Riding her horse is what Anne enjoyed more than school, playing sports, or even chatting with her friends online. It gave her a feeling of freedom that nothing else could match. Anne and her chestnut mare, Explorer, spent endless hours crisscrossing the fields and hills surrounding her family’s farm. They spent so much time together that, to anyone watching, it looked like they could read each other’s minds. Anne only had to place a minimum amount of pressure on the reins and Explorer would react immediately. The horse seemed to enjoy Anne’s company as much as Anne did hers.
It was an early fall morning. Anne and Explorer were meandering through a field they normally crossed on their way to the hills when they came upon something strange. A stream wound its way through some tall grass, disappearing just past a few fallen trees. What made the discovery so unusual was none of this was here when they passed this way last week. Anne directed Explorer towards the stream, but the horse hesitated, not wanting to go any closer, spooked by what she saw in the water.
Intrigued, she jumped off Explorer to get a closer look at the stream, attempting to see what her horse had seen. Anne spied an old diary in the water. She rolled up her sleeves, reached into the stream, and retrieved it. The book was soggy, but still in one piece.
Thirty minutes later, Anne and Explorer arrived back at the farm with the squelchy diary in her bag. She settled Explorer into her stall and sat on a hay bale while she explored the diary.
‘How strange,’ thought Anne, ‘all the pages in the diary are empty,’ but as she put the book down, a piece of folded cloth fell out. Anne examined it and realized it was a map of the area she was just in, but showing how it looked five-hundred years earlier.
Anne didn’t know what to do. She kept thinking, ‘Do I follow the map or should I put it back in the stream where I found it?’ Suddenly, Anne’s mum popped her head over Explorer’s stall door, momentarily startling her.
“Why do you have a map?” asked her mother. Anne didn’t know what to say. Nervously, she replied, “It’s a project I’m working on for school.”
Anne’s mum was momentarily confused, as her daughter had mentioned nothing about a school project. “Well, don’t take too long. You still have chores to do.” Then her mother turned and left the barn.
Anne hurried through her chores and studies, eager to return to the mystery map. Using the Internet as a source of information, she located a picture similar to the map she had found, but the online version was missing the stream. Her research also revealed that the area was once home to a coven of witches and warlocks. The townspeople got together to drive the group out, but when they arrived, all signs of the coven had vanished, along with the stream. No trace of them had ever been found until today.
Anne made her decision. She would wait until her parents fell asleep, then see if she could follow the map to where the old huts once stood. Maybe she would find more artifacts the witches had left behind. At around 11.00 pm, Anne’s parents were sound asleep. She snuck out of her bedroom window, climbed down the drainpipes, and landed with a thud on her dad’s jeep, setting off the alarm. She leapt off the jeep and ran into the bushes, peeking out carefully to see if one of her parents would come out to investigate. No one came out. Anne ran to the barn, saddled Explorer, and rode off into the night.
The moon was full, making it easier for Anne to follow her map to the former enclave. A full moon is also when witches have the most power, according to legend, a detail she was unaware of. The duo weaved their way along an obscure path that ended at the water’s edge. Just past the tall grass, she could hear people laughing and chanting in a language that was unfamiliar to her. Her fear was strong, but her curiosity was stronger. She dismounted and made her way carefully toward the voices.
People were gathered around a large grouping of stones. They weren’t just ordinary stones; they were glowing from a flame from within. Now it was fear that ruled her mind. Anne jumped to her feet and sprinted toward her horse. Voices called out, “Get her! She mustn’t get away!” The gathering turned as one and chased after her.
Explorer watched as Anne bolted away from the oddly dressed people and could see that she was in danger. The horse galloped past Anne and into the crowd of black magic worshipers. She kicked and spun in circles, knocking many of Anne’s pursuers to the ground. Before the strange people could recover from Explorer’s attack, she raced back to her friend, stopping just long enough for the girl to mount up. The two raced back to the safety of the farm.
Two days later, Anne and Explorer returned to where they had found the stream. It was no longer there. On the ground where the water was, lay a small glowing stone holding a piece of parchment in place. The note read: This is our home. Never return. They never did.
Written by: Mark Gagnon and Hannah Gray
About the Creator
I have spent most of my life traveling around the US and the globe. Now it's time to draw on these experiences and create what I hope are interesting fictional stories. Only you, the reader, can tell me if I've achieved my goal.