When I didn’t have the time or energy to write novels, I honed my craft by writing hundreds of short stories, some finished, some unfinished. Many of the ideas that came from what I called my “Quote/Proverb Project” ended up being novels I later wrote (or still plan to write). This very short unfinished story became the inspiration for the entire seven-book Sevens series. For this project, I used famous quotes randomly picked from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations as story prompts. Later, I used proverbs from around the world. I loved writing these stories and hope you enjoy this one!
Quote #28 © 2016 Julie Anne Nelson
“Away, Away, from men and towns, To the wild wood and the downs.” Percy Shelley
They had no choice but to flee, death was coming and from the one they had trusted, who they had confided in, shock wore their faces, tears, more sadness than fear and yet the better sense of their feet kept them going in the direction of their only chance at safety. The thirteen girls, barely young women, ran toward the wood toward a place where all men fear to tread. A wood, both wild and decidedly feminine. They hadn’t wanted this choice, and it was amazingly why he was trying to kill them. To prevent their fall from grace, prevent the turn to evil that the wood would bring. In his treachery, his violence, he drove them exactly to where he was trying to save them from, two of his sisters part of the thirteen and the woman that he was bethrothed to. And yet with screams, fire alight a stick and horses hooves they chased, driving them to the wood where they could not follow. The wood that would not ignite with their flames for it had been tried again and again by men afraid of the lure of the wood. Many had watched and noted when thirteen girls were born in the same year in their little village and fear came to the town, but each of the girls grew so sweet, tender, kind that the town felt blessed, beauty and grace and all things good. Seasons come and go and fear began to spread and change was afoot and violent dreams came to the girls. They sought to help, but it was their destruction and now in the cold and darkness they ran. Abigail could see the beginning of the wood, singes on the trees that would give up the fight. Inwardly she apologized knowing these trees would be fighting in moments. In her head she hear the tree answer “Hurry, Little Ones, they are gaining. Up the hill and then rest. They will not come…”
All the girls had heard it. Three turned and saw the horses, the flames the others shouted pulling them back to the task. They all reached the top of the hill and turned to face these men set upon their destruction.
Grace, the tallest, most regal and future bride of Nathaniel stood erect and watched as Nathaniel attempted to ride to where she stood. The horse reared, the trees were talking to them, warning them of doom. Nathaniel was thrown to the ground, dropping his flame. He quickly stood, snatched up the flame and walked to the nearest tree. The air turned green and sparkled and shock, electrifying a kind of barrier. The men who approached it were thrown back. Nathaniel screamed banishing evil as he threw the flame into the woods. It deflected and was thrown back. He had to jump to avoid being lit on fire.
Grace, Abby, and Charity emboldened.
“May we approach the barrier?”
“Of course,” the tree answered. “You are safe.”
They approach the barrier.
“Look what you have done, Nathaniel. You’ve driven us here. We came to you for help and you betrayed us.”
“You are evil!” He shouted.
“That we are not, but you would listen.”
(continue this conversation)
(Then they go back to meet the witch and then work to save the village from the evil they had dreamed of)
13 girls hand in hand sent to save the village, thrown away but save them anyway.