It was a warm winter’s day, well as warm as it could get at that time of year. There was little snow on the ground and the chill in the air had decreased. This was the first real chance we’ve had in weeks to go outside and play, and we have been talking for the last few weeks after church, that next time we get a chance to play we will take the dirt road south, into the forest, looking for the old mill where my grandad tells us stories of a witch that lives there deep in the forest. This day luckily fell on a Saturday, so Jeffery and I did what we did on clear a Saturday.
Jeffery met me at our usual spot, but today, for us, this was an unusual day. We met at the huge old willow that sat on the northern side of the bridge on the northern road that retreats from the village. I call this tree the ‘Granny Tree’ because grandpa buried grandma there as she wished. When grandma and grandpa were teenagers, their parents wouldn’t let them be together, so every week, in their Sunday best, they would meet under the majestical weeping willow and spend hours together. As we cross the small stone bridge and enter the confines of the villages many stone buildings, we leave the distant rolling green hills and countless farms sprawled over the country side, but the thing we notice the most is the transition between the dirt road to the stone road that flood the town. As we head south through the town we approached the Williams house, it is designed the same way as most other houses in the village only it was two stories instead of the average one. It had dark gloomy stone walls and a straw roof, with glass windows letting the light in here and there. Mr Williams was a master farrier, the best in the area. So he made a good living, and he was a kind and gentle man. He always gave us morning-tea on Saturdays; apples, plums, berries, potato wedges and sometimes if we were really lucky Mrs Williams would bake a little extra apple pie or cakes for us. Mr Williams was outside tending his garden. When he heard us coming, he placed his shovel gently on the ground and casually said in his deep croaky voice, “you’ve picked a nice day to be out, weather perfect… about time” he finished with a chuckle. “M’wife baked a few too many scones for tea; I’ll go grab a couple for you boys”. We waited while Mr Williams hurried inside, he was only a couple of minutes, and he must have had them ready for us. I’m quite surprised that he knew that we were going to come by because we haven’t passed his house on a Saturday for almost two months. Mr Williams walked out with a small woven basket and handed it to Jeffery. Although he was a nice man, even he was suspicious of me and my family. Half my family moved to this Scottish village from England a couple of generations ago. He waved us off, and we continued our walk south towards the centre of the village.
The centre of the village is the market place of the small town. Jeffery and I are heading to the bakery where we are meeting Fergus and Logan. Fergus’s family own the bakery and Logan’s dad is the local constable. When we came close we could hear the creaking of the overhanging shop signs swinging in the breeze and, there, on the south side of the town centre, sure enough was Fergus and Logan, standing there blankly staring at us. As we came up to them there was no exchange of greetings, just slight nods as we turned and all four of us continued down the cobblestone road towards the forest that sat a couple of miles from the southern side of the town. We kept on walking in silence for a while till we were outside of earshot from anyone in the village. Fergus was the first to talk, but he was only interested in the scones. As we came over the first green hill, the deep forest came into view it coated the many hills among the horizon. And before we knew it, it was upon us, we were in the forest. The stone road turned to dirt and slowly got narrower as the first huge oaks