"Dinner is being served," The woman muttered, avoiding Myra's gaze. "Don't keep us waiting." She hurried out of the room. Myra sighed. Ms Kemyss was the only adult in the village brave enough to talk to her, but even she wouldn't look her in the eye. Myra rolled off her bed. Her straight, light brown hair fell to her hips as she stood up. She slowly walked to the food hut.
Myra walked calmly through the forest. It was her getaway. No matter how bad things became, the cool air and dim green light of the forest made it seem unimportant. All of the hurt and loneliness faded away. She could feel her father's presence and it comforted her.
"Hey dad," Myra whispered as she sat down in a small clearing. "I haven't been able to come here lately. I think they're afraid that I might be slipping away to brew a potion, or prepare a spell to bring death and despair raining down on them." Myra smiled slightly. The villagers were so old fashioned. They were paranoid about her, but with good reason. They didn't know what she was capable of- but neither did she. They didn't know that she had vowed to only use her powers to protect herself. She'd been too scared since the accident.
Myra closed her eyes and started humming. It was a haunting, mysterious tune that had engraved itself in her memory. All she knew about it was that she could sing every note of it. She felt a strange connection to it, like the music was coming from her soul.
Myra's eyes snapped open. The music died in her throat. She sensed someone nearby. Someone powerful. Her eyes darted around the clearing.
Should I hide or stand my ground? She thought desperately. Before she could come to a decision, a young woman stepped into the clearing. Her black, shoulder length hair framed a face with dark, intense eyes.
"You have no need to fear me, child. My name is Adriana. I have an offer to make you." Adriana sat down next to Myra before continuing. "I am the leader of Wiccan Courage, a group living in this forest. We have all been rejected for the same reason. Witches are often shunned from society. There are so few of us that we must stick together. I am inviting you to join us. We can offer you safety, friendship and acceptance." A million questions burst into Myra's mind.
"So few of us? Who exactly is 'us'?" The words tumbled out of Myra's mouth. "Which part of the forest do you live in? Why haven't I seen you before?" Adriana held up a hand to stem the flow of questions.
"By 'us', I mean witches. I can't tell you where our village lies yet. Wards block us from the view of anyone nearby." Adriana stared at Myra with such intensity that it was like being x-rayed. "You will have a couple of days to decide if you will join us or not." Adriana stood and motioned for Myra to follow suit.
"Before you leave, you must promise not to tell anyone about us. We can't risk wiping our witch blood out." Myra nodded.
"I wouldn't dream of it," She promised. Adriana looked relieved and asked Myra to hold out her right hand. When she obeyed, Adriana placed her hand on Myra's. She whispered a couple of words then let her hand drop.
"You are now bound by your word. I will see you back here in two days." She smiled then disappeared into the trees.
Myra was breathing heavily by the time she reached the forest. She was supposed to be cleaning up after dinner. It had been harder than she'd expected to escape. She slowed to a walk when she reached the clearing and saw Adriana waiting.
"I have made my decision," Myra puffed. She took a moment to catch her breath. "I will join Wiccan Courage. Thankyou for the kind offer." Adriana smiled and placed a hand on Myra's shoulder.
"I am glad to hear that you will join us. We must leave immediately if we are to reach the village by nightfall." She picked up the bag Myra had dropped when she arrived.
"Are these all your possessions?" Adriana asked, surprised. Myra nodded then slung the bag over her shoulder.
In the next couple of weeks, Myra was the happiest she'd been since her father's accident. She quickly made friends with most of the members of Wiccan Courage. Adriana convinced Myra to learn to control her powers by informing her that she was more likely to have an accident when her powers were bottled up. Besides, how could she hope to defend herself is she didn't know how?
Two months after Myra joined Wiccan Courage, Adriana made an announcement.
"I have terrible news," She told the assembled members of Wiccan Courage. "A nearby village is getting dangerously close to discovering us. Our wards are failing and they are getting closer. I fear that we must launch an attack before they find us. We will leave tomorrow at dawn. Ensure that you are prepared."
Myra yawned. She had never liked getting up early. She smothered a second yawn as Adriana signalled the group to halt.
"We're almost there," She whispered. "It is crucial that we are silent." The tension grew. Everyone was nervous. The group cautiously left the forest. Myra froze when her eyes fell on their target- her old village. She turned to Adriana.
"You plan to destroy my old home," She stated. Her voice was full of ice. "The villagers are scared of the forest. They never go near it. Your village was never in danger!" Adriana paused before answering.
"Think of everything they've done to you. They deserve to be punished, do they not?" Myra's anger boiled.
"They deserve to be taught to have an open mind. You are going too far. No one deserves death." Adriana moved closer to Myra.
"You will defy me?" She hissed. Myra looked her straight in the eye. She nodded. Adriana's face turned to a mask of vicious anger.
"Then you must be disposed of!" Adriana grabbed her sword. She plunged it into Myra's flesh.
Pain ripped through Myra's body. Tears sprung from her eyes. She swallowed a scream. She wouldn't give Adriana that satisfaction. She gathered the last of her strength. She gasped one word. A strong barrier formed around the village. A bolt of pain surged through her body as she fell into eternal darkness.