Friday, 14 October 2011

The Witch

Unbeknownst to the farmers and villagers, a shadow flitted across the fields as the sun's warm rays gently touched their houses. Soft, silent steps took the figure from one bush to another, over walls and hedges on their journey. Nothing seemed to hinder the shadow.

            Finally, when most of the villagers were awake and beginning their day, the shadow stopped behind a weathered barn. One of the walls looked as if it was about to cave in and boards were missing from the walls. A woman's face was revealed when she pushed back the black hood of her woollen cloak. She was pale and her face drawn from travel. She crept into the barn for some much needed rest and to see if there might be any food worth eating.

            She had been fleeing for months. Her people had sent her out of the village and chased her away screaming names at her as she fled. Murderer. She hadn't meant to, it had all been an accident. It was a misunderstanding.

            As she lay herself down in the rotting hay she fell into a deep sleep. She dreamt of the day when her neighbours, family and friends had driven her away from the only place she had called home.

            They had always called her a witch, but not with fear. Being a witch was something to be proud of. It was she who healed the sick and wounded; it was she who save the crops numerous times so the village didn't starve; and it was she who had been practicing stronger magic and had killed her only brother while he helped her brew a potion to prevent illness from entering the village.

            She had been inconsolable. As soon as she had seen what she had done, tears streamed from her clear blue eyes. They had been clouded ever since.

            Her own mother had tried to beat her with a broom to make her leave her brother's side. "You killed him! You killed him!" she screeched hysterically. When she finally did leave his side she had been forced out of the house. The strong men threw her over the wall that surrounded the village.

            "A curse upon you! A curse upon you all!" she screamed back at them, intending the words for the entire village but looking only at her mother.

            She woke up in the barn, sweating and breathless, as if she had just ran a long distance. When she realized she had only been dreaming she cried bitterly. She had to learn that the past could not be changed. She had to move on.

            But how could she when there was so much pain in her life. She looked in the direction of the village she was in. She stood up and left the barn, stepping into the village. Everyone here seemed cheerful and kindly in their manner toward each other. She thought this was as good as any other village to start a new life in. She smiled for the first time in months.