"Dad has been outside for too long, Mom. We need to get him back inside as soon as we can. Aunt Ellie, can you hear anything from the trees?"
"I know that someone has died outside but it isn't your father. I know melody is the one that killed the witch. Give me a moment."
"We don't have a moment, Ellie! Derek could be dead already!"
"Karen, you and I both would know if he died."
"Really Ellie!? Because I sure didn't know he was Alive while you hid him from me!"
"Shhhh. The trees are whispering." Ellie listened closely. Her expressions left no telling of what she was hearing. She nodded quickly. "Thank you Nature. Blessings on you."
"What did they say?"
"She is standing not ten feet from the opening. If we reach out to grab Derek, Melody will follow. If we don't... Derek will be dead in a minute or less, Karen."
"Then we have no choice. Open the door! We will face Melody. We knew we would have to sooner or later! Open the trees. Ellie!"
"Sis, it will put all of us in danger. We could all die! Derek went out there knowing he might not come back."
"Open the trees!!!!!!! Open them now or I will go get him myself!"
"Mom, I love Daddy so much but Aunt Ellie is right. We are not ready!"
"Then by the Goddesses, you get ready Daughter! I am not leaving your father out there to die! Not by That witches hand!!!"
Karen flung the front door open to the cabin. The trees leaned in to try to hold her inside.
"Damn you Ellie, move those trees Now!!!!"
"It isn't me, Karen, it's Mom. She says she will protect Derek until the witches get inside."
"What witches? What are you talking about!?!?!?"
"Derek has witches that are turning from Melody. Let Mom and Derek do what they need to do! We will need all of our energy when we face Melody."
Karen stood in the doorway and cried.
"Derek, listen to me. I am going to shield you until the good witches are inside. You must distract Melody for a moment."
Derek knew Michelle's voice. He stood as Melody was moving her wand. "Wait! Let me at least stand near my wife and children if I am going to die. I will have them open the door for me. I will say it's safe. Please let me die with them."
Melody studied Derek for a moment. She wanted him dead, but she wanted the one that killed her mother more. She could have it all if she waited for a moment more.
"I will burn a hole right through you if you try anything! One hit, one hole! Understand???"
Derek nodded and led Melody away from the door. As she followed, witches began to be sucked into the trees behind them. One by one, those refusing to follow Melody entered the Forest. Karen and Ellie were standing just inside the trees to help them through. As the last witch passed through, Derek suddenly began to fade away again. Melody stopped and looked behind her.
"Damn you! I will Kill you now!" As she turned to face Derek he faded totally from her sight. Melody raced to where the last witches were disappearing. She tossed her wand at the last witch. The witches body lit afire. As she reached the door, she shoved the burning witch from the gap. Entering the trees, she began to swing her wand around. The first burst of energy struck Ellie in the chest. She was tossed into the trees and fell to the ground, un-moving. Jennifer stepped forward. She was quickly joined by Jessica and Mark. She swung her wand again and Jessica raised her hands. The energy was deflected into the trees. They were set afire and burned hot and un-relenting. Skin was scorched and witches scattered. As Melody prepared to send another energy burst, Karen stepped forward.
"No!!!! This is between you and I, Melody. If you defeat me, you can do your best with the others!"
"Fine witch, let's finish this!" The other witches gathered behind their leaders. Half circles were formed and wands were held out in front of them. As the energy bursts came out of Karen and Melody's wands, they were knocked away. The witches behind melody began to use their wands. The Forest looked like a fireworks factory had exploded. Witches on both sides were falling to the ground. Bodies were strewn all over the forest. Karen turned to reach for Jessica as a burst struck her. Melody sent two bursts at Karen and knocked her off her feet. Her wand fell to the ground.
"Now little witch, you will pay for my mothers death!" Melody lowered her wand into Karen's face. "Say goodbye, witch."
Ellie suddenly appeared and leaped in between Karen's body and the burst of energy. It ripped through her body like a rocket.
"No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o, Ellie!!!!! God, no-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!" Karen watched as her sisters body burned.
"No more!" A voice echoed through the trees. "It ends here Melody!" The witches watched as Michelle's image moved to Ellie. "I will absorb all your injuries, daughter. You will be whole. Stand with your sister and Niece. I will not be able to speak with you ever again. I love you all."
As Ellie's body healed, the witches took each others hands. They turned the wands towards Melody and her followers. A burst of energy ignited from their wands. It struck Melody directly. She was tossed to the ground. Her strength stopped the burst from killing her. She layed on the ground. Karen walked up to her.
"We can be finished now. Let it end, Melody. Relinquish your wand and be done. Please."
"Not ever, witch!" Melody lifted her wand. All the witches that were behind Melody fled the forest, dropping their wands as they ran. Energy flew from Melody's wand knocking Mark and Derek off their feet. Karen and Jessica joined hands with Ellie. melody pointed her wand once more. A huge cedar, ten feet from them all suddenly leaned forward. It covered Melody's body and knocked the wand from her hand. The tree continued to lean until bones were heard snapping. Melody screamed out and then... all was silent again.
"Thank you, my friend" was all Karen could say. The tree once again stood tall.
As the weeks went by, witches from all across the land came to listen to Karen and Ellie speak. New alliances were built, old ones repaired. Karen and her family settled in the comfort of the very forest that had saved their lives. Ellie came to visit as often as she could. Jessica listened and learned from her mother. Nature and all around them was right again.
Sometimes, while walking through the Forest, Karen would stop and smile. A gentle breeze would touch her face. "I love you, Mom. I feel you," was whispered through out the forest.