone knows who I am because of the rumours spread about me, it's still something I do. It makes me feel safer.
I speed up my walking wanting to get home faster. It's already getting late and I need to start cooking the rabbit I caught. We got lucky today.
Usually we're lucky if I catch a squirrel, maybe two. Today I searched extra hard with plenty of hope for something good.
Growing up having to hunt everyday, I've learnt a lot. I know how to be discreet, stealthy, quiet. I know how to go unseen and unnoticed. My hunting skills get better everyday. My best skills are archery, knife throwing and sword fighting. Well, stick fighting.
I've never used a real sword. Only the guards of the village are permitted such weapons. They use them to protect us even though our village has gone without attacks for decades.
There's a legend that says that mythological creatures used to visit the village. They would demand for things like food, water, but they used to ask for people. Women and children.
They would invade all the houses and grab people. Except apparently they would always return them a weak later, untouched.
My gramps told me that a while ago when warning me to be careful in the woods.
I never have and still don't believe him.
Luckily, there hasn't been any talk of them storming neither of them taking our people.
Still, the chief of Devlan, William, worries every year that they will return.
I've heard whispers throughout the village that they are godly like.
That they are tall, graceful, confident and beautiful. Yet, they fear them no matter their appearance because they are also deadly, skilled and natural predators.
Or so I've heard.
Finally arriving home, I greet my gramps like I usually do and quickly get started on dinner.
"Took you long enough Cora, I'm not getting any younger over here." He says with a laugh.
He never gets upset with me, never yells and absolutely never hits me. He's the greatest father figure I could ever ask for and I'm eternally grateful that the gods have put him in my life.
"Of course gramps, I'm sorry it took so long but I have a surprise!" I said excitedly.
"Oh really? And what might that be my sweet grandchild?"
I giggled at him.
"I have something special for tonight! A rabbit!"
His eyes widened and a massive smile broke out onto his face. He might be old but he is still just as energetic as a 5 year old boy.
He's extremely healthy and he has lived past the expected age. Normally people pass away around the age of 60. We don't have access to such things like medicine or vaccins to keep us healthier for longer. Thankfully, I like to read and spend time outside so for the past couple of years I've learnt what plants to include in our meals to hopefully prolong our lives. Or his at least.
"You caught a rabbit! Oh my goodness! Thank you so much Cora! Is there anything I could do to help?"
Every night he does the same thing. Ask me if he could assist in any way, and every time I refuse.
"You know the answer gramps, please just relax. It will take longer to cook because it is a bigger animal."
"Fine... Holler at me if you need anything."
I giggle at his words. "Holler". No one says that anymore. The language has not changed a lot over the years. While he uses more casual language along with the rest of the village folks, I was born with a more proper way of speaking. My gramps tells me it's the way the royals speak but I don't believe him.
He might be older and way wiser than me but I'm just a simple village girl. Or monster, as the village civilians like to use. There's no way I could be born with the tongue of a royal unless it was taught to me. Consider the way I've been brought up and how everyone else speaks, I seriously doubt that.
I'd be lying if I said it hasn't brought up questions in my head but they are quickly canceled when reality is brought back to my mind.
I live in the run down village called Devlan that isn't even the size of an ant on the map.
About a half hour later, the rabbit has finally stopped cooking and I'm putting onto our single "silverware" plates.
They are modest. Made out of wood I cared to be shaped like a plates. I also made our forks, spoons and knives.
Placing them onto the plate in a way to make them look pricey. Fancy. We like to be imaginative and dream that we are richer than we actually are. We are far from rich but who's to say we can't dream?
"I say this every time, but thank you so much Cora. If it wasn't for you I would not be alive. Now, let's eat!"
"You're welcome gramps. I'd do anything for you."
We smile at each other and dig into our food.
Tomorrow is the day where everyone is forced to stay inside their homes.
Tomorrow is the day where the creatures used to invade all our homes. William, the most paranoid person I know, tells us to stay inside all day and to protect our loved ones. He's afraid.
I however, am not.
Tomorrow is the one day I get to roam around the village without being harassed or attacked. It only happens once a year and my gramps knows he could never stop me.
A lot can change in a year. The buildings, the stock in the stores, the new clothes that are trending amongst the people.
He begs me every year to stay inside. His face shows fear and worry every time. As if he's keeping something from me.
But my gramps would never do that.