Lonely Grave #WeeklyWritingChallenge

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The meadows stretched for miles and miles. Not many people came by, sometimes a farmer or a lost hiker, but they never saw the headstone standing alone on the little hill before the leafy woods.

Birds soared above, sometimes landing on the headstone that marked the life of someone now long forgotten. Other animals also came, they sniffed the stone and moved on. Nature grew moss and grass across the stone, protecting it from the rain and snow.

And the ghost whom the gravestone belongs to drifts evermore, silently haunting, waiting to be released.

 

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/07/16/weekly-writing-challenge-150/ with thanks).

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Dreamcatcher #TwitteringTales

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The Wind Spirits called to me as they moved the dreamcatcher I had hung in the tree. The beads clicked together, making a light music to draw my attention. All the feathers pointed to the north and held there like a just shot arrow.

I knew what the Spirits wanted me to do even though it filled me with dread. Was there no other way but war? The wind and feathers dropped. I collected the dreamcatcher with a sigh and went back to my people. The bad news heavy on my shoulders.

 

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/06/12/twittering-tales-88-12-june-2018/ with thanks).

Remains #Writephoto

Death looked upon the human remains and thought about life’s endings. It was all those little things that made letting go so hard; the unresolved promises and dreams, the fear of the After, regrets and the pain.

Death didn’t remember any of that. He knew once he might have been human but those memories were faint like a dream you tried hard to hang on to but vanished all the same.

He thought about how complicated humans made themselves out to be with all their; traditions, wars, loves, creativity and historical records but in the end humans were just like every other living thing.

When they were gone, they were gone as simple as that. Death liked the idea. It seemed to him how things should be. Humans crazed about souls and how they were the invisible essence of life which would rise into Heaven. Death knew souls to be a fairytale, a good way to help easy the suffering but really there was just nothing. Nor was there was no After which some humans clung closely too.

And Death was not a ‘ferryman’ or ‘angel’, he was just the end.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/06/07/thursday-photo-prompt-remains-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

Ancient Circles #WeeklyWritingPrompt

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Not much can stop a werewolf. Sliver bullets traditional can but that’s about all. Werewolves don’t fear religion or other supernatural creatures. Perhaps, a daemon could stop a werewolf but why would they want to as they are often on the same side? Maybe, an angel could help then? But I’ve never meet a full one which is saying a lot for me.

Placing the moldering book back on the library desk, I wonder what to do. The sounds around me had long become background noises; people walking, coughing, whispering, the flickering of paper, the sliding of books, the harpy librarians flying at anyone whom they disliked. I put my head down into my arms and tried to collected myself.

‘Neona?’

I looked up and turned at the person who had said my name. Ransom, my boyfriend was standing there, looking ruggedly handsome as ever. His black hair was long down his back, his dark brown eyes deep set and his proud jaw strained with tension. He was dressed in dark blue jeans, a black Iron Maiden t-shirt and a studded leather biker jacket.

‘Any luck?’ he asked.

I turned back to the three hundred year old book that was laying open at a page showing drawings of over lapping circles with squiggly symbols depicted around and in them.

‘This Ancient Circles of Holding and Constricting could work,’ I responded, pointing it out to him.

Ransom lent over to look and I breathed deeply, he smelt of leather and his motorbike’s oil but underneath that was the scent of summer nights and nature; earth, trees, water. I could feel the wild, pure power surrounding him. It was what had first attracted me to him at the Academy and I had known he was a werewolf. It had taken a whole year after we started dating, for him to tell me and now he wanted my help controlling the change.

‘Can you make this?’ Ransom asked.

I glanced down at the drawing and shrugged, ‘it doesn’t look too hard but it’s powerful old magic. I’m not sure I could get it totally right. Some of the symbols look hard to draw.’

Ransom took in a deep breath, ‘I trust you, Neona, we are bonded together,’ he said quietly.

I nodded and closed the book. I checked it out, though the harpy at the desk was reluctant to let me have it, then we went to Ransom’s house.

We made space in the basement for me to draw big enough Circles. I avoided looking at the remains of a twisted iron cage in the far corner. Last full moon, Ransom had escaped from it. The rampage had been bad and taken awhile for the Academy to clean up.

I took some chalk from a new box, opened the old book to the right page and began drawing on the floor. I had together my black witch’s dress about me to make sure I didn’t smear the three overlapping circles as I went. Then, almost pressing the book to my face, I began to draw each squiggly symbol, chatting as I did so to awake the magic.

Finally it was done. I sat back on my legs and looked down at the now shimmering three circles before me. I could feel the ancient magic in the air just waiting to be used. From my bag, I took out a few things and placed them at different points; crystals for more energy, candles for the fire element, silver coins for more power over the curse, holy water to keep evil beings away, sage for purity and my wand, in case I had to use my magic to defend myself.

I stepped away and looked at the time, the night of the full moon would be here soon.

‘It’s done. Get in,’ I told Ransom.

With a nod, he did so and I noticed how hard he was trying to control himself. He was shaking and balling his fists, his shoulders were heaving and his body seemed racked with pain already.

‘Leave,’ Ransom forced out of his chattering mouth.

‘I have to close it around you now,’ I said with a quick look at the book.

‘After get out. I don’t want to risk you,’ he explained.

I nodded and using my wand to help channel my magic through, I closed the Ancient Circles of Holding and Constricting around him. A three cylinder barrier now surround him, glowing faintly red. The runes on the floor glowed either blue or green and I sensed the old magic taking hold and gathering to the height of it’s power.

Ransom let out a painful scream and I stumbled away, thinking I had hurt him. I saw though, his body began to twist and shift into the beast that lay underneath.

A part of me wanted to stay but another part knew there was nothing I could do. I hurried out, closing and magically sealing the new steel door behind me. Hoping that the Ancient Circles held, I raced back to the Academy which was the only safe place to be on full moon nights.

 

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/06/04/weekly-writing-prompt-144/ with thanks).

Turrets #writephoto

It was one of those moments that had seemed a good idea at the time but as we arrived at the crumbling castle doubt set into my mind. Breathless from our climb up the jagged hill, we collected around the tall, rusted iron gates which were bent inwards.

Through the bars, I could see the remains of a drive poking through the nature that had taken over. I couldn’t see much of the castle from this view, the trees were too high but I could just make out some turrets and roof sticking out. The sky above was cold stony grey, threatening more heavy rain and though we were a bit sheltered from the wind, I could still feel the chilly sting on my face.

‘Here,’ Duncan’s voice brought me back.

He was handing me an open bottle of water. I took a few sips whilst watching him dig around in the side pockets of his bag.

‘I know it’s in here somewhere,’ he muttered.

My other friend, Wyatt went over to the gate and tried to rattle it but the gate didn’t move. Instead one of the bars snapped in his hand. He backed away, dropping both halves as he did so. The broken bar hit the ground with a cushioned thud.

‘Oops,’ Wyatt said, ‘it’s really rusted right through.’

‘I wanted a photo of that,’ Duncan snapped.

‘Take it quick. It’s raining again,’ I pointed out a few drops fell.

Duncan shoved a small paper thing in my hand, snatched up his huge professional camera and began setting it up. Wyatt moved out of the way, into the cover of some trees, tracking the iron fence. I looked down at the paper and realised it was the photograph that had brought us here.

It was a square, black and white photo of what seemed to be castle turrets, roofs and chimneys rising up out trees. I looked around, trying to see what I could on the photo around us. Whoever had taken this about fifty years ago had really been standing back. There seemed to be a rocky outcrop that could be the same in the photo a few feet away. And thinking that the trees had been smaller and the area clearer it could be the same place but it was hard to know for sure.

I heard Duncan’s camera clicking away. I had no interest in taking photos of the abandoned places we visited nor did Wyatt, we just liked walking around and looking, sometimes taking stuff. Just small things, that wouldn’t really be missed and we could sell on to carry on funding these trips.

The rain and wind picked up turning into a storm which seemed fitting for our location. I shoved the photo into my leather jacket and ignoring Duncan’s unhappy cries, forced my way through the bent gate and along the drive. I heard them both following me as I broke into a run. The quickly darkening sky made it hard to see and we all stumbled about and swore.

As we reached the cracked stone steps leading up to the broken wooden doors, there was a rumble of thunder. The rain start pelting it down, drenching us through and forcing us to dash inside. I cut myself scrambling over the door which was almost falling off it’s hinges and wedge at an high angle.

Swearing loudly and repeatedly, I clutched my left arm. My feet shuffling and crunching on the stone floor. Pain was shooting along my skin and my other hand was becoming wet with blood.

A bright light flickered on and I stumbled blindly away like a wounded animal. I bumped into something taller then me but not solid, knocking the thing over. There was an awful clattering sound and I fell in the middle of it as a suit of armour tumbled around me.

‘Jay? Are you okay Jay?’ Duncan’s voice high with panic echoed in my ears.

‘Jay, mate?’ Wyatt spoke right next to me.

I opened my eyes. My body felt numbed with pain and weighed down. There was a ringing sound in my ears and a stinging pain my left arm. I groaned and tried to move.

‘Lift that end,’ Wyatt said.

I felt a piece of the armour lift off me and I pulled myself out and then along the wall. Cold stone scrapped across my jacket, I propped myself up, pressing my cut arm to my chest. I realised, I couldn’t feel my fingers and there was so much more pain there now.

Wyatt shone the torch on me and give a low whistle.

I was struggling to breath and so couldn’t get the words out to ask what the deal was.

They both clustered around me, looking down and concerned but not saying anything.

‘Have some water,’ Duncan uttered handing me his bottle again.

I took it with my right. My left arm didn’t feel like it belong to me anymore. Sipping the water, helped make me feel less sick and dizzy. I shut my eyes and calmed down for a few moments. My mind thought about another time I had felt like this; a fall on a school football pitch.

‘I think my arms broken,’ I muttered.

There was a pause of silence. I could hear the storm raging outside and a flash of lightening came though the broken door, capturing the scene like a camera; me on the floor, Wyatt and Duncan before me and the suit of armour scattered across the floor.

‘No. You’re just in shock,’ Duncan rushed, ‘it’s just bruised and cut.’

I shook my head, ‘I broke this arm before, in high school. I know how it feels.’

‘What can we do?’ Duncan replied, he was casting around as if expecting to see something or someone of use.

We were all alone though, in an abandoned castle with no idea what was actually around us. But I knew the chance of a first aid kit was slim.

‘We find something to keep his arm stable,’ Wyatt cut in, ‘ next, we find a good place to hole up in till the storm is over. Then we get the hell out of here.’

Duncan nodded, ‘I’m sorry. This is all my fault,’ his voice cracked.

‘No,’ I said sharply, ‘stuff happens. Help me up.’

Wyatt took my hand and Duncan grip me as I got to my feet.

‘Guess he’s not going to be guarding anything again!’ I joked as I kicked a leg brace away.

It clattered across the floor and the sound vibrated around us.

Excited and nervous, we searched the castle. The small grand hall lead off to a few ground floor rooms and also a stone staircase. There were some mould and collapsed furniture in the rooms. Nothing worth taking but I could see Duncan itching to take some photos.

Upstairs where some bedrooms though the roof had caved in on the left side so all the rooms there were dripping water. The wind was also howling through adding to the unfriendliness of the place.

‘This will do,’ Wyatt said finally.

We settled in a small room that had once been a pretty girl’s bedroom. There was still strips of patterned wallpaper and a rug on the floor. I sank onto the bed and pulled a mouldy blanket over me and a pillow under my arm. I stayed there, hissing in a pain, whilst the other two made a make-shift split from the bottom of a wooden draw and some cotton strips from what once might have been a night dress.

Once my arm was strapped up and Wyatt had cut up some of the thick bed curtain with his penknife and made a sling for me, I felt a little better.  I rested back against the other pillow, my body going stiff with cold and bruises. I listened to the rain drumming against the window, the wind battering things around and the thunder rumbling as if this was a horror movie.

‘We are going to explore more and find something to start a fire,’ Wyatt’s distant voice told me.

I hummed a reply, feeling suddenly sleepy.

They were still gone when I came back and for a few moments, I was disorientated. It was gloomy dark but I felt a torch at my side and went to click it on.

‘It’s cold,’ a voice whispered.

I stilled. The voice had been soft and a female’s. I couldn’t tell where it had come from.

‘So cold,’ the same voice uttered.

There was a soft ruffling sound like a skirt moving.

‘Hello? Wyatt? Duncan?’ I called after a few seconds.

From beside the small fire place were the shadows seemed to be thicker, a dim spot of white light seemed to flicker. I tried to blink it away, but the light grew bigger and brighter.

I turned on the torch, aiming it over but there was nothing there. I looked around the room it was empty. I was torn between staying and going, after a few moments though, I concluded it was best to stay as I had no idea where the other two were and wondering around the castle looking for them seemed a bad idea.

Telling myself it was my imagination, I lay back. Clicking the torch off to save the battery and letting darkness settle again.

‘Hello-oh?’ the soft girl’s voice a came again.

There was slow creak as if someone had just stepped on a loose floorboard.

I swallowed and barely got my greeting past my lips. Then it felt like a ice cube had been dropped on to my right hand was working up my arm. Turning on the torch, I looked and saw all the hair on my arm was up and goosebumps were rising. I don’t know why, but I had the feeling of a hand trying to touch my wrist.

I withdrew quickly, shoving myself against the headboard of the bed. Pain hit my shoulders were I bumped into the wall. A scrapping sound, like someone moving a book or a light object over a table tickled my ears. I shone the torch around again, looking for mice or rats, this place was probably full of animals. My breath caught in my throat, had that end bed curtain just moved?

‘No,’ I muttered then shouted, ‘Wyatt! Duncan!’

My voice carried, echoed slightly then faded. I hoped they had heard me. I pushed myself up and slide of the the bed. I had a creepy feeling that I wasn’t alone and something was watching me from the shadows.

‘I’m not afraid of you!’ I yelled, ‘come out! Show yourself,’

I flashed the light around, hoping to catch them but there still nobody there. I went to the door of the room but something caused me to look back before I stepped into the hallway.

I saw the shape of a person next to the window. I had the impress it was a woman in a long white dress. I shone the torch beam over but of course the light showed me nothing but the window sill and pane glass.

Running footsteps came to me and I walked out of the room and towards them. Wyatt and Duncan were at the top of the stairs as I joined them.

‘I woke up and didn’t know where you guys where,’ I explained, ‘did you find anything?’

‘Not much,’ Wyatt said disappointingly.

‘I got enough,’ Duncan said tapping his camera which hung around his neck.

‘Let’s go then,’ I said hurriedly.

We had to go back to the room to get our bags. I didn’t saw anything about what I’d thought or heard though. Wyatt would laugh at me and call me a chicken whilst Duncan would want to stay and investigate. I though was so ready to leave.

The storm had quietened down as we stepped outside. It was still rainy and windy though but I didn’t care. We started walking away. Duncan taking a few quick photos. I looked back up at the windows without knowing why and saw in one of them a face peering down at us.

I knew then, even though he showed me days later, that Duncan had taken a photo of the ghost I’d seen. I still never admitted it to him or Wyatt, I still didn’t want to believe what had happened was true.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/05/24/thursday-photo-prompt-turrets-writephoto/ with thanks).

Green #FridayFictioneers

Hannah stared at the new plant. It looked like ivy, just jazzed up by great-auntie’s crystal bowl which it sit in.

‘I don’t like it,’ Hannah declared, ‘it’s giving me a funny feeling.’

Her mum who was making fried eggs and chips for dinner, tutted and replied, ‘it was a gift and it’s just a harmless plant.’

The feeling that something wasn’t right lingered. At midnight, Hannah crept downstairs and saw the plant no longer on the table but by the back door.

‘Let me out,’ an eerie voice spoke as the leaves of the plant shook.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/05/23/25-may-2018/ with thanks).

Light #TaleWeaver

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Mum died when I was a baby and every since then I’ve seen the light orbs. No one told me they were ghosts, it was just something I’ve always known. I didn’t really speak about them because it was so normal I thought everyone could see the orbs.

They were white and yellow in colour but sometimes I saw lights in blue or green. They came in different sizes; from pin points, to coin size to the biggest being like plates. The lights drifted around everything wherever I went. Sometimes they would vanish then return so it was hard to tell how many where around me at once. I had no real feelings about them, just that sometimes I felt loved and safe.

I learned in high school though that I was the only one to see the ghosts. I told maybe three or four friends one morning and by the end of the day the whole school knew. I become known as a weirdo and had to hang around with the other rejected teens. They though didn’t seemed to mind my ‘gift.’

‘Can you talk to the ghost lights?’

‘No. I just see them all the time.’

‘Doesn’t that get distracting?’

‘How bright are they?’

‘Not that bright during the day at night they can get like a light bulb. I’m use to them so they don’t really distract me.’

‘What if they aren’t ghosts?’

‘What if it’s like something to do with your vision?’

‘Yeah, my brother is colourblind, maybe it’s something like that?’

‘I don’t know….The lights are always moving around, they don’t effect the way I see.’

Despite all the suggests, I know they were ghosts, though I wasn’t sure how I know. It just was. Then, I decided I didn’t want to answer the questions anymore for what further more could it prove? So what if only I could see the lights? I didn’t need anyone else to believe in them to make them any more real to me.

I just got on with life as normal then. I did my exams, I went to college, had my first love and heartbreak then went to university. I found a part-time job in a small bookshop. I was happy and still surrounded by the lights. I never told anyone again about the ghost lights until the man who would become my husband.

It would have been easy enough not to tell him of course but why should I hide from someone who truly loved me? So, soon after he had proposed to me whilst we were laying in the heat of a summer night unable to sleep, I turned to him and said, ‘I have to tell you something…secret about me.’

‘That you are the most wonderful thing in the world?’ he answered.

‘No,’ I answered and snuggled closer to him, ‘there are these lights and they are ghosts and I can see them. I’ve always been able too. They don’t speak to me and they’ve never done me any harm. They are just there and I think they are watching over me and protecting me. I think my mum caused it when she died. Perhaps, she’s one of them or all of them. I don’t know.’

He was silent for awhile and I thought at first he was thinking of how to call everything off or else, as my heart beat so loudly, had fallen asleep suddenly and missed what I’d said?

‘Are they here now?’ he asked in whisper.

‘Yes. I see them all the time.’

He hummed as if he was trying to think of what to say.

I didn’t want to hear what was coming so tried to move off the bed. His grip tightened on me though, making me pause. He drew me into a hug and held me tightly, breathing into my hair.

‘I knew you were special from the moment I saw you,’ he muttered.

‘So, you don’t mind the lights?’ I asked into his chest.

‘No. Because I can see them too,’ he replied.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/tale-weaver-171-may-17th-light/ with thanks).

First Sunrise #TwittingTales

I embraced the dark, cold theater. Feeling secure despite many people nearby. Tampering down excitement, the pictures came to life, real but yet not real; moving and talking in full colour. Then, I saw the sun rise in all her glory for the first time in a hundred and twenty years.

(Inspired by https://katmyrman.com/2018/05/15/twittering-tales-84-15-may-2018 with thanks).

Not There #writephoto

There was someone on the stairs. I pointed at the strange dark shape and said one of the few words I could, ‘ogog!’ Look!

Nanny didn’t pause but carried on taking me upstairs in her arms.

I pointed again, waving my hand more and wiggling against her. I had a bad feeling about the dark figure that was coming out before us. I cried  and tried saying whatever I could but Nanny hushed me and held my waving hand.

We passed the ‘shadow man’ and I felt a cold wave like a winter wind brushing against me. I think I saw a smile on the face, but it was hard to make out. Then the coldness and the man was gone. I twisted and looked over Nanny’s shoulder but there was nothing on the stairs.

And that was how it all began.

It was strange for a child to avoid their nursery but I always tried too. I hated going up the stone staircase to the attic at the top where my toys were because I knew on the tenth step lived the shadow man. It always felt icy cold on that step, day or night, summer or winter.

Nobody believed me about him. Nanny said it was my imagination. My maid, Martha, told me it was just shadows. The housekeeper, Mrs Williams, claimed it was a drift coming from the window. My father declared it was a trick of the light. My mother scoffed then ignored me again as she always did.

So, I stopped talking about him and tried to ignore him too. It was hard because he always seemed to be there. I would have to climb the staircase at some point during each day; after lunch or after my lessons or when my mother had a party and she didn’t want me to be seen.

Pausing at the bottom, I gather the long puffy skirt of my dress and the white underskirt up to reveal the matching colour satin or silk slippers before climbing. Sometimes someone else would be with me; Nanny, Martha or Mrs Williams but as I got older they would send me alone.

On the ninth step, I would stop and look at the tenth. There was nothing making it different from all the other twenty-one steps but in the shadows next to the banister a darker shape lingered there. If I stayed long enough, I’d be able to make out the figure of a man. He was taller then father, dressed in a suit and had long hair tied back with a ribbon. His other features were harder to make out; his face was blurred by black mist but he had eyes, a nose and a mouth that always smiled at me.

I plunged through the coldness, holding my breath then raced up the rest of the stairs. At the top, I would peer down but there was never anything there. I would go into the nursery, close the door and try to play with my dolls, rocking horse, tea-set and jigsaw puzzles. When I grew bored or tried, I would climb into the window box and read one of my many books. Until Nanny or Martha would come up to either lit the lamps or take me to bed.

He would be there, awaiting on the tenth step. Stronger outlined in the night but still blurred and blending with the shadows. He would watch me and smile. I tried not to look but I knew what he was doing all the same. He never did anything else but I think that’s what made me most afraid of him. I hoped he was just stuck there with no power, but who was to really know?

Long after I left my parents house, got married, moved into a new house and had children of my own, the shadow man still haunted me. Who was he? What did he want? When I could not sleep or was bored, I would try to find out but I never got any answers.

Then one day my daughter pointed something out on the stairs leading to the nursery. I looked and saw the shadow man standing on the tenth step, awaiting us.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/05/03/thursday-photo-prompt-ascent-writephoto with thanks).

Mangata #atozchallenge (Part 2)

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Mangata; the trail of light left by the moon’s reflection on the sea, ‘the moon road’. 

Someone was calling my name in the distance, I could hear them over the sounds of the waves and the rocking of the little boat.

‘Susy! Susy!’

I opened my eyes and stretched, my body stiff from leaning over. Looking around in a daze, I realised I’d fallen asleep! Luckily though the sea had carried me ashore and the little boat was wedged on the beach. Checking my watch, I saw it was now close to two in the morning.

‘Susy!’ a voice yelled.

It was my older sister, Aura! I looked madly about and thought I saw a blob of flickering light, coming over to me. I looked at the electrical lantern balanced at the head of the boat. It was letting off a good amount of light still. I picked it up and climbed out of the boat.

‘Over here, Aura!’ I yelled and waved the lantern.

‘Susy! she shouted back, ‘are you okay?’

‘Yes,’ I hollered.

I ran along the shore to met her. The surf splashed up against my boat and the wet sand slide underneath me. We almost collided as we were both closer then we thought. Laughing, Aura hugged me tightly, her lantern hitting my back, her wild blonde hair tickling my face.

‘We were worried!’ she gushed, ‘We thought you’d got lost! Father and mother have gone to the cove and to the rocky pools. They thought the tide might have carried you there.’

‘No,’ I replied, I was close enough to shore. I didn’t realise the time.’

Aura let me go and we walked over to the boat.

‘Did you get it?’ she asked, excitement bubbling in her voice.

I nodded and answered, ‘yes and some more things too.’

We hurried over and I grabbed the hiking bag to show her.

Aura grabbed my hand before I could start pulling things out, ‘wait,’ she said.

I looked at her, her face glowing in the lantern lit.

‘We should find father and mother, they are so worried.’

‘Fine,’ I said and flipped the hiking bag closed again.

I heaved it onto my back then we both pulled the boat up the beach. As we neared the low stone wall, two moving lights appeared and we heard running footsteps. Aura, held out her hand and we both stopped. Ducking into the shadows of the wall, we hide our lanterns behind us and waited to see who was coming.

Heavy feet hit the sand, followed by softer ones and the swishing of cloaks. I saw in the gloom, two lanterns holding magical balls of blue and green dancing lights. So, it could only be…

‘Mother! Father!’ Aura cried and she rushed over to them, ‘I found her! Susy! She’s fine!’

I stepped from the wall’s shelter and hurried over. My mother hugged me, repeatedly saying my name, asking if I was okay and that I had worried them all.

‘What happened?’ my father finally cut in.

‘Nothing…I…It was just so nice out there and I caught some stars too. I didn’t know the time had gone,’ I replied.

I couldn’t tell them I had fallen asleep, it’d be awhile before they let me out again by myself.

‘I got The Moon Reflection Essence!’ I cried and struggled to take my hiking bag off to show them all.

My mother stopped me, her hands pulling the straps back on, ‘later,’ she said.

Father collected the boat, heaving it up and and carrying it back. We walked off the beach, breaking the quietness with a little conversation. A sandy path let back to the village. Ours was the first house on the little cliff that looked out over the sea. As we got closer, I saw that all the windows had lights shinning out of them, so it seemed like a beacon. There was a tail of smoke coming out of the small chimney too.

Arriving, we took our boots off then Mother hurried me into the living room, where the fire dully burnt. She threw some more logs on then began helping me out of my damp clothes. In the background, I heard father lowering the boat against the house and coming in with my sister. They joined us and started to get dry too.

Standing in my under dress, I emptied my hiking bag and removed all the jars. Mother inspected them as I did so, nodding and muttering her approval. Lastly, I handed in the biggest jar and watched her face closely.

The Moon Reflection Essence glowed brightly in the living room, casting a pool of light around mother. Her smile grew as she turned the jar to see the light from the reflection of the moon from all sides.

‘It’s perfect,’ she said, proudly.

‘At a girl, Susy,’ father spoke.

‘Wow, it’s so bright!’ Aura awed.

‘Well done,’ mother added and drew me into a hug.

A wave of sleep hit me and I rubbed my eyes as I rested against her shoulder. The warm of the fire, the safety of home and the tiredness of my trip building together.

‘It’s bedtime.’

I agreed with a yawn.

Once in bed, I could see the moonlight dancing on top of the waves before me. I could feel myself drifting away, those waves carrying me out to sea.

‘You’re going to make a great witch, Susy,’ Aura’s voice said.

‘Huh-huh,’ I uttered.

‘We both will do…One day. Next time will you show me how you get the moon essence?’

‘Sure,’ I muttered then let the dream sea carry me away.