TITLE: The Witch and the Demon
GENRE: YA Fantasy
Ebba ran into the moonless night. Her soaked dress clung to her skin, wind and wetness competing to freeze her into a corpse. Tree roots banged her feet and fatigue crept up from her shaking limbs to numb her brain. If she fell, she might not be able to get up again. Keep moving. Get as far away from the witchfinder as possible, may he be reincarnated as a constipated drunk’s chamber pot.
In the darkness, directions blurred. She focused on climbing up the mountain, away from her village. Faster, faster, faster. Her lungs took on the weight of iron balls.
Her left knee finally gave out—right when another root caught her ill-fitting clog. Her ankle bent sideways with a crack. She hit the dirt.
Waves of agony crashed over her. Mustn’t stop moving. But her body refused to rise. She wanted to scream or cry. Instead, Ebba took a deep breath. To focus her mind, she pinched her face, right on top of the scabs from the witchfinder’s pins. The itching behind her eyes from too long without sleep, the burning of her throat, the blistering sores on her hand—everything faded away.
Heartbeat steady, she groped for a tree root. Her right hand oozed pus from the burns on her palm, so she used her left one to pull herself into a sitting position. The merest touch to the swollen lump was torture. Through the pain, the rational part of her noted this felt worse than a sprain.