Witch Hunter Hunted

A New Home: The Creation of Cathal

A New Home

It was a stormy night in Salem, Massachusetts.  Lashings of rain pounded throughout the small town. The thunder was loud and booming while the vicious crack of lightning lit up the night sky.

It was the kind of storm where the residents didn’t dare step a foot outside. All except a few.

A woman hurried from her home to a small sequestered hut, hidden deep within the woods. She wore a a plain, white blouse, buttoned to her neck and an equally plain, dusty pink, ankle length skirt. 

Upon arriving at the hut she noticed it was already filled with other people. Other people like her. Noting that she was the last to arrive, she took her seat at the circular table, quietly catching up on the tense conversation between her people.

“How can you expect us to stay here, Emmett?” a woman yelled.

“How can you expect us to leave? They’re killing people, Mabel, we have to help them!” 

Emmett stood on one side of the antique table, while Mabel stood on the other. The table was carved with runes, and bordered by thirteen, tall wooden chairs, eleven of them occupied by the other people in the room, all of whom were enthralled by the current debate. 

“They’re killing mortals, there’s a big difference” 

Emmett and Mabel glared at one another. They often argued like this. Emmett and Mabel were the High Priest and High Priestess of their coven, The Salem Witches. They disagreed more often than they agreed, but that was the whole point. It was a decision made in order to maintain balance. The fact they were siblings both helped and hindered them at times.

“You know you don’t mean that” replied Emmett. 

“Oh but I do. Let the mortals kill each other. Our loyalty should be to our own. They wouldn’t hesitate to put our heads in the noose if it were the other way around” a rumble of agreement sounded throughout the hut. 

“They’re scared” he implored. 

“Yes, and their fear is driving them to murder their own people. I won’t let them murder ours too” she said. Mabel regarded Emmett “Why won’t you leave them?” she asked, finally.

He was silent for a moment “Perhaps, one day, they’ll realise that we aren’t quite as terrifying as they think”

“Emmett, until that day comes, they will continue to persecute us. So long as we stay here, so long as they feel that there are witches among them, they’ll continue hunting us and they’ll continue to hurt their own kind in the process. It’s best for everyone if we leave”

There was a long pause, everyone stared towards Emmett, awaiting the next counter-point to Mabel’s argument. But it never came. 

“You’re right” he said. “We’re endangering ourselves and we’re endangering the defenceless ones in the process. Where do you propose we go?”

“We get on a boat and we make our way along the coast. We find somewhere else. Perhaps a place not overly populated. Somewhere not infested by witch hunters” she spat, her lips curled, then returned to herself. “We find a new home” 

Emmett stood tall and looked towards the other members seated around him “Do you all agree?”

Everyone around the table nodded, including the woman who was late, though more hesitantly. The hunts were getting worse and it was getting harder to protect the people, as well as themselves. Perhaps if they left, the people of Salem could find peace? It was a nice thought.

“Good. Pack your belongings. We’ll be gone before they awake for breakfast”

Silence befell the hut momentarily, before a flurry of activity. Excited whispers hurried between them as they left to prepare for the journey.

“What do you think it’ll be like, this new place we find?”

“Don’t get so overly excitable, we may find the devil lurking there yet”

“He can lurk wherever he likes, so long as he leaves us in peace”

The late-comer stayed in her seat. Emmett walked over “Penny for your thoughts, Carrie?” he asked

“We’re doing the right thing, aren’t we?”

“It would appear so” he said

She nodded “It makes a lot of sense. For the coven and for the mortals. I just can’t help but feel we’re being run out of our own homes”

Emmett nodded and sat in the seat next to her “I have that same feeling”

“So why don’t we stay?”

Emmett smiled “Two of us against a whole towns-worth of people? That’s a big risk”

“I suppose so”

“Besides, they’ll need us. Our coven of thirteen, remember? We have thirteen for a reason”

“Six Manipulators of the Earth, Air, and Water, Two Fire starters, Two Tempestarii, Two Spell casters and a Healer” Carrie recited by heart.

“Exactly. What would they do without their Firestarter and Healer?” he smiled at her, reassuringly.

“You have a point there”

“Come on. We’ll pack and then we’ll find a boat and travel along the coast, like Mabel said. It’ll be an adventure” he held out his hand to her, she took it and they made their way out of the small hut back to town.

Emmett paused just before he closed the door and looked back. At one point the room was filled to the brim with maps and bottles and ingredients. Spell books and historical artefacts. They held seances, rituals and celebrations. Now it held nothing except their memories. They couldn’t run the risk of the mortals ever finding it. They’d have burned it to the ground with everything, and potentially everyone in it. He spared one last look at the empty chairs. Chairs which would remain  forever empty, and closed the door behind him. 

Later, as night fast became day, all thirteen members of the coven were packed, with only their essentials, and carefully manoeuvred in the darkness so as not to alert their unsuspecting neighbours.

Carrie wandered over to Mabel, who was untying the ropes that kept the boats docked at the bay. Something had been plaguing Carrie since leaving the hut. She wanted to ask Emmett, but he was still packing. 

The echoes of her footsteps alerted Mabel who looked up from her job, only to resume it when she knew it was safe. 

“Don’t you think we should try and save some of them?” Carrie asked her.

“If we try to take them with us they’ll turn us in” she replied.

“Even the ones locked away?”

“Have you seen the inside of those witch prisons?” Mabel asked, momentarily looking up from her work. Carrie shook her head, no. “They’re awful. Imagine the worst conditions you can possibly think of, then triple it and maybe that’s a fraction of how they’re living”

“Well then we must help them!” Carrie urged “Surely they’ll be grateful, even if they don’t come with us, surely they still wouldn’t turn us in?”

Mabel shook her head “How would they explain how they got out? The townspeople would believe they had even more proof of witchcraft and hang them immediately. Besides, the worse the conditions the more incentive they’ll have to not want to return, and so they’ll turn us in”

Carrie pursed her lips in wonder and shame. Could she leave those innocent people behind to be killed? “Aren’t we meant to protect them?” she asked, as a last ditch effort as Mabel untied the rope of the last boat.

Mabel heaved a sigh and looked Carrie square in the eyes. She put her hands on her shoulders, pleading with her. “We tried. We tried to help them, and perhaps one day we will again. For now, we can’t help anyone unless we help ourselves first”

Carrie nodded as she placed her essentials into the boat. They were leaving, and maybe they couldn’t save everyone, but they left with a hope of a future where they could. 

Emmett was the last of the coven to arrive at the dock. “Are we all set?” he asked.

“Just waiting for you” Mabel replied.

“Good, I’m right on time then”

The coven made their way onto the boats, seven on one and six on another. Mabel looked towards the town. The rain had simmered to a light spray, the sun just on the horizon. 

“It’s OK to miss it here, you know?” Emmett assured his sister. 

Mabel stared a second longer, from the outside looking in. “I won’t miss a thing about this place” she said, a sense of finality in her tone. Then she turned her back and kept on walking.

Emmett boarded one boat and Mabel headed the other. As they made their way out into the ocean, and the gentle waves lapped against the wood, they couldn’t help but breathe in the salt of the sea, and feel a sense of freedom. 

Part 2 of A New Home

A few hours had passed and they were still sailing along the coast. One of the Tempestarii had created a thick fog to keep them hidden from the prying eyes of the mainland. 

“Clear the fog, Alice. Let’s see if we’re near anything” 

Alice’s eyes glazed into a soft blue-ash grey, the winds picked up and the fog flew into the distance behind them to reveal they were in the middle of the ocean, between three borders of land, all miles between each other. 

“Which one do we go to?” asked one of the thirteen.

Emmett and Mabel looked at one another. Whichever they chose would be their new home. Would they be receptive to strangers? What if the hunts did start all over again, just in a new place?

Upon looking out at the options Mabel realised something. 

“They’ll never accept us” she said

“What?” Emmett asked, the boats so close they could speak freely. 

“The mortals. They’ll never accept us on their land. No matter what, if we’re caught we’ll be persecuted”

“Then what do you suggest we do?” 

Mabel looked around at the expanse of sea surrounding her “We’ll stay here” 

“Here?” he asked “In our boats?” 

“No, not in our boats” she gave him a withering glare. “We make our new home here. Under the water. We have all the materials and skills we need” she said. As she spoke she noticed two men on the shore making their way down to the dock. She moved down the boat to grab her spell book from her bag. 

“The sun is up now. Two of us can cast and hold a protection spell while the rest of you create a dome” she said, memorising what she needed before she returned the book to safety.

“A dome?” asked Emmett, trying to follow his sisters plan.

“Yes. Follow my instructions. Air manipulators, lift me and the other spell caster to each corner of this area” she looked to her fellow comrade in ability “We’re casting a cloaking spell and we will hold it until I tell you otherwise”

The young man nodded and felt himself being lifted into the air and moved, shakily, to the other side of the chosen section.

“Are you sure this plan is going to work? You’re talking about building a city from scratch with only the tools we have at our disposal”

“We’ll build it. And we’ll build an entrance so that more witches can come for safety. We’ll send people out to find them. But most importantly we’ll be protected. Start and I’ll tell you what to do next.”

The spell casters muttered under their breath “Keep us safe and keep us hidden, don’t let them see, don’t let them see. Keep us safe and keep us hidden, don’t let them see, don’t let them see” 

Once she was certain the shield was in place, she gave the next set of instructions to the water manipulators, but didn’t move from her post.

They two took off in different directions and created a waves beneath their feet to take them as far to the edge between the three points as they could. The water almost bubbled beneath them, keeping them afloat as they stood and used their hands to gently lower and manoeuvre the water to the sides. Slowly but surely, the boats gently laid themselves atop the now solid surface. 

“It’s done” said Emmett, running towards his sister. “What now?”

“Earth manipulators you are going to use the sand from the seabed to form a dome” she said.

They got to work, using their abilities to ensure the sand did their bidding. It took some effort, sand flew everywhere and into the eyes of everyone around them however, eventually they formed a solid dome, massive in length. 

“A little dark, don’t you think?” Emmett commented, picturing how it might look on the inside.

“Air, lower us down gently and lift the fire starters instead.  Tempestarii, we need your lightning. Spell caster, transfigure the sand”

The Tempestarii allowed the wind to gather and guide them and immediately set to work conjuring lighting from the sky and slammed it into the dome, as they did the dome began to solidify. 

The spell caster, on the other hand, hesitated “The cloaking spell?”

“I can handle it, just do it!”

They all did as she asked, Carrie and the other fire starter were lifted and they immediately held out their hands and let the heat rain upon the newly formed dome.

The spell caster held his own hands out and recited “From Fire and Earth, in this here storm, let it be born, let it transform. From Fire and Earth, in this here storm, let it be born, let it transform”

The dome became a transparent void as they did so, allowing the centre to be filled with light. 

“Everyone in the dome!” Mabel yelled. They all moved to obey the order, dragging the boats with their belongings along with them however, she made no move to do so herself. Instead she was transfixed on the two men their boat, getting nearer and nearer. 

Mabel turned to Emmett “You’re going to have to figure out the portals in and out” she said. 

Emmett looked at her, an uneasy queasiness twisted and prickled at his insides. He was waiting for her before entering the new sanctuary himself “What are you talking about?”

“If I lower the cloaking spell before the water closes again, they’ll see and they’ll never leave anyone here alone”

“So keep it up until you get into the dome” Emmett ordered his sister.

Mabel shook her head “I can’t. Someone has to be outside the dome in order to cast the protective spell over it. So it can’t be seen or destroyed.”

Emmett froze, stricken. His heart pounded and when he finally found the words to speak, he spoke slowly, he felt numb. “You never said that” 

“I’m saying it now” she said “Our people need somewhere safe, this is safe. It will be safe. You will create the safest haven on Earth for our people and more people will come” she promised. She felt her eyes prick and willed her tears back, she took a deep breath gave him the best, reassuring smile she could manage. “You will build and keep building until a time where it’s safe for our people to live out in the open”

“And you’ll help, there must be another way”

She looked out to the horizon, the two men were getting closer. If they got too close, no cloaking could shield them. 

She swallowed the lump which formed in her throat, no longer able to hold the tears at bay she let them go, shaking slightly as she did so. “Bye Emmett” she said and kicked him backwards. He stumbled through the glass-like material. She spoke quickly before he could stop her “Protect this land through night and day. Through time and space, shield their domain. Let them pass through sight of man. With my blood I first decree. This, my last wish. So mote it be”

Mabel’s spell cancelled out the water manipulators as she lowered the cloaking shield. The water of the sea came rushing back and slammed into her, encasing her completely. 

“NO!” Emmett yelled and ran to the edge, only to slam into the now solid glass. He hit the glass, and kept hitting it “No, no no no” he repeated as he slid down to his knees. “I was meant to protect you. I was meant to protect you” he cried and looked upwards, towards the surface of the sea hoping to catch a glimpse of her somewhere. Instead saw the two men in their boat hovering over them. They couldn’t see a thing.