The moon hung high in the night sky. Bright stars flickered their light down below. I watched as the moon smiled down at us, and as the stars winked their light on the grasslands and never-ending hills.
The wood in the fire crackled and spit sparks at us, as the heat from the fire turned it into ash. I could feel the warmth of the flames like against my skin.
“It’ll be an early morning tomorrow. I’m going to turn in for the night.” Peter, one of my co-workers, said as he gathered up his things. “Don’t forget to put out the fire before you turn in as well.”
“I won’t.” I smiled. “Goodnight.”
“Night.” I watched his retreating form move towards the cabin. His thick curly hair hung loosely against his wide shoulders and swayed against his back as he took each long step.
I watched him until his large form was blocked by the wooden walls of our log cabin. I turned my eyes back to the thick glowing red and orange flames. My mind began to wander with great thoughts as I took in my beautiful surroundings.
How many groups had sat in this very spot throughout history? How many highlanders and soldiers travelled over the trails that went deep into the thick forest around me? How many mothers abandoned their sick babies in the fairy hills that sat behind me? If I dug deep enough would I find the remains of a highlander soldier or the bones of an ancient species?
There is so much history to the place that I was occupying. So much history that would forever be unknown. So many different myths and legends about the rocky hills, the lush grass fields and dense forest terrain in Scotland. That was the greatest part about working for a historian and an anthropologist; travelling to places with so many stories to be told.
I sighed as I grabbed the bucket of water that sat next to me. I stood up and poured the water over the burning logs. The water sizzled as it hit the ashy surface of the pit. Smoke poofed up into the air causing my eyes to water. I blinked away the tears from my eyes as I watched the glowing orange coals fade to black.
I pulled the thick sheets over my body and pressed my head into the feathered pillow. I let out a relaxing sigh as my eyes fluttered closed. Drowsiness swept over my body like a tsunami hitting shore. I welcomed the sleep like it was a warm, loving embrace.
The trees swayed as the wind blew through the branches. Clouds moved across the night sky covering the sparkling stars and glowing moon. The forest grew dark, but the hills ahead seemed to glow. A golden light sparkled behind the rolling hills. I moved forward, my bare feet sink with each step into the mossy green earth. My fire red hair hung loosely past my breasts in soft waves. My body felt warm despite the cool, damp air that surrounded me.
My silk nightgown brushed against my knees as I climbed the hill. The sound of flutes creating a soft melody met my ears, as I made my way closer to the glowing light the sound of the music seemed to fade. It was replaced by the sound of a crying infant. I looked across the clearing in front of me. I saw nothing but the blinding golden light. My body moved on its own, closer to the light, closer to the crying child. I could hear the baby crying even louder now. I scrambled across the wet grass to find the child. My heart raced in my chest, as my protective instincts kicked in. As I ran down the hill closer to the clearing, my feet slipped in the wet grass. I fell to the ground, my hands outstretched to break my fall.
I pushed myself back up and tucked my hair behind my ears. Goosebumps covered my skin. I looked around me. The trees were still, the night silent. My breath came out in a white cloud as I took in and let out heavy breaths. I heard nothing. Not a single branch snapping from the weight of the night animals that roamed the forest, I couldn’t hear the cries of the child that I thought was close to me. I turned around, looking at the trees and shrubs around me. The hair at the back of my neck stood on end. I jumped as I felt a hand land on my shoulder. I turned to look, but all I saw was a flash of gold and large green snake-like eyes staring back at me. I sucked air into my lungs, and as I let it back out, it passed through my lips in an ear-piercing scream.
I shot up, reality slowly coming back to me. As my heartbeat slowed, I was able to take in my surroundings. I wasn’t in the warm embrace of the cabin walls and blankets. I was laying at the base of the hills by our cabins. Unlike my dream, I was dressing in my t-shirt and sweatpants. They were damp from the moisture in the air. My feet were bare and cold. I looked up at the sky, clouds covered the sky like a thick winter quilt. I looked up toward the hills that surrounded me. There was no glowing gold light flickering above them. I sighed in relief.
Like there would be a gold light. Magic doesn’t exist. What else did I expect? I thought, shaking my head at my idiocy, thinking that my dream was truly real.
I began to make my way back towards the cabin when I suddenly stopped in my tracks. I titled my head to the side to listen closely to what I thought I had just heard. The soft sounds of a fussy child met my ears. My palms felt sweaty, and my heart began to race in my chest. I turned back to look up at the hills. There was still no light flashing above them. However, the soft sounds of a fussy child turned into loud cries. Dismissing the dream, I had just woken up from, I quickly made my way up the hill. I raced to the top and looked for the child in the clearing. My eyes did not land on a crying baby cradled in the crook of a tree, they fell on a group of people surrounding a small baby.
I watched them closely as a woman removed her breast from the confinement of her dress. She cradled the infant in her arms and pressed the child’s mouth to her nipple. Her lips moved as the child greedily suckled the milk from her breast. After a small moment, a trail of yellow light began to blossom from the center of her chest. The yellow light travelled through her body, webbing out like veins carrying blood. The shimmering light travelled to the woman’s breast where the child was still eating. The light moved from her body and spread into the mouth of the child and moved throughout the small body of the baby.
I watched in amazement as the other members bent to kiss the head of the child. A glowing white light spread across the face of the child as each adult placed their lips on the head of the baby. I continued to watch the ceremony before me. Completely engrossed in what was happening before me, I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings. I felt a tickle of air against my right ear. I immediately froze, my eyes went wide, and my heart pushed against my ribcage. I felt a hand wrap around my hip. I began to tremble as fear raced through my veins. I looked down at the hand that held me tight. Its nails were long and sharp, and the skin reflected silver and gold.
“You don’t belong here.” The deep Scottish accent met my ears.
I squeezed my eyes shut to prevent the fearful tears from slipping down my cheeks. I turned my head towards the voice and quickly snapped my eyes open. I gasped as my green eyes met the green snake eyes that had just haunted my dreams moments ago. I felt my mind begin to blur, and my vision became dark. My body shook in the embrace of the creature. The last thing I remember before my vision went completely black was the revolting smile of the monster that held me.
I slowly began to wake. My arms and wrists were stiff and sore. My head felt like it had been slammed into a wall multiple times. The smell of burnt wood and damp soil met my senses. I slowly opened my eyes and looked around me. My wrists were bound behind my back, and I was being carried over the shoulder of a strange man.
He was tall, at least six feet tall. His hair was pin straight and shaggy. Under the light of the moon, that had come out from behind the clouds, his hair looked white. From the back side of this man, I could tell he was strongly built. His shirt hugged his body, I could see the defined lines of his back against the white fabric of his shirt.
I tried to lift my head to see where we were going, but I couldn’t. My head still hurt, and there was nothing more to see than what I saw on the ground in front of me. We were still in the forest. Grass had been trampled down, creating a small path to follow. To the sides of the path, there was nothing long grass, shrubs and large dense trees.
I began to struggle against the hold of my captor. My head hurt, my legs were numb, and my stomach hurt from the solid bone and muscle that had been digging into my diaphragm for hours. I needed to walk, I needed to see where we were, and where we were going. I needed to get away.
“Ah, you’re awake.” The same deep, husky voice that I heard before I fainted met my ears. My heart began to beat in my chest, fear slowly crawled to the surface. I squeezed my eyes tight and took a deep breath to try and calm myself down. I needed to be clear headed, I needed to figure a way out of this.
I felt his hands grip the base of my thighs as he pulled me down to the ground. My feet hit the ground, and my knees gave out from beneath me. I fell to the ground. My vision blurred as the blood rushed out of my head and circulated towards the rest of my body. My legs slowly regained feeling. I struggled to stand back up as I couldn’t use my hands to push myself back up. Two large hands grabbed my upper arms and pulled me back up.
I blinked away the spots that blurred my vision and looked up at the man before me. All I saw was purple. Vibrant violet eyes pierced into my own. I gasped, surprised by their remarkable colour but also because I was expecting to see the green snake eyes that I had seen before. I had never seen eyes like his before. I felt like I could get lost staring into the fields of lavender, counting each speck of violet, dark purple and gold that danced around the iris of his eyes.
My eyes left his as I stepped away from him. The hair on his head was in fact white. His nose was straight, his cheeks full, and his jawline well defined. He looked almost human, but at the back of my mind, I knew he wasn’t. None of the people around us were. They were not a part of my world, and I most certainly wasn’t a part of theirs.
“Who are you?” I whispered, my eyes wide. “Just let me go. Please.” I begged. My senses seemed to finally go back to normal, which caused my emotions to go into overdrive.
I struggled against the rope that was biting against my wrists. My heart raced in my chest as I looked around me. I had nowhere to go.
“I-I won’t tell anyone. I swear! Please.” My voice cracked. “Just let me go.” I tried to pull away from his hands that still gripped onto my arms.
“Let me go.” I fought against his hold.
“You’ve seen too much. You’ve seen things that you shouldn’t have seen in the first place. You won’t be going anywhere.” The man said. He roughly shoved me and spun me around to continue to walk with the rest of the group that hadn’t stopped to wait for us. They were ahead of us, but still within eyesight.
He pushed my back, I tripped over my feet as I began to walk. I heard him chuckle behind me. I glared at him over my shoulder, there wasn’t anything else that I could do. I turned back to continue walking toward my doom.