Her Unjust Death

"Jennifer Ann Smithfield---how to you plead?" Jonathan Hathorne starred poor Jennifer straight in the eye as he barred down upon the witness stand, shrieking in her face.

"Not guilty!" the young, blonde girl shivered as she answered his question truthfully.

The jury stood at the judge's order, and walked into a small room in the back of the courthouse. Everyone in the room was still; the atmosphere was less than pleasant. As 16-year-old Jennifer stepped off the witness stand and moved towards her mother's open arms, she caught a snippet of a conversation that made her stomach ball up and her heart thump loudly.

"I always said she was a weird one." a woman in the middle of the room whispered to the people sitting around her. "I wish Hathorne would have asked me to testify; I'd spill out all that disgusting family's secrets! Thinkin' just because they've got more money they're better than the rest of us. Well, look where all that money has gotten them! The poor Smithfield's must be so embarrassed by all this."

Jennifer's attention was shifted from the horrible woman to the right side of the court room. The jury was back---had it even been five minutes? Jennifer swelled with hope, seeing as all the trials that had taken long were the ones in which the girls were found guilty. Surely the jury, which mostly consisted of friends of Jennifer's family, was able to dismiss such a ludicrous idea and find her innocent.

"Will the jury please inform the court of your verdict?" The judge spoke clearly and calmly, which stuck Jennifer as odd. However she had little time to think about such things.her life was in the hand of the jury, who spoke:

"The jury finds Jennifer Ann Smithfield." the man speaking paused for a moment, and then continued, looking away from the accused girl, "guilty of associating with those involved in and becoming personally involved in the act of witchcraft."

"What?" Jennifer said softly, as her mother fell to her knees. "Guilty?! How can I be---what do you mean---but I never---I swear! I testified! Listen to me! I'm innocent! Don't kill me please!" Mr. Smithfield left his wife's side and rushed to quiet his daughter. "No, father, make them believe me PLEASE!" Jennifer's voice got louder as she begged her father to make the judge believe her testimony.

"Jenny, you've got to calm down. You'll just make things worse---" Joseph Smithfield's daughter cut him off.

"No! They must believe me! I don't want to die! I'm only fifteen! Daddy!" Mrs. Smithfield, hearing her daughter's cries, had moved from her knees to her stomach; she had fallen facedown on the ground.

And where was Jonathan Hathorne during all this commotion? With his partner, John Corwin, who was congratulating him for a job well done. These two prosecutors were the most notorious in the business of accusing young women of witchcraft. They had done at least a dozen trials by now--- all of which the women were found guilty. The two had even moved on to pointing the finger at men who, in their opinion, acted suspiciously. The smile on Hathorne's face didn't even fade as Jennifer had to be carried out by her father, screaming and kicking all the while.

"She'll be hung by tomorrow!" John Corwin's strong voice echoed through the court room loud enough to were even the people outside, including the Smithfields, heard.

"Oh God please!" Jennifer screamed out.

"Yes, God help us all." Joseph, through his tears, muttered.