A thin brunette wearing a ratty old coat over a cream colored blouse that was tucked into a plain burgundy skirt picked her way across the stone path of a shallow stream. On either shoulder she carried a bundle of kindling wrapped in twine. Once past the stream the ground inclined into a hillock of spongy grass and just beyond it would be a small cabin where her younger sister would be waiting with their morning meal.
Elvina Wolfe, for that was the name of the young woman, left her boots outside the doorway and entered her homely abode with the two bundles of kindling. She was warmly, although a bit hurriedly, received by a shorter and more plainly attributed girl. Lucia Wolfe, her younger sister, had the same shade of chestnut brown hair except hers was kept in a shoulder-length bob with bangs pinned back by blue bobby pins whereas Elvina currently, and typically, had her choppy locks up in a high ponytail while her long bangs were left to frame her face and cover her right eye.
"Thank you for bringing kindling Vina, dad, er, forgot," Lucia quickly took the bundles and deposited them in a trunk. "again," she added with her back turned to Elvina so the elder wouldn't see that even she no longer believed her own defense of their father.
Ever since the loss of their mom, their dad David was less and less reliable toward his two daughters while he wallowed more and more in his misery. Whatever work he did was in effort to distract himself from the tragic memory of his wife Alberta. The man was often mentally-checked out and he grew so distant almost to the point of estrangement.
Elvina removed her blouse and dropped her skirt in the middle of the room and walked away from the pool of fabric on the floor. Though this place wasn't much of a 'home' to her she felt comfortable enough to be in her shorts and sports bra while only her sister would be around. "I don't mind that," she said about Lucia's last remark because in reality she just didn't care about him. The man's irresponsible tendencies were to be expected. However she wouldn't be that blunt when in the presence of her little sister who still had hope for such a fool.
"Vina!" Lucia exclaimed with a blush.
"What? You've seen me like this all the time!" Elvina plopped into the dining table and crossed her arms with a huff. "Besides, dad's off to work, not that he'd care."
Lucia face palmed and shook her head. "I mean don't leave your clothes lying around like that. This isn't your room." She went back to setting breakfast for the two of them after Elvina properly put away her clothes.
"Besides, we still have chores," Lucia added before taking a bite of her toast. Elvina rolled her eyes but said nothing and just ate quietly. "And dad also forgot his lunch pail. One of us will have to take it to him." Lucia took another innocent bite of toast.
Elvina deadpanned, neglecting the rest of her bowl of oatmeal and bread. She internally cursed David for being so unreliable even unto himself. That daft tool, she thought bitterly.
There would have been no problem, after all the trek to David's work site where he chopped down trees was only slightly over an hour away on a very safe trail and luckily it was still morning. If it weren't for the fact that both sisters were less than well-received in the neighboring small town that is.
Neither of the sisters could quickly get along with others ever since they were small and were often left out in school and on the playground by their peers and the adults. The kids would often make a big show about running away from the sisters or ignoring them completely. Their teachers would do nothing, sometimes adding insult to injury by snubbing the girls. Elvina never understood why people were so awful without reason. When they went to school Elvina must have come off as too cold and indifferent but who the hell would find that as grounds to actively make a little girl's life hellish?
Sometimes it made her feel all sorts of frustrated and left her beside herself with what to do about it. Elvina would rather not confront those stupid snots because she wasn't very vocal no matter how bad it got and although she was confident she could take someone on in a fight she was even more sure that those kids would all gang up on her. Lucia might try to fight them too and Elvina just couldn't bear to have her beloved little sister get hurt because of her. On top of that her mother would cry and Elvina didn't want to be responsible for that either.
In the end Elvina just avoided everyone and spent her free time away from others, even her sister. Just because she was socially screwed didn't mean that Lucia had to share the same fate on account of being close to Elvina. That was her justification, at least.
Little did Elvina know that without her older sister's support Lucia was struggling with school and felt painfully shy and alone around the other children. She was doing so bad in school that the other brats teased her horribly and called her far worse things along the lines of "slow" and "dumb". The teachers didn't do anything other than notify their mom of the girls and their shortcomings without addressing the bullying.
Elvina was mortified to hear this was happening under her nose. They were in different grade years and classes but she should have suspected something! The next day Elvina had stuck around the playground and witnessed what she had missed for the past month. A group of kids circled Lucia with taunts and jeers that brought the younger sister close to tears. Elvina saw red and barreled into one of her sister's tormentors. She knocked her down and immediately shouted at the rest with wrath and disdain so deep it was dark and foreboding. Just like she suspected she was soon set upon by the crowd of cruel children who were fueled by fear and ignorance and strength in numbers.
Elvina bore bruises and scrapes for months, the worst were a black eye and slice to her knee, but she didn't let the other little shits go unscathed. She returned the favor with many little girls and gave out black eyes as generously as a wounded soldier would empty his ammo into a wave of the enemy. She kicked and punched and bit and twisted kids as often as they did to her.
Lucia, being rather small and naturally thus of little help in a fight, had pushed past those blocking her way and went to a teacher. Although they hadn't been of much help before even they wouldn't ignore this if it meant their other precious forms of income were being harmed. A posse of teachers had broken up the fight. Amidst the crying and tending over wounds the sisters were pointed out as the perpetrators when, technically, that wasn't so.
Angry parents wanted a full explanation for why the teachers let this happen. To protect their interests the teachers went with the story the majority of their pupils insisted on and spun their own web of lies were the girls were the relentless antagonizers from a broken home and a terrible upbringing. Despite knowing that was all bullshit their parents pulled them out of school and homeschooled them instead. It seemed that just overnight the whole town hated them. It took years for their parents to put out the fire on their burning bridges and mend the damage. Of course their relationship with most of the townsfolk was never the same.
The girls didn't frequent the town much. No one would buy their side of the story so they stopped trying to clear their names to people who ultimately didn't matter. They became a sort of legend. Mother's would tell their kids cautionary tales about what happens if you disobey your parents or any other authority figure by using the Wolfe sister's as an example.
Black sheep raised wolves in lamb's clothing and set them upon the rest of the good flock.
These assholes believed what they wanted to believe and it made her sick. Little by little the animosity subsided until it was almost safe for the girls to trek through the town without their mother to assure the townsfolk that her children wouldn't maul them and in turn the Wolfe Family wouldn't need to be run out of town. The rhythm of things was calming down and settling just fine since that day. At the five year mark their mother died and the rumors started anew.
On top of the rumors where the girls were cannibals or witches or homicidal maniacs or demonic cultists to blame for their mother's passing, their father became so absorbed with his wife's death to the point Elvina and Lucia didn't recognize him and we're almost afraid of living just a room away from him. He certainly didn't do much to defend his daughters' innocence. Interacting with others in the town was torture and without their mother or father the townsfolk would often try to pull wool over their eyes and swindle them. Sometimes they would just be harassed by the faces of their ex-classmates and other adults.
Elvina tried to look as unaffected as she felt because honestly fuck these people with their petty fears and grudges. She was one thing but Lucia was another. When they started bothering her little sister Elvina would show them she was indeed a Wolfe raised in lamb's clothing.
The Wolfe family learned to live without their matriarch and to painstakingly settle into this new rough patch in their unfortunate lives. The girls almost stopped going into town altogether and learned to hunt and trap instead while their father covered almost everything else with his modest income and decent standing with the townspeople. They lived that way for four years. Elvina was almost seventeen and Lucia was fifteen.
This was why it would be painfully awkward at best and precariously hostile at worst to step into town. As much as Elvina loathed to have to redress and endure the mild torture she couldn't have Lucia go. She wouldn't have Lucia go. Although their town was too small for established prostitutes she wouldn't ever let those pissants take her for their first one so she would have to dress properly then.
"I'll just go, then," the older sister replied before promptly scarfing down her cooled meal. Lucia blinked and cocked her head perplexed.
"You don't have to."
"Yeah but you definitely shouldn't." They'll eat you alive, she wanted to add.
"We can go together!" Lucia insisted and reached over the table to hold Elvina's hand. The older girl quickly moved it away.
"No, don't. It's better if I go alone." She regretted seeing the hurt in Lucia's blue orbs. "You work too hard, anyway and he'll just get distracted if we're both there." She looked away and instead walked to the room they both slept in to change into a white blouse, black bodice, and a pleated white skirt that reached just past her knees.
Lucia entered their room, clearing her throat to gain Elvina's attention. "Y'know, it's kind of chilly this time of year. Maybe you should get a coat?"
Elvina furrowed her brows. "Already have one." She raised her old and ratty coat that used to belong to their mom.
Lucia shook her head and tutted, annoying her sister somewhat. "This was supposed to be saved for Christmas but I think now is a good time to bring it out since you need to keep faith in our father." Lucia ran in with a bundle wrapped in paper bags and twine and handed it to Elvina.
"Won't he get mad?" She said absently while her fingers were already working at the knots and tearing at the paper.
Lucia shrugged. "Like you said, he wouldn't care." Elvina narrowed her eyes a bit at the way Lucia used her words against her. Lucia only smiled brightly.
In her hands Elvina spread out the rich red fabric and gasped. It was a lovely red cloak with a large hood and fastener around the neck. She quickly donned it and let it envelope her like a loving embrace.
"I got one too," Lucia sighed dreamily and pulled out her own cloak of an egg shell blue. David- Father did this? The gesture warmed Elvina's heart and let a smile crack onto her typically cold expression.
"Glad to know you still think of us old man," she muttered wryly when Lucia left the room.
Elvina tucked a diary and pencil into her pocket and went outside to put on her boots. Lucia gave her their father's lunch pail as well as a snack of bread and cheese for Elvina. The two sisters embraced and said their farewells.
A lullaby hummed from within her throat as she went over the grassy hillock, crossed the shallow stream, and followed the path weathered by their passage to an open trail that wagons and travelers would use to come and go through the town.
Elvina rarely enjoyed a sense of placid serenity like this. All she wanted was to go about her business in this peaceful tranquility. It was the perfect distraction from everything wrong in her life. As guilty as it made her feel to indulge in forgetting the things that molded her existence if even for a while she didn't miss them too badly.
Sadly, this blissful distraction would prove to be her bane for in that moment a pair of hungry eyes drowned in aquamarine locked her in its sight and planned to set upon her with wolfish desire.
And Elvina was none the wiser.