Willow Lake, 1925
Screams of terror tore through the mid-summer evening air. My eyes watched as my once, small, quiet village became illuminated in colors of angry reds, yellows, and oranges. What was once a peaceful settlement, hidden within the forest was now plagued with the smell of burning wood, plastic, and flesh which left me feeling sick and light-headed as I watched in horror.
The seniors of our coven were all but trying to usher all the younger members to safety as quickly as possible. All the younger ones who were too small and not old enough to fight the hoard of enemies rampaging through Willow Lake.
Our homes which were made mostly of wood lit up like fireworks and began to burn to a cinder while branches of the surrounding trees fell and caused the roofs to cave in.
“Hallie, you need to go!” My fathers voice cried through the chaos as I watched him push away an enemy attempting to attack my mother.
“No!” I wept, fresh tears beginning to free fall from my eyes, “I want to help!”
My mother looked at me with pleading eyes as she shook her head, “I’m sorry darling, you can’t help. Please get to the safe house, Zachariah will meet you there.”
A burst of bright scarlet red light came as a transparent wall appeared, knocking the enemies to their feet as they ran into it.
My twin brother, Zachariah stood hunched over, his hands on his thighs, recovering from the power the spell took before he looked to me. “I will meet you there Hallie, I promise, I’ll be right behind you. Now please go, I can’t hold the wall up much longer.”
My words were quickly halted as he stood up straight and embraced me in his strong, welcoming arms, “I love you, Hallie. Please.”
“I love you, too.” More tears pooled in my eyes as my brother let go. It was never easy to let go of him, but this time it came with a pain deep within me. A pain I could not describe, a pain that came because of the fear that may have been the last embrace I would ever receive from my brother.
I looked at my mother and father one last time, both of them with small smiles and love in their eyes. I ran as quickly as I could to them, envoloping them in my arms, trying hard to fight the tears. I wanted to be strong, I wanted to be brave, so I pushed the tears away as I pulled back.
I gave them one slight nod with as much confidence as I could muster, before I turned, and I began to run.
Tree’s, animals and bushes zoomed past me as I ran deeper and deeper within the forest. I didn’t know how long I’d run for. My young body ran until I couldn’t run anymore, tired, drained, and zapped of all energy to carry on.
I looked to the scene behind me. 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 run away from.
My eyes turned to the east, and a short distance away from me sat a small cottage — our families safe house.
I walked towards the wooden cottage, pulling a key Zachariah had slipped into my pocket when he held me and opened the door.
It was only small, 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 wooden table our father had made.
My small, slim fingers scrambled to find the two lanterns and the box of matches, lighting them 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 over me. The horrors of what I’d just witnesses burning brightly in my mind.
The smells I knew I’d never forget, the sights that I’d always remember. The small smile on my parent’s faces before I turned to run. The warmth of my brother’s arms wrapping around me as he held me close.
They’d be here soon, they promised me. All I could do for now was hold on to the hope that the promise would be fulfilled, and slowly, sleep overcame me.