Instead of dreaming of gentlemen as might be supposed after a ball, each lady dreamed of their deceased parent. Mr. Morland came to Kate bathed in a white glow and bade her go to the woods behind the east garden. The deceased Mrs. Bennet ordered her daughters there as well. Jane obeyed readily enough, although she trembled at the strangeness of her mother’s ghost appearing before her. Elizabeth, however, was too sensible even in her dreams. At length, as she felt as though her limbs were on fire, she determined the cool autumn air would bring relief.
The sisters stood around a neglected fountain currently covered in overgrown ivy. They looked at each other in confusion.
“How strange that we are all here,” Jane said.
“Yes,” Kate agreed. “I do not recall leaving my bed. I have never roamed about when asleep before.”
“Nor I,” said Elizabeth. “However, now that I am here, I feel like I ought to remain. That is ridiculousness, is it not? Leaving feels somehow wrong.”
Jane looked around the area with dawning comprehension. “Lizzy, do you remember how we used to play here? I think I was about eleven when we stopped coming.”
Elizabeth slowly nodded. They had not visited this fountain in many years, long before her mother and sisters died. Playing here was one of her first memories. “Yes, we would dance around it with Mary. I don’t think Kitty was born yet. I used to pretend the most fantastical things happened. The trees and flowers would dance with us and sing a special song.”
“Why did you stop coming?” Kate questioned.
Elizabeth shrugged her shoulders. “Mary had a nightmare, and then we were not allowed to come here anymore.”
“They frightened her so much,” Jane murmured. She had always been very sensitive to the feelings of others.
“I used to have bad dreams,” Kate said. “Sometimes it seemed like they came true.”
“What do you mean?” Elizabeth asked while Jane gasped in alarm. Why had Kate never mentioned that before? Is that what had happened with Mary? Elizabeth could not remember.
“It started with small things. I dreamed my cat had kittens and the next day she did.”
“That is rather explainable,” said Elizabeth dubiously. “Someone probably told you she would soon have them.”
Kate nodded. “I dreamed of a man in a carriage during a terrible storm one night. There was a large rut in the ground, and it broke the carriage wheel. The man came to no harm, but one of the horses went lame.”
Elizabeth’s eyes widened. “Did that come to be as well?”
“Yes, my uncle came to visit us the next day, and the exact scenario had happened to him.”
“What else?” Elizabeth asked as her curiosity grew. Jane trembled beside her.
“The last dream I had was of my grandmother dying. She sang some strange song to me as she held my hand.”
Words lodged in Elizabeth’s throat. She felt as though she were on the cusp of something, like looking over the edge of a cliff and deciding to jump. “Did…did…that come true?”
“Yes. I was so upset and terrified. I wept at her side, and I remember thinking that I had caused her death because of my dream.”
“Surely that was not so!” Jane cried, tears shimmered in her eyes as though she could now feel the despair Kate must have experienced.
“It was my last dream,” Kate whispered.
“How old were you?” Elizabeth asked.
“Eleven. We soon came to Hertfordshire and…”
Kate trailed off as each girl knew what happened afterward. An illness swept the county and claimed their parents.
“Sometimes, I still feel as though I have seen something in a dream. The ball this evening, for example, seemed eerily familiar.”
Recalling her strange dream of her dead mother earlier this night, Elizabeth looked at Kate intently and asked, “Did you dream tonight?”
Kate slowly nodded. “Yes. My father told me to come here.”
Jane spoke up. “I have never had such strange dreams before, but tonight my mother appeared clothed in white and asked me to come to the fountain.”
Elizabeth laughed. “How strange that I should dream the same thing. I am sure you obediently went, even while still asleep, whereas I argued with her!”
“What made you leave your bed then?” asked Jane.
“I suddenly felt so hot. It was as if I held my hand over a fire too closely.” A breeze rustled in the nearby trees, and Elizabeth shuddered. “Now I feel cold.”
“Come, share my wrap,” Jane said.
Their youngest sister suddenly looked in need of comforting. She held out her other arm to Kate.
“You too, Kate.”
The three sisters huddled together before the fountain when a great rush of wind parted the sky. The moon shone so brightly they had to cover their eyes.
“Look up, children.”
Elizabeth and Jane gasped in unison when they saw their deceased mother bathed in white and floating like an angel.
“Kate, all is well.”
A ghostly gentleman said next to Elizabeth’s mother, and she presumed it was Mr. Morland.
“This cannot be!” cried Elizabeth.
“It is real,” Mr. Bennet said from behind them.
The sisters spun on their heel to see their living parents standing hand in hand and with no expressions of shock.
“Have no fear,”
“Are we dead?” Kate asked in confusion.
“No, dearest,” Mrs. Bennet explained. “The time is now right for your powers to be returned. You are descendants from great lines of witches.”
Still in each other’s arms, Elizabeth could feel Kate and Jane tremble at such news.
“No,” Jane whispered and vehemently shook her head. “I would never want to harm a soul.”
Elizabeth squeezed her older sister’s hand. “Of course not, Janie. You are the sweetest person in the world!”
“We must be fevered or going mad!” Kate exclaimed.
“I see your fear,” Mr. Bennet said and raised his hands to silence them. “You do not recall for we bound your powers and erased the memories. However, you were born with gifts and for many years knew of the magical world. Contrary to the contemporary representation, we come from good witches.”