Outside of Greentown: Chapter 5

A dark shadow crept from corner to corner in a dimly lit alley. The figure came ever closer, moving quickly. I started to run back toward the street. I could see the light at the end. It was still so far away. I could feel my heart throbbing heavily in my chest, fueled by adrenaline. The air rushed past my ears and kept me from hearing any advancing footsteps. I couldn’t afford to turn around in case she was still following me.

“Wait a second,” I thought. “She?” I stopped dead in my tracks and turned around. I could see her thin figure in the darkness. I knew it was a dream. She thought she could invade my mind while I was asleep and disable me by trapping me here. I just laughed at her.

The meadow on fire. Image from Sean Fitzgerald.
The meadow on fire. Image from Sean Fitzgerald.

The left side of her face was barely visible, but I recognized her predatory smile. And those eyes, the ones that were always glowing with the strange orange light like a dying fire – the eyes of a pureblood dark witch. I held my hands in front of me, palms up, and drew my power from the ground. I could feel it coursing through my entire body, and I closed my eyes and pushed her back into her mind.

I saw quick flashes. The same dusty antique shop’s office. A house on the edge of town, surrounded by a barrier. I pushed harder. “Give it to me, Erlina. Show me what you thought you could hide from me.” I spoke into her mind. The barrier around the house melted to the ground, and I stepped toward the door. Another flash and I was in the living room of the house. Pieces of bone, a bowl of blood and various metals lay scattered on the coffee table. It looked like she had been trying to craft something…or perhaps repair something. I could feel her subconscious pushing back against me. I could suddenly feel that my presence was unnatural.

The next moment I awoke with a start in my bed at home. I was sweating heavily and Luna sat at my feet, looking over me with those soft yellow eyes. I smiled at her. “Come here,” I motioned to her and she padded over to sit next to me. “I need you to help me find something, okay?” She blinked at me and tilted her head, waiting. “I’m looking for a book. A very old one that I haven’t seen in over a hundred years. You might remember it. It has a white cover with black runes on the front. It wasn’t a spellbook. It was an encyclopedia of sorts. Do you remember it?” She mewed, jumped down to the floor and then ran off. Hopefully she would be back soon. I never do like sending her to my library by herself. Some of those books do strange things.

I put my feet on the floor and stretched. The clock on my nightstand said 3:30 a.m. I wasn’t going to go back to sleep, so I made some tea and sat down in my rocking chair on the porch. I tried to meditate and clear my mind of all the trouble I could feel brewing, but thoughts of her kept breaking my peace. I knew Erlina would be furious after her plan blatantly failed and backfired on her. She had always underestimated me. Younger sisters often do.

I ran my fingers through the thick dark hair that hung to my waist. I always mess with it when I’m worried. I looked up when I heard Sundry running up the path. He looked ragged and terrified. His long ears had briar scratches along them and his feet looked like he had run across a bed of hot coals. He collapsed at my feet. I picked the injured little rabbit up and took a look at him. He put images in his mind so I could see what happened.

The meadow is on fire. Animals dead and blackened tree branches clawing at the smoky sky. My brow furrowed in anger. I waved my hand over Sundry and he ceased trembling and fell into a deep sleep. I would be back to heal him later. I got up and headed off into the woods to deal with my sister.