– I think I was someone else before and … I loved a man … And I wonder why we hate them now.
– Because they are evil! And this witch is trying to deceive you, she stinks of people. You are constantly trying to question the wisdom of our old traditions.
– I’m not questioning, I… I think people may be similar to us …
– Be silent! – mamuna roared with such power that the fire almost extinguished. The other mamunas and young rusalkas approached curiously to hear better.
– Recalcitrant, ungrateful – mamuna said slowly – I take care of you, protect you, and you slip away to ask the enemy for advice! You come back and turn against us!
– You didn’t want to help me when I asked.
– Help? You’re making fun of our principles. I say this and you do otherwise. You don’t need help, you need a whip over your head!
Nushka looked around. Glowing eyes staring at her everywhere. She felt an enormous space between herself and them, greater than ever before. It was her family, whose head kept saying that together they were strength, yet being with them she felt so fragile and weak. How is it possible that with this “bad” Baba Yaga, she felt safe? Her whole heart boiled in a split second.
She quickly reached for the ax lying nearby. It must have been left there by the man she had let escape. All relatives held their breath. Nushka looked furiously at the surprised mamuna, but the blow that she was about to receive was not aimed directly at her.
Nushka knelt beside a lying log, laid her long hair on it, and clumsily, with a few swings, she cut off most of it. With eyes full of tears, she faced her mother and screamed in fury:
– It’s all a lie! I don’t want to live here!
She threw the ax and the cut off hair, and ran deeper into the woods. With each step the enormous power her mother had bestowed on her in order to harm people, was slowly leaving her.
Mamuna watched her daughter run, her face expressionless.