Rory sat on the ground listening to the screaming in the distance. He covered his ears to try and dampen the raquet. After fifteen minutes the wailing stopped, Rory was dizzy with fatigue.
He tried to keep his eyes open but he just couldn’t, his eyelids were heavy. He fell asleep.
In his dreams he was flying high above this labyrinth, he soared to the top of the cavern and could see every part of the maze. He saw figures walking the paths of various routes, but what drove his eyes was the centre of the maze.
He saw a figure with golden hair sitting by a machine and massive amounts of straw. She was making the straw into gold and outside the centre wall was a mass of black. It’s head tilted upwards towards Rory’s figure and let out a horrible scream. The banshee was advancing fast towards Rory in the sky.
The one thing Rory heard in a deathly voice.
The banshee was just about to reach Rory, within an inch it was there. Rory woke up with a start.
As he awoke he felt a tingling sensation, he was disturbed by the feeling. It was in his left pocket, a small circular item. He had forgotten he had his compass!
He took the compass out and it’s hand was whizzing fast, so fast the compass was getting hot. Rory got up and started to walk the perimeter of the maze, he walked a good ten minutes until he came to an opening in the maze. The compass stopped.
Not knowing where to go but follow the compass, Rory felt it was a lifeline. He followed this path until the compass stopped. He took the right turn and he kept this on for a good 3 hours or so.
The compass had took him to the direct centre of the maze, however at the entrance Rory could see that banshee. It’s black mass covered most of the doorway, more impressive to Rory in his small stature. He could see two hands hooked to each wall and two legs gripped either side as well.
It was horrific to look at, two red eyes were searching by the entrance. Narrowed eyes penetrated into Rory’s soul, it sensed him here and it screeched, fantastically white fangs were seen. Rory’s heart shrank inside, the creature never let go of the wall.
How could he get past this thing. It was impossible, he had an idea. It was a bit of a longshot, the creature couldn’t see him but sense him. He picked up a small rock grain and threw it as far as he could.
The banshee immediately flew past with an immense scream. Then it went down the corridors searching. Rory had no time to lose, it would be back in a flash.
He ran straight through the entrance and there he saw that beautiful blonde woman yarning. The gold was exquisite. The woman was unconcerned with Rory, he looked around the room. There were massive straw piles which seemed to be replenished immediately. Rory hid in there, he could see the entrance opposite. Looking around he saw the woman was feeding the gold yarn wire down a well.
Thames’s his escape route.
Before he could think about going down he saw the banshee, her eyes were not red now but fire, Rory was not horrified now…he was petrified. The banshee went for the woman and started slashing and slaying the beautiful woman. She had blood seeping from her body and flowing towards Rory. The banshee kept on at the woman and did not stop for one second. The machine was broken, straw flew around the room in a whirlwind, the young woman’s dead eyes looked into Rory’s.
GO! YOU CANNOT SAVE ME MORTAL! IF I LEAVE THE WORLD WILL UNRAVEL!
As soon as she said that time seemed to rewind. The straw came back to original positions, the machine fixed itself and the young woman came alive and sat back to her work.
Rory didn’t think about it, he made a run for it. The banshee felt his presence and began to swipe for him. It was confused at his size and his invisibility, and with that luck was on Rory’s side. He jumped into the well, he tried to grab the golden thread but missed. He fell for what seemed forever but he grabbed the thread finally and was safe.
All around him it was pitch black, the only light was from the golden thread. Rory reached into his back pocket with a free hand and grabbed his torch. He turned it on and he saw fleshy like substance on the circular wall.
To his astonishment he pointed down and the light lit the bottom just five feet below. He jumped down and with a squelch there was a rumble. The golden thread went down into the ground presumably carrying on.
The circular wall was massive, Rory touched the walls and the substance was sticky. At the opposite side was a massive face, it’s eyes were closed until the light shone fully on it. Massive wide eyes opened, it squinted in the light.
“WHO ARE YOU?” It bellowed.
Rory was perplexed, could it see him? He was getting confused.
“Rory?” The creature looked confused “how did you get here? I suppose you want something?”
“I need to find the witch Margharta, the goddess Danu sent me onto this path” Rory explained not fully knowing what to expect.
The creatures eyes lit up.
“Danu! Oh how I dream of seeing her Rory!” The creature smiled weakly.
“Well, if you want to know, you are in the very heart of the Hawthorne tree. Tell the tree where you want to go and I will open the portal, I am the Guardian.” The creature explained.
“I want to go to the witch Margharta”
“Very well Rory, here is the portal” the creature looked to the left and a portal just Rory’s size opened up. It was a brilliant white and Rory had to shield his eyes. He turned his torch off.
“Thank you guardian”
And with that Rory entered, as he entered there she was the old hag. There was nothing but white, all Rory heard were the screams of a tormented soul. Shouting obscenities at a Constant, Rory was told by Margyle that this was the leprechaun.
Margharta looked at Rory and came straight over, she grasped him tightly.
“Who are you fiend? Friend or foe? Friend or foe? Friend or foe? You must be friend!” She looked away “or ye be foe. Did the trickster send ye?”
Rory knew now he was dealing with a mad woman, and a dangerous one at that.
He had to tread gently.