Reighley Ravaydark was born to Rafel and Misah Ravaydark, on the quaint little planet called Therilea. It was a small planet in a distant star system, hundreds of star systems away from the Original Earth, anyway.
Reighley was what most would call ‘humanish’ . In her time, there were a lot of ‘ pure humans’ about, scattered all over the stars. Even on Reighley’s planet. However, Reighley herself had a lot of aliens in her blood, going back generations. Her dad said that her four times great grandfather had fallen in love with a Therilean, and the rest was history. Her mum said that she had another alien in her ancestry six great-grandfather, on mum’s side. All in the name of family history, suppose.
Growing on Therilea, with only a smidge of Therilean inside of you, wasn’t as hard as it seemed. She was welcomed by the tall, humanoid aliens with matted dark red and purple fur (rarely bronze, cause that meant you were actually in the gene-chain of the chieftains). Yeah you heard right. Therileans had fur. Oh and horns, but only on the sides of their head. It made it a bitch to brush.
Course, Reighley knew that cause she had constantly tried brushing her younger sister’s hair all the time. Her sister-her junior by two years- was Carlisa Ravaydark. Seems like that ancestor’s horns were a recessive trait, and decided Carlisa was the perfect host for that long-thought-lost ‘gift’.
Carlisa’s hair was also bronze. Cause apparently when genetics brought up rare shit, they brought up all the rare shit.
Reighley had learned fairly quickly how to brush her sister’s hair around the horns. Honestly, at first, Reighley would let her sister borrow the retro butterfly clips Reighley liked more often than not. Over time, as Reighley or their dad figured out how to brush the hair, Reighley wore the butterfly clips. They looked better on her anyway.
Reighley walked into the kitchen of their home. Dad was cooking breakfast- a green vegetable that he’d mixed with bananas. It sounded weird but it was actually really good (but was normal for the planet, no matter how often Carlisa said it was ‘sorcery’).
She kissed her dad’s shoulder. “Hello Papa.”
“Off-winter.” Rafel nodded his head to her. “The other off-winter is already eating-”
“I can hear the chowing.” Reighley winced with a roll of her eyes.
Rafel laughed, stirring the pot of the vegetable/banana creation. “Just go. Before your mother smells them. Part bloodhound, that woman, I swear to the stars.”
Reighley went over, putting on a concerned face at the idea that her mom would eat the bits of breakfast set out early.
At the table, lucky for Reighley it was just Carlisa sitting there. Reighley grabbed a bread-roll, snacking on the sweet bread.
“Weaker child.” She greeted through a mouthful of bread.
“Potato child.” Carlisa countered without missing a beat.
Reighley sat down at the table, finishing off another sweet roll. She grabbed another.
She and Carlisa are nearly half of them by the time their mother came downstairs. Misah grabbed two rolls before the girls could.
“These are good, Rafie!” Misah complimented.
“Save some for me!” Rafel called from the kitchen.
The girls laughed. There wasn’t a chance for that.
Misah hummed. “Oh. Reighley. Your sister is going to the holo-vids with you.”
Reighley. “Mum! The whole point of being 17 is that I can go places alone. ”
“Actually, its that you can take your sister out of the house whenever your parents ask.” Misah smirked. “So go on then. I’ll leave you girls with credits, though.”
All around, a good start to the day.
Too bad it ended like shit.
So in the end, Reighley ended up bringing Carlisa to the space mall. Which was exactly the way she’d wanted her day to go, keeping track of her sister while trying to enjoy herself.
Once at the mall, Reighley brought her sister to the giant movie theatre. That’s what it was called anyway, apparently it was the retro name for it.
“Okay. I’m going to see this.” Reighley pointed at a poster. “And you?”
Carlisa pointed at another one beside it. A PG-13 holo-vid.
“You sure?” Carlisa nodded. “Alright. On your head, then.” Reighley passed Caslisa a credits card. She yanked it back before Caslisa could grab it. “Mom said you can buy one snack and drink.”
“I know .” Carlisa snatched the card away.
Relighley grinned. She perked up, pulling out her own credits card. “Great. Meet you back here when the holo-vis are done.”
Carlisa rolled her eyes, headed towards the food replicators.
Reighley was snickering as she had another bite of caramel popcorn.
The holovid had been good. She could see Crash of the Byzantium being a classic. Come on, statues that could move? That was scary. Everyone on the ship and part of the rescue crew dying was a messed up ending, but Reighley had to admit the writers made it tasteful. The Doctor had character been hilarious too.
She was sitting in the lobby of the holo-vid center. She was waiting for Carlisa show she could bring her home. As much as her sister was a pain, dealing with an angry Misah Ravaydark was a hundred trillion times worse.
Reighley looked off in the direction where Carlisa’s holovid was showing. She couldn’t see her sister. Just a few stragglers who left the movie early. One guy there seemed to be looking for someone too. Reighley shrugged him off, going back to her caramel popcorn.
After another ten minutes of waiting, Reighley had to go pee.
She was finishing up in there, rinsing off her hands when she heard the crying. In one of the distant stalls from her in the apparently not-so-empty bathroom, which a quick check showed it was indeed locked.
Reighley went up to the stall, where the sobbing was at a steady almost-silence. “Hello?”
Whoever was crying choked on another sob.
“Hey, are you okay? Do I need to get some-”
To Reighley’s shock, her sister was the one who jumped out from the bathroom stall. “Carly?! What’s wrong?” Her sister only made more of those almost-silent sobs against her clothes. “Was that movie sad?”
Except Reighley heard the tears. Those weren’t ‘the character I liked died’ . No. This was honest crying. This was ‘ I’m a second away from a full on panic attack’ .
“Home.” Carlisa begged. “Rey I wanna go home!”
The first thing Carlisa did when Reighley brought her home was run to the shower.
Reighley had to bear the brunt of her parent’s questions. What had happened? Reighley wasn’t sure, she found Carlisa crying and that was it. Did you see anything? No. Did she say something? Dad if she did don’t you think I would’ve said?
But after ten minutes of shower, Carlisa walked out of the bathroom. The rest of the family gathered outside, looking at the girl who looked so much smaller even though many parts of her skin looked rubbed raw and her face was wet from tears pouring down her face.
Then she started talking...
“Rey had wanted to see a different movie so we split up with a plan to meet later, ya know? I thought it was fine. Except when I was walking to the holo-vid room someone knocked into me so I dumped my popcorn all over the floor. Like an idiot . Rey told me I was only supposed to get one so I was annoyed that I wouldn’t get anything to eat- but this guy- he’d- he’d seen me drop it. He offered to split his own popcorn.
“I told him no- I’m not an idiot . He said his ex had just left him so he had too much, that it wasn’t an issue to share with me. I said no again. So I just bought another thing of popcorn. Sorry Mom. I’m sorry.
“I didn’t think about him until the holo-vid started. The actual vid, not the previews. The guy- he just ran inside. I didn’t even realize it was him until he sat down next to me. His voice- I couldn’t forget his voice. I’d just heard it. How stupid would I have to be to forget it?
“He- he told me he didn’t want me sitting by myself. I told him that it was fine, but I think- I think he thought I meant sitting there was fine but it wasn’t and in fact I wanted him to go away because I was fine sitting alone. Rey and me do it all the time- right Rey? We always like sitting alone. But this guy just didn’t get it.
“So the movie goes on. I’m trying- I’m trying to ignore him but he kept talking . Just going on and on about- about how I looked- or- or telling me that I shouldn’t be alone- he told me he was Kramiten- and I remember you telling those guys don’t know how to take a ‘no’- and then he- he- you know the seats have armrests right? This guy moved the one between us so he could- so he could sit way too close . I can still feel his hip on mine- they have spikes instead of hips, did you know that?
“He held my hand. Which sucked because damn were his hands sweaty...I tried to move it off with my other hand but he took that one too...I didn’t want to sit there anymore. Anytime I tried to move away he moved closer.
“And then he moved my hands-
“He moved my hands onto my thigh-
“I dropped my popcorn again. And I- I ran away before the end even happened.
“I’m sorry Mom, Dad, Rey. I’m so sorry.”
Reighley was fairly certain she and her father were about to commit murder.
But ya know, Reighley was a hundred percent certain it would be fine.
Misah walked back in the living room. She had settled Carlisa into bed- Reighley’s sister hadn’t stopped shaking the entire time she was telling her story. Plus they had gone to the movies late in the day. Misah had her hands on her hips, disapproval in her eyes but Reighley was really certain that it was about that bastard then towards the murderous looks on Reighley and Rafel.
“Misah-” Rafel began.
“Raph, I know you do not plan on leaving this house.” Misah interrupted him, giving him a Mom-Look-Of-Death. “Not while our daughter is hurting .”
“Watch your language, Reighley is there!”
“Mom I think Dad’s language is the last thing we need to-”
“Don’t you take that tone with me, young lady!” Misah demanded. “Both of you. Sit down. Now!”
Reighley and Rafel followed the command. Reighley took a cushion chair, Rafel took the couch. Misah joined her husband. She grabbed his hand, holding it tight. Reighley studied her parents faces. She had never seen them like this before- never looking so lost and unsure and afraid and furious and so very disturbed. The closest comparison she had was when her dad kicked a man who had been kicking his own pet.
“Mum.” Reighley spoke up, because she felt lost and disturbed too. She should’ve stayed with her sister- should’ve stuck with her like a good big sister does.
Why had she let Carlisa go off on her own?
“What do we do now?” She asked.
Misah took a deep breath. “We show Carly that we love her. For now...that’s all we can do. We’re going to call the beings in charge of the holo-vid theatre, and tell them about what happened.”
“Shouldn’t we ask Carly-” Reighley began.
“She’s not eighteen. Anything about her safety is our priority.” Rafel interjected. “You’re right, Misah. I’ll go look up the number now.” He squeezed her mom’s hand, before getting up to walk to the comm-link.
Reighley shifted nervously in her seat. Misah hopped up. She moved to kneel in front of Reighley. She held her daughter’s hands.
“You listen to me, Reighley, this wasn’t on you. It was on the man that did this awful thing.” Misah stated firmly.
“I should have watched her-”
“You are two spitfire girls who frankly don’t have the same taste in those holo-vids. I knew you were both seeing different ones. You and I can’t start with the ‘should-haves’ or ‘what-ifs’.” Misah stressed. “Because that’s not good for us, or for Carlisa. Do you hear me? Carlisa needs us. This was not on us, or on her. It is on the disgusting man that did this to her. Understand?”
Reighley nodded, sucking in the few stray tears that demanded attention. “Yes mum.”
The first morning wasn’t the worst, actually. Carlisa walked into the kitchen, eating toast with jam as if it were any other morning. She had school but that was unavoidable.
Reighley would’ve had school, except on Therilea school finished when you were 17. She was allowed to take up a mastery now, in whatever she wanted. But right now all she cared about what making sure Carlisa was okay.
Carlisa woke up everyday, had her breakfast, went to school, came back, and fell asleep. The cycle repeated the next day. Get up, go to school, come back, repeat.
Reighley was actually realizing everything was going to be okay then.
But then, see...her and Carlisa went to this meteor shower festival in a nearby town and... well ...
“I was so excited to be there. You guys know that- it- it was the coolest thing to happen here in decades ! Rey and I found good seats. We remembered what you and Dad told us about sitting together. We didn’t think he would- but we sat together.
“Rey got the snacks already. I brought a blanket. It was cold. It was supposed to be a fun. So we sat down to watch the meteor shower and-
“He sat down behind us. I know it was him. I heard- I remember what his breathing sounded like. Yabbafil is a mouth-breather. He kept- I could tell he was waiting for Rey to walk away for any reason. Anytime she got up to adjust he- he kept fidgeting and I could hear him-he kept for a chance to- a chance to-”
But now Reighley had a name.
Yabbafil the Kramiten.
So a couple days Reighley went to the bookstore. Turns out Carlisa had wanted to get a specific book. Reighley wasn’t sure why her sister liked a book series about Grim Reapers falling in love with werewolves. It was stupid .
Still. For Carlisa, she would do anything.
Reighley would do anything.
Here she was, doing anything.
Even buying a stupid book that Reighley hated.
Maybe she’d buy her own book- just to compensate.
As she walked towards said bookstore, she heard this laugh. She wasn’t sure why that laugh made her stop walking- or why it struck a deep chord inside her.
She turned to it. Leaning against the wall was a group of-
“-he told me he was Kramiten- and I remember you telling those guys don’t know how to take a ‘no’-”
“Yabbafil is a mouth-breather.”
Reighley was certain of what she was going to do. Her better reasoning was telling her not to do it. However, she ignored that instinct. There was a more powerful one in charge right now.
She walked up to the group of five Kramitens. The one who’s laugh had made her stop in the first place was the one getting her full stare.
“Hey. Are you Yabbifil?” Reighley asked.
His friend grinned the Kramiten’s way, looking ultra smug. One of them was still grinning too hard at Reighley’s suit.
The Kramiten grinned. “Depends.” He gave Reighley’s body a once over, that made her more furious than before. “Are you free tonight?”
“I am, yeah.” Reighley answered.
His grin widened. “That’s me. Yabbifil.” He leaned in. “And who might you be?”
“Carlisa’s big sister.” Reighley punched him between his legs. Yabbifil groaned, clutching his...you know. “Go fuck yourself, zoljin .”
His friends ran to his aid. One of them moved to punch Reighley. She quickly side stepped it.
“He touched my fifteen years old sister.” Reighley warned. She spat down at Yabbafil, taking delight that it hit his face. “Yeah she was fifteen . I ever hear you in her space again I’ll cut off your head.”
She turned on the balls of her feet. Confidentally, she walked away.
Yeah Reighley was sure she’d see them again. Her parents could possibly find out. She may even get grounded for it.
But now those bastards knew don’t mess with Ravaydarks .
That was all really good. Nice and cathartic, but Reighley still had to get Carlisa that book.
Reighley went into the mall book store. She’d known exactly what thing her sister wanted. And if Reighley wanted something, well she’d about earned it hadn’t she?
She grabbed the one Carlisa wanted. She went towards where she knew they put everything new.
There was a human girl standing in front of the New Releases section. Reighley thought- first guess- the girl was about her age. Then again, some species looked humanoid but aged at triple the rate (some looked 16 years olds and were 500, some looked 16 and were 2) so Reighley just went with looked sixteen.
“‘ Sherlock Holmes: the Mystery of the Persnickety Khassivine' ? They still have Sherlock Holmes?”
“Oh! It came out!” Reighley cheered. She walked up to the shelf, only barely avoiding walking into the girl. She was a little taller than Reighley, though not by much. Then again, the girl just seemed short with her large purple shirt-thing and her brown hair half contained beneath a black headband. “I’ve been waiting for that!”
“Why, is it from a series?” The human asked, her golden eyes scanning over an unnoticing Reighley.
“Yeah!” Reighley replied. “I don’t usually come around here, but I was really hopeful about that series! It's the fifth. The writer was bringing back Old Earth classics, ya know? The one from thousands of years ago? So like, this was one of them. That and something called Romeo and Juliet , something called Marvel Comics , Harry Potter, the Doctor and the Terra, and finally Sherlock Holmes !”
“They fit all the Harry Potters in one book?” The human asked, skeptically. Reighley narrowed her own eyes at the girl, seeing her pointing at the Sherlock book that was barely an inch thick. “A book that thick?”
Reighley tilted her head. "What do you mean?"
“I mean like- the originals were seven books .” The human pointed out. “The only way you could fit them all in one book is if you- there’s no way. Starkid got close with A Very Potter Musical but seven books in one ? Can’t be done.”
“What the hell is that?” Reighley was confused now. “The musical? What?”
The human’s face fell, as though she couldn’t believe her own words had come out of her mouth. “An...ancient theatre group did a play on Harry Potter. Even they couldn't merge all seven books together. They had the...some of the first, then second, fourth, sixth, and seventh in the first musical. The sequel had the rest of the first, then the third, and fifth. It...it was a good job. I thought they did a good job of it."
Reighley gawked. She had to know about this now.
“...I can look it up. You wanna see?” The girl offered, reaching to her garment’s pocket.
“Yes.” Reighley replied.
Her name was Paul.
Reighley walked into her home, holding the shopping bag close loosely in her hand. All she could think about was Paul’s face while they watched A Very Potter Musical .
A genuine smile that seemed to let weight off Reighley’s shoulders, that took years off Paul’s face. Her voice would sing softly with the Musical - probably because she was trying not to spoil it for Reighley but her voice was hauntingly beautiful.
She had such soft brown hair...Reighley wanted to know how it felt under her hands.
And her eyes .
Really, just wow .
Reighley wanted to stare in them forever.
Someone cleared their throat. Reighley turned to it, seeing Carlissa reclining on the couch.
“You look happy .” Carlisa commented.
Reighley-as a sibling- knew what that face meant. “Shut up.”
“What’s their name?” Carlisa asked. Her voice cheery and bright in a way Reighley hadn’t heard in weeks.
“Nobody. There’s nobody. Shut up.” Reighley ordered.
“I think there’s somebody.” Carlisa teased.
“I wish Mom and Dad had killed you.”
“Now I know there’s somebody.” Carlisa sat up . “Well come on! Give me details!”
“You’re fifteen. You don’t need ‘details ’.” Reighley scoffed.
Carlisa waggled her eyebrows.
Reighley grimaced. “Ugh. I hate you.”
“You know you wanna tell me!” Carlisa taunted.
“No I’m not!” Reighley tossed the new book at her sister. “Here’s your book.”
“Cool...cool.” Carlisa looked down at the book. “So...what’s their name?”
“Her name is Paul- dammit!”
“Reighley found a new partner.” Carlisa revealed over the dinner table.
Reighley glared at her. “Carlisa!” She hissed. “No I didn’t !”
Carlisa grinned. She dipped her bread in the sauce. “Her name is Paul -”
“Shut up! Why did I even tell you?” Reighley bemoaned to herself. Rafel and Misah exchanged grins. “Oh no you too!”
“We’re not doing anything. We’re very happy for our little girl in her first relationship.” Rafel dabbed at his eyes, as if he was crying. “I’m so proud.”
“So...what’s Paul like?” Misah asked.
Reighley wondered why she ever cared about these assholes. “I disown myself.”
“Sure. Just tell us about Paul first.” Misah told Reighley. She had a sip of her drink, using it to cover a smug grin. Rafel and Carlisa had no such qualms hiding their grins.
Reighley glared at them. “I hate you.”
“They met at the mall.” Carlisa revealed.
“Carlisa!” Reighley whined.
Her parents cooed.
“What’s she like?” Misah asked, eyes glittering.
Reighley sighed. “She’s funny.”
“And?” Rafel prompted. “IS she nice?”
Her sigh was more fond, as she folded up her hands under her chin. “So nice...and her laugh...and she sings so softly cause she’s trying not to spoil it...she’s just so... wow.”
“She’s just so wow.” Misah repeated, hands over her heart. “Oh she’s in love.”
Carlisa and Rafel startled chuckling, glancing at each other then restarting their giggles.
Reighley would be happier the sooner she was disowned.
“I kicked him in the nuts.” Reighley revealed later that night.
Carlisa paused in her brushing her teeth.
“Yabbafil was in the mall. I kicked him in the nuts.” Reighley repeated. “And spat in his face.” She added, to fill up the overbearing silence.
Carlisa lowered her toothbrush. She gawked at the brush, hand shaking.
Reighley almost started fidgeting with her fingers. She wanted to reach out to her sister- hug the girl close to her chest, not caring about the horns that would poke her. “I’m- goodnight.” She started to walk away.
Carlisa’s hand shot out. She grabbed Reighley’s wrist, pausing her sister from running away. Despite her tight grip, her fingers were shaking.
Reighley let her hand be squeezed.
A few months later...she saw Paul, standing in line for the Italian restaurant.