The wind played with the loose strands of Catharine’s hair as she settled down at the base of an ash tree. She leaned back against the sturdy trunk and with what was left of her strength reached down and began to unbutton her shoes. Laying the well worn heels aside, she flexed her toes as the feeling in her feet slowly returned. It’s not long now, surely it can’t be too far.
She reached into the inside pocket of her coat and consulted a hastily written note. The directions were vague at best but Catharine estimated that they were within a four miles of their destination.
“Anne, if we start now I think we could be there by sunset” her words breaking the unnatural silence that surrounded them. “Anne?”
Catharine thought it a odd when Anne did not respond the second and third times that she called. So she dragged herself up and rounded the tree to where Anne was sitting- propped up against the trunk just as Catharine herself was moments before. “Anne” she whispered again. Drawing closer Catharine realised her exhausted younger sister had fallen asleep. Her arms encircling a large heavy coat much like a child would cling to their favourite blanket. Catharine knew Anne would ever let go of the dirty old coat, it was the last thing Strang had given her.
"It's okay Anne, just sleep" she whispered. Timing was crucial and she knew they really had to keep moving but seeing the pain etched in Anne’s face she didn’t have the heart to wake her. I suppose it can’t hurt to rest for just a short while.
Turning back Catharine resumed her position under the ash tree. The sun had shifted; its rays were now trickling through the leaves. Resting her head against the trunk before closing her eyes she allowed her mind to drift between the memories and events of the past eight weeks. Visions of joyful days were interrupted by flashes of painful events. Pulling her legs tightly into her chest she hoped to dull the continuous ache in her heart. I have to be strong. Come on Catharine...think of the happy things. There are still things to be thankful for. She opened her soft brown eyes directing them to the plain yet beautiful ring on her left hand. That was something she should be both happy and grateful for yet- all is did was serve as a bitter reminder of what once was and what could have been and with silent tears streaming down her face she fell into a troubled yet deep sleep.