I felt something touch my cheek, and I curled myself together. I was still lying on the cold, dirty floor. The inside of my chest was sore and hurting. Every time I drew my breath, I could feel the painful movement of my lungs.
"Sunny?" a soft voice called. My mind welcomed this familiar sound, that reminded me of green forests, sunshine and safety. For a moment I lay still, and I saw in my mind's eye our small campsite, the clear stream and the friendly trees. I felt a tear run down my cheek, and I shook the image away. I turned to look at Katnip, and I realized that the owl spell was still working.
"How's your head?" I asked, making my chest hurt even more.
"It's okay... Still painful, but it has gotten a lot better since I woke up. But what happened to you? You've been unconcious for quite a while. I tried shaking you, but you wouldn't wake up."
I didn't go into details.
We sat in silence for several minutes. I was leaning my head on Katnip's shoulder, and she was lightly leaning her head on mine.
"I have read that people in prison tend to sing" Katnip said flatly.
"Well, it certainly can't do any harm" I replied, "It's not like there's anyone here."
"You know a good song?"
I thought for a moment. I tried to think of something cheerful, but the dark hole that was about to swallow me would not allow such inappropriate behavior.
"I don't know a good song, but any song would be better than nothing, right? You do know "My Lady, My Lady"?"
"Ah, yes I do remember that one" Katnip said, snapping her fingers.
We straightened up, and I started humming the fast paced melody and Katnip began singing. After the first chorus, I joined in.
"Alone and hopeful I wander the night
My desire is flowering
But extinguished is my only light
Deep inside a dark forest
I seek company, anything will do
For a maiden I am scouring
My love is a toxic brew
It is a curse I am in love with
In this dark night
Eyes watching my every move
But they are not the eyes
of my love, I don't approve
I am kneeling all alone, confessing
To all the forest's creatures
My love to you is a knife in my heart
Blind to the message of the preachers
In this forbidden night I swear,
I will always love you
You are water, fire, earth and air
To my desperate heart
Oh, my love, my only true love
Like a nightmare I cannot escape
Oh my lady, my lady
Your beauty is a sweet temptation
I cannot flee
You hold my fate in your hands
I give in, I have to
It is a curse I am in love with
In this dark night
Alone and hopeful I wander the night
Drowning in my own emotions, I try to swim But my love to you is an inescapable blight My boils of love are itching, I give in and scratch
I will love through my whole life,
and when I die I will haunt you
Begging you to be my wife
Until the day you lie cold, in the ground rotting away"
"I can't say it helped..." I told Katnip.
"No, but it's a start... Do you know any other songs?"
We started thinking. But as the silence descended we heard something. It sounded like humming. We both went over to the prison bars and peeked down the hall as far as we could. Somebody was humming the melody we had just sung. We looked at each other in surprise.
"Hello?" I called. "Anyone there?"
I was baffled by the response.
"Are you a prisoner?" I asked.
"Sure is. Been stuck here for quite some time now. See "ladies" don't wear pants. But I like pants. They're comfy. And when you're climbing a nice, big tree they don't show off your panties. But that's also something ladies don't say. "Panties" is a bad word. Y'see, it's called lingerie."
"Anyways, what did you do to get down here? Thought I was the only one getting sent here."
"You've been here before? And gotten out again?" I asked surprised.
"Yeah, I go to this school... And every time I do something bad, they send me down here. It's not really official that they use these old tunnels, but you know... With me out of the way every time some inspector comes around, everything looks more... neat. But they do let me out after a couple of days."
"Well, I doubt they'll let us out…"
"What did you do?"
"Well, there was this sermon… And it sort of ended in a massacre."
"You massacred a bunch of people? How'd you do that? Sorry if I offend you or something, but you don't really sound dangerous."
"No, no! We didn't do it! The priest did… He wanted to get rid of all the Witches."
"Witches? What? That can't be right, you see we don't have Witches."
"He made a big point out of Witches hiding amongst you, and unfortunately we chose this night to sneak into town."
"Oh," the "lady" said, sounding surprised. "You're not from around here?"
"No, we're Wiccans… We are actually just travelling through. We put up a small campsite near Whiteheath."
"Huh." The response made me nervous. What would this person think of us now? Nobody said anything for a while.
"So," Lady said. "You do magic?"
"Yeah, kind of," I replied. "But we don't know any spells that will get us out of here." I felt myself panicking again. Even with our bags, we had failed. We would be trapped here until someone decided to finish us off. I turned to Katnip and we embraced each other. Suddenly the lady from the other cell spoke:
"Can't you just make one?"
"M-m-make one?" I stuttered.
"Oh, Sunny, that's brilliant!" Katnip's eyes were shining at me as she grabbed my shoulder and turned me around so that I was facing her. "You can make spells! I've seen you doing it before!"
"Well, yes, but..." I was not as excited as she was. True, I had made spells before, but only minor spells that were more like party-tricks – never anything as serious as breaking out of a prison.
"No matter what, it would not hurt trying, would it?" Katnip asked, hopefully.
"No, I guess not... But where to start? I don't even know what I want the spell to do... And if we're not careful as to what we wish for, these things can actually go wrong"
"I'll help you go through it, but you should start now. We don't know how much time we've got"
I started thinking of what I wanted the spell to do. Bend the bars? Make us fit through the space between them? I looked around to try to find inspiration. If had had a bottle of animal hair, we could shift, but we were too young to carry such things. I had never wished to be grown-up and fully trained so badly before. I wanted us to disappear without leaving a trace. It was so dark in here that a normal human would have trouble seeing if there was anyone in the cell or not. But that meant that bending the bars would not be an option. I thought of my cats at home and how they always seemed to get through the slimmest openings. And then, finally, I got a good idea.