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Deleted Scene: The Witch's Grave

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Author's note: this originally occurred Chapter Nine, after our adventurous trio (well, our adventurous duo plus Damon) left Trafford's Haven.

Megan found peace in the journey, listening to the gulls squawk and the waves break on the rocks, the only demands on her the simple placement of one foot in front of the other. For the first time in days she wasn't scared. When she realised this guilt twinged within her. She should be mourning her grandfather, Wade, the rest of the villagers. She should be planning how to rescue Gwyneth, how to rally the priests to her cause. There was no way Gwyneth wouldn't be scared. Was she still at sea? Megan remembered the time she had persuaded her sister to go out on a trip on a fishing boat, when they had first arrived in Eastport.

'Come on, Gwyn,' she had said, 'it'll be fun.'

'Like that puppy you bought?'

'Anyone could have made that mistake. Wolves are like dogs.'

'I don't think Brother Quinn likes you now.'

'He's still got nine fingers left, hasn't he?' said Megan. She tugged Gwyneth to the river's edge. 'You don't want to see the ocean?'

'It's just a lot of water.'

'They said we could help gut the fish,' said Megan. Gwyneth screwed her nose. 'Or not. Please, Gwyn. If you don't go, I can't. Grandfather said we were to stick together.'

Gwyneth sighed and let Megan lead her up the gangplank. As soon as they cast off, Gwyneth turned green and they barely cleared the river and entered the Harris Sea than Gwyneth was hanging over the gunwale, vomiting copiously. The fishermen blamed her for their poor catch; Gwyneth blamed Megan for dragging her out on to the sea.

Megan was brought back to the present by a sharp intake of breath from Eleanor. There was a tree in their path into whose trunk had been scored the star-broken circle. Beside it, there was a barren patch of ground. Something poked out of it. Eleanor crouched down and freed it with the tip of her knife. It was a charred jawbone - identifiably human. Her mouth wrinkled in disgust. She kicked the dirt she had dislodged back over it.

Damon examined the carving. It was crude, the stars actually crosses. 'It's old,' he said. 'Been here for years.'

Megan shivered in a manner that couldn't be completely explained by the clouds passing over the sun. 'Years,' she said. 'Not decades.'

'No, but ...'

'The witches were still here after the war. They never went away.' They could still be here, watching, waiting.

'It's nice round here,' said Damon. 'Great weather.

'I wonder who was burnt and who did the burning,' said Eleanor.

'Does it matter?' said Megan.

'Probably just some old woman with a fondness for cats,' said Damon.

Megan pulled away from the site. It reinforced the link between the witches and death. Not something she wanted reminding of considering who they held.


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