Arts & Culture, Open Mic

Open Mic: The Weeping Willow by Eleanor McClain

The wind whistled over the Weeping Willow. Its branches waved in time to a small girl named Rachel’s footsteps. Her satchel thumped against her hip. Her dark hair waved wildly as she ran through the woods.

“Help me!” a female voice cried in her mind, but there was no one in sight. The child shrugged, knowing the forest was just playing tricks on her.

She stopped abruptly in front of the Weeping Willow to catch her breath and remember the Legend of the Weeping Willow.

*    *    *

“Creator, oh mighty Creator! Please heal this man!” a beautiful young woman cried, tears pouring down her cheeks.

“I can help you,” a snake purred. “I can make him feel all better for just a small fee.”

“Go away, you deceptive snake!” the lady snarled. “My Creator will heal him for no small fee! He will heal him out of love for his children!”

The snake thoughtfully considered her statement then slithered over to look at the wounded man.

“Are you sure? He looks as if his life will slip away at any moment now. My offer still stands…or you can just let him die, because your ‘Creator’ seems to have failed to save him or just didn’t try at all. I can make all his pain go away. I can help him!”

The woman sniffed miserably then took a deep breath.

“All right, snake. Do your worst. Heal him, then I will pay the fee,” she murmured, her voice trembling.

The snake cackled happily then started chanting in a low voice. The man rose up in a ball of light then fell, limp as a rag doll. Unbreathing.

“NO!” the woman shrieked, racing to his side. “What have you done to him?! He’s dead!”

“I told you I would take his pain away, and I did. Now it’s your turn,” he smirked. She floated up into an orb of brown-green light and caught a couple words of what he was chanting.

“Susurratio ventis, faciam tibi pessimi: hoc mulier in maledictionem, adiuva me!”

Her last known emotion was fear, then sorrow, then repentance. The only place she can be visited is at the Weeping Willow, her grave site.

*               *               *               *

Rachel climbed the Willow for a small nap.

She reclined in the treetop, and as she drifted off, she heard a noise.

“HELP ME!!” the voice shrieked in her mind. The voice was louder that time. Perhaps she was going insane? But that would be crazy! No…what explanation could there be?

“Ah!” Rachel gasped as an arrow struck her shoulder, sending her flailing to the ground.  She gripped her shoulder and struggled to stay silent. Pain overwhelmed her, sending tears to her eyes.

“Climb the tree!” a woman’s voice urgently instructed her.

“Seriously?” Rachel rolled her eyes. “I’m officially crazy. An invisible woman is telling me what to do.”

“Just climb the tree, please!” the voice pleaded. As Rachel climbed the tree, an arrow struck right where her head had just been.

“Lay down comfortably in the middle, then close your eyes,” the gentle voice whispered.

As Rachel obeyed, she felt her body being moved with gentle branches sweeping across her wounded shoulder, then a sweet melody sounded in her head. It rocked her like a mother would rock her baby; she slowly fell asleep.

“Goodnight, goodnight, my sleeping child. Goodnight, goodnight, my baby. Sleep well tonight; I will be by your side. Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight.

“The scary things of this sinful world fight to be made known. Goodnight, goodnight, my peaceful child, goodnight, goodnight, my love, my own.

“The hate in this world overwhelms the love. Still my heart burns for you, a signal fire of blazing love, my kiss a final flare.

“Goodnight, goodnight, my sleeping child, the love of me surrounds you. Goodnight, goodnight, my pride and joy, may dreams bless you today.”

*    *    *

Rachel awoke in a soft mossy place where light dotted the ground and a small breeze was always blowing. A beautiful young woman looked like she was crushing berries and herbs then laying them on a leaf-like thing. As Rachel sat up, she noticed her wound was covered with herbs, and the arrow was gone.

“Shh. Don’t strain yourself, child,” the lady murmured softly.

“Where am I?” Rachel’s gaze darted from place to place.

“Honestly, child! Have you no respect for my wishes? Do not strain yourself,” the woman snapped. “My name is Mary. We are in the heart of the tree. You will get us out.”

“How? How will I get us out if I have never even heard of being in the heart of the tree?”

“You are a Magicae. The most ancient of beings. I myself am a Salicis Arbore. Let me tell you a story.”

As Mary said this, she lifted her hand gently until it came as high as her head. A soft golden glow followed her fingers as she traced a large rectangle, sending a picture into it like a movie.

“The Magicae were some of the first people on earth. The Creator created the earth then sent twenty Magicae to populate, nurture, and love the earth. The Salicis came later. The Salicis were meant to serve the Magicae and care for them as they worked on our dear home. You see, the Magicae were in charge of watering, sunning, and caring for all basic plant and animal needs. The Creator took pity on them and gave them Salicis. They worked ever so hard. The Salicis are born with mild powers. Levitation, speed, strength, and instant creation. They were born to serve. The Magicae have always had a special connection with plants and animal but had to nurture and grow the connection until it blossomed into a friendship. The Salicis were jealous of the beautiful Magicae and how they could control nature. Many Salicis suggested to their masters that they should use the magic to control the plants and animals, destroying the world and the Creator so they could be the powerful ones. The Magicae refused, infuriated that their loyal servants should even think of such a thing. One Salicis, Malum, suggested his idea to his master, but when his master refused, he tried again to convince him. When the Magicae refused again, Malum was dismissed. Malum, furious that he was dismissed, used his magic to levitate his master then sending him hurtling into a wall covered in nails and sharp glass. After Malum found his master dead, he was satisfied. Later, Malum changed his name into Saeva, meaning “cruel,” and began a war. He told all of the Salicis about his power and what they could do together. The Magicae realized that they could trust no one. After the war, the defeated Magicae hid themselves from the rest of the world. Our Creator sent peace on the world. The world was good. But it is not now. Even though the world is balanced, it is only temporary. The Magicae and Salicis are coming back, stronger, braver, and more reckless than ever. We need to save the humans and animals. I need you to help me end this before it begins.”

______________________________

Meet the Author

Hi, my name is Eleanor McClain! I’m 12 years old and a very young 7th grader, I live in Batesville, Arkansas with my mom, dad, and two brothers named Charlie and Zach who are headed off to college this year. Also in my family are four dogs, three cats, seven chickens, and two ponies. This is my third year in TPS, and I take Life Science: Honors, MA6 (Math Accelerated 6), English 1, and Elementary Humanities. I have a lot of hobbies: dance (tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop), cooking, baking, reading, and above all, riding my fabulous chestnut quarterhorse paint Snickers! He and I are eventers (a rider and a horse/pony who compete in three events: Dressage, Show Jumping, and Cross Country). Snickers and I absolutely love each other and have fun posing for pictures whether in a field, by the barn, or over a jump!

9 Comments

  1. This is cool, but im kinda confused, is the author or person who wrote this Mari Stanton or Eleanor McClain? its seems to be Eleanor’s, but it says the Author is Mari.

    • Hi Simeon! Eleanor wrote this piece, but since she is a guest writer, I uploaded it to our Open Mic column. All articles published in Open Mic are written by guest authors; as the column’s editor, I just edit and upload these articles, which is why you see my name as the author.

  2. Fantastic story Eleanor! I wish I could read more!

  3. Interesting story Eleanor! Nice Job!

  4. Naomi Hochstedler

    Nice story! This makes me want to read more!

  5. Hey Eleanor!!! Remember me? 😊😊😜 anyways… this is amazing!! Keep up the good work!!! I can’t wait for my story to be posted in a few weeks!!!

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