Chapter One

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"Wake up, August," a sweet voice sang, a hand running through my hair gently. "It's time to wake up, sleeping beauty."

I hummed, hearing the chirping birds of the morning, the warm sun on my face. I loved waking up like this. Everything was so calm and tranquil. And my bed, as lovely as it was, always felt nice to leave in the morning.

"I'm awake, Aunt Flora," I said quietly, opening my eyes. Aunt Flora was wearing her favourite green dress, her brown hair in a bun. She smiled at me when I looked up at her.

"Good. Aunt Merryweather is attempting to make pancakes again," she said, making me grin. "Don't worry, I've made some back up pancakes in the pantry."

I laughed. "Oh, she's going to make me eat them all isn't she?"

"I hope not, dear," she smiled, patting my leg. "Come on now, August. Up you get. Dress for the day, and you can go fetch some wood for the fire for tonight. I have a feeling it might rain."

"Your feelings are always right," I told her, and she winked at me before leaving my room. The cottage house was quite small, and my aunts all slept in the same room. I rose and pulled on some loose pants, and my favourite loose white shirt that had green stains from the moss and grass.

We lived in the middle of a forest. My aunts all said it was nice, because there weren't lots of people to give us a headache. I wanted to see other people, I was curious, but they said I couldn't until after my eighteenth birthday, which was little under a week away.

I caught my nearly invisible reflection in the window as I moved to the door. I had blonde hair that rested against my shoulders, and my eyes were as blue as Aunt Merryweather's dresses. I went to the kitchen, where I saw Aunt Fauna kiss Aunt Merryweather's cheek, as Aunt Merryweather put a decent looking pancake onto a pile of similar looking ones. Aunt Fauna's red dress was much more vibrant today. It was one she had made herself last week.

"August!" Aunt Merryweather grinned. "Look! I made blueberry pancakes! Aunt Fauna helped me with them today, but only because I asked her to."

"Only because you asked, my dear," Aunt Fauna smiled, before looking over to me. "How did you sleep?"

"As well as always, Aunt Fauna," I smiled. "And you?"

Aunt Fauna glanced at Aunt Merryweather, who turned as red as Aunt Fauna's dress. "I would say quite well, darling. Come now, these are nearly ready. Do you plan on going out today?"

I nodded, sitting down at the table. "Aunt Flora says it's probably going to rain tonight, so I need to fetch some firewood."

Aunt Fauna nodded. "It's probably best," she agreed. Aunt Fauna brought the pancakes to the table, and Aunt Merryweather sat with a wide smile as Aunt Flora came into the room. She had put some makeup on.

"Come on! Let's eat!"

Due to Aunt Fauna's help, the pancakes were bearable. I washed the dishes before heading out, and when I did, Aunt Flora had a small bag of fruit for me for when I left.

"Be careful, sweetheart," she said kindly, kissing my cheek. "Don't wander off too far, okay?"

"I never do, Aunt Flora," I smiled. "I'll see you soon."

I walked down the familiar path that I always took to get firewood. Since it autumn the branches were falling more often, as well as lots of leaves. I decided to walk out first, then collect the sticks on the way back.

There were squirrels running around the branches above me, and birds were chirping all around. There was a familiar feeling that I got when I wondered away from the house, a feeling as though someone were watching me, but it never felt threatening. It had been there ever since I could remember, and it always felt nice. It made me feel less lonely.

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