In the endless monotony of her self-imposed prison-like existence, Lucia seethed, “How could I have permitted the child-witch and the Great Book to flee this house? Here now I am impotent as if I am waiting for a dream to occur. I must wait and wait to replenish my strength. I am dumbfounded by my impotence.” And the Westbridge house rumbled. “How may I take possession of the Great Book in the Papist enclave?” She breathed out the blasphemies of Satan. “The maid Thankful is surely with her mother by now, and with her brothers in relative safety, hidden like the frightened and pathetic little creatures they are. And when that child-bitch arrives, or any Willing Witch who may happen along, I shall exploit her and familiarize with the Great Book to make me flesh!”
Lucia recalled her beloved Great Book, left in the wilderness, in a safe and desolate place, her intimacy cut short by her capture. Pi Gran Liv Maji, her beloved Great Book, known by other names as well, the Book passed from witch to witch for over five hundred years. From her own Guardianship to Oona’s, it had been over three centuries she was confined in hell. Now in the year 2011, the Dark Witch would once again take Guardianship – most likely the first time a Guardian would repossess the Book; the Book which reached out to its former Guardian.
“How you lured me through Thankful and the confluence of events which brought Oona and the Book to the Province, as a temptress who lured me from the depths of hell and despair.” With eyes already dead, Lucia simmered with anger. “Great Book, thou too hadst led me here and by the confluence of happenstance I shall return to her time and make it my time – forever! Oh, Great Book,” she snarled, “thou hast created a terrible tussle.”
Would she embrace or reject me?
In her blind hatred and passion the Dark Witch contemplated a descent to the Past to cast her Dark Powers and follow the witch Oona to wherever it may lead. “Once I take possession of the Great Book, I should go adown to the Past. My time is then, in 1692. I shall find Oona and kill her for all Eternity. I would take control of the then and the now, and the future.”
And lead all the souls out of hell.
Whether Lucia’s undead being could occupy two places at once was of great self-doubt and that made her cold blood boil. All the thinking drove her mad! She occupied the 1692 space behind a solid wall which her reanimated self could never breach. “A ghost may travel in time but not to co-exist alongside my physical space? I would err to not await my physical demise at the end of the Hanging Tree. But the witch Oona and whatever her plans could express the unbalanced nature which might leave me to disintegrate before her exceedingly satisfied eyes.”
His Justice be not appeased!
Likely that she would not be able to join Oona in the past, Lucia grew angrier. Only by the greatest of self-control, could the Evil One reign in her fury to conserve what strength remained in her near solidness, for the final assault upon the wretched church in which her beloved book was imprisoned. With her crown braid and elegant robes Lucia ascended her prison-like throne.
The family lived in fear and in hiding. While Charlie and Thankful sheltered with Cathy and the Tooeys, KC avoided her house and moved from Frank’s after only a few days and left her “cousin-in-law” to fend for himself. For fear of the Dark Witch, KC was always mindful of her whereabouts. She stayed at an assortment of Boston’s finer hotels and debated more than once whether to join her kids in the Midwest. KC hoped and prayed Louis was safe.
Detective Connolly of the Westbridge PD also was curious about Louis and paid a visit to Frank to inquire about the kids and KC. Once Frank thought he had nicely deflected all the detective’s questions, he asked Frank about Oona. Tactfully Frank steered the conversation to his cousin Drew. The detective offered his condolences for Drew’s passing, and was on his way. And not too far from his thoughts, Drew and Anton could do nothing more than the little bit they had already done. They prayed together for the safe return of their beloved descendant, Louis, and the witch Oona, and returned to their own business.
Oona and Louis journeyed through seemingly endless white pine forests which blanketed the area from Westbridge upwards to Abington. Louis was struck by the unspoiled virgin territory spread out before them along the way. The boy had seen the deep dark woods of the past night. Now under a pale blue sky splashed with wispy clouds, the star struck boy in the full light of day could fully embrace the sights of his surroundings. This new world of the Past was splayed before him in all its glorious simplicity. He had never seen such rich vegetation. There were signs of animals big and small, real ones everywhere, some just awake from hibernation. He had even seen his first moose. Louis was truly swept away by the abundance of wildlife, bigger and more richly colored animals that he had never seen.
Oona noticed a patch of beautiful birch trees, each with receded waterlines though still deeply submerged in black-water wetland. They were lovely, along with other bare trees of all shapes and sizes, some surrounded with tufts of fine pale grass at war with persistent reddish brown and prickly brush. Here and there were luscious ground coverings of various shades. They stopped occasionally to expose new green undergrowth with their fingers, which sprang to life before their wandering eyes. Nearly everywhere was framed with reddish oak leaves, strewn about from past winters, and bested by the golden pine needles which relentlessly paved the way through the brown wastes of winter. There were squirrel and hawks’ nests naked to the world, high in the tall dead pines, and tunes of whistling songbirds everywhere. Crows cawed in pursuit of hawks, and flocks of turkeys and geese. Yet in all its majestic beauty, the landscape grew loathingly repetitive to Oona.
The hours passed quickly among the countless pines and the shorter oaks, ash and other varieties of deciduous trees of the forest. And still there was no one. It was a sort of vast emptiness cluttered with trees of all sizes. Tergiversation set hold of Oona as Louis walked behind.
Unspoiled Indian land.
Oona thought it increasingly likely they would see Indians as they approached Abington and, further on, Blue Hill. While she knew that Indians were generally less hostile the closer they were to Pilgrim or Puritan settlements, Oona feared any interactions. Other Indian settlements – those in the middle of nowhere, for example – were of greater concern and would be avoided all together.
Oona and Louis followed Samuel’s directions and in doing so managed to preserve their secrecy. Still they were prepared to deviate if circumstances so required. Daytime travel was far easier, though they slogged through swampy muck at times, in deep mud and thick brush, and over streams. As the terrain hardened, they came upon a narrow footpath to follow which eventually gave way to their first road way – wagon wheel tracks worn deep into the ground.
Though he felt tired and totally battered, wet and freezing cold from the walk through the marshes, with vile smells on his skin and clothing, Louis was exhilarated when he said, “No one will ever believe this!”
“No, not really,” Oona agreed. “We must stay in the forests today and be ready for our next encounters with the local dwellers. And those will come soon enough, Louis.” Oona saw the renewals of nature everywhere: saplings which made their way into the world out of old, rotted stumps, buds of spring and the crocuses of all colors. All these things renewed Oona’s spirit and rehabilitated her hope.
Shortly thereafter, Oona noticed an Indian man amidst rotted oaks that stood upright from black pools of swamp water and mingled with colorful sprays of wildflowers.
Is he one who is friendly to the settlers?