The War of Willow Lake - 3

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Chapter 3

A year had passed since the day we’d made that vow to run away together. There were moments I felt like the year would never pass. The times we spent together would fly by, but the others would seem never-ending.

We carried on meeting on Tuesdays and Fridays, and we’d often seek materials that could be of benefit to us once we were ready to take off.

We’d fashioned ourselves a few items of attire and built us some weapons to hunt animals on the quest to find our new home. We pooled together a woeful amount of money, but it would provide us a start at least, John figured he’d be capable of landing small jobs once we found somewhere to live for a time.

I’d learned to cook and sew while secretly watching my mother from a modest distance while John had studied how to hunt well and prepare the animals fit for cooking.

I’d also gained more command over my capabilities. I still had to be vigilant when my emotions ran high, but my skills were coming into their own now. Not that I allowed anybody in the village to see that. I disciplined myself in secret, adopting what my father would teach me during our one-to-one session. My sheer eagerness to run away and disappear, and my wish to not hurt John is what sustained me the most.

By some stroke of luck, they had not discovered us either. As far as my parents realized, I just came to play on my swing and scale the timber on the outskirts. They were too busy doing what they needed to do, errands, supporting the village with whatever needed doing — anything they could do to keep their foot in with the other households, so they could evade being banished altogether.

The children in the village still shunned me, a couple of them had got nasty with me, but it didn’t trouble me now. I had John, today we were fleeing, and that was adequate to help lead me through the challenging periods.

I waited patiently on the swing, waiting for John to arrive just like I always did. He vowed to meet me here, and then we would walk over to the narrow crevice in the rocks to get our materials. We’d agreed to head south, knowing there was another remote village twenty miles out. We hadn’t resolved to settle there, but it would serve as a brief pit stop for us. We’d travel by day and find refuge by night until we reached wherever it was we would settle for good.

This morning, my mother and I had gotten into a conflict because I’d accidentally broke her favorite vase. And because of that, I knew whether John still wished to come with me; I had to run away. I couldn’t bear being a bird locked in a cage anymore.

She told me she’d wished I’d been a boy like I should have been. She told me she yearned for an offspring like the boys who belonged to the other households. She was growing tired of the looks she got because I was different. She was tired of being snubbed the way I was because I couldn’t control my powers accordingly. Her remarks had wounded me to the core and left me broken and dismayed. I could take the words from the children in the village, but not from my mother.

“Hey, Lizzie.” John’s tender voice sounded just in the nick of time as I felt the lump starting to form until he’d pulled me from my reflections.

“John!” I beamed, hopping off the swing and rushing to enclose my arms around him.

“Is everything okay?” He queried, as he welcomed the hug I gave him.

“It is now.” I nodded against him, not wanting to let go. “My mom yelled at me today.”

“What happened?”

“I broke her special vase, it was an accident, I swear.”

“Oh, Lizzie.” He sighed, his arms folding around my slight frame tighter. “It’s okay; it doesn’t matter now, right? Today is the day we escape our families. But Lizzie, there is one thing we need to clear up first.”

“What’s that?”

“You need not hide from me. I know you’re a Witch.”

His words caused me to break away from his arms immediately and stare at him in panic as I stepped backward. “No.”

“Lizzie, it’s okay, I know. I saw you the other day, and you were with your father. I saw you knock him back, flying with the lightest gesture of your hand.”

Panic began to fill my body as my breathing became heavy. He knew, and he couldn’t know. If anybody found out he knew, we were bound to be hunted by the coven, more than we were already at risk once they’d realized I’d run away.

“No, you can’t have seen-”

“Please, Lizzie, I won’t tell anyone because I’m different too. I’m not human either.”

My heart skipped to miss a beat, and the frenzy stopped dead in its tracks. All I felt now was puzzled; I knew John wasn’t one of the Vampires we had been told about growing up. Nor was he a Wolf because he was standing before me as a human, and Wolfs, once cursed, could not convert back into mortals.

“I’m a Jinni. A spirit who can adopt a human form or even a creature, whatever I choose. My powers can manipulate people, although I prefer not to use my capabilities. My family are the only Jinni’s left in the world that we’re aware of. We know all about your coven; however, because you were a girl, I had no notion you had skills like them until I saw that.”

“So, you’re a spirit?”

“Yes. I saw you coming to the swing that day, and I took up this form. I knew you needed a companion, as I did. But, Lizzie, I promise your secret is safe with me, as long as you keep mine too. If your coven found out any of us were still alive, they’d kill our family.”

My eyebrows furrowed as my head titled, “Why would they do that?”

“Because it was your leaders before the present ones who all but wiped out the rest of us. There was a war between them and the Lycanthropes, and the Jinni’s had somehow got mixed up in the mayhem. I don’t know the details, but I know after that, they made sure all Jinni’s were slaughtered, along with the Lycans. My mother and father were lucky to escape and survive.”

I could barely believe the words John was telling me. His story contradicted the minimal records we’d held of Jinnis. The passage that told of the war with the Lycan’s never mentioned Jinnis being involved.

Nor had it been said that it was the coven who’d killed them. Although I also knew, the families only recorded what they felt was needed, much like how nothing about myself had ever been documented. As far as their reports reflected, Maryanne and George Jackson were childless.

“So, you’re unique, like I am?”

“Yes, Lizzie.” He acknowledged with a modest smile. “I think your coven; they don’t understand you. And nobody likes what they cannot understand; it makes them scared. They end up doing things or saying words with limited thought. I assume that’s one reason your coven didn’t approve of us, Jinnis. They didn’t know Jinnis existed until that war, and they supported the Lycans.”

“I had no idea.”

“Well, now you do, and now we know about each other, no secrets. So, are you ready to flee this misery and go find a new way of life?”

“More than ever.” I nodded, walking towards him as he held out his hand to me.
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