The night before her departure, Hickory dreamed of the northern enchantress. She dreamed of her floating, diluted green robes, the snow white hair and butterfly eyelashes. The most disgusting beast, the most beautiful beast she had ever seen. She had learned in her short seventeen years of life that beauty was one of the most deceptive and manipulative qualities a person could possess.
She dreamed of the night her brother had stumbled home, drunk. The enchantress had been floating in the fields, screeching at the night moths for some unknown reason when she spotted Hickory’s brother. Her brother with his curly black hair and notoriously freckled skin, her brother with his long nose and gentle cheeks. She had seen him, even in the smog of night and instantly wanted him. She had floated down from the clouds, abandoning her moth minions. She had stepped in front of him and asked sweetly for a kiss. Jacob had refused, saying he loved someone else, that he was to be married. He was only nineteen, looking sixteen. The enchantress could not handle being rejected. She had screamed something about greedy wenches, and then lunged to kiss the boy herself. He had hopped out of the way, and she fell in a pile of horse dung. Again she screeched, grabbed him by his shirt and threw him down. She stepped on him and muttered unintelligible words, and he had disappeared. She held a faint shape in her hands, though it was never discovered what it was.
Hickory had watched everything from her window, screaming at her father to do something. He couldn’t. The northern enchantress would have killed him. Her family was made up of cowards. She would be a coward no longer.
She awoke sweating in the late hours of the night, so late that even the crickets had fallen asleep. Her short bob plastered to her neck with sweat, her bloomers and undergarments also drenched. She was swimming in sweat, swimming in the regrets of that night. Her passion was being intensified, her anger becoming blinding. She tossed off her sheets and went to stand by the window where it had all gone down. She could see it clearly happening before her eyes. She could see the moths, the floating dress, the dung. The crescent moon that hung so peacefully over the disturbing scene.
It didn’t matter if the guards stopped her. It didn’t matter if she died getting into that forsaken place. She would do it, if it was the last thing she did. She cursed out the window, and then went back to bed.