The stench of something foul hung over Eleanor, and she woke slowly, propping herself up like the night before. She rubbed her eyes with her fists, then opened them. Instantly she wish she hadn’t.
“Hello witch,” spat the man leant above her. The word was like a disease to him. He rolled it along his tongue, chewed it up, than spat it out. Like a mouldy, stale chunk of bread.
“Harold!” gasped Eleanor. Her voice leaked worry and Harold simply smiled. Worry, fear, anxiety, was good. It meant she was vulnerable.
“Eleanor?” asked Michael sleepily, rubbing his eyes just like Eleanor, then discovered he was surrounded by uniformed men on horses and some strange man leaning over her.
“How?” she asked, stuttering with disbelief. All the running, the hiding, the pain. It was for nothing. She had been discovered.
“You didn’t think you could run forever, did you?” sneered Harold, snapping his fingers, and the uniformed men hopped off their horses. Bending down, they picked her up and slung her forcefully into the battered wagon on the back of a horse. She kicked and struggled and clawed relentlessly, but to no avail.
“What are you doing?” cried Michael, standing up quickly, fists clenched tight. She may have been upset yesterday, but that doesn’t mean she could be taken away. Who were these men?
“Taking this witch away. Now boy, has she used any of her strange magic on you? Tortured you? Harmed you?” Michael tensed up, his muscles going rigid.
“No,” he said through gritted teeth. He was doing everything in his will to hold himself back.
Why was he holding himself back? Because of the similarities we discussed earlier. Those little nuggets of gold. Even though Eleanor had been mad the last night, the similarities had fixed the friendship. The relationship. Now, Michael was prepared to fight just over these similarities.
“Good. Well, we need to check you when we get back in case she forced you to say that, so for now hop on one of the horses.” One of the men leapt onto his horse, a gorgeous chestnut-coloured animal, and beckoned for him to join. Reluctantly, Michael obeyed.
Eleanor sat in the back of the wagon as this happened, observing her injuries. Having been slung in, she had hit some nails sticking out of the wood, which had sliced her skin. She had broken several nails, both her knees were bleeding, and her ankle was swollen as well as several cuts all over.
Getting out was impossible. The top of the wagon had an arched piece of white fabric held up by stiff metal rods, and the men had closed the large hatch at the front. All she could do was stare at the huge piece of wood blocking her from freedom.
She wondered what Michael was doing.