A young girl, in the 1700s, Scotland learns she is a witch and must not stand out.
The veil between us runs thick, but our connection is strong. I made it so. Ye see, I am gone from her. In a realm where peace transcends.
I'm afraid though . . .
She was born on the ninth month, of the ninth day and after nine years of our separation, her craft will meet completion.
Ye see, my Elspeth's thirst for knowledge will break habit and convention. Her path will be wrought with passions; she's oversensitive, emotional and sometimes unpredictable. If she should find a mate, he would need to understand and trust her. Perfect detachment will be hard for her, for she loves to be needed. Wants to be needed.
This I fear, will be her undoing.
The year, 1700 . . .
When I turned 12, my Mother sat me down after dinner and told me that I'm different. I'm a witch. A Green Witch.
We were by the hearth, as always after our evening meal. It was there that we'd discuss the day's events, or Father would tell us wonderful stories. He had such a great imagination. I think that is where I got mine from.
He, Father, sat in his rocker chair, smoking his pipe. I loved its smell. Woodsy and a little bit spicy at the same time. I just watched, as smoke floated lazily upward and then poof! Gone. It held magick. The kind of magick that would take all his thoughts from the day, drift them toward the ceiling and be lost forever. Then, when the sun rose the next day, everything would be fresh. No mistakes in it.
My Mother made a noise, bringing me out of my dreams and back into reality. The darkness of the room called to me. It truly did. Mother started to tell me about our family and all I could think of was how cozy and warm this obscurity felt. Like a warm, woolen blanket. Heavy. Soothing. It brought comforts and with the flames dancing about the hot embers . . . well, it just made me smile.
"Elspeth, really now. How are ye to learn if ye'r eyes are shut and ye'r off in your little world? You must ground yourself and be present at all times. Is that understood?
I nodded and sat up with purpose. I peered over at my Father for approval and he winked at me.
It was then that she began once more about being a Green Witch.
"Witch." I said out loud. It felt wonderful to say. It was the most magickal moment of my life. I said it again and again. Both times with eyes shut so that I could feel the magick seep into my soul. Oh, it was a wondrous thing. I felt all tingly that I started to giggle.
"There ye go again!"
"I'm sorry, but if ye could feel what I feel, ye'd want it to go on forever and ever!"
"Elspeth Ainslie Horne!"
I'd done it again. Full name means best be quiet, now.
I was about to say something again, when her hand shot up, silencing me.
"Now, there are rules of conduct that we must follow and I mean follow. First, be careful what ye do. Now that ye know ye are a Witch, no one else can know. Just act yerself . . . let me say that differently - blend in. Dinna stand out.
I wasna sure why I couldna be myself. The kind who loved to go out into the woods with my friends and tell stories. They loved my stories! They said they were . . . magickal.
"I think I understand. But Mother, why though?"
"Because people are afraid of things that are different. The unknown. We must act accordingly."
I didna like being like everyone else. Plain, boring and stiff. What was so wrong with being . . . ?
"Mother, ye always told me to be myself."
"Aye, but I think from now on, ye be yerself here in our home. Outside . . . not so much."
Just then, she touched and caressed my cheek and for a moment she looked sad.
"What is it Mother? Why so sad?"
Father put down his book and looked at her as well. He too looked concerned.
"I'm not sad. Not really. Elspeth, we live in a time -"
"No more questions. Do as ye are told?" Father said, in a tone that meant no more.
Again, I nodded and listened.
"Secondly, be careful who ye trust. Not even in the woods."
"Especially the woods. One day, I'll take ye to a special place, hidden deep within. Ye mustna take anyone there. It is our secret. Yer's and mine. Alright, my love?"
"Good," and smiled. They are warm, her smiles. It is hard to explain, but it's like a part of her seeps into me. It also reminds me when the sun rises, by the river and its painted beauty is reflected off of the water. Such magick. My Mother is magick.
"Elspeth, are ye off in yer world again?"
"Sorry, Mother. Go on."
"Thirdly, do not use the Power to hurt another, for what is sent comes back," she sighed when she saw my puzzlement, "Ye have a wondrous gift Elspeth. Here . . ." and placed her palm on my chest, "It is a gift. It will serve ye well."
I looked at my Father and he nodded in agreement. I didn't need any explanation for this.
"The next one is most important Elspeth. Ye mustna use the Power against someone who has the Power, for ye draw from the same well."
I wasn't sure what she meant, but I tried to explain to her, what it meant to me.
"I canna use my Power on anyone who is like us, because they have the same gift as I and . . . and . . ."
"And it could mean great danger to ye if ye should ever."
"Death?" I asked warily.
"Sometimes. Sometimes it might wound ye grievously. Either way, it's something you mustna do ever. Understand?"
Lastly, and I believe ye already know this one. To use yer Power ye must feel it in your heart and know it in your mind."
"Oh, aye! I do know this one! I felt it when I called myself a - Witch!"
The tinglin' ensued and found its way up my arms. I giggle for it tickled me. Then, in a most worshipful way, I lifted my arms toward the ceiling and said, "Witch!" It became more intense and I looked to see if I could actually see the tingles. Nothin'.
I kept it up and started to swirl, slow and easy. My arms this time out to the sides as I repeated, "Witch!" swirling, "Witch!" Swirlin', "Witch!"
The tinglin' stopped right away. Dead. When Father told ye do somethin', ye listened.
"Off to bed," Mother chimed in, "I think we both have had enough for one evenin'," and she looked at Father, "Am I right?"
"Most assuredly. Come." And motioned for me to give him a hug.
I ran and hugged him as tight as my arms could, nestlin' my face in his shirt. He always smelled like his pipe and a bit of the outdoors. I always sniffed him when we hug. It's my way of making a memory.
"Off ye go."
As I headed toward my room, verra softly I whispered,
"Witch. . ."