Author: Euridice PM
Just a little something I wrote for school that I thought I'd publish. It would be nice to get some feedback on my writing.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Spiritual - Words: 1,121 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 11-25-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2973904
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This is just a little something I wrote for school that I thought I'd publish. Tell me if it's any good!
(Setting: Salem, Massachusetts, 1692)
Some people around town said the house was haunted. Others said it was the woman who lived there that was peculiar.
The house stood at the end of a dusty path, hardly big enough for a horse to use. Children whispered about it, daring each other to detour down it after school. Merchants and customers speculated about it. Rumors swirled, giving it a greater air of mystery.
The woman would walk through town without stopping to speak to passersby about once a week to get food. Her obsidian hair had irregular streaks of silver, and she always wore a dark dress, as though she was in mourning. She was never seen in church. She made the radically Puritan townspeople nervous.
Then, in January, 1692, three little girls began behaving oddly. They would scream, have fits, and go into trances. But the town doctor declared them in perfect health. It was the work of a witch.
And so the hunt began. The pastor preached of servants of Satan invading their town. Families whipped out their Bibles at the slightest sign that a witch might be controlling their children-impoliteness, play-acting games like 'house' where some children played animals, a baby's first word- everything was suspect. (In the case of the baby, the first word was 'Hellfire,' which is why it got everyone so worked up. Though honestly, it was to be expected, The poor child's father, the pastor at church, all of his father's friends, some young boys that came around the house to deliver eggs, and just about everyone and their uncle was going around town cursing Hellfire on the witches, warning children about the hellfire awaiting them if they sinned, and the sermons where the pastor repeatedly mentioned 'hellfire' when talking about witches. Really, it shouldn't have been a surprise.) One phrase was declared throughout town-'thou shall not suffer a witch to live.'
It was only natural for people to grow suspicious of the aging woman in her lonely house at the end of the dusty road. As she walked silently through the streets, children stopped playing to stare at her. Wives hurried out of her way. A few men even made the sign of the cross at her. But she showed no sign that she noticed.
If you were to walk through that pin-prick of a town on any map and listen to the idle talk of some of the older children, you would have heard all manner of ridiculous rumors about that old woman. Ridiculous tales that had started from children being around when their parents mentioned the aging lady uneasily. Rumors that the trees around her house were alive, and if she wanted she could make them pick you up and fling you clear into the woods. Others claimed that if you were to touch her your hands would come away black. Still others said that she had vipers under her raven black dress.
Then one frosty February Sunday, a child went into a trance in church.
It was not the first time this had happened, but it still started the whispers of 'There's a witch among us!' A few people slid from their pews, hands clasped in prayer.
When the girl blinked and came out of her apparent trance, she was asked who had placed that spell on her. She hesitated, glanced to the left, then whispered, "That woman who lives outside of town." The pastor stepped down from his pew and held a hurried conference with several solemn men. The crowd grew restless.
Eventually, he addressed them.
"We shall fetch the woman…witch here for trial. Let's pray she is alone in her sin!"
The next morning found a young man standing outside the house. Trees cast forbidding shadows across the roof. The garden was pristine, and not a single speck of dust could be seen on the steps.
It was also silent.
Not one sound escaped the walls. No creaks, no groans, no normal sounds of a house. Oddly, there was no buzz of mosquitoes, no bird song, no natural sounds of animals near the building. The whole affect made the man's heartbeat seem as loud as a tin drum and his breathing like a winter blizzard. It was an imposing building and the young man's palms began to sweat.
Taking a deep breath, he reached out and tapped on the wooden door.
Almost immediately the woman answered the door. The young man noticed a silver cross around her neck. He fidgeted uncomfortably. Witches didn't wear crosses. And she didn't really look like a witch, besides the dress…he pushed the thought away. The child had accused her.
He pulled a piece of paper from his pocket.
"You are charged with casting spells on Carrieta Johnson during church yesterday. As witchcraft is banned by the Bible, you are to be brought immediately to the Salem courthouse for trial."
The woman studied him briefly, then stepped silently out onto her porch and set out on the path for the town. Shocked and relieved that he wouldn't have to force this woman to come with him, he hurried after her, trying to appear in charge.
At her trial, she was as silent as her home. She just stared at the judges, touching the cross at her throat every once in a while. She was eventually declared guilty of witchcraft and sentenced to be burnt at the stake by a frustrated jury. Upon being sentenced, she turned and walked to the town square where she waited, silent as an oak tree. It was uncanny.
On February 24, 1692, she was burned at the stake.
The people waited for her to scream, and try to hex them. They waited in vain. Her clothes caught fire, her hands turned black, her hair began to smoke, but never once did she utter a sound.
After the fire had died down and her body was carted away, the young man who had gone to fetch her spotted something amid the ashes. He reached down and lifted it to eye-level.
It was a slightly-charred silver cross, still warm from the fire. More than warm, it seemed to be branding him. He dropped it like a poisonous viper, and it tumbled back to the ground, now with blood on it.
He stared at his hand. Cut into it were six words.
Do you think I'm a witch?
For that young man, nothing was the same after that.