No one said much as the two women got back into the truck. Everyone, Reve included were stunned at the sudden biological change in Reve. The clothes her Mother had given felt much more comfortable and less constricting. Her body still ached but it was now a dull ache that she ignored as she took in the physical changes her body had gone through.

She stared down at where there used to be only a hint of a bust, and now; fully developed breasts had taken their place. They were now large enough to rival any grown woman's. Reve felt a rush of pride in this new alien body of hers, as she wondered if this was what it felt to be a woman.

Collins kept sneaking looks at Reve, unable to believe his eyes; that this was little Reve, and in her place now sat a young woman. Reve saw Collins looking and his face gave away his bewilderment. Reve knew that if Collins was having trouble with this new development that it would only be much worse for Carl.

Wondering how bad the situation was with Carl she decided to see if she could pick up anything from him; what she found made her recoil in fear. His thoughts were swirling red and black, a mixture of hate, fear and disgust. And all directed at her.

She felt physically sick. Her adrenalin spiked in response to the thoughts he was projecting so strongly. It was only a matter of time, she knew. In the four short years she'd known Carl; not once had he shown anything but contempt. He made it look like indifference when Elise was around. But his thoughts had a darkness that encompassed his every thought, and they all focused on her.

She sat back, keeping her face turned towards the window as she tried to fight down her fear. She began to breathe deeply to calm herself as the realisation that there was only one option open to her.

She would have to leave them behind. Her Mother would be devastated but already she'd created too much turmoil and unhappiness. If she left she'd at least be able to give them some sort of freedom and maybe Carl would forgive her for being a monster.

She didn't want to think about how Collins would take it, always her protector, her friend. But that was now in tatters she knew. It changed when her body changed and she saw the blush creeping up his skin, staining his cheeks when he stared at her.

Keeping her face turned towards the window, she let the hot tears flow freely; blurring the landscape as she mourned her family and her life.

An hour later Carl pulled over. “We need to make Camp for the night. Collins will you give me a hand?” Collins got out of the Car and began to unload the camping gear. Not looking at Reve as he did so.  Reve would have normally been excited at the prospect of sleeping under the stars, but her heart was heavy with her decision.

“Come on Reve, let’s stretch our legs” Her Mother said. The two women walked arm in arm, whilst the men set about the camp. Reve, was aware of the tears bubbling so close to the surface, she clamped down hard and swallowed, forcing down the lump in her throat that had begun to form.

The night was closing in, and with it the cold. The stars were already visible as the sun left its pink and orange afterglow. They admired the beautiful colours, neither wanting or sure how to break the silence between them.

Elise turned towards the young woman that was her daughter. Sensing that there was a gulf beginning to open up between them, she said “Reve, life has been so difficult for you. But you are a wonderful girl, well woman now. I will always believe in you Sweetheart. Always know that.”

Reve embraced her Mother roughly, inhaling deeply her scent. The smell of fresh bread and soap assailed her. It was a scent she would never forget, and she would cherish those words for the rest of her days.

Reve did her best to shrug of the melancholy, as she tried to smile at her. “I know Mum, and I want you to know; I'll always love you too.” Her heart broke as she realised these would be the last words they would exchange with each other.

“Come on, let’s go and see if they've put them tents up. We've an early start in the morning.” Her Mother led the way back, but she was far from happy. Something had changed within Reve and she felt as if her daughter was emotionally pulling away from her and she had no idea how to fix that.

“Aah I see you two have finally decided to join us. Only after we've put these tents up” Collins teased trying to lighten the sombre mood. No one was inclined to join in with his jocular tone, instead they settled down in the newly assembled tents; the events of the day having taken a toll on all of them.

Reve settled down in her sleeping back, biting back the sobs that were threatening to erupt. She wanted more than anything at this moment to be human, to live with her Mother as any growing child does. But her presence had done nothing but put her Mother and the rest of them in danger. Her last home that they abandoned, they’d been there for eight months. The longest they had settled anywhere. Her childhood had been one move after another.

Every time she’d grown, unable to explain away the drastic changes in her daughter. Elise had packed them up and off they went, avoiding people as best they could. And each day, the resentment and hatred from Carl would grow bigger.

She wiped away her tears, as she heard the gentle snoring from the next tent. Hardening her heart as best she could, she quietly exited the tent and picked up the spare camping gear her Mother always stored in the back of the truck. Grateful her Mother was always prepared.

Hating herself for being such a coward, she found a scrap and paper and wrote:

I hope you understand why I have to leave. I love you so very much, but I must go. You've taught me what love really means, and that's to put others before yourself. Now I'm doing the same. Be safe. Always, your daughter Reve.

The tears burned her throat as she stifled her sobs. She placed the note under a rock near the tent. And headed out, not daring to look back in case she lost her resolve.

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