It’s a Long Way Down

Featured Items: {ROSES} eyepatch & {THORNS} gag .::Cubic Cherry::.  (Romp) & E.V.E Broken Chains {Connected} (Shiny Shabby)

They’d never liked him, or his kin. They were the strange clan of hill folk that kept to themselves. Those down in the town tolerated them most of the time, but many feared and shunned them.  Grandma Raven had been the one that held them back all this time. She’d helped heal and reveal things for those that came to her, and that had bought her clan a grace of sorts, from the suspicious and wrath of those superstitious and hateful folks that wanted to lash out at those that were odd or strange, queer or different. She had kept them at bay through both the good will she had brought, and the fear of what she might do to them, if they ever crossed her.

She’d maintained that mystique about herself and her family, for decades, until even she finally gave in to the ravages of time. She passed in her sleep, on her one hundred and twentieth birthday on a night after a great and terrible thunderstorm.

They say that a flock of crows surrounded the manse, and that those birds mourned her like she was one of their own. They buried her in her black shawl, the one with the crocheted patterns of crows.

The last things she said on her sick bed was, “There’s evil a commin’ here. Mark my words. Now you stand strong, Wren. You stand strong, and bear what you must. “

That was her great grandson, Wren. And he was as sweet as pumpkin pie. He had a light inside him that would not be extinguished despite grief or trouble. And he never raised a hand in anger to anyone.

He was pretty and pale, with long brown hair that tumbled down like silk over his eyes. That helped hide those strange eyes that could unnerve a man with their piercing way. He was a good boy, that seemed to know things that would come to pass, or things that should. This because he had the ‘sight’. They called him a seer, a diviner. And he tried to help folks with those visions.

But regardless, the folk of the town thought he and his kin were something that wasn’t natural. They even started rumors, that Wren could talk to spirits, and raise the dead, like his Granny could. More rumors said their clan stole babies and killed children in their sleep. Those were false, but they were told by old biddies and men with darkness in their minds, like it were the truth,  to cast disparagements on those that didn’t live like they did.

The headman of the town whipped them up into a terrified frenzy, over the next few months, until they burst one night. Granny had been gone for 3 months, and the full moon had waned to but a quarter of itself again. They told themselves they had to act, soon, for the dark of the moon or the fulbright of it was the time of power for their kind, and they had to act while their powers were on the eb.

So late one cloudy night, they marched down into the valley, torches in hand, like some gruesome re-enactment of the Frankenstein story, with pitchforks and rifles in hand. And they clubbed and bound and took as many as they could, until they found Wren, standing in front of the old manse, his hands on his head, glaring at them, like he known they were coming all along.

“Where’s the rest of your kin,“ the headman shouted, emboldened by booze.

Wren sneered back at him, “Gone – into the hills, where you’ll never be bothered by them again!“

“They’re all witches and dark creatures of your devil worshipping kind,” the headman said. “They’ll all pay the price, when we find them.” His hate and fear knew no bounds, but the sounds of the forest were angry around the manse, outside the light of their torches, and Wren was right there, as if offering himself to them as appeasement.

“You can have me,” Wren shouted. “If that’s what it takes –  you can have me! Let them go!”

After the manse had been searched from top to bottom, and side to side, they couldn’t find another soul.

They knew the old ways. How to deal with a witch. So, the headman and a select group of his toughs had their way with him, with fist and hand and foot, after they had bound him with Iron, so his magic wouldn’t flow. But Wren didn’t hardly make a sound, despite being pummeled and beaten. They didn’t get so much satisfaction as they had hoped.

So they wrapped his bloody mouth in thorny-vines, so he couldn’t utter a hex, and bound his left eye – the blue one, with a rose, to prevent the Evil Eye and bind his mystic sight and so he couldn’t warn himself in the past.

And they dragged him down to the river to give him the trial by water. Water kills a witch.

Well, water kills anyone that gets drowned in it. But they didn’t stop to think on that.

They dragged him down to the river where the falls tumbled down out of the valley. There was a mighty oak on the banks, that reached out some 40 feet over the waters, and they dangled him over the edge from there. They lowered him down and down, and Wren still didn’t struggle, but closed his eyes, blood tainting his pale features. There was both a silent accusation, and a serenity that seemed to radiate from him.

As the water and spume of those troubled waters closed around him, as he was submerged, there could only be heard the sound of the falls, mingled with the night sounds of the valley.

They left him under for what must have been an eternity, until finally the headman said to draw him up.

As the brawny lads dragged the heavy chain up, fist over fist, they saw the body dangling above the water, looking almost pristine, now that it had been cleansed by the tumbling and tumultuous waters. By the light of their torches, Wren did not seem to be moving.

But then there was a spasm, and Wren started to kick and squirm, and his right eye opened wide

and looked at them all, shining in the torchlight with a baleful glare of a green and malign judgement.

“He’s still alive! Put him down again!” the headman screamed. And they did what he said.

But as the chain lowered, there was a sound like the peal of a gunshot, as several links in the chain snapped, and the body fell. But as he plummeted down, Wren’s single eye glared up – that single green eye shining with an eldritch light, until it vanished into the roiling waters below..

They never did find the body. Never did see what finally happened to Wren. All they found was what washed up on the shore. There were no tracks from the muddy banks of the river, just an impression in the mud, like a body had lain there, curled up in a fetal position.

Cupped in that impression was a broken chain, a rose, a tangle of thorny vines with a bloody white shirt, a pair of ripped and bloody jeans, and a broken string of black beads. Those had been Grandma’s.

A large crow cawed at the hunters as they surveyed that scene, with the headman frowning at the lack of satisfaction. He even had them sweep the river banks on either side and down further down stream for miles, with teams and boats and hunting dogs.  But all to no avail.

Wren was nowhere to be found.

When the dark of the moon came, that following morning, they found the headman dead, apparently from a heart attack, his face planted in his dinner from the night before. And a single black feather was found on the back of his head, and a string of black beads was in his stew.

Several other suspicious deaths occurred, accidents, they were all ruled, from the boys that lowered Wren down into the drink, to the ones that had bound him so cruelly with thorns and had taken their turns being rough with him.

The folk didn’t pursue Wren’s family after that. They just avoided the valley, and the old manse.

Wren lived on, the rumors said. He reached out from his watery grave and no man was safe in the valley if he had darkness in his heart.

~Dehrynn Shepherd 

Hair- =DeLa*= “Dorothy” (Store)

Shirt- :::Breath:::tied up behind shirt (Romp)
Rose & Thornes- {ROSES} eyepatch & {THORNS} gag .::Cubic Cherry::. (Romp)
Chains & Choker- E.V.E Broken Chains {Connected} (Shiny Shabby)
Hovering Beads- Zibska Ildi Orbit (Tres Chic)
Necklace- ::GB:: loosely cord (Store)

Eyeshadow- Zibska ~ Gret (Store)
Bloody lips- Izzie’s – Bloody Lips (Store)


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