ONCE UPON A TIME there lived a witch, she was powerful and kind. She protected the village from all of the bad things and protected them all under her spell of goodness. In the autumn, the witch had fallen in love and married a warlock from the neighbouring village. This warlock was as handsome as any Prince and the most courteous of all the men in his village. The sorceress and her husband soon found out that they were expecting a child, and on the day they found out the sky was filled with clouds for the first time and nothing the sorceress could do would make them go away. On the day of its birth a storm raged in the sky for the first time in a century and the witch’s spell fell and the villagers were suddenly exposed to evil, in all of its forms. During the birth the witch had died, leaving her husband a widower and her newborn son alone. In fear of his son the father ran from the village and left the child on the doorstep of the happiest family in the village in hopes that he would be safe.
It was only when the father opened the front door to travel to work that they saw the child, in fright the father picked up the babe and walked through his house to his wife. “Dear. Look.” the wife gasped when she saw the sleeping child and rushed to take him out of her husband’s arms. “You must rush to work dear,” she muttered as she rocked the boy in her arms. The father left in a rush and smiled the whole way to work, he had always wanted a fourth child but his wife was too weak after their third to have another.
When the father arrived home he heard nothing but quiet, he walked through the house and smiled when he saw his family playing in the field behind their house with their dog and the new baby in his wife’s arms. For the next sixteen years the family lived in peace, with their new son Daniel growing up alongside their other children. The family had also managed to have another child three years after Daniel was brought to them. The family lived in peace and as the children grew up they developed into sensible and affectionate adults that cared for the village. The two sons of the mother and father, and Daniel, became strong blacksmiths like their father and the eldest and youngest children of the family, sweet and pretty girls, grew up to be kinder and sweeter than their mother and ran the village school with the eldest girl’s husband.
On the day of Daniel’s sixteenth birthday the family celebrated by taking a day off of work and throwing a party in the field behind their house. The family ran and played in the field all day until the eldest daughter called them in to eat their supper. “Come on all of you, supper’s ready,” she shouted. The younger daughter ran inside to help her mother and sister prepare the table for the men, who followed after her. Before Daniel could make it inside the house a thunderclap was heard and the sky became filled with black clouds as dark as smoke, and sheets of rain fell down, drenching the boy in seconds. Daniel ran to the door with his father and elder brothers but the door was locked.
They called out for the women to open the door but they didn’t hear them. The mother looked outside of the window and saw the sun gleaming down on her husband’s face as he chased after Daniel in the field. She smiled and replied to her youngest daughter’s question. Meanwhile the boys were shivering in the cold, wet weather. All of them huddled together for warmth, and protection.
“Daniel” a voice spoke.
The clouds had gained a swirling motion above their heads and in the epicentre a dark shape could be seen flying above their heads. “Daniel!” it shouted. The boy looked upwards but was blinded by the rain that had turned to acid. His brothers and father disappeared from his reach and he waved his hands out blindly. The mother greeted her husband as he and their two sons walked inside the kitchen door, they were happy and laughing at something one of them had said. “And Daniel?” the mother asked.
The father smiled, “he’s found a rabbit with a broken leg, he’s mending it with his powers,” the mother nodded and looked out of the window and saw her son crouching and talking over the rabbit’s small body. “We’ll wait for him then,” she said. Daniel screamed in agony as he clawed at his face, trying to see where is family had gone, he tried to run away from the voice that was still screaming “DANIEL!”, but he tripped over and fell into a pond that he’d never seen before. Daniel gasped as he was plunged into the icy water but his lungs filled with the cold fire and he coughed to save his own life.
He was being lifted, Daniel felt as he was raised out of the water, not be hands but by what felt like vines. When he reached to pull them off of him he could only feel his clothes and the feeling remained as he clawed at his chest. The mother looked out of the window to see Daniel stroking the rabbit’s back and feeding it with grass, “Daniel, honey? Can we start eating supper?”. She watched as he raised his head, smiled, and replied, “yes mother! I am just feeding him”. She smiled and nodded her head, returning to the table where the family started their meal. Daniel cried out for help and whipped his head around blindly whenever he heard a noise, the storm raged on above his head and he could only concentrate on the vines that were constraining his chest so tightly that he could barely breathe. “Please stop!” he cried out, his voice sounded hurt and scared and Daniel winced at how vulnerable he felt. At once the vines released their hold on him and he fell to the floor, THUD, Daniel gasped to get his breath back and hugged himself in his arms to protect himself from the omnipotent threat that flew above his head.
Daniel listened out for the threat and wondered if it had gone away, carefully he stood up and wobbled, as he couldn’t see where he was. He gingerly took a step forward and breathed in deeply when nothing attacked him, “Father? Mother?” he called out. “They won’t protect you Daniel” the voice spoke, it felt as if it was behind his left ear and the boy spun around in shock so quickly that he tripped and fell. He heard the voice laugh and Daniel recognised it as a male’s voice. He cried out for help and suddenly the winds and storm grew even louder, just as a harsh hand came down on his cheek. Daniel cried out and felt a tear slide down his cheek from his blinded eyes in fear. “P-please,” he whimpered. The man muttered something and Daniel strained to hear him but he only heard a foreign language, Daniel felt the winds pick up and shivered as he got even colder.
“It’s all your fault!” the man cried. Daniel furrowed his brows in confusion, “what is my fault?”. The man laughed and more foreign words were heard, Daniel blinked in the wind that went howling above his head and he gasped as he saw who was sat in front of him. “You’re my real father? Why did you and mother disappear?” he asked, his adopted mother and father had shown him a drawing of his real parents when he was younger but had never told him why they were not here now. His real father nodded and Daniel saw a tear escape and run down his father’s cheek. “I thought you did it on purpose…” the man sobbed and clutched onto Daniel’s chest. Daniel was even more confused now, “did what father?”. His father whispered, “kill her,” his father’s voice cracked with pain and he sobbed loudly, with that the storm stopped and the sky became blue again. The mother looked out of the window as they finished their meal and saw that Daniel was laying down on the floor with blood covering his face and a man leaning over his chest. “Daniel!” she cried.
She ran out of the kitchen quickly and towards the two men, “you get away from him! You murderer!” for she thought that her son was dead. Her husband followed behind her along with their children, they cried out when they saw their brother on the floor and the father began running towards his son and the man. Daniel smiled as he hugged his father and they spoke quietly about Daniel’s birth and what had happened to his mother. His father had calmed down now and was just happy to see his son again. “I learnt how to do your mother’s spells,” he told Daniel, “I could teach you too if you wished?” Daniel nodded happily. By the time that the mother and father had reached them, Daniel was sitting upright in an embrace with his father and his blood had been cleaned away with his father’s magic. The family saw that it was Daniel’s birth father and slowed down to walkover to them all calmly one they saw that Daniel was alive and well. They opened their heart to the man and as the father had taught Daniel many life skills, Daniel’s birth father taught him many spells and how to become a strong warlock just like his mother was.
By Louie Judd