Rebecca? It was her. It really was Rebecca. She was standing in the door of the library, the librarian stood behind.
“Here, quick.” She beckoned at us to come.
“This way.” I yelled at Grace. We ran towards the library. Before I knew it I was up the steps and hugging Rebecca.
“I didn’t know where you had gone. You disappeared.”
“I thought I might learn something and hide at the same time. Before I could tell you, you and Tom had gone. What’s Grace doing?”
I turned and looked. Grace was running, but the further she ran the more distanced she became. I looked at the house and saw the woman, grinning.
“She must be doing something to the road.” I said to Rebecca. She nodded.
“Go and get her.” I ran down the steps and over to Grace. Once I had grabbed her hand she could get to the library. I looked back at the woman. Fifty-five children were advancing across her garden towards us. I told Grace to hurry up and we made it up the stairs and into the library. The librarian closed the door.
“What makes you think we will be safe in here?” I asked, taking deep breaths.
“The walls are lined with the sap from rowan trees and then panelled with oak for extra strength.”
I looked at her and we both said together, “and she can’t get through rowan trees.”
“How do you know that?” Rebecca asked me. I told her what had happened since we split. Rebecca told me that she had looked around and found some similar books. She was very interested when I told her the prophecy and she went and sat down at a table in silence.
I looked out the window. The children had formed a line across the pavement and were just stood there, staring. It was quite creepy. In the centre were stood six people who I knew; Jake, Christina, Mark, Charlie, Tom and the woman. Charlie and Tom stood either side of the woman, holding her hands. It made me sick to see the two boys, who I had loved, being controlled by such a horrible creature.
“What is she?” I asked the librarian.
"From what I have learnt from books she is human.”
“But that’s not possible.” I said. “Have you seen what she does?”
“I said she was human. But I didn’t say what happened to her.”
“Tell me, please.”
“Fifty-five years ago, a woman was celebrating her twenty-fifth birthday. During the night she was raped. She killed the man that same night. But she managed to wound herself as well. Just before she died, people say that the devil came to her and offered her eternal life. She didn’t want to die so she accepted. What she didn’t know was that she would still grow old, unless she took the souls of human children.”
“Oh.” I said, bluntly. “So how do we defeat her?” The librarian replied,
“I do not know for certain, but the group who trapped her fifty years ago said something about her becoming entirely immortal, never growing old, and forever having power. They warned us to protect the ‘Heart’s Desire’. Do you know what that means.” I was sure I had heard the ‘Heart’s Desire’ before. Then I remembered.
We rushed over to Rebecca who was scribbling down notes over a piece of paper.
“Found anything?” I asked her.
“Yes.” Rebecca stood up.
“The group fifty years ago never managed to complete what they set out and swore to do. They swore that they would rid the world of the woman forever. Knowing that they were never going to achieve this they made a prophecy. There were eight of them. The man from the story you read, Megan, was the leader. There were eight of them. Fifty years later a group of eight children appear in the same area. Us.”
“You mean,” Grace interrupted, “We’re the prophecy.”
Rebecca nodded. “Yes.”
“So who’s who?” I asked. Rebecca explained;
“’In the darkness a light comes; the leader, guiding the way.’ That’s you Megan. You cannot be harmed by the woman by physical means. You are the one who helped Grace escape.
‘Right behind is the ancient one; clearing the path for all.’ That’s me. I do the research and help figure out how to defeat the woman.
‘From the darkness then enters the friend; the victorious one.’ That’s you Grace. Megan managed to get through to you and you helped her to find the books.
But the last five, I’m not sure who they are. Only time will tell.”
“Well, what do they mean then?” I asked.
“That I can tell you, although you won’t be happy with my answer.”
‘Brightening the way with the answer; the heart’s desire.’ The heart’s desire is what the woman needs to have eternal life. It’s one of the boys I expect. But for some reason she can’t get it, otherwise she would have it already.
‘The fighter pursues, never giving up; protecting all.’ One of them will be strong enough to fight her. Perhaps as a distraction whilst we rid the world of her?
‘Behind, the sacrifice walks on; graciously replacing all in need.’ This one, I fear, may not make it back. If someone is to die it will, I expect, be this one.
‘Blindly lost in the darkness; the one with no soul.’ This one is also not so good. I think that they will never regain their soul once the woman is gone. They will be a blank face forever.
‘Following silently behind; the listener in the betrayer.’ This one I do not entirely understand. It seems that one of them is to betray us, someone we least expect.”
“So what do we do?” I asked.
“I have a plan.”