This is the first few pages of a novel I'm trying to write. I have more pages to post. Comments will make me post more. I'm very shallow (very).
Gerald looked down from his perch in the oak tree and watched the young children playing in the yard. The two oldest girls were trying to finish up their work before it was time to go to school. There was a lot of hard work involved in keeping the farmstead up. Sarah and Jenny had chores that had to be done every morning and evening. Jenny was hanging the wash onto the clothes line while Sarah was finishing up the last stages of churning the cream from yesterday's milking into butter; or at least get it started for Mother to finish up later. The three little ones, who were running around in circles whooping and teasing each other, were oblivious to the large bear that was dangerously close to coming over the crest of the hill, at the edge of their place. The creature had caught the scent of meat and was determined to fill the vast, empty space in his belly. The human smell that intermingled with that of the live stock was a danger sign he would usually heed, but today, his only thought was restocking his inner stores with the meat the spirit had apparently laid out for him. As he charged towards the children, Sarah, who was busy pumping the churn, suddenly stood up and raised her arms in the air with the palms of her hands pointing in his direction. The small ones seemed to sense their big sister's shock and realized something was amiss. After turning to see the giant monster coming at them, all three began to run, much slower than the bear, towards their protector on the porch. Just before it caught up to them, each child turned into a multi-colored, little dust stream, that streaked into the cabin. The bear managed to rise up on his hind legs before finding himself frozen in place by a mystical force emanating from Sarah.
Mother came out of the front door to see what brought her three little charges streaking into their home; before re-materializing under the bed they shared. She looked at the bear, standing in all his majesty, though frail from his long winter’s nap without any sustenance. Sarah remained in position with her arms raised as ‘Mother’ studied the situation. "We need meat", the dutiful daughter exclaimed as she held the helpless giant in place. "So does he darling", Mother replied before pausing to study the emaciated animal further. "Maybe later, after he is fattened up a little" Mother added as she nonchalantly walked back into the cabin. Sarah looked at her hapless puppet and thought about a humiliating way to dispatch him. She swayed side to side for a moment, making the animal look like he was dancing for his supper. Jenny laughed as she stood next to her older, more powerful sister. Then, with a gentle flick of her wrist, Sarah sent the hungry bear tumbling across the yard, and back down the hill. ‘Another day perhaps’, she thought to herself as Jenny looked up at her and said out loud, "yes, another day".
The older girls gathered their school books after completing their morning duties, and were waiting for Mother to kiss them goodbye. "My lovely little wits, remember to give thanks for who you are as you mingle with the lessers. Learn their ways, but don't fall into their habits", Mother said, as she did every time she sent her young, witches in training out into the mortal world. The Morgan family, who had been abandoned by their family's patriarch after the birth of the youngest, weren't really witches. Even Mother didn't seem to know what they were exactly; gods perhaps, or maybe something more sinister. Witch was a commonly known term in their day that would ‘fit the bill’. Besides their tremendous power, all she admitted to knowing was that they lived a relatively normal life span, paired off, and procreated with humans. The female offspring grew up to be powerful beings that were virtually indestructible by anything other than age. Male children, who were an anomaly, rarely presented as anything special. It was thought among their kind that all of the souls of the departed would recycle to the next generation, so it wasn't unusual for boys and girls to have odd memories they couldn't explain.
Sarah and Jenny ‘flashed’ through the woods towards the little town of Waverly where their one room school house had stood for more than a century. Mother had learned to read and write there along with Father, but Sarah hated being around the ‘lessers’ and wished their mother would teach them what they needed to know at home, including how to harness the considerable powers the two oldest already possessed. Jenny looked forward to going to school every day because she had already marked her mate and loved to spend every moment with him that she could.
As they materialized a little too close to the edge of the woods, the girls could see the other students gathering by the schoolhouse door waiting to be let in. Jenny walked up to Jeremiah, who had no idea he was destined to be her mate, and cut in front of him in line before grabbing his arm and pulling him close. This kind of behavior in public was more than frowned upon in this era; it was almost illegal! Jeremiah pulled his arm away from his future love, but smiled while he lingered a few seconds as their hands came in contact. His parents were the storekeepers, making them among the wealthiest families in the little town, so a future marriage between he and Jenny would not be likely, that is, if Jenny was a lesser like him. He didn't know that his future wife and the mother of his children was this fourteen year old girl he ‘thought he might like’. But, any of the girls in Jenny's family who looked at him, could see her initials, which were carved ‘permanently’ with mystical light into the back of his right hand.
Gerald sat at the table and consumed the tea and biscuits Mother had set out. She gave him the ‘stink eye’ as she sat across from him. "And, WHEN were you going to intercede this morning little protector?” she asked sarcastically. "You know they need to learn to protect themselves Mother", he replied as he hurriedly pushed food into his mouth before the angry elder could react. "NOT THE LITTLE ONES!” her voice boomed, sending him flying out of his chair and all the way back into the woods. Mother's ‘angry’ voice shook the house, and the little ones scurried to her side and buried their faces in her skirt. Mother became enveloped in a soft light as her younger offspring clung to her in fear, but also with great, unconditional love. She remembered when her soon to be adult daughters acted like they too loved her, but knew that as they came of age, things were destined to change. She remembered her early life as an only child and how sad her own Mother was when she left the nest. Gerald poked his head inside the cabin and waited to be invited in to finish his tea. Mother hugged her frightened, little children, and motioned for the woodland creature to enter. Though Gerald was a lowly forest 'creature', for three generations, he was treated like a member of the family. His powers were not great, but he could protect the children long enough for Mother or their sisters to intervene.
School was boring and Sarah was just about at the ‘end of her rope’ when the schoolmarm swung the bell to signal the end of her torture. She was an adult of sixteen now and ready to move on with her life. She didn't like the fact that the boys, and some of the men in town, looked at her like she was so much cattle at the market. They knew it was past time for her to pair off with one of them and go through the silly rituals humans of the time went through to become betrothed; and then married. She didn't want to think of which one of these lessers she would soon be chained to, but knew that whoever it ended up being would be in for a rude awakening on eve of their wedding. She worried that the time would come when her reluctance to choose a mate might result in one being chosen for her. She laughed to herself as Jenny looked around to see if anyone was looking, then kissed Jeremiah's cheek. The unexplained rush he felt wasn't just the natural ‘boy girl’ feelings most young men have when given the same attention by a lesser. After saying their goodbyes and walking into the woods, the two young women began to flash towards their home.
About a mile short of the farmstead, Jenny told Sarah telepathically that she was stopping. Before Sarah could ask why, Jenny approached the bear they had a run in with earlier and waited for it to raise up into a fighting stance. Sarah watched carefully, while the dangerously unpredictable Jenny chanted as she approached the beast and allowed it to take the first swipe. After its huge paw crashed against her head, the bear yelped in pain. Sarah began to raise her arms to paralyze the poor beast, but Jenny raised her left hand quickly and did it herself. Jenny backed away from the bear that was having a terrible day so far, and studied her quarry carefully. Before the animal could take another breath or Sarah could stop her, she slashed her knifed, right hand back and forth as if wielding a cosmic dagger to attack the poor animal that, she honestly felt, hadn't learned its lesson earlier. The massive beast was still in attack position, but had been very, very dead since the first slashing motion of her hand. The Bear had huge gashes across his neck, chest and stomach, and the only reason he wasn't laying on the ground, was that Jenny was still willing it to stay in place. As she released the carcass from her mystical grip, the three distinct parts it was cut into fell to the ground in a heap. Before she could admire her work, both of them suddenly were involuntarily flashed back to the cabin, and found themselves standing in front of their angry mother and their servant Gerald. Back at the scene of the bear's murder, a hunter, who had watched from behind a tree, resisted the urge to run away as far and as fast as he could. He slowly crept towards the massive corpse of one of the things he 'used' to be most afraid of while walking in these woods.
Before saying anything to her naughty daughters, Mother looked up from them and sniffed the air before disappearing in a cloud of her own dust. She materialized a few feet in front of the hunter who had witnessed her daughter cruelly dissect the poor bear. The force of her transporting there almost blew him over, as he froze in fear and the shock of Mother's sudden presence. It overwhelmed everything, including his natural fight or flight instinct. The man was pale and noticeably shaken, when he timidly looked at the supernatural being who had materialized before him, but then managed a smile. "The girls are really growing up fast", he said as she turned away from him to survey the damage. "You want any of this meat?” she asked as she poked at the remnants with her foot. Before he could answer, she moved her knifed hand back and forth while the hide seemed to peel away on its own. She separated the slab of bear flesh from the rest of the animal before putting her hands out, palms down, and watching the rest decompose and seep into the ground. "You know, her future husband had better be a sweetheart", he mused as he pushed the fresh meat into a cloth sack. Mother smiled at the ‘joke’, and said, "for his sake, yes". She approached the hunter and stopped just short of their bodies touching. As she looked into his eyes, she considered whether there was time for a tryst with the handsome man. The powerful 'witch' and the hunter barely touched lips and paused a few seconds before sharing a long, light, but passionate kiss. "Another time?” she asked after breaking away from the handsome woodsman. "Of course", he said, as his face became flush and his body trembled a little. "Soon!” he corrected himself. "Better talk to the girls about protecting their secret a little better", he added as she prepared to return to her family. She acknowledged his concern, and then ran her hand down the heavy bag of bear meat, now hanging over his shoulder. Its weight was instantly reduced by half, and would remain that way until he completed the long trek back to his cabin. She smiled again and placed her hand on his cheek for a few seconds; before moving back to a safe departing distance. Though it was unlike her, she reconsidered taking the time to lay with the man on the bed of leaves covering the forest's floor. She looked down at her initials mystically carved into the back of his right hand, sighed, and then flashed back home to deal with her careless girls.