Isla Nocturne

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Morwain clutched the brown paper-wrapped parcel closer to her chest as she crossed the rusted gangplank. The never sedate waters of Lake LaMorose beat against the hull of the ferry like banshees against a medium’s consciousness. As she stepped across the heavy grate onto the deck of the MV Staunch, her fingers dug into the paper ensconcing her sacred duty.

One of the ferry’s deckhands leered at her most menacingly and she found her step quickening to match the pace of her heart. A childhood memory surfaced.

“What’s that place, Auntie?”

“It’s Isla Nocturne,” her aunt replied, her caramel hair whipping about her lithe form in the wind, “It’s where the witches go.”

Morwain remembered looking up at her ethereal aunt and saying, “But aren’t we witches?”

“All freethinkers are my little owlet.” her aunt had replied after she had crouched down and held Morwain’s emerald eye gaze in her own tawny orbs.

The jarring of the ferry casting off from the dock hurtled Morwain back to the present as she found a seat in the forward observation lounge. There was only one other passenger on the ferry, an old man with a mustache that told tales all of its own. He regarded Morwain with watery eyes and a countenance beaten down by time and hardship. Her lips lifted into a slight smile, despite her discomfort, before she turned away to take in her destination.

Isla Nocturne. Inside its walls, the witches were held. Morwain knew that was code for anyone who dissented. Anyone who dared speak out against them. The cold granite blocks that made up the fortress on Isla Nocturne were as numerous as the prisoners held within.

Morwain’s mind drifted back to Halloween night two years prior.

“They are coming for me little owlet, and there is something you must do. On Halloween two years from this date, I need you to bake me a cake. The flavor matters naught, only that you add what’s in this pouch to it and bring it to me on Isla Nocturne. Do you understand?” her aunt’s voice held no fear rather a desperate and serious pleading.

“I do, and it will be done, Auntie. No matter what.” Morwain replied.

No longer a child, Morwain’s long chocolate-colored hair was braided into a pleat woven with sunflowers to mark the end of the growing season as was the custom of her people. Her eyes were the soft golden-brown of homemade caramel, and her presence brought serenity to wherever she trod.

The ferry rammed the dock as if daring its passengers to disembark. Morwain tucked an errant strand of her hair behind her ear and departed the boat. Her wine-colored cloak and dress whipping about her legs.

“No matter what,” she whispered.

The fortress before her threatened her resolve, two guards standing outside the gated entrance stepped forward,

“I-documents,” they growled with authority.

She presented her I-fold and willed herself not to tremble while they scanned it. As well trained as the guards were, the younger of the two kept staring at her, his blue eyes alight with interest and curiosity.

“What’s in the box?” the blue-eyed guard demanded, his black-gloved hand jerking the parcel out of her grasp.

“It is a cake for my aunt. Please, it’s her birthday.” Morwain did her best to sound helpless and pleading.

“A cake eh?” The older guard sneered.

“Yes sir, a double chocolate fudge, her favorite,” Morwain replied.

“It’s also the warden’s favorite too, how fortunate!” the older man cruelly taunted as he grabbed Morwain by the shoulder, turned her around, and shoved her back toward the Staunch.

“Don’t worry, we’ll make sure your aunt gets her cake,” the guard guffawed with ill-repressed malice as he turned and marched into the prison, the brown paper-wrapped parcel tucked under his arm.

Morwain walked down to the waiting ferry, her legs shaking a little less. Most people in the prison weren’t witches, but her aunt was. Morwain had discovered her aunt’s journal and she knew exactly what was in the little velvet pouch her aunt had given her two years ago, and as she stepped onto the deck of the Staunch her chest inflated with a bit of glee and anticipation for what was about to happen.


And as most of the time, the image in this post was taken on the author's non-witch but at times rather mysterious iPhone.


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