In the small town of Huntington nothing much ever happened. That was until a stranger changed everything.
Chapter One - Huntington
The town of Huntington was a quiet little gem hidden away deep in the forests of a remote country called Lavidia. Not many of the world's population knew of its existence which is how the town's people liked it. The unique lack of tourist attraction status was part of its charm. Despite there being much that the world would love to see being in Huntington. The townsfolk preferred to keep it to themselves. Though a well known legend had been told to the younger generation of the town for centuries. A legend which tells of a curse that was placed on the town. Many centuries ago there lived a woman by the name of Cassandra Le Fleur. Legend says that she was a witch who came to the town in order to help the ailing townsfolk when the plague swept through their town taking anyone and anything they held dear. She arrived not long after the town had been plunged into chaos. It was brother against brother. Families against families fighting with each other for their very survival.
She brought about peace as she not only came with the healing touch but she had supplies to help bring the town back to its former glory. The townsfolk were very happy after everything she had done for them. Soon it was as if the plague never happened. They still mourned their loved ones yes but to be sure the plague wasn't to be released again unfortunately they had to bury their dead in the middle of the forest in quite a deep big mass grave. With a cross to mark where they were and to memorialize them. Something about her made them feel safe so they took a different approach to mourning their loved ones. Instead of being sad and crying all the time they were happy, focused on restoring their town to the way it was before the plague hit. Eventually the town was restored and everything went back to normal. Crop production, retail shops were back up and running. It seemed all was well and when she fell in love with the vicar's son the townsfolk were beaming with pride. All except the vicar. Being a religious man he didn't like what this woman was doing and hadn't done since she arrived.
Cassandra never told the townsfolk she was a witch. She only said she was a healer that she was only there to help them. But the vicar knew she was a witch he had know since she stepped foot in the town. He tried to convince people but no one believed him. She had bewitched an entire town as far he was concerned. He put his son being in love with her down to her bewitching him as well. The vicar did everything in his power to stop the girl marrying his son. So they ran away and eloped.
After being married just over a year and no sign of having a child some of the women questioned if she could. Then during that second year of marriage illness struck the town once more. All the male boys in the town who were born in the month of June died suddenly in the night following what seemed to be a touch of the common cold came over them all. 32 children supposedly lost their lives that night and the vicar's wife fanned the flames that Cassandra was the cause. At first it was enough to cast doubt but not enough for anyone to want to do something about it.
Until her husband's youngest brother was the next to die. More people began to think that there could be a connection. Some said that in her sadness at not being able to conceive a child that she was taking it out on those who already had children. Somewhere along the line even her husband began to wonder if his wife was capable of such a thing. It took some time but after chatting with his father, his best friend and some other men they decided that it best they got rid of her. Because for them the dead children, the lack of a child and the plague it was enough to rule she was a danger to them and their families.
Unbeknown to her, her husband pleaded with the town's council for her banishment over her execution. All she knew was that her husband betrayed her and he was the reason she was being banished. In her anger she cast a curse on the town preventing anyone from leaving or arriving. Then she left to find a home for herself far away from the town. It was then shortly after that she found out she was pregnant. A true miracle baby that had blessed her life after such a betrayal and heart breaking time.
According to the legend only the descendants of Cassanadra can break the curse. If they are married to a townsperson and if they are finally accepted by the town. Only then can the town know true happiness and love. Until that day the town would remain cursed so no one could leave or arrive. That bad things would happen if they did. Apparently a group of men tried to leave one time to attend a meeting in the north but they never made it. Some say lightening struck the townline just as they tried to cross it and burned them alive. Many would know of the curse but as time went on of course there were less people who believed in it. Soon there was a generation of townsfolk who were under the impression that the town was just some where no one liked to leave or visit. It became the norm and no one really questioned it apart from a few youngsters that no one ever really paid attention to.
Chapter Two - A new dawn
For most of his life Arthur McDowell grew up with the legend of his town. Like so many of his friends he had doubts about whether or not it could be true. Some of the older generation were adamant it was. They'd hold a dance to honor the legend during the winter months. Which was supposedly around the time that the events of Cassandra Le Fleur being accused of being a witch and the curse happening actually happened. Many attended the dance with the belief that they were there to pay tribute to a woman who was falsely accused and betrayed by the very townsfolk who she had come to know as family. Some were there to honor a strong woman, a witch who's only intent was to do good which only got her accused and betrayed by the townsfolk she'd come to love. Others took a more religious approach. They praised and honoured the vicar who brought down the witch who had betrayed their town. A woman who took advantage of their hospitality and kind nature's. They refused to see her as nothing less than the evil woman that she supposedly was. As with many legends that circle the lips of the world's population there are so many different views on how people feel about them. In Scotland there is the legend about a sea creature/Monster nicknamed "Nessie" that lives in the depths of Loch Ness. Some believe Nessie exist, some claim to have seen it others aren't so convinced.
Arthur was undecided on this particular subject and like his father took the approach that the dance was abit of fun for all ages. It just so happened that it was coming up to that time of year again. He had just turned seventeen so he was old enough to stay up later than the younger children. This is the part that most children looked forward too. As being allowed to stay up longer when they reached a certain age was sort of the town's rite of passage so to speak. Another was that many of the younger generation found themselves also testing the curse theory when they came of age too.
After everyone was in bed it was tradition almost for whoever just turned seventeen to join those who were already seventeen and try to leave.
So Arthur and many of his friends that he had known since he was a child set out to do just that. Although it was never known what happened to those who had previously tried to do so. All people in the town knew was that those who dared to try never did return. They weren't even deemed missing because many just assumed that they did in fact manage to leave and just chose to never return and never contacted their families. Which in the eyes of the sheriff of the town wasn't unusual because they were in fact considered to be runaways nothing more nothing less. Their own parents never really questioned their disappearance unless they were related to those who had sided with the vicar who was the one to unseat someone to be seen as a great evil in the town. But nothing ever came of their accusations as they were outnumbered by those who believe the witch was wronged, those who didn't believe and those who were just simply unsure of what was the truth. One thing remained certain was the fact that year after year group's of seventeen year olds tried to leave. But not all of the town's young did. Some remained and didn't follow the tradition.
As the teenagers approached the townline some got nervous. The ones who were more certain than all of them did manage to convince one or two of them that they were just being silly that they could go through with it but the others within the small group of worriers weren't so convinced and fled with tales between their legs mocked by the rest who stay as chickens. They returned to town and to their beds forever changed by what they so very nearly went through with. For those who stayed the time was now to press forward and either confirm the curse to be bogus or indeed very real. Arthur himself was very nervous but too afraid to mention anything to the others. Especially after how they ridiculed the others who voiced their nervousness and their desire to go back to town. Timothy Jones was the first to move closer the line. He was the oldest out of all of them who born just a few hours apart. I suppose that's why he felt as though he needed to be the one try and cross first. It was unknown what method the others who tried to leave had done before them but in the days before their birthday they hatched a plan to take trying to cross one at a time. If their attempt to cross failed one would return to town and tell everyone leaving the rest near the tosn line to confirm it. If it was successful then the same again would happen. Since they were old enough to understand the so called legend or myth some might say surroundung their town's history this particular group of teenagers made a pact to find out once and for all if the curse was real or not.
The time to cross came ever closer and even the most sure of teenagers got nervous. But to get it over and done with Arthur plunged forward and was seconds from crossing the line. Before his foot could make it across he was tackled to the floor. He didn't see who tackled him and due to the force of it he ended up hitting his head on some near by rocks knocking him unconscious.
Chapter Three - The Stranger
Three days had past since I stumbled into the legendary town of Huntington and knocked someone unconscious. Well I say stumbled on it I was actually looking for it just never expected to find it. He was still recovering from hitting his head on those rocks, in and out of sleep the entire time. The doctor said he had concussion and would be fine soon that it wasn't anything major thank heaven's for that. I mean I knew I was clumsy but blinking heck didn't think I could actually bulldoze someone over whom I didn't even know was there. Grams always said this place existed I just never thought I'd get to be here in person. I grew up being told stories of this place and well here I am sat on a bed in a small hostel. They must not get many visitors just like Grams said because of the look the woman gave me when I booked my room. She looked like she had seen a ghost. She never said why they never got visitors though nothing of actual sense anyways. There was the curse she was always rambling on about that because I was the last living descendant of the Le Fleur woman that it was up to me to break the curse. Of course I never believed it I mean how could I?. Having an entire town cursed because a relative of mine was betrayed by a man isn't exactly something to be proud of anyways. Come on please what a cliche. Don't get me wrong being cast out of a town you called home by the very people you called family, pregnant and alone yeah I'd be pissed too but I don't think I could ever be that pissed to doom an entire town because they hurt me. I mean even if it is true that would be horrible on my relative's part to put all that responsibility on me. I am not a super hero I'm just a young woman who's just turned eighteen and besides if Cassandra was really a relative of mine then where are my powers?. Everything I have ever read about witches suggest that the gift of magic would be passed on to every woman in the family who had just turned sixteen in some cases but very few it was eighteen the women had to be before they received their magic. I turned eighteen, two weeks ago logic would dictate that I should have had them by now as apparently new witches are supposed to have them straight away or soon after. Mother always thought my grandmother was insane before she passed away. Naturally as a child it was interesting to begin with but as I got older the more ridiculous it seemed. So why am I here?. I don't understand why the pull was so strong. I guess now with grams gone I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Could the curse be real? I better find out for sure soon because if it was these people were in grave danger. As the legend or myth that they grew up with left out a vital part. If the town didn't accept a descendant of Cassandra Le Fleur then the whole town would cease to exist on the next full moon of this month, of this very year. I'm supposedly the last living descendant of hers with both my parents and grams gone I had no siblings or any other family for that matter so could I really risk the lives of these people if it is real?. It would be alot on one person's shoulders if it was especially one as young as me. How would I even go about knowing for sure if it was or not anyways?. Honestly why couldn't I just have a normal family who didn't believe in witches and curses. Who didn't have their last living relative questioning it and with supposedly the fate of an entire town resting on their shoulders. This was madness I would literally drive myself insane if I stay on this bed wondering. I need to get out of here. I should go check on the young lad I accidentally tackled. I literally didn't see him as far as I could see no one was on the other side of that townline. Or maybe he was there I don't know it all happened so fast and the fact of the matter is me running that fast caused me to knock him over so hard that he got hurt. If I don't check on him it would be as bad as me not being on foot but in a car that knocked him over and drove away. At least that's how bad it would feel to me anyways. I only ran that fast because I thought if I ran across the line these was less chance of me chickening out and going home. The more I think about it though the other people he was with were surprised I was there saying "Where did she come from?" I don't know maybe they didn't see me approaching the townline from the other side or maybe they did. Oh well the point is I need to check on him.
She quickly got dressed and headed out the door locking it behind her before leaving the little hostel where she was staying. Since she didn't know where the boy lived she called by the doctor's office to speak to Doctor Holland. The doctor said she couldn't tell her where the boy lived because it goes against the whole thing of doctor patient confidentiality thing but as she was on her way to go check on him herself she couldn't really tell her not to follow her as she was not in control of her. So basically in a round about way she was telling her that she'd show her where it was without saying it in exactly those words. So she did just that and soon they were at the house. Doctor Holland knocked on the door and a tall rather intimidating man answered. Doctor Holland straightened up before saying "Good morning Mr McDowell I'm here to check on your son and bumped into this young lady who was coming to check on him as well. Isn't that nice of her?". Mr McDowell looked me up and down with a very odd look as though he wasn't sure of me then he straightened up and stood aside so we could enter saying "Alright come on then. His own fault really following that pathetic tradition of turning seventeen and going out to the townline to see if that ridiculous curse was true. I'm glad I never even tried to go through with such nonsense." as he extended his arm to indicate where we needed to go before closing the door behind us. It happened so fast as the next thing they saw was Arthur himself coming down the stairs saying "Father please I don't think these two beautiful young ladies want to be bored but what you did and didn't do in your younger years". McDowell grunted then retreated to the living room and Arthur came close to the ladies. Both Arthur and the new girl became lost in each other's eyes before he broke the silence saying "I've not seen you around here before. You must be the very beautiful woman who tackled me to the ground that night. I'm Arthur McDowell its nice to me you". The new girl blushed as he extended his hand she shook it before replying with "Yes, yes I am I'm so terribly sorry about that there's no excuse. I'm Willow Michaels-Le Fleur its nice to meet you too". Arthur's eyebrow raise slightly as he heard the second part of her hyphenated surname. Before he could say a word his father re-entered the room "Le Fleur is it? The only Le Fleur we know is Cassandra the witch who supposedly cursed us all" he said in a rather dark spooky manner. Arthur gave him a look before turning back to Willow "I am so sorry about him please ignore him he's..... he's not had his meds I'm sure there are plenty of people who have that last name even if it's part of a hyphenated surname no big deal. " as he ushered them into the dinning room. It was a modest house but the room's were set up as though they came from money but didn't like to brag about it even though they ended up sounding like they were bragging anyways.
Once they were out of sight of Mr McDowell, Willow smiled before saying "It's alright I am aware of the curse that supposedly befalls this town. I, myself also grew up with being told about it. But I should tell you not even I'm sure its true and as far as I'm aware I'm not a witch" they both let out a slight giggle and before Arthur could reply doctor Holland piped up saying "Right then Master McDowell I do have a busy day so please direct me to where I can examine you". Arthur gave Willow a cheeky smile before turning and responding to doctor Holland saying "No need to whisk me away you can examine me here. I'm sure Miss Michaels-Le Fleur doesn't mind" as he gestured at Willow who then shook her head and said "Of course not doctor Holland please proceed with the examination". So the doctor did just that. Afterwards she deemed Arthur to be in almost perfect health. He still had a bump on his head and what was now a mild concussion. She advised him to take it easy and to contact her immediately if anything got worse. She reminded his father of the same on her way out and before bidding them farewell then leaving. Willow was left alone with Arthur and Mr McDowell she felt rather awkward. Mr McDowell clearly didn't like her and made that abundantly clear. He disappeared into his study once his son gave him a look as if to say clear off dad your embarrassing me. Shortly after he invited Willow to accompany him on a walk around the grounds of the house. He explained too that he was unsure of the legitimacy of the curse and why he was out at the townline that night. The both had a giggle about how odd and rather ridiculous that tradition actually was. He explained a bit more about himself. His father, Donald McDowell was the town's vicar even though he felt there wasn't much need for one as not that many people were religious these days. His mother, Alice McDowell worked as a nurse in the town's small hospital and also helped in doctor Holland's doctor's office. He had an older brother, Thomas who was a lawyer even though there wasn't much need for a lawyer in these parts either. His older sister, Annabeth was a teacher at the local primary school and was married to Lucas who was a mechanic they had three children together. Two girls and a boy. The two girls were twins both ten they were named Daisy and Maisy. The boy was five and his name was Jerome, Jerry for short. He then asked Willow abou herself too. She explain she was the only child of Henry Michaels and Eleanor Le Fleur both experienced lawyers. They died tragically in a car crash when she was eight her only other family was her grandmother, Fiona Le Fleur whom she called grams who passed away the day after her eighth birthday. Arthur of course apologized for asking but Willow said it was fine her grandmother wasn't a well woman so she was in a far better place now. She explained everything that her grandmother had told her about the curse and how she needed to find out the truth because if it was all true then the entire town was in danger.
Arthur took in all the information but she half expected him to run and alert the entire towns that she was crazy or a witch then have her banished but he didn't. Instead he took her hand, smiled and said "Well then we absolutely must find out the truth.....together".