“Why do we have to stay here Stephan? why can’t we go out there and see the world?” Killi asked her twin brother. At 14 of age, he had become taller than her, she remembered when they were the same height and even taller than he was at some point.

“Father says to stay here, some of the nearby villages will visit soon and we might be able to get to know some of the people our age” Stephan replied “come on, these berries won’t gather themselves” he pointed to the bush they were picking from. Their father Julin has asked them to retrieve some berries for the evening meal. Killi sighed and continued picking. She didn’t want to meet people from other villages, she wanted to get away from her village and see the world. Being someones wife and forbidden to leave was not her idea of a life.

“Is that enough now?” Killi asked, looking at the large pile of berries filling the pine box. Stephan studied the berries, counting them and nodded “should be, there aren’t that many of us to feed” he closed the lid and picked the box up. The two of them walked back towards the small wooden huts that made their village.

“Killi, look I made you something!” Ava, the twin’s younger sister bounded into view waving about something. Her red hair bouncing in their braids as she ran.

“What did you make Ava?” Killi asked, not quite sure what her 8 year old sister had made her, but not willing to stare at it and work it out.

“It’s a hat!” she showed it proudly, “Mama taught me how to knit it” she grinned. Killi smiled affectionately Ava handed her the hat and Killi it on her head.

“Thank you Ava, it’s beautiful” Killi hugged her little sister. Stephan looked at her and stifled a laugh. Killi glared at him in warning not to upset Ava. Ava lookad at Stephan expectantly.

“Looks uhh,” He paused thinking of a word, “Awesome.” He concluded smiling to Ava to reassure that he was genuine about it. Nodding in satisfaction and grinning Ava skipped back to the village. The twins got closer and saw their father Julin struggling to get the fire lit.

“Need a hand there Dad?” Stephan asked, and headed towards him. Killi smiled to Stephan and went to look for their mother Syrra. She found Syrra in her hutt, busy dealing with a crying Jaxon in his crib.   “Hush darling, you don’t need to cry so hard” She said soothingly to the baby. Killi cringed as he cried harder, she wasn’t sure how her mother could deal with the noise.

“Killi sweetie, he like to be near you, do you mind looking after him for a little while?” Syrra asked, she didn’t look at Killi, but she somehow knew exactly who it was.

“Of course Mama,” Killi replied and picked Jaxon up. He immediately stopped crying and gurgled contently instead. Killed looked at the baby with confusion, Everytime her or Stephan picked Jaxon up this happened.

“I don’t know what it is about him, he just loves you two.” Syrra shook her head and pinched her son’s cheek “you’re such a terror,” she grinned at him. “I better check on your father, he always struggles with the fire,” she laughed and headed out. Killi looked at Jaxon and smiled, Jaxon only gurgle in response, but it was enough to for her to know he was content. She carried her younger brother out of the hutt and into the village.

“I thought someone had gotten the poor bugger to stop,” Someone said from one of the other hutts, it was Sarah, a woman who left her village to come to theirs. Killi still didn’t know why, but she liked Sarah. She was the kind of woman Killi wanted to grow up to be. “he’s been crying for hours, Poor Syrra must have a wicked migrane,” she added. Sarah had a funny way of describing things, it always made Killi smile.

“Better get him out into the world, he should be learning how to walk soon if all goes well,” Killi said and snuggled Jaxon.   “Soon as he does you’ll want to keep an eye on him. Once they walk, there is no stopping them” Sarah laughed, “I remember when you and that brother of yours started walking, Julin, Syrra and I were running all over the joint trying to stop you two from getting hurt” she smiled. Killi pictured them all chasing after her and Stephan as they got up to mischief, it made her giggle.

“let’s hope this one is a little more like Ava,” Killi replied, Ava was so well behaved, it helped her parents a lot. After dealing with the monstrosity of Stephan and herself, their parents deserved a break.

“We can only hope,” Sarah agreed and took her leave. Killi headed to the fire pit where Stephan and Julin were still struggling to get the fire going.

“Dad you need to go faster!” Stephan complained. Julin clicked the flint together and nothing happened.

“If you’re so good you do it,” Julin handed the flint to his son and have him a glare. Stephan clicked the flint together a few times and sparked the dry tinder alight.   “There, see” He grinned. Julin muttered to himself and sighed. “fine, you take care of the fire, we need to make sure everything is ready for when the other villages arrive.” Killi froze. people from other villages were coming, which meant boys and girls her age were going to be there. She would have to talk to them and think about who to marry one day.   Today wasn’t turning into a good day for Killi. She took Jaxon with her to the nearby river, she was going to need some time to mentally prepare herself.

Jaxon sat with her happily and let her ramble her fears to him. Killi knew he probably had no idea what she was saying, but he was most definitely listening to her.

“Jaxon, what am I going to do?” She asked him, he gurgled in reply, “I don’t want to think about getting married, and I don’t want to meet the other boys. I don’t even want to meet the other girls!” She said and sighed. “Mama wants me to meet a nice boy, talk with him and make him want to marry me.” she continued “I want to go out, like Sarah did, and see the world!” she looked at the baby expectantly and he simply gurgled and made some unrecognisable sounds. She sighed in defeat and tickled Jaxon. “May as well keep you entertained while we’re here” she laughed as Jaxon giggled hysterically.


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