For the Creative Writing Challenge, Day 3 – Pre 1950. I’m actually killing two birds with one stone for this one – Book, meet the Community Storyboard. Community Storyboard, meet a transition chapter in my book, written last night.
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I’m not telling tales, Margaret. I saw—
I know what you saw. I’ve seen many a strange thing up there on the ridge, but I’m telling you now that no one else should hear it told that way.
Maureen frowned in her sleep, puzzling over Aunt Margaret’s words. Who was Martin? Slowly awareness came back to her limbs and she felt a low thudding pain at the back of her head.
Ah, yes, the race and the tree. The memories flashed through her mind and her eyes opened wide. “Sean! Aunt Margaret – I’m sorry!” she exclaimed as she sat up and threw off the scratchy woolen blanket. She blinked into the firelight.
“We were trying to be careful, but there was this glade and we raced for sandwiches. Oh!”
The words poured out of Maureen’s mouth in a confused tumble. She took a breath and slowly, the details of the room began to register in her mind.
A fire flickered happily before her in a hearth that looked large enough to house a whole cow and still have room. A man leaned against the mantle, the light of the flames throwing him in shadow.
Maureen’s breaths started coming in shallow gasps as her gaze jumped around the low-ceilinged room and down to the low cushioned bench where she rested. Simple, un-dyed curtains were drawn against the night. A woman sat in a rocking chair, knitting disregarded in her skirted lap. Sean lay on the floor beside the woman, covered as Maureen had been. Maureen shifted her feet to the floor and made to rise. The movement made her head swim.
“Ah, lass, I wouldn’t,” came the woman’s voice. It was low and smooth, but Maureen noticed that her Scots burr was quite a bit stronger than Aunt Margaret’s had been. “You took a nasty blow to the head. If Martin hadn’t found you, you and the lad here would likely have died up there. What were you doing travelling that ridge alone? That was foolish.”
Maureen could find nothing to say. She cocked her head to the side and tried to make her eyes focus on the woman. She was young. A white cap, tied under her chin, covered most of her dark hair. Aunt Margaret was not young – far from it.
Maureen’s gaze dropped to the still form resting beside Margaret. “Is Sean going to be all right?”
“Aye, he’ll be fit for fighting in the morning. The egg on his head wasn’t nearly as large as yours, but he had a nasty cut that needed stitching. I think he’ll sleep till morning – you should too, my girl.”
Maureen slumped against the bench, too confused to fight when Margaret offered her a small, shallow wooden bowl, steaming with a tea of pungent herbs.
“Drink this. It will help you sleep. We shall talk more in the morning.”
Maureen looked at the woman. Margaret’s grey eyes were kind but seemed to look right through her, seemed to read her soul. Maureen blinked.
Maureen took the bowl and drank, watching Margaret over the rim as she drained it. The concoction was bitter and she made a face as she handed it back empty.
“Aye, it tastes terrible, but it will help. Rest your head. Close your eyes. You’re safe now.”
Maureen kept her mouth shut. There was nothing she could say to Margaret that wouldn’t make her sound like a lunatic, but Maureen knew she and Sean were anything but safe.
The tea worked quickly. A warm heaviness pulled at her limbs, and Maureen gave into it willingly – if only to avoid knowing, just for a little while, that it was no longer 1960. It probably wasn’t even 1860. Something had happened after she and Sean had run headlong into the oaks atop the ridge. Something had snatched them. They were lost to time, again.