Rachel’s Truth

Although the Edmond family followed the town norms and attended church meetings, they didn’t follow its misguided notions of sin and family. They once followed Anne Hutchinson’s teachings until she and her family were turned away and shunned from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. However, in private, they still followed her instruction and practiced their beliefs away from the prying eyes of their neighbors. They did not want their family to become victims of the holy wrath of the misguided townfolk.

Before her sixteenth birthday, Rachel began having dreams that foretold of the future. At first, she kept her visions to herself. She did not want to burden her parents, and she knew what would happen if the people in town ever discovered this knowledge.

She knew Mr. Winters would fall into the ice, and the men in town would have to amputate his frostbitten toes. She knew her friend Charity would marry Josiah Winslow eight months before he even asked to come courting. Often, she would be ready for visitors in advance of their calls and make remedies for townsfolk before they even became ill.
In time, her mother, Prudence, began noticing the changes in her daughter. She would find her child in the garden picking elderflower, yarrow, or milk thistle to make teas and tinctures just hours before women would come seeking remedies for their children or husbands.

Rachel would bake extra bread or cook extra portions for evening meals as if she knew guests would be stopping to visit. Then, one evening, Prudence began asking questions.

“Mama, I know things before they happen,” Rachel whispered to her mother, afraid to even say it out loud.

“What do you mean?” The mother questioned.

Rachel explained what she dreamt. Mr. Winter’s accident. Unexpected guests and women who needed potions for their families. She even told her about Charity, even though Charity and Josiah never even spoke to one another.

Prudence tried rationalizing each occurrence, but she saw Rachel’s countenance fall.

“Mama, tonight before our evening meal, Mrs. Baker will arrive asking for tea to stop Sarah’s fever.”

“Do you have the ingredients ready?”

“Yes, Mama,” Rachel replied, “I picked the herbs this morning.”

Prudence could not sit still for the rest of the day. What if her daughter could foresee the future? No one could ever know, for if word spread, Rachel could face an uncertain, frightening future. She wondered if she should talk to Samuel but decided to wait until after the evening meal. Mrs. Baker would most likely not even stop by their home.

Prudence kept busy and told Rachel she would milk that evening. She had to stay active. Her conversation with Rachel continually played over and over, and the mother became worried. Leaving the barn, Prudence carried the bucket of warm milk toward the house. As she entered the gate, she noticed a woman hurrying up the drive. Suddenly, she dropped the bucket of milk and covered her face in her hands, for it was Mrs. Baker coming to the house. Prudence ran to meet the woman, not quite believing that the woman had appeared.

“How do you fare, Mistress Edmonds. Is Rachel home? My Sarah is not feeling well, and I could use some of her elderberry tea and some yarrow to help my girl. I am afraid she has a bit of a fever.”

Prudence stood frozen, not speaking.

“Are you well, Mistress Edmonds?” the woman asked.

Thankfully, Rachel appeared and invited the woman into their home.

“Rachel, my dear, I need some of your special tea. My Sarah has a fever.”

“Of course, Mrs. Baker. Let me gather what she will need,” Rachel told the older lady.

Prudence stood quietly in the doorway, as pale as a ghost.

Mrs. Baker whispered to Rachel, “You may want to check on your mum. She does not look well herself.”

Writing Prompt:

For today’s prompt, write about the future. Whether that draws you into the realm of sci-fi or not, that’s OK! Let inspiration strike as it may.

Photo by Heather Wilde on Unsplash

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