tree

Witch, excerpt 2

Another excerpt from my story. I hope it’s gothic enough!

Mary felt broken inside. She was a pane with only a few shards of glass remaining. Inside, where her love of nature, people and humanity resided, had now been frozen over with the blizzard that poured through her broken window. She barely allowed the horse to rest; the result was that he was near lame. Mary had ridden him for five days and nights. She kept by the river and she allowed the horse to stop briefly every few hours to drink. However, the deep panting and unstable legs were becoming a hindrance.

The eve of the sixth day, Mary dismounted. Her own lack of sleep had her dazed and emotionless. During the day, everything was too green, too bright. The horse wobbled and collapsed. Mary drizzled some water into his mouth, but other than the deep movements of his lungs, the horse was non-responsive.

Mary, felt the alcove of the tree she nestled against. It was deep and accommodating as it provided her shelter against the wind. She snacked on her last piece of bread. It was stale, moulding slightly, but her hunger was overwhelming. She dosed for a short while, but her paranoia kept her mostly awake.

As the sky darkened, the wind picked up. The branches began to creak regularly and the leaves rustled by her skirts. With a pounding heart, Mary felt faint as she listened to the wind pass gently through the sycamores. She buried her head into her skirts, and listened for any irregular noise. Listening. Listening for something that was living. There was a crunch of leaves. She jumped violently. She kept her head in her skirts; she did not want to look. Another crunch. The boughs gave a high-pitched groan. The noise of it was so high, so shrill that Mary thought it sounded somewhat human. The third time she heard a crunch of leaves, her body coiled with tension. She was certain that it was a tread, a foot which made the noise. The wind whispered loudly in her ears. It blew coldness over her body. She had never felt the feeling of pure terror. She had never truly experienced the uncontrollable supernatural and sinister aspects of nature. She kept her body physically still; her fear left her on the precipice of unconsciousness. In a heightened haze of fear and with a body that felt dead to her from exhaustion, she listened to the slow deliberate crunching of leaves as someone stepped around the tree in circles.

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