They walked through the trees, watching for any signs that Melody might still be watching. A tree would lean towards the ground as they passed now and then. A zap from a wand would send it standing tall again.
"She has managed to turn our own Forest against us. I just want one chance to end this all."
"Remember Ellie, she can hear us still, I am sure. These trees listen and she listens to them. Our oneness with nature right now is not helping us. I guess the plus for us is that the trees don't have eyes."
"We hope that they don't, Karen."
"Yes Jennifer, we hope."
The trail left by the fire was easy to follow. The erratic way that Alesha had run to try an escape it was obvious too. They walked until they found the opening from the forest to the "outside" world. A strong wind had started just as they were nearing the opening. All three were blown off their feet onto the ground.
"Stand together and do not let go of one another," Karen yelled above the thundering sounds of the wind. Trees reached down from the sky and struck them with their tops. Like giant whips, again and again they struck out at the girls. Some of the hits were like a knife cutting across their backs and arms. They could feel the blood seeping into their clothing.
"Don't let anything stop us! We have to close that opening before Melody kills us in our own safe place!"
Laughter filled the air all around them. The sound was so loud it hurt their ears. Jennifer let loose of the others hands to cover her ears. Immediately she was tossed into the trees behind them. As Ellie and Karen struggled to recapture her hands, they watched her body being dragged over the ground by an unseen force. Unseen but not unknown to either of them.
"Please, help me! I don't know what is happening!"
"It is Melody. She is trying to pull you from the trees! Mom's energy is still in the Forest. Melody's powers are weakened as long as she has to use them inside the trees! We won't let her take you, Jennifer. Trust us!"
"I do, Ellie...with my very life!"
Ellie stood up and faced the trees. She reached her wand out and touched a huge Cedar. The tree began to glow and lean forward towards the three witches.
"What are you doing, Ellie!?! They don't need any help getting to us!"
The tree began to wrap it's branches around all three of them. It leaned it's trunk towards the gaping hole in the forest. Ellie looked up at the huge tree.
"Mom, we need your help! We need you to move the trees to close the hole. Melody is trying to kill us. Please, help us."
Karen stared at Ellie as if she had lost her mind. She only looked away when she saw the trees begin to move their branches towards the hole. One by one they leaned. Ellie reached out and grabbed Jennifer's hands tight. The pull was strong and Ellie felt herself being moved towards the hole too.
"Karen, stop staring and grab my legs. Hurry!"
Jennifer's legs began to turn red as she was nearly to the opening. Small sparks came from them and she began to scream. The burning was getting worse as her feet left the confines of the Forest. Karen grabbed hold of Ellie's legs and leaned back. As Jennifer began to be pulled back into the Forest, the sparks stopped. The last of the trees leaned in and sealed the hole completely. The wind stopped immediately. Karen turned back to look at Ellie.
"Do you want to explain that one, please?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Mom!!!! I am talking about Mom! You called to her and the trees saved us. How did you know to do that?"
Ellie leaned down to begin dressing Jennifer's legs. Jennifer had passed out and was still laying motionless.
"Help me clean Jennifer up and listen. As you know, death for us occurs in stages. Not always do we move on to that final rest until things on earth are in order. Mom's energy was extremely powerful. She was able to remain close to this realm when she left. She told me in secret so it would not put anyone in jeopardy. She has done her own battles on her side of the realm."
"Battles? What kind of battles?"
"She has kept Anastasia from coming back and helping Melody. That in itself has been a non stop task for mom. But she is always near by to help us should we truly need her."
"Then why haven't we called on her before?"
"Each time we call on her, it weakens he hold on this realm. Eventually she would not be able to reach us to help."
"I understand now. Where do we go from here?"
"You are still the strongest witch in existence, Karen. Your energy can kill any witch you encounter, providing they are alone or have only a few followers. Melody will not attack us alone. We both know that. We have to have a plan and be ready for her when she does come. The trees will block the way in for now. I need you to place a concealing spell over the trees. You have the energy to do that. I do not. Melody will be able to get close to us but she won't have a way inside."
"And if she brings in a lot of help? How are we supposed to battle her? We have to expose ourselves to fight her."
"Yes we do. We will need more help. I think I know where I can get the energy we need to defeat her. Someone that is nearly equal to you in energy. You must understand something, Karen. Some of the things I have done, I did because this battle was predicted. The Elders knew it would come one day. We have been making all the preparations for it for a long time."
"And I was left out of the loop, why?"
"Because we knew that you would try to find a way to battle Melody alone. You would try to protect us as you have done so many times before. And you would have lost against her because she would never fight you one on one."
Lifting Jennifer, the sisters carried her to the cabin. Karen took time to honer the trees and all of nature. She then raised her wand and brought a covering over them. Snow began to fall over the forest and covered all of the trees and the ground. The cabin was covered also.
"Alright, that should keep us concealed from anyone looking for us, including Melody. It will buy us time to figure out how we can get this other witch here. The one with all the energy."
Ellie looked at Karen. Her eyes filled with tears. "Understand, Sis, there was no other way to do what I did. If you hate me for it, then I WILL live and die with that. We don't need to bring the witch here. She has been here all along."
"What are you talking about!?!? Tell me, damn you!!!"
"You can come out now," Ellie called towards the back room of the cabin. The door opened. Karen stared as the witch came to the opening. She stared for a moment and then fell to her knees. The world around her began to spin. Tears flooded her eyes and she convulsed as she wept. Nothing seemed real to her anymore. Everything about her world had just been turned upside down.
"I am sorry, Sis. The God's forgive me. I had no choice..."