Posted January 12th, 2018 by moeuhane
January 12th, 2018
A short for my creative writing class, I'd appreciate any feedback
“Keep going Myra, we’re almost there!” I shout as our feet pound across the forest floor. My sister's hand is clutched in mine as we stumble over roots and fallen branches. She's struggling to keep up with me and her breath is coming out short and ragged. I’m not quite sure how long we’ve been running, can barely think over the pounding in my ears. I suddenly feel her stumble and her hand flies out of mine before she tumbles down the hill, and skids to a stop at the bottom. “Myra!” I fly to her side and kneel. She whimpers in pain and outstretches a shaky hand to me. My breath catches in my throat when I see the blood smeared on her knees. I look and her and try to disguise the panic in my voice; she can’t run like this.
“ Only a scratch,” I breathe, “No need to panic”.
I scoop her into my arms instinctively, then I hear the sound of movement above. I cannot see them through the dense forest and underbrush but the glow of torches illuminates the trees atop the hill, accompanied by the sound of voices. I feel her arms tighten around my neck.
“It’s alright,” I whisper. After casting another glance back at the torch lit trees I race toward what I hope is north, to our destination.
I fly through the brush, wincing as hanging branches as whip across my cheeks. I hold my sister closer and brush away the pain. The adrenaline scrambles my thoughts that I lose all sense of direction or caution. I’m moving to the rhythm pounding in my ears. The sound of footsteps is growing louder behind us. I stifle a curse and tell my sister we’ll be there soon; I hope my voice is convincing enough. My lungs are screaming with cold air and their footsteps seem to grow louder. They’re running now and the torchlight grazes the edge of peripheral vision. To my dismay, I can feel my pace start to slow. A thorny shrub snags my skirt and I stumble for a moment, screaming in frustration. Then I see it, jutting out from the forest canopy, piercing the night sky. A pinprick of hope. I tear myself free and bound through the brush holding my little sister to my chest.
“Hold on dear,” I whisper and she tightens her grip on my neck. It’s turrets are peeking over the canopy. Soon enough the trees begin to thin. Lungs screaming, I duck underneath a low hanging branch and the forest falls away, my feet slap against paved road. I look up and see its pointed stone turrets above the rooftops of the sleeping town. Recalling the path, I take a sharp turn into a darkened street with our destination at the front of my mind. I snake through alleyways and back streets careful to stay in the shadows; careful to stay out of sight. Once I’m sure that we’re hidden by shadow and lean against a cold stone wall to catch my breath. My lungs take in long slow breaths of air steadying the racing in my chest.
I feel blood trickle down a cut on my cheek and wipe it away before Myra can notice.
“Are you alright?” I ask, placing a hand on her shoulder.
“I think so,” she whimpers, brushing pebbles from the cut on her knee, “It’s just a scratch.”
I give her a weary smile. My ears prick up at the sound of slurred laughter and clinking glass a few blocks away. I stiffen. I let out a sigh of relief as the sounds of drunken laughter fade then, with her hand in mine, we slink through the streets.
“Lisanna?” she whispers when we duck behind a stable. “ Are we safe now?”
I swallow my uncertainty. “Almost,” I say and lift her into my arms.
I take in a wavering breath, we’re almost there. We turn down three more darkened streets until we emerge in a moonlit square. The church looms over the us. Moonlight illuminates its glorious stone arches and towers and casts an ethereal glow on the stained glass window panes. My feet fly across the pavement and across the square. God, we’re almost there. I lift up my muddied skirt and take the steps two at a time. We are almost there. With Father Wesley protection the bastards won’t dare lay a hand on me or my sister. I pound my fist on the great on the great oak door. The hollow sound echoes through the hall behind in. The two of us stare at the door expectantly, straining to hear sounds of movement from within. Nothing. I set Myra down. “Father Jonas!” I exclaim knocking again, “Help us please!”. I wait in desperation for what seems like a small eternity, for the sounds of shuffling steps or the unlatching of the door; nothing. “ No, please.” I cry, rattling the door handle. My knuckles crack against the wood, “Father, please!” I scream tears welling. Myra gasps and the arrow pierces my leg. I slam into the door with a sickening crack and taste copper in my mouth. A scream echoes through the square but it’s not mine. My sister gapes in horror as I crumple to the ground. I land on my right shoulder and bite back a scream. I feel the blood as it pools on the stone around my legs. From across the square, the torches cast long shadows on the cobblestone floor. Their pitchforks and swords glint in the fire’s light . I roll my head to the side and whisper a desperate prayer. When the truth sinks in they are almost to the steps. I close my eyes and brace myself before I haul myself onto my elbow. “Come, Myra,” I say extending a hand toward her, “ it will be alright.”
We hear the sounds of their muddied boots pound against the steps and the light casts a devilish glow on the arches of the church. I gather her into my arms and they surround us. The farm hands are still in their worker's duds, the butcher in a bloodstained shirt with a dirty cleaver in hand, men with grime-stained hands and crooked teeth; Tharrington's ‘holy army’. Holding my sister close, I stare up at their unkempt faces, glaring pitilessly down at us. I match the hate in their expressions ignoring the glint of the swords in their hands. For a time, all is silent but for the crackling of the fire. Then a figure emerges from the mob. He is unlike the others, clean-shaven and bathed, draped in long red robes, a crucifix dangling from his neck. Our oppressor stares down at my sister and me, helpless on the floor, and smirks. Father Tharrington, the devil of St. Gabriels church.
“Step away from the she-wolf, girl.” he spits black eyes drilling into mine.
I glare up at him defiantly. “ Never.”
“Lisanna Reynolds,” his voice booms, “ your sister, Myra, has been found guilty of the heinous crime of witchcraft. As a holy patron of St. Gabriels church you have a duty to deliver her to divine justice.”
Myra stiffens in my arms.
“She is only a child,” I seethe.
“The devil’s blood flows through her. It is only a matter of time before she kills an innocent.”
“Then she would be no better than you. You who have killed hundreds of times before, and for what?”
“Murderer!” I spit.
The blood rises to his sallow cheeks.
“I command you to release the girl or you too shall be found guilty of conspiring with the werewolf.” he seethes.
I close my eyes, blinking away tears. Myra lets out a small sob and I place a protective kiss on her curly red hair. I look up slowly and meet Tharrington's gaze.
“Go to hell.” I spit
His face contorts.
“Kill them.” he growls before turning his back.
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