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In the cold darkness, beneath the shadowed stairway, Luena Pierce sank into a living grave, her mother’s frantic screams still echoing in her mind…
A group bearing the Earl of Campbell’s coat-of-arms forced their way into the Pierce home. Jeannette Pierce was the only one in sight. Straightway, the scoundrels cuffed the lady’s hands behind her back while delivering a warrant for her arrest.
“On what charges?” Jeannette demanded hysterically.
“Witchcraft, my lady,” a scar-faced man answered.
Wide-eyed, the lady searched the room for her child. “Luena!” she shrieked, trying to pull free of the thugs’ grasp.
“Bloody, witch!” the scarred man muttered between clenched teeth. Then delivered a vicious punch, hitting Jeannette squarely in the face. She slumped forward, senseless.
Luena had been about to run to her mother’s defense until the man’s brutality. She froze in place beneath the stair steps. In the pandemonium, no one saw the terrified little girl whose luminous blue eyes gazed out at the thugs. When they left, dragging the bound woman behind them, not one even bothered to close the front door. Hours later, it still banged wildly against the parlor wall.
It was well after midnight before instinct caused Luena to move from the cramped stairwell. Dazed, she stumbled into the root cellar. With blackened, stifling air consuming her, the little girl followed the stone wall to a corner where she sank to the ground, panting like a frightened animal.
From her sleep, Luena heard the sound of footsteps in the room above her. Moon-eyed, she pushed closer to the wall, trying to disappear into its stone surface. Sunlight filtered into the room and Luena’s saucer-wide eyes slide toward the cellar door where she saw the silhouette of someone.
Like a mist, the person evaporated from the entrance and came to stand in front of the child. Luena shivered more from fear than the cold, her stomach rumbling from lack of food.
Luena recognized Druzelle, the old healer woman who ran the apothecary in town. A silver tear slide down the little girl’s face. Taking the child by the hand, the healer waved her arms. From her fingertips, a cloud wound its way around them, swallowing them up. The two vanished from the cellar to appear in an opened field, miles away from the Pierce house.
“I shall send Rowena to announce us,” Druzelle whispered in Luena’s ear.” Brunda must not turn us away.” Urgency tugged at the rotund lady’s voice.
- Tales of Nightshade: Nightshade (Part One) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Tales of Nightshade: Nightshade (Part Two) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Tales of Nightshade: Nightshade (Part Three) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Tales of Nightshade: Nightshade (Part Four) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Tales of Nightshade: Nightshade (Part Five) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Light for the Damned (elizabethmichaudjohn.wordpress.com)