Chapter 1: A Long-Lost Relative

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Sonya Martinez awoke grudgingly from her afternoon nap. The sun was yet to set on the horizon, thus the sky was a gentle hue of grey and purple. Her little beach cabin stood alone on a hidden coastline several hours out of Pleasantview. She adored her small abode; it was all her deceased parents had left her.

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Sonya crawled out of bed, flicked on the switch to boil the kettle and dawdled to her mailbox, before she would go for an evening swim. Yawning and rubbing her eyes, she reached inside the box. Her soft fingers grasped a thick, creamy envelope. She smiled weakly to herself.

“This had better be that bloody cheque”, she mumbled tiredly as she tore open the envelope. It had been more than a week since she had performed a gig at Morris’ pub in town, and still she had been awarded no payment.

The first thing Sonya noticed about the letter inside was the rather impressive letterhead stamped in the upper corner.

“McGill & Harrison, Lawyers of Pleasantview”, she read aloud slowly. As she read the letter through, her hands began to shake.

***

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She was switched at birth? She had another family? How could this be?

Unable to think about this anymore, she ran inside, threw on her swimmers and waded out into the ocean. The frothy water covered her like a cold blanket, soothing her hot skin and steadying her heart beat. Sonya lay back and let the waves carry her about for what felt like hours. She watched as the first star danced into the sky, followed by thousands more.

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‘I don’t even know who I am anymore’, Sonya whispered as a hot tear floated down her cold, white cheek. She walked out of the ocean and lay on the sand to dry off. She thought back to those awful  days in hospital, saying goodbye to her dying mother when she was just thirteen. Her stepfather’s firm, controlling hand on her shoulder as they watched the  doctor pull the white sheet over her mother’s sleeping face. Sonya saw his angry face grow closer to hers, felt his hot breath on her body. She remembered that terrifying first night after her mother had died, when he had first laid hands on her, the quiet relief when he had died of a heart attack two years earlier, leaving Sonya alone, finally . . . her whole life seemed to flash before her eyes in that moment and she knew that nothing would be the same again.

“I need to do this, I need a family”, she said aloud. The letter had given her the address of her birth mother, Krystal Farmer. She lived in Pleasantview, the next town over. The Farmers had no idea of the predicament which had occurred at the birth of Sonya and the other girl, Martha, explained the letter. The lawyer of the nurse who switched the babies had left it up to Sonya to make contact if she so wished.

***

Terrified but determined, Sonya packed her belongings and called a cab to her house as soon as the sun had risen . Today she would meet the family she was entitled to, and begin the life with them that she should always have had.

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Sonya gasped when the taxi pulled up outside the Farmer dwelling. She took in the lush gardens, and the size of the aged but beautiful house. Without a look back, Sonya strode to the front door and raised her fist to knock, ready to claim back what was hers.

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