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I am sitting on the damp forest floor. Leaves, moss, grass, and fallen trees decorate the ground as far as my eyes allow me to see. Night has fallen and silence engulfs the space around me. I notice something is different tonight; I can see my breath. I can feel the wind biting at my cheeks and my think nightgown refuses to keep me warm. A shiver crawls up my spine and my breathing starts to pick up. I fold my arms across my chest and rub my arms, trying to warm myself up. I can feel the panic start to gnaw at my stomach.
I begin to hear the voices shouting my name. “Emily! Emily, where art thou?” If you heard them you would think they were searching for a small child lost in the woods, but I can hear the deeply rooted hate that fills their voices. They are on a witch hunt, and I am the one they desire. I grab for the one thing I know will keep me safe, my family amulet passed down from generation to generation. The amulet has many hidden powers, but the one that is coveted by both hunter and witch is the cloaking ability. The one that wears the amulet becomes invisible to all that wish harm upon them.
I touch the spot where the red, tear-shaped crystal dangles from my neck. My heart hammers definably in my ears and my stomach does summersaults as my fingers come up empty. I look down at my chest, not believing what my fingers are telling me. The amulet isn’t there. My head swarms with thoughts of panic and fear. My breath comes in short, stabbing intakes, and nausea dances in my stomach. The throbbing of my heart consumes my hearing as I desperately search for the amulet.
I crawl to my hands and knees, thrashing through the leaves and twigs that surround me. I desperately search the ground for the amulet, hoping it just fell off. The hunters draw closer by the minute, screaming my name. “Emily! Thou shall not run form us! Stop running and face thy consequences!” Dogs bark wildly in the background. Their voices echo through the trees and send another shiver crawling up my spine. They are tracking me.
Nausea works its way up my throat, but I hold it back. My heart thuunders, beating out of control, it threatens to explode from my chest at any given moment. I can hardly breathe as my breath comes in short little stabs. Hysteria threatens to take control. Shoving off the ground onto my feet, I feel my head swarm and my vision blur as I try to stable myself enough to stand up. My knees shake as if there was an earthquake and threatens to give out at any second, but I close my eyes and try to center myself. Counting silently in my head to five, I take long deep breaths, holding them for a moment then blowing them out. Control returns to me. By the time I open my eyes my vision is back, and my breathing has calmed; my legs are still a little wobbly but I am able to stand. I come to two conclusions; find the amulet or run. Either option doesn’t look so bright for me, but I need to try.
It won’t take them long to find me with the bloodhounds on my trail. The dogs are very accurate, and won’t be fooled by any false trails, so legend has it. Too many witches have burned at the stake because of the dogs’ oversensitive tracking skills. Unfortunately, the dogs can’t tell a good witch from a bad one, and apparently neither can the insecure humans.
Yes, I am a good witch. I have the ability to heal others and I can see into the future. The future is tricky though; everything is subjective to change. That is probably how I got into this mess. I try to save the village form an evil plague, and after being successful on nearly half a dozen villagers, suspicion hovers in the air that I’m a witch and the hunt is on. Word travels fast in a small village, I guess. it’s a shame though; if they do burn me at the stake the village will crumble to ashes and no longer exist, for I have seen it in a vision.
As I start to run through the thick brush, my eyes frantically dart around the woods, only resting on anything that might resemble my amulet. Thorns bite at my legs and I can feel my skin being ripped open as I dodge through the trees. I am running as fast as I can, but it feels like I am stuck in slow motion. As I’m funning I see a break in the trees. Running towards it, I relax a little as I think I am safe for now. I give it everthing, making my legs and feet accelerate, even though they scream with pain, for I can’t wait to break free of the woods that keep me trapped.
Pushing through the last trees, my feet abruptly stop beneath me. I almost fall to my knees from the sudden stop; my breath catching in my throat. I take in the scene before me and make myself breathe. In, out. In, out. I am at the edge of a meadow; it is aproximately thirty feet long and twenty feet wide and takes the shape of an oval. In the summer I imagine the meadow is beautiful with flowers decorating the fresh cut grass along with the scent of flowers that would float in the air. Right now however, it is my personal hell. I look around as the image of the peaceful, summer meadow, drifts from my mind.
Over forty men, of all different sizes, crowd the small meadow with lit torches and pitchforks. Staring at me, I can see the hate that boils in their eyes and hear the evil that fills their voices but I cannot make out what they are saying. There are too many things going on inside my head as my brain tries to find a way out of this. When my ears stop ringing and my breathing becomes steady I realize there is no solution. I am trapped. They will burn me at the stake. This is the end. The men storm forward, crowding in on me. I can feel the tears escape and slip down my cheeks as I start to scream in fear.
I am jerked awake then. Sitting straight up in bed. My screaming, along with a steady stream of tears, must have woken me up. I steady my breath and my heart rate returns to a normal pace. My hand automatically grabs for the familiar spot at my neck, where the amulet lies. I sigh in relief as my fingers find the familiar tear-shaped crystal.
How many times will I be forced to watch this, I think to myself. Every night it becomes more vivid and reveals a little more of itself. Going to bed becomes a difficult task when I fear what I will see when I close my eyes. I always wake up in the same fashion, and left to ponder the new information presented to me.
I walk out to the kitchen and start a pot of coffee. It is 3:15 a.m. I don’t bother thinking about going back to sleep. The image of what could have happened to me fills my brain. I sit down at the kitchen table and wait for the coffee to brew. Images from only minutes ago are still fresh in my mind, but one thought starts to consume my attention.
Was this a dream or a vision?