Disclaimer: I do not own Witch Child, nor some of the speech in the later part of the fanfiction.
A/N: I'm just going to pretend I'll get reviews for this and post it...
We knew it was wrong, he and I.
I knew it wasn't supposed to happen. He was courting my best friend, she had been promised to him! She was who he would spend his life with, bear him children. I would not. He was hers. Not mine. I knew that I was supposed to resist his charm, stay a loyal best friend.
(Oh, but Tobias, you're hard to resist.)
I told him that very day that nothing would come of it. I told Tobias that he had to leave, go back to his almost wife. I told him I had to go help Martha. But neither he nor I left. We simply stood in those thick woods staring at each other. I could not shake myself out of the spell he had put over me.
(Tobias, Tobias, what have you done to me?)
The sun was high in the sky and I realized that it was nearly noon. I started, noticing for the first time the aching feeling in the back of my neck. I needed to go back to the house. I turned to leave, taking longer strides than I usually would. It was almost as if I was running away, running away from him. Tobias sprung to life, almost as if he was shaking off an enchantment. He hurried after me, though always keeping a few steps behind.
I stopped just before the tree line. I did not know why, but I waited for him. He stopped, too, watching me almost warily. I had crossed the gap between us in an instant, and put my arms around him as if I had no control over my body. My head rested on his shoulder, and we simply stood together for a good many moments. The sun arched over our heads, and was now closer to the horizon than the middle of the sky. By the time we left, there was a clear understanding between us, though no words were spoken. We were to come back tomorrow.
(And the next day, and the next…)
I met him by a large oak tree. We were deep in the forest, and it had taken me so long to find him I almost thought he was not coming. Many a bush and tree stood around us in clumps, hiding us from the view of any settlers who dared to venture into the woods this far.
"Hello." My voice was nervous, clear to anyone who would listen. Tobias greeted me in return, his voice as shaky as mine. Silence fell, making it seem awkward. I looked away, searching the woodland for any sign of creatures or possibly Indians. I was hyper alert, aware of him with every nerve in my body. I could hear his breath despite his distance from me.
"I should be getting back." Finally I broke the silence. "Martha will be wondering when I have gone." I turned, ready to walk away.
"Wait! Mary!" Tobias hastened to reach me. His hand turned me around, and he hesitantly leaned down, kissing my cheek. My heart pounded. His arms circled around me, and I relaxed into the embrace. Then he let go, and I raced away like a frightened hare.
(Don't make me betray my best friend.)
I kept meeting him. I couldn't stop. It was like a sickness, a fever in the blood. I truly didn't want to betray Rebekah in such a way – Tobias didn't either – but I was past the point of no return.
We were in the forest now. We were sitting on a log, conversing about this and that. There was the sound of crashing through the trees. I stood up, looking around fearfully. Any woman or girl found in the forest would surely be accused of witch craft after the beginning of the affliction.
Tobias stood up beside me. "They are far away," he soothed. "I doubt they shall find us." I turned to face him, mouth open and ready to protest, when he leaned down and kissed me. My eyes widened but I did not object. I simply let myself get caught up in him.
The barking got louder as we broke apart. We looked at each other, than into the trees. It was time to go. I raced through the trees almost as soundlessly as Jaybird, but Tobias had to go slower. He motioned for me to continue on. I ran on, making my way out of the trees. I slipped into the house unnoticed. I was safe.
(Little did I know just how doomed I was.)
The very next day was the Day of Humiliation, when a Witch Finder was to seek out the witch or warlock in Beulah.
I watched with horrified eyes as Obadiah Wilson mounted the pulpit. He searched the crowd, looking for somebody. Then his eyes found mine. He began to speak but was overcome with coughing. He spat up blood on the snow white kerchief. Behind him was that great painted eye that made the black clad Witch Finder all the more intimidating.
I glanced around, searching out Tobias' eyes. 'Help me,' I tried to make my eyes convey. 'Help me escape.'
Obadiah Wilson finally spoke. "There is one among you…" 'Stop! Stop!' I shrieked in my mind. "There is one among you who comes as a wolf among sheep. There is one among you who bares the mark of the beast!" His arm extended, his pale, frail finger pointing straight at me.
(Just like he did to my grandmother. Like he had done to so many innocent women.)
Now Hannah rose up before the Witch Finder could continue. "Mary! It is Mary! She comes to me in spirit!" she shouted, despite not having spoken a coherent sentence since the beginning of her affliction. Shouts went up around the room: "She speaks! She speaks!" "The spell is broken!" "Praise is to the Lord!"
All the girls were standing then, all of them yelling with one voice: "Mary! Mary! Mary! Mary!" Their fingers followed Obadiah Wilson's, each one pointing at me.
"Does she bring another with her?" Obadiah Wilson asked, his voice raspy yet persistent.
"She brings the Devil with her! She bids me write in his book!" Almost as soon as Hannah had spoken she contorted and began to tear at herself. "She afflicts me!" Hannah shrieked. "She sends herself against me! Don't Mary! Don't Mary!"
All the girls began to shake and shudder. "Don't Mary! Don't Mary!" they echoed, their voices sounding throughout the hall. "She shadows me! I freeze! I freeze!"
Elias Cornwall stepped forward, feeling one after another. "They are cold! Tis true! Tis true!" His voice was one of wonder, marvelling at it.
"Now she is a bird! See how she flies! She flies!" Hannah's hands flicked towards the ceiling, and they all strained their necks to follow a movement nobody else could see.
The Witch Finder needed no more proof. "Seize her! Bring her to me!" His voice still rasped, but it was stronger than it had been since he mounted the pulpit. The Tithingmen stood forward to take me, but around us the place was descending into chaos. All around me people stood to see what was happening, and girls cried out, falling and fainted. I ducked under elbows, trying to get out with no one seeing me.
But Tobias saw me. He met me at the door, and he began to open it, and I moved to go out, but he stopped me with his voice. "I'll miss you." He said no more and when I opened my mouth to reply, her simply ushered me out before I could speak.
His bulk settled against the door. I knew he would guard me for as long as he could.
He would guard me forever if he could.