Today must be the coldest day we’ve had in many years. Maybe it was colder because there had just been a fire in the town. The warmth of pain had finally faded away; everyone had forgotten and now things were back to the ordinary way of life within this town.
Her name was Lydia.; She was the only friend I had ever had. She had the purest of souls; she hadn’t done anything wrong. Was harvesting flowers a crime punishable by death? I wanted to scream out that my Lydia wasn’t a witch! If I were to stand up for her, I would’ve been accused as a witch too and burned just like Lydia. How selfish of me; I feared death. I could’ve tried to save her or I could’ve at least died by her side, but I let her die alone in agony and despair. Her sorrow filled eyes looked at me as she turned to dust in the blazing fire. Would she ever forgive me? I hope she was set free from this cursed world.
Two weeks had passed since the burning. Everything seemed to get gloomier and gloomier as time went on. No one was mourning the loss of Lydia but me. What a feelingless world this is. Everything around me just looked like grey darkness, so I decided to take a walk out of town. I visited the meadow that Lydia would spend hours at. Even in the dead of winter the flowers of the meadow bloomed; but as I got closer to where the patches of flowers once were, I noticed that they were shriveled up. It was almost like the flowers that once flourished had been thriving for Lydia. But now they were dying along with her memory.
As I returned from the meadow I noticed that there was a pod of people glaring at me. They whispered softly. What’s their problem?
The next morning I went to buy some vegetables from the market. The vegetable stand was mainly filled with corn and potatoes. They had an odd scent to them; some were partially eaten, but this was the best quality you could get in this awful town. I asked the man at the stand, “Do you know of any meadows nearby?”
“I only know of the meadow just out of town, but it’s completely frozen now,” he answered. “Why would you want to be…”
“Witch!” shrieked a woman. “Sir! Don’t speak to this monster! She’s a witch I tell you.”
“I am not a witch! What proof do you have?”
“You were friends with that creature, I wouldn’t be surprised if it possessed you too. Everyone knows she was harvesting wicked things, it was about time she was burned for her sins.”
“Lydia was not a witch!” I couldn’t take it anymore! “She was an innocent woman, victimized by the church and the terrible people of this town.”
The woman yelled with rage, “How dare you defend evil itself! The devil has gotten to you! You will burn in hell you witch!”
Without looking back at the crowd staring at me, I ran to the meadow. I fell to my knees when I got to the frozen dead flowers. My throat became tight and my vision was blurry. I couldn’t hold it in, tears came streaming from my eyes. She was really gone. Why did they have to take her away from me? I miss her so much! I hate everything! Myself for my selfishness, the church for their lunacy, the town for their barbarity, the world for its cruelty! I had to let it out! I screamed as loud as I could, hoping it would release all the pent up sadness within my soul. It didn’t; all it did was worry travelers that there may be a killer near after hearing a horrifying scream. It hurt so bad, my knees from the biting snow, my aching soul and now my voice.
The morning was bleak. I could still feel the coldness from the snow on my knees. I can’t stand living in the dreadful town anymore. I can’t stand being around all these hideous souls. Everyone thinks I’m a witch, if I die it shall not be in a place like this. I must leave. I have no destination but I’m sure any place will be better than here. I’ll leave this disgusting town just before dusk.
The air was crisp and the town had a slight fog rolling in. I slowly walked down the cobblestone road that cut straight through the town. The roads were empty, like everyone was hiding from ghosts lurking within the fog. I could hear the sound of my shoes tapping the ground. The sound continued to echo, as though there were more than just my shoes. I looked behind me but saw no one. Across the street there was a man staring in my direction. He looked peeved. Why are you staring at me?
“The witch is escaping!” the man hollered.
I then saw people run from other roads. They looked enraged.
“Make her pay for her sins!” a woman screamed. It was the same woman from the market yesterday. I heard others shout cruel things but my mind couldn’t make out what they were saying.
I started to run north towards the mountains. I wasn’t sure if I could outrun these vicious people, but I could at least try. I won’t be killed by the pathetic people of this pathetic town!
I slipped twice as I ran up the side of the icy hill. One of my shoes slid off my foot and rolled down the hill; I didn’t have time to grab it and, if I did, the stampede of people would catch up to me. I would just have to bear the biting snow on my left foot. I was absolutely freezing. My foot was numb and yet I could still feel the sharp painful burning of cold. I was shivering; the rest of me felt frozen from falling in the snow. A gust of wind flowed through the mountains. Could my situation get any colder? My teeth began to chatter and my legs felt like they would collapse from my shaking.
As I stood on the white hill I looked down at the town. It looked so small and harmless. Another burst of wind came, but this time I wasn’t cold. Looking down at that deluded weak town, my coldness and weakness melted away. The wind blew through my hair, my heart began to race, I couldn’t feel the cold anymore. The snow felt so nice in between my toes. I took the shoe from my right foot and threw it down the hill. I took the only thing keeping my arms warm, my shawl, and I threw it towards the town. It slowly drifted down on the wind. I felt free.
I could see the angry mob making their way up the hill. I started making snowballs and began to throw them down at the crowd of people. I couldn’t contain my laughter, they looked so pathetic getting hit in the head by snowballs while slipping and falling. I laughed as hard as I could.
I heard a man yell “She’s mad! We can’t let her escape, she’ll release her evil spells on this town.”
“I’m the mad one? You people are deluding yourselves with unbelievable lies from a man who tells you what’s right or wrong. You have no thoughts of your own, and I’m insane?” The ignorance truly is frightening. “You’ll never catch me, for I am free now. Farewell to you, town of nightmares.”
As I ran into the dead forest up the hill I heard them shouting, things like, “Get back here!” and “There’s no use in running!” Will the people of the town forget me by morning and move on to the next victim, or would they remember me? Would I be remembered as the foolish woman who ran into the wintery night who was to be frozen to death by morning? What does it matter anyway; I’m free now, they are not of concern.
The snow was glistening in the moonlight. As I looked up at the sky, the breeze ran through my hair and cooled my already chilled skin. The luminescence from the moon made me want to twirl around in the snow. I began to spin around and let my arms flow with the wind. My bare feet traced the surface of the snow. It felt so careless to dance in the shining light of the night.
I then collapsed in the snow, exhausted. I rolled around in it and laughed at the shadows of the dead trees. I can’t believe I left. Where should I go? Will I survive three days? It doesn’t matter, at least I’m not in the presence of those people.
My thoughts were interrupted by a sound. It was the sound of a howl. It sounded sad. Maybe there are wolves nearby. But, wolves had been extinct in this area for at least thirty years. Maybe they’d survived somehow without anyone knowing. Were they weeping and grieving too?
I looked around to try and find the place where the howls were coming from. I looked down on the other side of the hill, I saw a pack of wolves. They were chasing each other, playing and running around. They genuinely looked happy, but their howls were filled with sadness.
For a while, I watched them play joyously with each other. They were truly beautiful and magnificent creatures. They’ve found it, they’ve escaped. I wanted to be a part of their happiness. I wanted to belong to their pack. I called out to them. They all stopped their playing and looked up towards the hill, with their ears perked up. One slowly started to walk in my direction, others then followed. They started running to me. As they got closer I thought to myself, maybe I am insane; a pack of wolves was running towards me and I wasn’t the slightest bit frightened.
When they got within five feet of me they began to scrunch up their noses and snarl. As I looked into their yellow amber eyes, I could feel the essence of their spirit. They formed a circle around me and growled. One began to howl, did they want me to howl with them? I howled. It didn’t hurt my voice, like when I screamed in the meadow; it felt different. It felt wonderful. The howls echoed throughout the mountains, weeping through the night.
I ran through the dead forest and snow with them. We howled. We chased each other. We rolled down the icy hills. We were having fun. I felt like I was one of them, I finally belonged somewhere. I was running with them, running with the pack. Their fur gleamed in the moonlight; it was their spotlight. The wind brushed my face as we ran against the wind. All night we ran with each other, without a care in the world. We had no reason to hold back, no one to chain us to our doubt.
We made it back to the top of the hill and laid in the snow. The wolves leaned against me, keeping me warm with their thick coats. One of them gave me a kiss on my cheek, her breath smelled warm and bitter. I found where I was meant to be. They had been hiding in the mountains all along, living secretly from society. I wanted to stay with the pack forever. They were thought to have been hunted to extinction, but here they were huddled in the snow next to me. These gentle creatures were just misunderstood, they were nothing like their fierce appearance. I understood them. I was one of them.
The night was almost over. I wonder if those people will come looking for me, now that daybreak was creeping up. I would just live with the wolves; they’ve lived in hiding for years, I could too. I’ll live here in these cold mountains, far above what I left behind. I shall not look back on the life I once lived. They will not detain my liberty, or my reasons for life. I will forever run freely with these wolves, no matter what the sacrifice may be. Freedom will keep me alive.
As the morning awakened, I laid in the red, frigid snow. I couldn’t feel anything. The remains of my bloody body were pale blue and cold. My soul felt lighter, like the darkness and sadness containing it had been lifted. Am I finally free now?