Did she really fall off the stupid horse? It felt like she had fallen off a rooftop. Slowly, she got up off the ground. It wasn’t the ground she was riding across a while ago. Something was different; the whole area was different. Thick trees, and lush grass surrounded her and it was dead quiet.
“No. It couldn’t be…” She whispered to herself, as she slowly got up and brushed the grass and pine needles off her clothing. She then remembered. She had left the door open… and it was a full moon. She spotted the warhorse a few yards over, happily grazing. She whistled to him and he came trotting up to her.
“Well boy, where ever we are; we best go find someone who can find your master.” She said as she climbed up on him. She definitely wasn’t anywhere near home. Where, she did not know exactly yet. To her fascination, some how the stupid blue door still worked even with her just in her backyard. It bewildered her.
She found a path and diligently kept to it, yet the more they rode down it, the longer it seemed to go. Animals seemed to hop or leap out of nowhere as the trotted along. Her steed wasn’t even bothered. They came to a crossing in the road. There was a sign, she couldn’t read it. It was in a language very not familiar to her, she decided to go to the right, as the path looked more traveled that direction. Perhaps there was a town or something up above. She only hoped.
They rounded a bend in the road and she came upon a familiar sight. A church. The church looked like the one in the village that she lived in or just moved to. But something about the little church was vaguely different. It was actually busy and it seemed a bit more new, or in much better keep. She rode the horse up to what looked like a hitching post and jumped off. She felt bad tying him by the reins, but that was all she had. She had always been told that was a no no in the back home in California… but she had nothing else to secure the horse with. She hope he minded his manners. There were a few people tending the church garden, they all seemed to stop and do what they were doing once they saw her making her way towards the church. As she walked she studied their clothes and quiet quickly realized, this was not home, or time, or even close. Most definitely the Middle Ages, actually quite early Middle Ages by looking at the gardeners clothes. There was nothing elaborate about their modest outfits and they actually seemed to look at her in fear. A thought raced across her mind, she soon dismissed it and kept walking to the big large wooden doors.
She pushed open the doors, they were quiet heavy. To her surprise there was a group of nun’s praying at the front of the church. She stopped in her footsteps in astonishment. One of the nuns stood up. Her clothing was a bit more regal than the rest. She spun around and dropped her rosary.
“His Holiness, what have you brought to our church?” She looked Clarise up and down and gasped.
“A witch…” She gasped as she held her hand over her mouth in shock.
Clarise didn’t know what to say or do. She stood frozen in the isle. Just what she needed… to be called a witch and all she did was walk in to a church. But in modern clothing. This was going to be interesting.
The head mistress or prioress swiftly grabbed Clarise by the arm and started to haul her out of the small church. Her grip was tight.
“Please, I am looking for someone…I am not a witch.” she said in slight panic, pleading with her accuser.
“Witch or no witch dear, you are frightening my sisters and we must see to it. We have never seen the likes of you and it is quite out of the ordinary.” She said curtly. Clarise wasn’t exactly thrilled.
“Where are you taking me? I am looking for someone; he left his horse at my cottage. Sir Mortimer... Ugh, let go of me!” Clarise stood her ground and pulled away from the prioress as hard as she could and fell backwards loosing her balance and falling to the hard stone floor. The prioress stood still for a moment gazing down at her.
“Sir Mortimer? How do you know him? He is back from crusade?” She asked as Clarise slowly got up and faced her.
“Crusade? What crusade? Please don’t tell me… what year is it?” She asked out of curiosity.
“The year of our Lord 1191. The Pope has called crusade. Many have gone, many have not come back. This will be good news for his father. He has quite missed him. His dear wife died a few years back; he has been very lonely since. Please follow me.”
The prioress’s voice changed and was now more civil and a bit more welcoming. Clarise thought maybe she was in the clear and wasn’t going to be lynched, as she followed the prioress to the back of the church and down a small path, hidden from view from people passing by, to a small garden or courtyard.
“Alright. I apologize for calling you a ‘witch.’ I had to get you out and away from the others as fast as I could. I know where you are from. There have been others like you, as well over time. For at least as long as I can remember. There is magic in those woods you were in. I am surprised Sir Mortimer, or as we all call him, Rowan found it. Otherwise, you would not be here. His parents always tried to keep him away from and out of those woods. He would go there as a boy, I have always kept an eye out for him, as best as I could. I know that is how he found you. I know where you are from, as I came from your time as well.” She said softly as she sat down on a bench near by.
Clarise didn’t know what to say. She was in awe.
“Your from my home, my time? How?” Clarise was taken by surprise.
“Your house has a portal. It has been around for as long as those stones have been laid on the foundation of your house. It’s old Druid magic, dear. I suggest you keep what I have told you to yourself. I have some peasant clothes that you can have, so you blend in or look more at home. Do not go to the village or the manor house like you are. Some will not take kindly to it. I also do not know how his lordship will act as well.”
Clarise nodded her head and took the advice as a warning.
“I need to take the horse back to Sir Mortimer. I am sure he misses him…” Clarise said as she turned towards the path wanting to go back and make sure her steed was still tied to the post.
“I will help you take him back. Yet I am going to be honest with you; we might not be able to get you back home. Those that I have known, have ended up staying, as they can’t find the portal back or have nothing to take them back.” The prioress said as she placed her hand on Clarise’s shoulder.
Clarise put her hand in her pocket of her jeans. The key was there.
“But I have this? It’s the key to my door…” She said as she handed it to the prioress.
“Where did you get this? We all have heard tales that there was a key of sorts to the portal. But never have seen one until now.” The prioress studied the key that Clarise had with great interest.
“This is a good thing. Keep it safe. This may eventually help you. How I do not know. But obviously you are closer to getting back to your home than the others.” Clarise wondered who “the others” were and how many had come to pass into this realm.
“The agent who sold me the house had it. It opens the door and locks it nothing else, but I think it is magic or something. It is not ordinary. Both times the portal worked was when it was a full moon and I used this key on the door. Even when Rowan left. I closed the door out of habit that night and he was gone the next morning. But the horse, stayed in my barn.”
“Poor steed was probably too far away for the magic to work and he got left behind.” The prioress followed.
“What did you do to go back to my time? Back home? I am a veterinarian for animals mainly horses. I am not sure what I am going to do here...” Clarise started, as panic and uncertainty started to seep in to her mind.
“Ah a doctor of sorts. I was a teacher. I used to help many in the village with schoolwork after school, as well as help run the school in the village. Do you know if the school is still there? It would have been next to this church. It well looked many years older.” She asked, her eyes looking sad as she remembered her past life before, this one.
“I believe so… yes…” Clarise struggled to remember the town back in her time. She hadn’t lived there too long, maybe a few months before she bought the house.
“There are times, I miss where we are from, but then sometimes not. Things are simpler here you will see. Yet other times and most often, very harsh. Life is so much more fragile.” She continued.