I stared at my mother’s tear struck face as she cradled my fragile body in her arms, giving her a weak smile telling her I was ok. But I wasn’t. The fever hadn’t subsided after hours of cool towels being put on my body. As she rocked me back and forth in her arms, she hummed the familiar lullaby she used to sing me before bed time every night.
“Everything will be okay. Mommy will make you all better,” she would whisper to me between the continuous humming.
The wooden door to our small house flew open as my father rushed in, drenched from the pouring rain that flooded the land outside. “How is she? Is she still ill?” He bombarded my mother with questions about me, but she simply shushed him.
“Are the preparations ready?” My mother asked calmly.
“Yes, but, Darla, what can you do? The doctor says that there is nothing to be done.”
“We do not speak like that!” My mother exclaimed as if my father had just condemned me.
I simply continued to stare at mother. Moving any part of my body simply seemed to be too much. Breathing become a chore as my raspy breaths came and went slowly, taking them only when I needed to.
“Let us go then,” I saw my mother stand with me still pressed against her body as my father draped a fur coat over her shoulders. My mother took a large blanket and wrapped me tightly in it, but right as we stepped out, the cold wind that blew seemed to have taken the remaining energy out of me.
My eyes closed as I struggled to keep my consciousness.
My parent’s feet slashed in the puddles the storm had brought as they ran towards their destination, and suddenly the cold turned into something warm. My lungs filled with the scent of candles and burning wood. After a few more seconds I was unwrapped from the warmth of the blanket and my back touched something cold and hard.
“Thank you for coming,” my mother said.
“Anything, Darla,” another woman’s voice came. Murmurs of agreement came from more people, but I was too tired.
More time passed as I lay there in silence. What was happening? Was I being put out of my misery? I at least wanted to die in the arms of my mother.
Suddenly, a flood of energy rushed through my body. I gasped as my eyes opened and my breath came easier. My lungs filled with much needed air as my eyes scanned the surrounding.
I was on a table in a dark room that had candles surrounding the women who had surrounded me.
“The Surge,” my mother said as the women linked hands. “We start now.”
I was so confused, but my body was still too weak to do anything but breathe and watch what was happening.
The women surrounding me began chanting, but I only saw my mother. My eyes were glued to her, but hers were shut. She was so focused on her chanting she didn’t notice my pleading eyes.
Suddenly, I felt a strange energy flow through me. It crept its way up my leg into my stomach, through my chest and down my arms to my fingertips. It streamed into my head and I felt the fever subside as I closed my eyes, enjoying this strange ecstasy.
My mother’s scream reached me through this pleasure as I heard her drop to the ground. The sensation stopped as the, what seemed like a circle, broke and everyone flocked my mother.
“Darla!” They cried shaking as they shook her.
“Mommy?” I whispered, finding my voice.
“Darla?” My father’s strong hands found my mother’s body as he lifted her body form the ground and set her by me on the table.
“What have you done?!” He looked at me rather than the women around.
“I-I..” I struggled to find the words as I saw my mother laid next to me, unmoving.
Her body was cold and pale, as if her life had been sucked out of her.
“She gave her life to save her child,” a woman came up behind me and smiled. “Your mother loved you dearly.”
“Why would she do that?” My father yelled at the woman fiercely.
“She can’t conceive any more children.” Another woman chimed in.
“Many women have only one child. They die. It’s the cycle of life!” My father, now screaming, had tears rolling down his face now.
“Not many women are witches.”
“The first of her kind. The one with the most power. The one who can give her life to save that of the one she loves.”
My father simply stared at the woman as if she had gone mad, but he simply picked up his deceased wife’s body and carried her off.
Years had passed since my mother had died and I was now a healthy eleven year old. With my blonde hair and dark brown eyes, I looked extremely similar to my mother. So similar that my father couldn’t look me in the eyes without being at the verge of tears.
The women from that night had helped my father take care of me; each bringing food over until I was thirteen.
When I had reached adolescence, I began to take care of my father. He had come home drunk every night for the past two years, not being able to find someone to match his Darla. Who could?
But on that faithful night, the night where the stars shined their brightest and the moon a beautiful crescent shape, my father had come home drunk, but things didn’t go the way they usually went.
My father had stumbled through the door, his belly now full of beer and rum and who knows what. He had declared some incoherent sentences, but I ignored them as usual, but I understood the last one.
“You killed your mother!” He screamed. He stumbled into the kitchen where I had been washing dishes. “You had to go out into the cold and catch that nasty fever! She died to save you!”
“As would any mother!” I screamed back, setting down the bowl I had been scrubbing. “She died because she loved me!”
“You continue telling yourself that. If you can sleep at night, then you can continue to tell yourself that.”
I rolled my eyes, whipped my hands on my apron and walked past him, but he grabbed my wrist and pulled me back.
“Let go of me!” I screamed, trying to pull free, but his grip was too tight.
“You killed her!” He screamed again, but this time he was armed.
“Father, what are you doing,” I tried backing up, but had moved his hands up to my neck. “Father!”
“I will never forgive you. You are her daughter, but I will never forgive you.” He sneered.
“Fa-” I tried to scream again, but the knife he had grabbed off the table was now impaled inside my small frame.
I collapsed in his arms as he had realized what he had done. His arms went around my body, just as my mothers had the night she died. “Oh,” he cried. “Oh my, Elizabeth.”
“No, father,” I gasped. “You’ve killed us both.” And then the world around me disappeared.