Willow Lake, 1925
Outcries of terror shredded through the mid-summer evening air like piercing daggers. My young eyes watched as my once small, quiet village became illuminated in colors of angry reds, yellows, and oranges. The smell of smoke, burning wood, plastic, and flesh left me nauseous and light-headed, as I observed in fear.
In the distance, our coven’s women were trying to usher all the younger members to safety. It was the only hope we had of preserving our bloodlines from complete extinction from the red-eyed enemies.
Our wooden homes lit up like fireworks, branches of trees causing the roofs to cave in as they collapsed under the relentless blaze.
“Hallie, you need to go!” My father cried as I watched him push away an enemy attempting to attack my mother.
“No!” I cried as tears formed in my ducts, and I felt an overwhelming sense of uselessness, “I want to help!”
I didn’t want to run away. I didn’t want to escape and leave my home and family behind. I wanted them to come with me, but they were Davenport's, it was their duty to stay and fight.
I longed to help, but I was too young, and I wasn’t like my father or the others who were staying to fight. I was different.
“I’m sorry darling, you can’t help.” My mother turned to me with a look of love and sympathy, “Please get to the safe house, Zachariah will meet you there. Please, Hallie, go!”
A burst of bright light came as a transparent wall appeared, knocking the enemies to their feet as they ran into it.
An invisible force surrounded us, encasing us in a giant dome as a boy, not much taller than me, appeared in front of me. His ash-blonde hair was disheveled, and a cut marked the skin of his left cheek, just below his teal colored eyes.
“I will meet you there, Hallie, I promise.” Zachariah, my twin brother, pulled me close to him, enclosing me in the warmth of his arms. “I’ll be right behind you.”
“No, Zach, please,” I begged as the tears flowed from my eyes like a broken faucet.
My father kneeled before me as I pulled away from my brother’s arms. "Please do as your mother asks, Zach will be there soon."
His deep green eyes shone with more love and admiration than I’d ever known them to show. His dirt and blood covered hand reached my cheek and brushed over it softly, “We love you so much, Hallie.”
My mother came and placed herself beside my father and instantly took me into her hold. “We’ll come for you as soon as we can, sweetheart. Right now, we need to know you’re safe.”
Zachariah spoke up, his voice now coming out strained, “I can’t hold the wall up any longer, Hallie. Remember, there is always light to be found even in the darkest places; we love you.”
My family engulfed me in a vast embrace that was over far too soon, knowing Zachariah was struggling to hold the protective casing that was protecting us from the enemies.
“I love you all, too.” I sniffed, wiping my eyes with the sleeve of my dress my mother had sewn for me.
I looked at my family one last time, with small smiles and admiration in their eyes. I gave them one slight nod, accepting their request. I knew if I stayed, they wouldn’t be able to fight with all they had because I would be a distraction.
I mustered up the best smile I could offer them before I turned and ran.
I didn’t know how long I’d run for. My youthful body ran until I couldn’t run anymore. I was too drained and zapped of all energy to carry on.
I glanced behind me to see that I’d run far enough to see no sign of my burning home in the distance. There was no smoke, no fire, no flashes of lights, no warning at all of what I’d just escaped from.
In the distance to the east, a small cottage made of wood and stone rested — our family’s safe house sat a few feet away.
I walked towards the home and retrieved a key Zach slipped into my pocket and opened the door.
It was only a small home — all one room with a tiny kitchen in one corner, and three beds over the far side. Four parlor rockers sat in the middle behind a small wood table our father had made.
My fingers scrambled to find the two lanterns and the box of matches, to give a small, dim light to the otherwise darkened room.
I moved over to my bed, curling myself up under the thin blanket and pulling it tight. The horrors of what I’d just witnesses burned too brightly in my mind.
The smells I’d never be able to forget and the sights I’d always remember whirled in my mind like a raging storm. The memory of the small smiles on my parent’s faces before I turned to run and the warmth of my brother’s arms wrapping around me as he held me close. How my father’s fingers felt soft against my skin and my mother’s lullaby voice, all things I’d never be able to erase from my mind.
“They’ll be here soon; they promised me,” I whispered to myself, as I nestled down on the small bed, and slowly, sleep overcame me.