12th July 2010

Everything started a

I want you to imagine

A young girl, wild red hair billowing down her back, dressed in black jeans and a black and navy blue striped men's rugby shirt, sits on a doorstep which leads from outside into a small but warm kitchen. She is holding a cigarette in one hand and an open novel in the other.

The girl in that picture is me, exactly where I was this time last year, doing what I did almost every day of my life. What I didn't know is from that day my world was going to be slowly torn apart.

My name is Evelyn, I am twenty years old and I've only just moved out of the small costal village where my father brought me and my brother when I was five. Rupert is now twenty-three and despite everything that has happened, he still hasn't managed to escape.

I suppose you're wondering why I'm telling this story. You would think because it made the headlines of the ten o'clock news that there was nothing more to say. If that's what you think then you couldn't be more wrong. The media told you about the broken-hearted mother, the poor impressionable children and the irresponsible father, but what they didn't tell you is what I really saw.

But that's jumping far too far ahead, first I should take you back to the young girl with flame red hair smoking a cigarette. That's when things started to change.

12th July 2009

I took a long drag from my cigarette and looked back at my book. I never knew why I always had my nose stuck in a book, it certainly wasn't for a love of reading. I think it was because there wasn't much else to do. Although I was living in the twenty-first century we didn't own a TV or a computer. We lived so removed from the rest of the world we didn't need to keep up to date with news or chat to friends on facebook, everything and everyone we needed to see lived less than a ten minute walk away.

I took a long drag on my cigarette and turned a page, blowing the cigarette smoke out the open door. It was at this point that my brother walked down the stairs, banging his head on the low beam at the bottom as he always did.

'Watch your head,' I said in a monotone as Rupert rubbed the sore spot on his head where it had connected with the wood.

'Thanks,' he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. 'So helpful Evie.' I growled inwardly. He knew I hated being called Evie, it was his own personal form of revenge. 'What are you reading this time?' He had his back to me as he put the kettle on and found the tin of tea bags.

'Dickens,' I replied, not looking up from my page.

'Again? I thought you were reading that one last week.' Rupert might have been a good-looking sort of guy, but he wasn't the sharpest needle in the haystack.

'Dickens is the author,' I explained, 'and he's written more than one book you know.' I flipped another page over, still not looking at my brother as he watched me.

'I knew that,' Rupert said in the voice he used when he clearly had no idea what he was talking about.

'So what has he written?' I put down my book so he couldn't see the title and breathed in more cigarette smoke. I wanted to see the struggling look on Rupert's face as he tried to find the right answer.

'Twilight?' Rupert knew he was wrong as soon as the words come out of his mouth but it didn't stop me from laughing at him. It should have offended me that my brother has so little knowledge of literature, and that he thought one of the greatest writers of the 19th century wrote a teen novel from the 21st, but somehow I just felt sorry for him.