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Barnum

Over the River and Through the Woods

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Lucy awoke first. She was still laying on top of the church girl. She smelled like sweat and blood. In just a second, Agnes started to stir too. They were both back in their right minds now, and they were both in terrible pain. Some of the pain was from their injuries. But some of the pain was from the cold biting wind and the . . .

Snow?

Both of the girls were outside, lying in the snow. Above them was a dark gray sky. The girls were in a small snow covered clearing, and all around them were trees. Nothing looked familiar.

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Lucy awoke first. She was still laying on top of the church girl. She smelled like sweat and blood. In just a second, Agnes started to stir too. They were both back in their right minds now, and they were both in terrible pain. Some of the pain was from their injuries. But some of the pain was from the cold biting wind and the . . .

Snow?

Both of the girls were outside, lying in the snow. Above them was a dark gray sky. The girls were in a small snow covered clearing, and all around them were trees. Nothing looked familiar.

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Lucy awoke first. She was still laying on top of the church girl. She smelled like sweat and blood. In just a second, Agnes started to stir too. They were both back in their right minds now, and they were both in terrible pain. Some of the pain was from their injuries. But some of the pain was from the cold biting wind and the . . .

Snow?

Both of the girls were outside, lying in the snow. Above them was a dark gray sky. The girls were in a small snow covered clearing, and all around them were trees. Nothing looked familiar.

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"Oh my god," Lucy muttered.

She pushed herself up on one hand and covered her mouth with the other. Agnes' face was right below hers, and Lucy got a good look at the carnage from their inexplicable fight. The church girl looked bad. Her hair was stained with blood, and large chunks of clotted blood were smeared across her mouth and nose. Her eyes were closed.

"Oh my god," she repeated.

Lucy quickly sat up, but then realized she was still straddling the church girl. She scrambled sideways, trying not to injure Agnes any more than she already was, and fell butt first into the snow.

"Oh my god . . ."

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"Oh my god," Lucy muttered.

She pushed herself up on one hand and covered her mouth with the other. Agnes' face was right below hers, and Lucy got a good look at the carnage from their inexplicable fight. The church girl looked bad. Her hair was stained with blood, and large chunks of clotted blood were smeared across her mouth and nose. Her eyes were closed.

"Oh my god," she repeated.

Lucy quickly sat up, but then realized she was still straddling the church girl. She scrambled sideways, trying not to injure Agnes any more than she already was, and fell butt first into the snow.

"Oh my god . . ."

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"Oh my god," Lucy muttered.

She pushed herself up on one hand and covered her mouth with the other. Agnes' face was right below hers, and Lucy got a good look at the carnage from their inexplicable fight. The church girl looked bad. Her hair was stained with blood, and large chunks of clotted blood were smeared across her mouth and nose. Her eyes were closed.

"Oh my god," she repeated.

Lucy quickly sat up, but then realized she was still straddling the church girl. She scrambled sideways, trying not to injure Agnes any more than she already was, and fell butt first into the snow.

"Oh my god . . ."

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Agnes didn't speak as she tried to sit up. She just stared, wide-eyed, at Lucy. Her head was still throbbing, and she was having trouble remembering the last few minutes.

"Did I...?" The realization was setting in, and when she saw Lucy's mangled lip, she gasped: "Are you okay?"

With her head still spinning Agnes tried to jump up to go help the obviously injured rich girl, but her legs gave way from under her and she fell into the snow beside her.

"Where are we?" she asked, picking up a fist full of snow.

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Agnes didn't speak as she tried to sit up. She just stared, wide-eyed, at Lucy. Her head was still throbbing, and she was having trouble remembering the last few minutes.

"Did I...?" The realization was setting in, and when she saw Lucy's mangled lip, she gasped: "Are you okay?"

With her head still spinning Agnes tried to jump up to go help the obviously injured rich girl, but her legs gave way from under her and she fell into the snow beside her.

"Where are we?" she asked, picking up a fist full of snow.

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Agnes didn't speak as she tried to sit up. She just stared, wide-eyed, at Lucy. Her head was still throbbing, and she was having trouble remembering the last few minutes.

"Did I...?" The realization was setting in, and when she saw Lucy's mangled lip, she gasped: "Are you okay?"

With her head still spinning Agnes tried to jump up to go help the obviously injured rich girl, but her legs gave way from under her and she fell into the snow beside her.

"Where are we?" she asked, picking up a fist full of snow.

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“I don’t know,†Lucy said, shaking her head. She picked up a handful of snow herself to make sure it was real. With the voice of the shadow gone, Lucy was baffled at how strongly she had wanted to hurt the church girl just a few minutes before. Those feelings were entirely vanished.

Lucy stood to her feet and offered her hand to Agnes to help her up as well. “Are you okay?†she asked. “You look….bad.â€Â

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“I don’t know,†Lucy said, shaking her head. She picked up a handful of snow herself to make sure it was real. With the voice of the shadow gone, Lucy was baffled at how strongly she had wanted to hurt the church girl just a few minutes before. Those feelings were entirely vanished.

Lucy stood to her feet and offered her hand to Agnes to help her up as well. “Are you okay?†she asked. “You look….bad.â€Â

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“I don’t know,†Lucy said, shaking her head. She picked up a handful of snow herself to make sure it was real. With the voice of the shadow gone, Lucy was baffled at how strongly she had wanted to hurt the church girl just a few minutes before. Those feelings were entirely vanished.

Lucy stood to her feet and offered her hand to Agnes to help her up as well. “Are you okay?†she asked. “You look….bad.â€Â

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Agnes took Lucy’s hand. The world was still swimming a little, but Agnes was starting to feel better. He legs held her weight, and she could stand with Lucy’s help.

“I’m okay,†she said. Agnes reached up and touched her nose. “Ouch!†It was swollen and bloody. She looked around at Lucy and at the surrounding trees. Agnes had no answers and nothing to say. She was totally speechless.

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Agnes took Lucy’s hand. The world was still swimming a little, but Agnes was starting to feel better. He legs held her weight, and she could stand with Lucy’s help.

“I’m okay,†she said. Agnes reached up and touched her nose. “Ouch!†It was swollen and bloody. She looked around at Lucy and at the surrounding trees. Agnes had no answers and nothing to say. She was totally speechless.

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Agnes took Lucy’s hand. The world was still swimming a little, but Agnes was starting to feel better. He legs held her weight, and she could stand with Lucy’s help.

“I’m okay,†she said. Agnes reached up and touched her nose. “Ouch!†It was swollen and bloody. She looked around at Lucy and at the surrounding trees. Agnes had no answers and nothing to say. She was totally speechless.

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As the girls contemplated their predicament, the bitter cold continued to burry itself deep into their bodies, gnawing at their very bones. A sharp wind blew out of the trees and into the clearing accompanied by a distinct howling noise. But as the wind died down, the howling continued . . . and seemed to be growing closer. In fact, it sounded like it was coming from just inside the dense woods right behind them.

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As the girls contemplated their predicament, the bitter cold continued to burry itself deep into their bodies, gnawing at their very bones. A sharp wind blew out of the trees and into the clearing accompanied by a distinct howling noise. But as the wind died down, the howling continued . . . and seemed to be growing closer. In fact, it sounded like it was coming from just inside the dense woods right behind them.

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As the girls contemplated their predicament, the bitter cold continued to burry itself deep into their bodies, gnawing at their very bones. A sharp wind blew out of the trees and into the clearing accompanied by a distinct howling noise. But as the wind died down, the howling continued . . . and seemed to be growing closer. In fact, it sounded like it was coming from just inside the dense woods right behind them.

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Instinctively, Lucy began backing away from the howling, and she pulled the church girl with her. The cold wind cut through her flimsy dress and burned her skin with it's cold caress. Lucy was shivering violently, but she didn't notice. All her attention was focused on the line of trees and the approaching howling.

"Lets get out of here!" she said, and gave Agnes' arm a tug, but there was nowhere to go except into the trees on the other side. That didn't feel safe at all. "What are we going to do?" she asked, panic rising in her voice.

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Instinctively, Lucy began backing away from the howling, and she pulled the church girl with her. The cold wind cut through her flimsy dress and burned her skin with it's cold caress. Lucy was shivering violently, but she didn't notice. All her attention was focused on the line of trees and the approaching howling.

"Lets get out of here!" she said, and gave Agnes' arm a tug, but there was nowhere to go except into the trees on the other side. That didn't feel safe at all. "What are we going to do?" she asked, panic rising in her voice.

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Instinctively, Lucy began backing away from the howling, and she pulled the church girl with her. The cold wind cut through her flimsy dress and burned her skin with it's cold caress. Lucy was shivering violently, but she didn't notice. All her attention was focused on the line of trees and the approaching howling.

"Lets get out of here!" she said, and gave Agnes' arm a tug, but there was nowhere to go except into the trees on the other side. That didn't feel safe at all. "What are we going to do?" she asked, panic rising in her voice.

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Agnes tugged back against Lucy's arm. She felt steady on her feet now, and the fog in her brain was clearing. As Agnes' senses returned to her, she felt a familiar warmness in her soul. It was like the voice of an old friend, that until now she'd completely forgotten. It was the Icon of Emerentiana calling to her with its warm, powerful voice! How could she have forgotten it? Whatever was happening to her must have driven all thoughts of the sword from her mind. But no longer!

Clutching at the little cross around her neck, Agnes prayed a quick prayer of deliverance, and immediately the clearing was filled with a brilliant light. The swirling, radiant mist surrounded her, and the sword appeared in her hand. She tugged on Lucy's arm again, pulling the girl past her. "Stay behind me!" she said. Agnes was no superhero but the events of recent days had prepare her for just this moment.

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Agnes tugged back against Lucy's arm. She felt steady on her feet now, and the fog in her brain was clearing. As Agnes' senses returned to her, she felt a familiar warmness in her soul. It was like the voice of an old friend, that until now she'd completely forgotten. It was the Icon of Emerentiana calling to her with its warm, powerful voice! How could she have forgotten it? Whatever was happening to her must have driven all thoughts of the sword from her mind. But no longer!

Clutching at the little cross around her neck, Agnes prayed a quick prayer of deliverance, and immediately the clearing was filled with a brilliant light. The swirling, radiant mist surrounded her, and the sword appeared in her hand. She tugged on Lucy's arm again, pulling the girl past her. "Stay behind me!" she said. Agnes was no superhero but the events of recent days had prepare her for just this moment.

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Agnes tugged back against Lucy's arm. She felt steady on her feet now, and the fog in her brain was clearing. As Agnes' senses returned to her, she felt a familiar warmness in her soul. It was like the voice of an old friend, that until now she'd completely forgotten. It was the Icon of Emerentiana calling to her with its warm, powerful voice! How could she have forgotten it? Whatever was happening to her must have driven all thoughts of the sword from her mind. But no longer!

Clutching at the little cross around her neck, Agnes prayed a quick prayer of deliverance, and immediately the clearing was filled with a brilliant light. The swirling, radiant mist surrounded her, and the sword appeared in her hand. She tugged on Lucy's arm again, pulling the girl past her. "Stay behind me!" she said. Agnes was no superhero but the events of recent days had prepare her for just this moment.

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When the sword appeared out of nowhere, Lucy tried to jerk her hand free, but Agnes was suddenly very very strong.

"What the hell?"

Stuck in Agnes' tight grip, she could be nothing but obedient. Lucy stood behind the church girl, nearly blinded by her brightness. She wanted to run away as fast as she could, but instinctively she knew that this angelic-looking church girl was far less dangerous to her than those howls.

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