(chapter 7 of my manuscript in progress)
For all the tales of horror she has heard of the mountain and the Shiri’s, the further up the mountain she climbs, far away from Lucine, the more peaceful she becomes. High in the mountains Zara treks alongside the waters of Gosling Creek. At a creek crossing, Zara leaps from one rock to another, until she reaches the willow tree on the bank of the river. Tall shrubs hang over the trail, she pushes through the overgrowth with her stick, and the branches flick back and scratch her face. Zara uses her hands to balance herself up and across the boulders. She stands above the creek and gazes down upon Lucine she can make out the fire pits blazing in the streets.
Darkness still surrounds her, and the torch she shines at the ground in front, lights shadows amongst the trees and the sound of birds squawking echo through the night. What she expected to find on the mountain, even she did not know.
Resting on a rock she arches her neck up following the trunk of the tree, higher and higher it climbs.
‘At last you are here,’ a voice murmurs behind her, she leaps to her feet and spins around, wields the stick she had been using as a walking frame into the empty air.
‘We have been waiting for you Raven child.’
Zara searches the woods. The voice startles her from behind. ‘Do not be afraid.’
She twirls around stick swiping the cold night air. A lady comes forth from the darkness, her hair is as black as the night, and her skin is not transparent like her own. Her bronzed complexion and sapphire eyes are a shock to Zara. Zara steps backwards, she almost trips over a stick, the lady offers her hand. Zara watches her suspiciously.
‘You wouldn’t have come if you were frightened. You belong here Raven.’
‘Who are you’, Zara pleads into the night, ‘and who is Raven child?’ The image of Zara’s mum comes flooding back into her mind, her mother’s red lips are foremost, words of the Raven Child and The Godomar slip from her mouth and catch on Zara’s ears.
‘Yes dear, your mother already knew.’ The Shiri answered. ‘It was your destiny to come here to us.’
The Shiri moves closer to Zara, but Zara continues to step backwards, ‘This is a trap,’ Zara hisses ‘Stay back.’ Zara holds the stick in front of her chest, shielding her heart from the hurt and confusion. As Zara steps back once more, her boot clips with a rock and she is hurtled backwards, she falls hard, her skull clashing with the cold rock.