They wrestled with bullying, sexual identity, rape and religious persecution. There is also an issue about being pulled back in time unexpectedly. Each book focuses on a family member.
Leah clapped her hands, turning the light off. As a kid, she’d been so enamored of the clapper lamp that her parents had bought her one. Most people would label it hokey, but she still liked it.
“Good girl," her mother admonished, before tacking on, “Love you.”
“Love you, too, Mom,” she called back, closing her eyes, easing into sleep. Tomorrow would be another day, just like so many others. The image of the man in the throne-like chair flickered into being. Sitting up, she shook her head to shake the offending image out. “I refuse to dream about him. I’ll think of something pleasant, such as Dylan asking me to the homecoming dance.”
Lying back down, she let her eyelids flick closed. Maybe Dylan didn’t dance. She’d heard some of those religions had rules against it. Something about if people danced, they’d end up having sex like rabbits. As she drifted off to sleep, her last thought was she couldn’t remember ever seeing a dancing rabbit.
* * * *
The smell struck her first. The acrid, smelly odor reminded her of her fourth-grade field trip to a pioneer village. The candle maker had intrigued her by dipping wicks in what she had assumed was wax until the woman explained it was made of animal fat from butchered animals. That’s what it smelled like, along with the campfire aroma of burning wood.
In the misty night sky, a clouded crescent moon shed meager light on the surroundings. Turning slowly she examined the primitive thatched hut behind her. In the small front garden, a split log supported by two stumps served as a bench. An oaken bucket sat by a door that flew open. An elderly woman hobbled out, dressed in a black cloak. The woman reminded Leah of her grandmother, but instead of a look of fierce determination, terror pulled her face into an anxious mask. Reaching Leah, she tugged on her clothes, pushing her toward the woods. “Flee, flee, they come. Smell the torches.” The woman pointed to a path winding toward the east.
A dim glow was coming from that direction, along with the sounds of voices and snapping branches as dozens of feet marched in their direction. An overwhelming desire to run after the unknown woman came over her. Another part of her wanted to see who was coming down the path. It was only a dream, right? People couldn’t be hurt in a dream, or could they? She struggled to remember what her psychology teacher, Mr. Schaeffer, had said. He’d said either people couldn’t be hurt by their fears or your fears could kill you by bringing on cardiac arrest.
A few men came into view, burly men garbed in shapeless garments, with wild hair and ragged beards, Held high, flickering torches illuminating a small circle around them. One held a curved knife, reminiscent of the scythe the grim reaper carried. It didn’t bode well. One of the men spotted her, yelled, “Witch!” and charged her way. It was a definite bad sign, causing her to sprint toward the woods in the same direction as the old woman. Sticks, rocks, and briars pierced her feet, reminding her of her shoeless state. At home, she excelled in cross-country, but she had shoes, sunlight, and a feel for the course with no angry villagers behind her. The running men drew closer. Leah stumbled over a tree root, wasting precious time.