The dream snatcher part1

PROLOGUE

There are footprints in the snow,sunken marks picked out by the moonlight. They weave a path through the forest, round the ring of ancient oak trees and on towards the wooden hut. But there they stop, and smoke curling out of the chimney is the only sign that anyone is inside. Seven cloaked figures sit round a table, their hoods pulled up despite the fire crackling in the grate. At first, they whispers fade, heads drop and lips curl back. A chant begins. There are no words, just grunted sounds scratching at the back of throats. One of the figures pushes back her hood and long grey hair falls about her shoulders. ‘Not this!’ she cries. ‘You said it wouldn’t be this …’ She shakes her head and makes as if to stand. ‘I-I won’t do it. It’s not right!’ But the others surround her, closing in like hungry shadows. They force the old woman towards the fire and, though her legs scrabble beneath her and her arms grope for the table, the flames loom closer. ‘Not my hands!’ She sobs. ‘Please, no!’