May 7, 2002
One moment Willow’s shirt was splattered with a red liquid. The next, Tara felt her world darkening into shadow. Time did not exist; all she knew was that she was in the presence of a long, blackened tunnel that led to a speck of pulsing light. Instinct urged her to head down the well-traveled road but her love for Willow kept her glancing over her shoulder. Tara was not sure where she was, but she could feel Willow calling for her. Pain laced her voice and sobs interrupted her words.
”Come on, come on. Tara…Tara…Tara! Come back to this world! I command it!”
The pulsing light disappeared like a snuffed candle and Tara felt herself encased in darkness. Something clutched her middle and she felt herself plunging downward…
May 7, 1672
Hot sweat dripped down Margaret McLeod’s temple as panted from the exertion of childbirth. Her newly delivered babe’s cries pierced the air and Margaret almost wept with joy – the birth had been painful, complicated, and she had feared that her babe may not have made it. Heavy-lidded eyes struggled to focus on her midwife Elspeth as she presented a tightly wrapped baby to Margaret.
“Tis a girl, as I predicted,” Elspeth Blackie declared with a crooked smile. It was not often talked about openly, but Margaret knew that her cousin was a practicer of witchcraft; several months ago she had happily informed her that Margaret would finally receive the daughter that she had always wanted. After all, few women could be happy with only four boys and no daughters.
A sob, one that had been held inside her until the very moment, broke out as Elspeth laid the child - her child – in Margaret’s arms. She gasped at the sight of her babe opening up her eyes and instantly Margaret felt the connection of motherhood with this new life in her arms.
“What’ll you’ll be callin’ her?”
Margaret gave her daughter a gentle smile. “Angus and I decided on Eleanor…but we’ll call her Lenore, like me mum.”