Prompt 28-Country

Have you ever lived in another country besides your country of birth? Would you want to?

“Hey! You leave my brother alone!” Zinnia shouted, sprinting down the hill from their father’s cottage and shaking a fist over her head.

The group of similarly-aged children surrounding her twin backed away from him at her cry. Several still bore cuts from their previous scraps. “Here comes the other Unnatural,” sneered a tall boy in the front of the circle.

“It’s alright, Zin,” Kennick said softly. “We were just talking.” He kept his head low, afraid to meet her fiery gaze.

“I know the sort of talking this lot does, and I won’t stand for it.” She turned her dark eyes on each of the kids in turn. Most shrunk back under her penetrating stare. Her temper was legendary.

The tall, dark haired boy was the only one brave enough to step forward. Zinnia’s lips tugged in a smirk at his audacity. He might have had a year on her, and about a foot in height as well, but she plainly remembered putting him on his rear in their scuffle last week.

“It’s like Ken says,” he leaned down so his face was level with hers. “We was only talkin.”

“Come off it Cooper,” she laughed darkly. “Talk til your tongue falls out, but do it away from our farm and keep my brother’s eyes off of it.”

He reached forward and took a lock of her red-gold hair in his fingers. “Is this fair game then?” he sneered.

She jerked her head back to free her hair from his grubby hands then brought it full force into his face. The other kids squeaked in surprise. He staggered backwards, hands clutching his nose as blood gushed between his fingers. “’Oo li’l bith,” he spat through the deluge.

One of the bystanders grabbed Cooper and turned him up the road towards the village. The little gang left, shouting empty threats and shooting nasty glares back at her. Zinnia waggled her fingers and smiled at them as they trudged away.

“You really shouldn’t have done that,” Kennick said with a sigh. “It’s not like I can’t take their taunts.”

Zinnia shook her hair off her shoulders and frowned at him. “I know that,” she replied. “But you shouldn’t have to. So what if my hair and your eyes are light? Doesn’t make us Unnatural.”

Ken smiled sadly at her. “I thought they didn’t get to you?”

She snorted and turned on her heel to head back to the house. “They don’t.”

“You’ve gotta stop getting into fights, Zin. Not over this.” He took her hand in his and made her look him in the eye. Everyone in the village from the Elders down to the smallest child had eyes in varying shades of brown or green. Kennick’s light gray eyes were an abomination.

The same was true of Zinnia’s hair. Fair hair was unheard of in their little corner of the world and the reddish undertones in hers made her stand out even more. The other villagers were made uncomfortable at the sight of them, the more superstitious among them muttering under their breath that the twins were demons in disguise.

For ten years they had avoided going to town when they could help it. Their mother had done the shopping that was needed, bearing the brunt of the town’s scorn. In the two years since she had died however, the twins took turns doing the weekly shopping. It had emboldened the village children to follow them home and taunt them.

Zinnia squeezed Kennick’s hand for comfort. He was the only one who could bring her back down to earth and extinguish her anger. “Come on, we’ve got chores to finish.”

While they hauled water, scrubbed dishes, cleaned and prepared vegetables, they talked about the future. Things they would do, places they would see. “And I’m sure I remember reading that the people of Vanait have light hair and light eyes. Maybe we’re really just descended from them!” she exclaimed.

Ken chuckled. “You want to traverse the land to find people who may or may not look like us? Do they even speak the same language as us in Vanait? That’s so far north.”

Zinnia shrugged. “How many different languages can there be on one continent?”

“It’s a big continent,” Kennick mused.

Zinnia lowered the potato she had been peeling and frowned. “Really should have paid more attention at school.”

“We could still go back,” he answered, rhythmically chopping a carrot.

She resumed her potato peeling with more vigor than was necessary. “What’s the point? Can’t learn anything while every kid in the village is staring at my hair or your eyes.” She threw the skinned tuber into a metal pot with its naked brothers. “They can’t be like that everywhere, can they?”

Ken shrugged, sliding his carrots into the pot with the potatoes. “Dad would probably know. We should ask him when he gets back.”

Zinnia’s cheeks colored. “Maybe don’t tell him why though?”

He laughed. “Never.”

Notes: I‘ve had this epic fantasy on the back burner of a stove in a house I forgot I owned. I came up with the idea probably 8 or 9 years ago and every now and then another piece comes to me and I jot it down, but I’ve never gotten around to doing any serious plotting for it. This prompt brought it back to mind. I really need to get more organized with my stories so I can actually write them.

What country would you live in if you could? Have you ever lived abroad? What did you like about it? What did you miss? Get those ideas out and put them in an easy to find place!

Thursday’s prompt: What is the first thing you do when you wake up every morning? Why?

Hit the snooze on my alarm. “5 more minutes… zzz…” Speaking of which, best I get off to bed so I can set my alarm for its snooze! Until tomorrow!

 

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