The Beast And The Blessed
The Warrior and The Witch – One: Joselin
Joselin’s P.O.V. 11 years old
The throbbing in my head forced a whimper from my lips, and the cold night air made me shiver as it
grazed over my body.
I had never fallen asleep with my window open before. My parents would have killed me if they knew I
had managed to pry the nails free of the wood for fresh air. I had always been vigilant in ensuring I only
left it open for a few minutes at a time so they would never catch me. Yet, the smell of fresh pine on the
breeze told me I had failed tonight.
My body fought against me, wanting to return to my deep slumber where there was no cold or pain.
Only my blanket was gone, and my mattress was hard and freezing. My eyes shot open with panic as I
felt someone pulling on my leg.
My vision was blurry, and my head spun as I grimaced from the blinding agony that crippled me when I
tried to move. The pain only worsened when I attempted to look down, unable to see who was touching
me. Very few ever did.
Their rough hands gripped my calf tightly, and I kicked in an attempt to free myself from their hold.
Their hands were too large to be my mother’s, and my father hadn’t ever touched me. I was their
He called me the devil.
I was their curse to carry and their secret to bury.
’Stop moving!” A voice snapped, and my head shot back painfully against the solid surface beneath
me, hitting an already sensitive spot that I hadn’t remembered injuring.
I had an idea of what was happening. My parents used to call in men dressed in black who told me
they were there to purge me of the demon in my body. They would tie me to my bed frame, chant and
yell while splashing me with water.
But this was different.
The cold metal dug into my skin as the woman clasped the object around my ankle, pulling my leg until
it was straight. I blinked several times as the world around me started to become clear. The dark night
sky was illuminated by the bright glow of the moon above us, and I froze in a moment of panic when I
realized I was outside and not in my bed as I had assumed.
I wasn’t allowed outside.
I remembered my mother walking in to tell me it was lights out like she always did, and then there was
nothing. No memory of getting ready for bed or lying down under my blanket.
Had I been sleepwalking? Was this to be my punishment for disobeying the rules?
“Joselin, don’t worry, sweetie. We’re here to make you better.” A softer voice said, and I flinched when
the old, wrinkled hand moved over my face to tuck my hair behind my ear, prying the strand away that
had been stuck to the wetness on my cheek.
I turned my head away, trying to press it into the flat rock beneath me. But I had nowhere to go as she
used her thumb to lift my eyelid as far up as she could, exposing the pure white underneath. It was the
reason my parents had been seeking help. The lack of color in my eyes was not like theirs. They didn’t
like that, never mind what I could do… the powers I had.
I wasn’t allowed to use them. It was one of the rules. One of the many rules. My parents said it was the
most important one. No magic.
The second one was that I was not allowed to leave the house or be seen by anyone. The only people
who knew about me were the people who came to fight the demon. They had been in a long losing
I cried out in terror as they cut my clothes from my body. My mother caught my eye as she stood,
silently crying, next to my father as she watched another woman grab my head and force me to face
the full moon above me.
My limbs pulled and jerked against their restraints as I frantically tried to get to my parents and away
from the women surrounding me. “Mommy!”
I didn’t understand why I was being punished.
’I followed the rules! Mommy, I followed the rules!” I screamed as the stranger dug the tip of the blade
into my skin. “No! Ah!”
Searing pain shot up my arm as the woman dragged the metal across my skin, chanting loudly in a
language I didn’t understand. My scream echoed into the night for hours, drowning out the women
performing their ritual. Until it stopped, and I was left panting and sobbing.
My quiet begging for freedom and forgiveness was ignored as the women placed both hands on my
body. I could feel them burrowing and moving through my bloodstream. I didn’t like it. I had followed the
My body went numb, blocking out the searing pain that covered almost every inch of my flesh. The only
thing I could feel were the string-like tethers stemming from the witches holding and invading my body.
’Don’t worry, dear. We are going to get this out of you.” The old woman croaked, sounding giddy yet
strained as she gripped my arm tighter.
I didn’t want them to get it out of me. My parents may have seen my gift as evil, but I loved having it.
My powers had been given to me for a reason.
All the men who came to exorcise the demon out of me had never come close. But they had also never
done anything like this. They never cut my skin.
But these witches… these witches scared me. They hurt me. I didn’t understand why they needed to
draw my blood.
I could feel them working their way into my mind and soul. My eyes stayed shut tight as I tried to resist,
but it felt like they were a part of me now. No matter how hard I tried to push them away, they only
wound deeper into me.
So, I let them in.
It was like opening a door, one I unknowingly could never close again. The bright and strong feeling of
magic washed over me, and I focused on it, pulling from it to get the strength to break free and escape.
“What are you doing?” The older woman snapped, grabbing my jaw and forcing me to look at her. My
eyes opened, and I gasped as I could see the darkness of her greedy soul in the depths of her eyes.
“You ungrateful bitch! ■
She tried to pull her hand away, but I tightened my hold on the imaginary strings connecting us.
I needed it. I needed to follow the tether to get to the hypnotizing, swirling light filled with magic. There
wasn’t a doubt in my mind that if I could get to that ball of light, I would be freed from darkness and
Then the strings started growing thicker, burning brighter in my mind, and I pulled them to me faster as
I tried to follow them to the source. I could hear the women screaming, their hands dropping from my
body as they let out their displeasure, but I couldn’t stop fighting.
I didn’t deserve this punishment. I had followed the rules.
My grip loosened when I reached the end of the strings. The light grew brighter than anything I had
ever seen before. Then, it faded to black. I didn’t move for several minutes, enjoying the warmth
traveling through my body. But it washed away, leaving me cold, wet, and in agony.
My eyes opened to see the moon had moved further across the sky. The metal chains suddenly went
slack with the sound of them falling to the ground.
I sat up slowly, crying out in pain as I looked around. My mother and father were still standing there
staring in horror. I had expected my mother to run to me, happy that I was okay. But she just stood
there with her wide eyes and a shaking hand over her mouth.
“That isn’t possible,” My father whispered, but I ignored him as I stepped forward on shaky legs.
It was a mistake as my mother flinched back against my dad’s side, and he quickly drew his gun from
his waistband. The barrel was pointed at me, and I stopped, confused.
“Daddy? Mommy?” My voice trembled as the cold night air hit my wet skin, and I glanced down to see
my pale body covered in blood. “I was good. Why did you let them hurt me?”
My soft insistence that I didn’t deserve my punishment this time was followed by me taking another
step closer and my parents taking two back in response.
“Do it.” My mother voiced as she gripped my father’s shirt tightly in her fists. “Do it, Harold!”
The firing of the gun echoed through the trees, and the small bead of metal twisted through the air,
stopping inches from my face. My breathing became more labored as I stared at the floating object.
This wasn’t a punishment. This was an execution.
’You tried to kill me.” My whisper came out quieter than I had intended, but they heard me as they
flinched. My stomach dropped to my toes as I glanced between my parents, not understanding why
there were doing this.
“Harold,” My mother pleaded, and he pulled the trigger once more.
I lifted my arm in front of my face like a shield, my eyes widening as the two bullets meant for me shot
backward toward my parents. The metal left a small hole in the center of their foreheads, and their
bodies dropped a second later.
One glance behind me confirmed that the three witches lay lifeless on the ground around the stone
slab they had tied me down. My heart hammered in my chest, and the world spun around me.
Dead. They were all dead. I had killed them.
“No, no, no….” My voice trembled as I stared in horror at my parents. I hadn’t meant to hurt them.
My stomach turned as I stumbled back.
It had been instinct to run, an instinct to hide so I wouldn’t get into trouble. My bare feet tripped and
stumbled over the uneven forest floor, getting gouged and sliced open by the twigs and rocks I stepped
The sun had just risen when I heard something large dashing through the forest, followed by voices. I
knew I wouldn’t have been able to get away with it. Someone would have found the bodies eventually
and traced them back to me.
My head whipped back and forth as I tried to find safety. The closest thing within my sight was a large
hollow tree on its side, just big enough for me to scamper inside. The moss covering the wood was wet,
and I avoided touching it as best I could until I had gone as far as I could fit. My knees were to my
chest, and I kept my head down, facing the opening as I waited with terror.
Eventually, a shadow passed over the entrance.
I held my breath, counting to twenty, before letting it back out as quietly as possible.
But they still found me. I jumped when a boy around my age popped his head into the opening of my
sanctuary. His deep brown eyes made me feel safe, and I lifted my head slightly as he moved to be
fully in the entrance.
“That’s a lot of blood.” He stated, staring down at me before shaking his head and holding his hand out
in my direction. I could hear other people surrounding the log, and I pushed myself further against the
Almost everyone who had ever seen me had been terrified. But when he looked into my eyes, he
smiled. “You’re safe. You can come out now. I’ve got you. I’m Tobias.”
Little did I know that I would spend the rest of my life hopelessly in love with that boy but never able to
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