Willow Lake, 1803
“Can I play?” I asked shyly as I approached the small group of boys playing near the lake.
“No, go away, Elizabeth, no one likes you.” Joshua William’s turned to me with narrow eyes. He was the child of Laura and Jack William's, and the youngest of the group.
“I just want to play.” I sniffed as I felt the tears brimming and a lump formed in my throat.
I didn’t understand why the other children didn’t like me, and I didn’t know why I was treated the way I was. I was just a little girl who wanted to play with the other children.
“You’re a freak, and you hurt Charles.” The Davenports son, Harry sneered as he looked at me with contempt evident on his young face.
He was the eldest of the children, only two years shy of his sixteenth birthday. The other children were all eleven and under, I was the second eldest at twelve.
“We don’t want you here,” Harry confirmed, and the words struck me like a bolt of lighting.
“I didn’t mean too.” I sobbed with the tears beginning to fall before I turned and ran away from the unrelenting looks of hate from the children who were supposed to be my friends.
I hurried towards the outskirts of our small village, hidden deep in a vast forest to my tree. It was a tall, sturdy oak tree with two ropes hanging from one of its's thick branches. Between the two strings was a plank of wood to form a seat to make it a seat so I could swing from the branch.
I sat on the hard surface, kicking off the ground with feet as the apparatus began to rock back and forth slowly. Tears poured freely and unrestrained from my young eyes silently as my body jolted softly from the sobs.
I’d not meant to hurt Charles, but ever since I had, the other children hated me more than before.
They’d never really liked me because I was different, but they didn’t shun me like they just had. I was different simply because I wasn’t a boy like them.
The families that resided in our small village weren’t ordinary humans. They were Warlocks, at least, the men were.
The women were human or pagans, mostly. It was only the men and the boys who held the supernatural powers of our kind; that was until I was born.
Every family, for as long as our history had been recorded, bore one child, a son. However, my parents had instead given birth to me, a daughter.
I was the first daughter born to my kind, and no one knew whether I’d become a Warlock, or be a simple human. But, on my tenth birthday, I’d developed the same powers the boys and men had. I was the first Witch and if there was one thing I did know, was that my coven were afraid of the unknown.
My parents tried to hide it, but I knew they were just as wary of me as the others were. Especially when it came apparent, it was harder for me to control my powers than it was for the boys.
That’s how I’d ended up harming Charles.
He was teasing me because I was a girl, and I got upset, like any normal child being taunted would have.
I hadn’t meant to release the flash of lightning that struck him in the chest, but I couldn't control it.
He hadn’t gotten poorly hurt; it was only a small mark that would heal quickly enough. However, to the other children and families, that didn’t matter.
Ever since the event which happened just shy of two months ago, my family and I had been shunned. My father had spat in a rage that the council may as well banish us.
Because of me, his friends and brothers didn’t look at him the same. Because of me, my mother’s sisters did not welcome her to join them and because of me, the other children wouldn’t look at us, nor play with me.
All I wanted was a friend, but none of them were interested, especially now. I thought James, the Pope’s small boy, who was the same age as I, was my friend until that day. He was always the kindest to me, but now even he gazed at me in revulsion.
My heart hurt in a way that caused physical pain in my chest, it was as if I could feel my heart shattering into a thousand tiny pieces.
My eyes caught sight of two rabbits hopping across the forest floor together, and my heart saddened further. Even the animals had a friend, and the thought caused the pain to develop further.
“Are you okay there, little girl?” An unfamiliar male voice spoke with an air of curiosity from behind me. “Why are you crying?”
I jumped from the swing, turning around to be faced with a tall, but young-looking boy standing a few feet away. He had a kind face, with pale blue eyes, soft skin, and light brown hair. He can’t have been much older than Harry Davenport.
“Who are you?” I asked cautiously, I had always been taught to be wary of strangers.
“My name is John and I live not too far from here, but my father said I shouldn’t cross the border into your village. Mind you, I’ve never much been one to follow the rules, and I saw you were crying. I don’t like seeing people cry.”
“My friends won’t play with me anymore, because of an accident.” I sniffed, wiping my wet eyes with the back of my hand. “I have no friends now. No one likes me.”
“Well, that’s not very nice. What’s your name?”
“That’s a lovely name for a pretty girl like you. What happened to your friends?”
I shook my head, “I’m not allowed to say. I’m not supposed to talk to people outside my village.”
“Nor am I, but I don’t have any friends either. Everyone in my family is much older than I am. I’m the only child.” I peeked up at him through the hair that fell over my face as I saw the glimpse of grief behind his eyes.
“That must be lonely. How old are you?”
“Fifteen. How old are you?”
“I’m twelve, I turn thirteen next month.”
“Well, Elizabeth, how would you like to be friends with me? Maybe we can keep each other company on days we’re feeling lonely.”
I studied the boy for a moment. I knew the rules about how we shouldn’t interact with strangers or pass the village borders. However, I couldn’t deny to desperate ache inside me for just one friend. Someone who I could talk to and play with, someone to keep me company.
I wished for a friend and John seemed kind. His smile was warm and inviting, and the way his pale blue eyes contrasted with his brown hair captivated me.
“What if our families found out?”
“Then, we’ll have to make sure they don’t. I can meet you here on Tuesdays and Fridays, and we can play near the lake for a little while. I can keep a secret if you can.” As his smile widened, small dimples formed on his cheeks, and his eyes crinkled in the corner, just a little.
I paused for another minute before I nodded, “Okay. I can keep a secret.”
The boy smiled brightly, and it instantly filled me with happiness. “I’ll be here Tuesday afternoon, waiting for you, Elizabeth. Until then.”
I smiled at the boy before he turned and walked away, but not without waving. My earlier pain of loneliness had been washed away, and I decided to head back into the main village before people wondered where I was.