Midnight Circle

Ashley moves down to London expecting a new start but what she gets is way off that. Tangled up in a spiral of magical dimensions she has no way of knowing what's real anymore. Where did it actually begin? How much of her life has been a lie?

Just snippets from parts of the story.

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1. extract one

The forest spanned miles; I ran non-stop for hours, without breaking tree cover and without glimpsing any signs of civilisation. It was just tree upon tree upon tree. Unsurprisingly I guess. It all looked the same, even to the extent that after another half hour sprinting I doubted my own memory and had to stop, lean on a low boulder and check the map again. I needn’t have worried though, I’d stopped just two hundred yards from the outskirts of their village. 
    I began to creep forward, slowly now, I didn’t want to scare them off. No doubt they’d know immediately what I was, and probably how recently I’d killed. I tiptoed through the low branches, using my arms to brush away drooping vines. Suddenly, a small wooden object smashed into my face, flung back by the rebound of a branch. It took all my will power not to scream as I swiped wildly at the accompanying cobwebs coating my skin. When I had ripped myself free of the silky ribbons I looked closely into the murky woodland. 
“This has to be it.”
As far as I could see forward, hanging off hundreds of branches were centuries worth of humanoid spirit dolls. Small twigs were bound together by string for limbs and they each had a ball of string for heads. Each and every one was attached to the tree by a noose like loop of more string, causing them to swivel and dangle awfully in a silent wind. Accompanying them were strange shards of thin, dress cotton, all once bright and vibrant, now dull, mouldy and brown.  I began to step further into the haunting dolls, being careful not to touch any of them. They all reminded me terribly of a film I watched once with Luke, The Wicker Man. There were pagans in that, but Druids were alleged to have sacrificed humans this way too. Not that I was human… Not the point. Druids have powerful magic, so who knows what those hanged angels of death alone could do to me. I kept walking until I came to a clearing. Quickly darting back behind a tree, I took a deep breath. There were about ten tents, one of which was large and orange, some sort of community place. The rest were smaller and blue or white. Roughly each the same size, with lanterns, patterned cloth and more of the dolls, (warding off bad spirits maybe?) hanging across the doorways and windows. But this wasn’t why I was hidden, as soon as I had reached the edge of the darkness, the people who had been mulling around and just going about their lives, had all but one darted into the tents. There seemed to be way too many people to live in just the ten tents, but they all vanished anyway, dropping whatever they were carrying, wherever they were, whatever they were doing. It was just growing dark but they already had many fires going, fires for cooking, fires for warmth and fires for light, each with little sparks of magic darting up into the air, magnificently coloured smoke billowed and curled, looking like a scene from Mary Poppins. 

 

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