A Short Story
Vera inhaled sharply as her muscles suddenly clenched and the sounds of the village faded away. Her vision dimmed, yet at the same time she saw images quickly flashing before her eyes: chestnut hair, a girl’s rag doll, a crowd of people.
Just as quickly as it came, it was all over. The sounds of children’s laughter and people’s chatter came rushing back. Vera found herself kneeling on the cobblestones, gasping. An elderly woman was peering down at her.
“Are you feeling unwell, child?”
“Ah…” Vera’s head pounded as she shook her head. “I’m fine, please don’t worry.” she said. Vera looked up to see the old woman staring at the mark on her forearm.
“Gifted with the Sight are you, child?” The woman’s tone indicated that it was not aquestion so Vera chose to remain silent.
“They say it is a gift of the land.” the old woman said. “You are lucky to be Marked. What did you see?”
“Thank you.” Vera answered as she slowly got to her feet. Her knees hurt and the ground felt unsteady beneath her. Holding onto a nearby wall for support, she smiled at the woman. “But it was nothing. I must be on my way.”
“Are you sure you’re alright?” the woman asked. Vera forced another smile and quickly hurried away. She was not comfortable discussing her visions and in fact, was not feeling very lucky to be Marked at all. The Sight felt like a curse to her. It was frustrating that she had no control over her visions and that they often didn’t even make sense. It was a burden knowing something of a possible future, yet not knowing enough to do anything.
Sometimes though, she saw a whole scene in her vision; a scene that was about to happen or was in the process of happening. Vera shuddered at the thought. It was especially bad when she saw someone she knew, as often there was hardly any time for her to act after seeing the vision.
Having the Sight however, did come with one advantage - she could trick those without the Sight with illusions, working their sight against them. She rarely ever cast illusions, but it was helpful in changing the outcome of her visions when she could.
Vera was still lost in her thoughts as she made her way to the stables where her mother was feeding the horses. At the sound of Vera’s footsteps crunching the grass, her mother turned around.
“Vera, you look pale.” her mother said as she brushed a strand of her brown hair out of her eyes, a worried look crossing her face. “Did you have a vision?”
“It was nothing.” Vera replied briskly. “I got the grain you wanted.” Her mother took the grain but her eyes didn’t leave Vera’s face.
“They are getting more vivid, aren’t they?
When Vera did not answer, her mother continued. “I’ll be going into town later to talk to Jedi. Perhaps you’d like to come with me? His father had the Sight you know. Maybe he could help. They say it is not common for the Sight to be so frequent and vivid.”
Vera stayed silent. She looked up at her mother, who gave her a hopeful smile. A smile that did not erase the worry reflected in her green eyes. She knew her mother meant well but she didn’t think seeing Jedi would help. She squirmed at the thought of having to talk to him about her visions.
“You go ahead mother.” she smiled. “I’ll start supper while you’re gone.” Vera’s firm tone made it clear that she was not going to change her mind. Her mother sighed in disappointment as she turned back to the horses. Vera’s smile faded as guilt slowly crept into her heart.
Her mother left a few hours before dark. Vera was about to start preparing their meal when a familiar sensation gripped her. She froze as reality faded, taken over by her Sight.
A woman with chestnut brown hair was walking in the crowded market, while opposite her a man approached on horseback. Two girls played at the side of the street while people haggled prices. Suddenly, one of the children grabbed the other girl’s doll and ran. Her friend was quick to give chase, and they ran into the street. One child darted in front of the horse, startling the poor animal. The horse reared up, about to crush the little girl when the woman with brown hair ran forward to shield the child. As the horse’s hooves came down on the woman, Vera glimpsed the woman’s face…
“Mother!” Vera gasped, dropping the bowls she was holding. The clay shattered on the ground. Vera’s heart pounded and her hands shook. For a moment she was lost in panic. The silence around her was loud and the air was suddenly thick. She was suffocating; she could not bear to lose her mother. Without a second thought, Vera rushed out after her.
She caught her mother weaving her way through the throng of people gathered at the marketplace for last minute bargains. From afar, she could see the man and his horse approaching, as well as the two little girls playing.
Fear clutched her heart and she knew she wouldn’t reach her mother in time. She tried to cast an illusion to steer her mother away, but her mind was racing in panic. She couldn’t focus. The shrieks of laughter from the two girls was like a splash of cold water. This was really about to happen, and she could lose her only family.
Vera inhaled deeply to calm herself. She struggled to concentrate, to reach inside herself and call forth her power. What she imagined in her mind’s eye, she cast out - making her projection seem real. Those with the Sight would see past the illusion, but others would not.
Vera’s mother stopped short when she spotted a familiar looking man waving at her through the crowd. She gasped, unable to believe her eyes and immediately started walking towards him. He turned and walked towards the tree by the blacksmith’s workshop, beckoning her over.
“Nash? It can’t be…” she murmured as she hurried towards him, afraid she would lose him again. But Nash moved so swiftly, she couldn’t catch up.
Just as she was nearing him, there was a terrible crash as a horse whinnied and stomped down on a nearby stall. Vera’s mother felt her heart jump and she turned towards the commotion. A man was stroking a black stallion’s mane, while the horse snorted in agitation. Two little girls cried nearby, both held by their mother, while a vendor looked upon his broken stall in frustration. Vera’s mother turned back to the blacksmith, but Nash was nowhere to be seen.
“Did I imagine him?” she wondered. Her heart heavy, she rushed back to the marketplace to help.
Beyond the marketplace, Vera collapsed from exhaustion. Her body shook, her limbs were heavy and she was covered in cold sweat. She disliked casting illusions, but this situation called for it. She would have to explain later when people found her, but for now it was enough that her mother was safe.