“Mama!” Marie cried “Mama...”
She run into the hut, breathless. “Mama, soldiers are coming.”
Quickly I gather a few meagre belonging. We had to get out of here.
“Marie,” I kneel down and look at my beautiful little girl. “We are going to have to move quickly and quietly. You mustn't say anything.”
Marie looks back at me with her solemn large blue eyes. “Yes, Mama.”
I take her hand and lead her out the back of our house. We track through forest. Trees grab at my skirt and hair. Marie doesn't make a sound. The forest soon ends by a river, deep and fast flowing. Voices. Triumphant voices. Does that mean they stopped us? I pull Marie closer to me and hid in a thick bush. The people who own the voices soon come into view. They are marching around a pretty, fair skinned girl. She was tied up in ropes.
Witch trial. I thought Poor thing.
I make sure Marie can't see any of the event that will come to pass. A child doesn't need know what our fate might be as well.
The party stops by the side of the river. Two strong men pick the girl up and throw her in. A thick rope on shore is to insure that the current doesn't take her body away. After five minutes they pull her body out of the water. I bury my head into Marie's hair. I can't look.
The girl is dead and is therefore innocent. The people are happy that there really was no witch in their village but that does nothing for the dead girl.
Marie and I wander down the river bank staying close to the forest. She is happy, as all children should be, picking me wild flowers that grow by the river. Oblivious to the dangers we both face because of me. I sigh so many things had changed. My knowledge of herbs and medicines was once prized and sought after. My husband and I had a nice cottage and Marie was his pride and joy. Then there was war. All able bodied men were called. Many returned but mine never did. So we survived on my healing skills but now everyone thinks that healers are witches. Anything unnatural must be a act of the devil. I must find sanctuary for myself and Marie.
I remember something my husband said “The mountain are safety.”
My gaze turn upwards to the towering pecks.
“Mama, are we going to the mountains?” Marie asks following my gaze.
She squeals with happiness “Papa's tribe lives there!”
How did she remember that?
The night was cold. I didn't sleep. When the cold fingers of dawn light penetrated the darkness, I decide we had to move. We faced a mountain and solider wanted to kill us. Marie wouldn't be spared. I woke her up and we walked on. It was hard going. By midday Marie was complaining that she was hungry and that she wanted to go home. I make her stop at a icy cold stream to have a drink.
“Don't move.” A gruff voice says
My heart sinks. We were dead.
“What business do you have in the mountains?”
“Mama!” Marie grabbed my hand “I'm scared.” she whispered
“Hush.” I straighten up “I am looking for the tribe of Leander.”
“How do you know that name?” two men came out of the bushes
“It is my husband's tribe. William Leander was his name.” I say
The men exchange a look “Come with us.”
We follow them higher up the mountain. When I thought Marie was going to just sit down and not move, we enter a flat clearing. A rich smell of food wafts through the air.
“William.” One of the men shout.
My heart starts to race then I regain myself; William was a common name.
A tall man steps forwards but is still covered by shadows “What?”
“We found them on the mountain side.” He laughs “Witch, I think escaping their hunters but she knew your name.”
He jabs his sword in my direction.
“How do know that name.” He asks
“He was my husband. He died in battle.” My voice cracks
There was a sharp intact of breath and he step forward.
My breath is taken away. There stood my William.
“I...I thought you were dead.” I can barely say the words
“I know,” He embraces me in a hug “ I wasn't dead. I tried to find you but I couldn't. Then I heard about the witch hunts and realized you might be dead.”
His arms were strong around me a feeling I never forgot.
“Papa?” Marie said hesitantly
William scoop her up and squeezed her in the middle “My word you have grown.”
The pain and sorrow from the pass year fell away. I no longer felt the danger of the soldiers or witch hunters. Let the superstitious village think what they will. I was safe. Marie was safe. William was alive. His tribe needed a healer so I was made a member of his secretive tribe. We will live in the mountain.