An Unlikely Friendship

The next morning, Jennifer awoke slowly, wondering why she was so tired. Her whole body ached worse than it ever had. Gradually the memories of the past three days came to her. She remembered the horrible accusations. She recalled how they found her guilty---John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, the two people she hated most. Jennifer was also reminded of how she got here, in the cell, with two other women. One, she didn't mind so much. That was Elizabeth. She had been in prison for about two weeks, and reassured Jennifer that it really wasn't that bad.

"Not that bad?" she was shocked at Elizabeth's remark.

"Yes, dear, not that bad." Elizabeth smiled as she looked at Jennifer. "You know, in the beginning, it was only the odd ones who were accused. Now it seems like everyone's caught the witch-craft bug! Seems a bit silly, if you ask me. But I know in my heart all of this will come to an end soon. It must."

Jennifer took the young woman's words to heart, even though she didn't really believe them.

* * * The second night in the prison was probably Jennifer's worst. She couldn't stop crying; all she could think about was her family. It seemed as though she truly never would see them again. She couldn't bear the thought of never seeing her father again for the rest of her life. Not only was Jennifer upset about her family, but prison was truly a horrible place. Living the sheltered life she did, she had never heard any actual accounts of prison from someone who had actually spent time there. Her mother always used to tell her that it was just a bad place where bad people go. A bad place for bad people. Seemed simple enough, right? Not anymore. Jennifer now had come to the realization that prison, despite what her mother and many others claimed, wasn't just a place for "bad" people. She hadn't done anything wrong---and she was willing to bet that at least one half of the girls in here hadn't either. Elizabeth was right; the whole thing was just plain stupid. Even mean were being accused now! Perfectly, normal, good citizens were being accused of a heinous crime that they took no part in. Where was the justice in this? Jennifer had begun to believe there was no such thing as justice.

Her new friend, Elizabeth, interrupted her thoughts.

"Are you hungry?" Elizabeth said with a smile on her face. Jennifer supposed she had either not been in prison long enough to feel its full affect, or, she had been here so long that she had become immune to it. She stared at the plate in Elizabeth's hand---it held what looked like a small amount of peas drowning in a pool of runny soup.

"No, thank you." Jennifer managed to say.

Elizabeth only laughed.

"You know, this is one of the better meals. Sometimes it's just a loaf of bread for every cell; other times it's nothing. You had better eat while you have the opportunity."

"'s not the food. I just don't think I could hold anything down right now." Jennifer replied.

Once again, Elizabeth smiled, and said:

"Ha, you know I've been here since May 31? It's the 9th of June. Compared to some of the others, like poor Bridget Bishop, I have not been here long." She paused, and then continued. "She's to be hung tomorrow," she said in a whisper. "It's a sad thing to see her go. She was one of the stronger ones. But she didn't go without a fight, oh no. Bridget was a fighter, all the way to the very end. Funny, the strongest "witch" I know will be the first to die."

Jennifer didn't see the humor in that ironic statement. However, Elizabeth's words did help to comfort her; she was looking forward to getting to know her better. Who knows, maybe Elizabeth would turn out to be right---maybe they would get out. Jennifer laid down, wondering if she and Elizabeth would become friends after all this was over.