(Photo found at http://tinyurl.com/bnrfdnb )
Nothing in life should you fear…
only seek to understand…
It was the end of summer. A cool autumn breeze drifted past Brunda’s face as she gathered the herbs of the season that grew wild in this meadow. A robin’s musical voice filled the air, but the bone-bent old woman never noticed. In less than three months, it would be All Hallows’ Eve and she had much to do. She turned her eyes toward the western horizon where the sun began to settle. She gazed appreciatively into her wicker basket where bunches of delicate plants, bruised from picking, filled her nostrils with pungent aromas. She nodded her approval before walking the short distance to her cottage.
Her front porch was old and rickety, much like herself. Roses entwined the colonnades. Affixed to the front door was a placard. Brunda shoved a stray strand of silver-tinged black hair from her forehead, then ripped the paper from its nail. Her eyes widened in disbelief as she read it.
“This Property Has Been Seized by the County of Campbell. All Residents are Hereby Ordered to Vacate Within the Next Sixty Days. Signed, Jackson Appleby, The Earl of Campbell”.
“Those Snakes.” Brunda’s voice hissed through the brambles. “This is my land by right! How dare they try to make me leave?”
Brunda crumpled the hateful writ in her claw-like fingers. The paper became a small fireball and was instantly consumed. She threw open the front door and closed herself in the silent house.
Her keen eyes pierced the gloom. Shelves of books and a long work table filled one side of the room. On another wall of shelves, a hint of evening sunlight, trickled through a small window, glistening off rows of glass receptacles. At her feet, the bony tail of Mandrake the cat curled about her ankles. The feline’s yellow eyes flashed upward.
“Did you read this, my kitty?”
The cat leaped onto his mistress’s shoulder. He pur-r-r-red, and rub against Brunda’s neck. He had read the awful news and understood its implications.
“They’ll not get away with it. When I was young and foolish they chased me from my Denhalpith. They threw rocks at my back and screamed all manner of evil names. But their hateful tactics won’t work this time. They’ll find them ineffectual as those of a childhood bully toward the giant Goliath.”
With a deliberate nod, Brunda stroked the cat’s sleek, black fur.
“They won’t win this time, my kitty; not this time.”