“Sana...sana...pecho de cerdo..”
“Cuidado mijita...será mal si te das prisa..”
-¿Pero mamá, porque llevas mi sangre?
LOCAL TEEN TELLS HOW HE WAS ATTACKED BY A BRUJA
Agustavo Ernan, 17, claims he was attacked by a witch as he and his father, Mauro Ernan, 43, were harvesting the tomatoes and corn fields when they saw a figure in the distance glowing ominously. Agustavo quickly ran back inside to retrieve the shotgun off the family mantel and rushed out to the corn fields yelling at his father ‘get to safety’ while he bravely ran up to the person in the distance. “I don't know what came over me. I just saw it and I knew it was danger to my family and so I had to protect them.” He says. Later he claims that when he approached the glowing figure, he shot at it twice before he quickly reloaded when suddenly he flew back with a green blast. Dizzy, he looked up and saw its horrid face, eyes sunken with a menacing expression on its face. The bullets did not deter the person as it growled at him twice before throwing the pointed object at him and turning away running. “ Luckily it missed but at the moment I was terrified when I saw it because I didn't know what to do. I have never believed in witches then but I do now.” He exclaims. Agustavo still has the object it threw and is up at the center parlor to retell the tale of his survival in greater detail. Come tonight all this week to hear this young man's great feat.
Aurora ripped the piece of parchment off the brick wall and crumpled it into a tight ball. She threw it onto the rocky road with a grimace. What a load of rubbish. She didn’t visit town often for this very reason because people can believe what they want to believe for just a few coins in exchange.
I bet it's another one of those that give brujas a bad name.
She rolled her eyes but with a sigh she agreed with herself. Unconsciously, she raised her hand to further raise the collar of the shirt she wore to hide her bright lavender mark. This wasn't the first time she had seen posters around her little town that targeted witches and she was sure this wouldn't be the last time. Everytime she entered town it was something different-
Witches attacking the townspeople.
Witches plaguing the crops and livestock of Seryala and then cursing their fields.
Witches spotted in the Desmaya Forest.
Shaking her head in disbelief, Aurora slung her leather-stitched bag over her shoulder and adjusted it to shift the weight of its contents.
Walking along the edge of the road, she passively stared at the run down brick buildings that hosted several small businesses. Closing in on a stand that sold furs at this time, her eyes casually looked over them and offered a gentle smile to the vendor. Picking one of her interest, she examined it by running her fingers through the hide, wondering how much of a shawl she could make for her mother. Pondering the thought, she shifted and looked up to the frail old lady selling them.
“Excuse me señora , how much is it for this hide?” Aurora politely asked as she handed the hide to the lady to check.
“Let me see hija , I can't even be sure because my son usually runs the stand but he's out hunting now for more.” She replied. Feeling the thickness of the fur and the weight of it, she counted in her head and handed the hide back to Aurora.
“Coyote hide usually doesn't sell that well just because it falls apart easily. I'm surprised you would want this of all the other hides I have.” The lady gestured to the fox, rabbit, and bear hides.
“But anyways mijita that would be seventy pesos please.” She finished with a nod of her head. Seeing that Aurora smiled and dug into her bag to fish out some money, she wrapped the fur in some thin paper and handed it to her.
In exchange, she brought out some coins but stopped short when she only counted fifty pesos not seventy.
“Um.” Aurora nervously handed the money to the old lady and quickly dug into her bag to pull out a small pouch of dried spices. She saw the old lady's eyebrow arch as she pushed the pouch towards her.
“I'm sorry I'm a bit short of what I thought I had on me but if you can kindly accept this as your payment,” Aurora pointed to the bag. “It has my mother's dried spices that she grows herself. There's some thyme, pepper, bay, and cinnamon shavings in there that are top quality I swear.”
She finished off her sentence, it was twinged with a bit of desperation. She needed to make sure her family patched up their old coats before the first snow landed on the town and to her knowledge, it won't be for much longer until the first bit of cold set in.
“You said these were grown?”
Aurora snapped her attention away from her thoughts to the lady in front of her. Quickly shaking her head in confirmation, she saw the woman raise the pouch to her nose and take a big whiff of it. Immediately, the woman smiled as the pleasant aroma filled her nostrils.
“This will be more than enough, it's quite rare I get spices in the first place. I can finally make some atole for the winter. Please, take another hide. This is quite a rare delight for me.” She closed the pouch and set it near the stool she was sitting on as she awaited sales.
Smiling brightly, her eyes drifted from fur to fur before settling on a patch of fur big enough to make a small bag. Her brown eyes lit up as an idea started to form in her head as she picked it up.
It was just the right size to hold leaves to make salves with.
This would be perfect for Michael. He always complains about having to share his medicine bag with herbs he heals with.
“I'll take this one please.”
~ ° ~
The air was chilly and the sun was setting down the mountains when she finally finished her errands and started to return home. Her spices sold extremely well today- she figured it was the fact that everyone was scurrying to make enough food to preserve that would keep them full during the coming weeks.
Coming near the edge of town, she looked at all directions around her before strapping the bag close to her body and burst towards the line of dense forest. Last thing she needed was for someone to get the idea that someone resided in the forest they were told were teeming with witches.
Glancing back frequently to make sure she wasn't being watched, she made the final steps before being consumed by the forest. Immediately, she let out a breath of relief when her figure was hidden by the thick foliage. Loosening her muscles, she spied the worn trail she had made over them years and followed it deeper into the heart of the forest.
Whistling slightly, she mindlessly sung a tune as she swatted branches out of the way during her trek home. Knowing the outskirts of the forest like the back of her hand, she knew that she was exactly thirty two minutes away from home.
“I wonder if I would be able to patch up my suit with some of the fabric I bought today.” She thought out loud, comfortable with the fact that she was alone and in her element now. While she may be alone in them woods, she knew where everything was and almost like a sixth sense when something was wrong.
Which is why when she heard rustling of something heavy through them leaves, Aurora practically jumped out of her skin when she saw them barge through them trees and into the trail in front of her. Freezing in place with her left hand hovering over them area of her mark, she quickly inhaled when them hooded figure turned to her.
I may not be able to take him on brute force but I can stun him enough to hit him over the head and make it up like it was attacked by a bear
Swallowing her nerves, she pressed her hand to her chest when it started to move towards her.
‘¡Conjelo!’ She raised her left hand to where she wanted to aim the spell at and clenched her fist, signifying to deliver a punch. A ray of lavender quickly shot out her mark and she maneuvered it to head of the figure.
An amused chuckle came from the figure in front of her. It clasped its hands in front of itself and immediately erupted into a orange orb, effectively blocking her ray from hitting it.
Aurora stomped her foot in frustration and bent down to chuck a rock at the person in front of her.
“Michael I'm gonna hurt you if you scare me like that one more time, ” The brunette hissed out, unbelievably spooked. Clutching her chest to soothe her racing heart, she menacingly glared at Michael who tried to reach out and touch her reassuringly. She could see the small smile that threatened to play on his lips and in retaliation, she fluidly took her bag off in one move and thrust it to him.
Hearing a small ‘oof’ when the bag hit him satisfied her.
“Thanks Aurora, I really needed that.” Michael replied with a roll of his eyes. “What's in the bag? It's heavier than usual.” He asked inquisitively, his interest peaked.
“I got something for you.” Aurora answered, brushing herself off and composing her figure. She tried her best to ignore the way Michael's posture straightened in surprise.
“Really? You went to town? And all by yourself?”
The brunette lightly shoved him and continued to walk the rest of the trail back home.
“I thought I'd never see the day.” Michael fake gasped out.
Even with her back turned away from him, she can perfectly picture the lopsided smirk he wore as he teased her about her solitary inhibitions.
“Not everyone is as eager as you to go into town and sell game like you baboso ,” Aurora stated as she bent down to avoid hitting a low lying branch.
A bark of laughter erupted from behind her and she too had to stop the small smile that threaten to rise on her lips. Michael's laugh was infectious and never failed to make her cheer up. She felt him move next to her in the trail and casting a glance next her she saw him struggle to avoid hitting ferns and hitchhikers plants. Generously, she moved aside a few paces in the trail that was meant for one so they can share the space.
They moved with relative ease, an easy going pace that suited the both of them. Aurora whistled freely and Michael watched the surrounding woods with a careful stare, tensing at every sound that came from around them.
The wind picked up and swayed the spruces branches that surrounded his home. While yes, it was nice to be able to see out for miles from where Aurora lived with her family, it was nice to be able to blend in fluidly with the backdrop of the forest in his own home. It was a small but very cozy cottage made from clay bricks he crafted himself from the clay at the bottom of the river where they brought their water from. Covered roof to toe in ivy moss, the cottage was elusive to the eyes of any foreigner that dared cross these woods.
“ Mamí I'm here!” Michael announced as he walked through the door and took of his worn boots by the door, not wanting to get scolded by his mom or Aurora.
His best friend waltzed through the door and set her old coat on the wooden pegs that hung on brick wall. Without a word, she took his own coat and boots and arranged them neatly to where they belonged and before long dragged him to the small kitchen his mom enjoyed being in.