Happy New Year! Yes, it's a new year, a great time for great flash fictions! This the first of many that Chuck has us indulging in! He got us to pick one from 9 off a selection from flickr and I chose one which had me in a spin - a time-lapse photograph of stars from a rocky outcropping overlooking water at dawn or sunset... when I saw that, the words just came.
It was time.
It was time.
New Years Eve was the date.
Dawn was the time.
We had to make sure we didn’t drink any booze, take anything weird or do anything stupid to watch this prophecy come to pass on the rocky shores off Scotland.
It happened every year and most people who went to witness it sometimes didn’t come back from it. But this was a special time for us three; as we were going through it for the first time in three years.
You see, we got stuck in a time where there was no electricity, no technology and where the castles that we were learning about in school had only just been finished.
Yes, we landed in the Dark Ages.
And me being a redhead didn’t help me. So many people thought I was either prostitute, a vampire or a witch; and so from the very start, I was running for my life. As for my friends? Well, it didn’t help that one of them was my girlfriend and she and I couldn’t be seen together in public.
However, we did hide out in a village not far from the vortex, where the people there helped us. They dressed us, fed us and kept us together, as they had seen this happen before and had forbad their own from venturing forth to that rocky outcropping on the turn of the new year.
However, we were treasured, as we could all read and write, so that was something good. Two of us could cook, and Matty found that hunting was a fun past-time he never knew he’d enjoy.
Now, wisps of snow fell from the sky as ice hardened in puddles in the rock pools. It had been a harsh Winter and quite a few elders had passed away in the village; leaving it smaller than it had been last Summer Solstice. And some of the younger babies hadn’t survived the Winter Solstice either; and being the only Pagan Priestess amongst the people, the job was given to me to perform the funerals for the dead… there were so many of them that had died from diseases that were curable in the modern world. After each funeral, I’d go back to my hut and cry, wishing I could go home.
Then, the Romans arrived.
They took my Mina… my sweetheart… but not for long!
Something strange… something unexpected.
My witchcraft which was so harmless in the modern day actually meant something here. When I pointed my staff, electricity sparked and spat from the end of it, blazing across the darkness of the night of when they arrived, freaking out the horses and killing a massive guard.
Mina’s shackles were unlocked with a mere thought from me and she came running back to my side as I turned to those filthy, horrid men, muttering, “You leave now.”
They didn’t have to be told twice as what they had witnessed couldn’t be explained to anyone – not the King, not their Commander, not anyone – and so they clumsily mounted their horses and left the tiny village, leaving my Mina with us.
Matty approached me as my woman stared at me, whispering, “How did you do that?”
I shrugged, “I don’t know…” I gazed over at Mina with absolute love in my heart, “When the thought of losing you crossed my mind, I felt anger – pure rage – engulf me.”
The village elder walked across to my hut where I stood, “You are great, and yet you have not given us your name.”
“Selma.” I said, “It’s a stupid name.”
“No, it is not.” He smiled in the dark, “Your powers have protected our village and your kin. You are all members of our village now, but we know you must return to where you belong soon.”
So much has gone on since that night…
Twelve births… with seven deaths…
All this in three years; and it was time for us to leave. Our leader knew it was time as we had been talking about going home for a long time now. I missed so much of home. Mina wanted to start a life with me and Matty wanted to go back home and finish his uni studies.
As the dawn’s light filtered each star from the sky one by one, the chill in the air became less. But we knew it had begun as the stars that were left spun in a spiral, making us feel sick, making us feel light-headed, making us drop to the rocks one by one, filtering us out – just like the stars from the night sky.
“Selma, wake up.” Mina’s voice sounded muffled as the sun’s warmth touched my skin.
“Hey, are we home?” I asked.
“Yeah, I think so.” Matty’s voice said helping me to sit up.
We looked around the rocky shore and found the township of police looking at us. An ambulance had shown up, along with police, our parents and the media was being held back. We allowed them to take us to the hospital for tests – to clear us of any diseases that we might have picked up – before we went home.
That night, we all gathered together at my parents’ home for dinner and I looked around the living room at photos on the mantle and on the walls were really old. Looking over my parents, I noticed my Mum had more grey in her hair than she really should (but then, she might have it because I was missing). It wasn’t until I looked in the pantry when I noticed that there were more pills there than three years previous and I heard my brother come into the kitchen.
“Hey, Selma.” He said grabbing a glass from the collection on the drainer, “Mum and Dad aren’t young anymore; and you vanished for so long.” He shook his head, “You, Mina and Matty were gone for a decade.” He saw the shock on my face, and smiled, “How long did you think you were gone for?”
The smile fell off my brother’s face.