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Young Goodman Brown (Nathaniel Hawthorne Rewrite)
At sunset Young Goodman Brown kissed his young wife Faith goodbye. The wind tossed the pink ribbons in her hair, and she whispered to her husband, “Please, my love, stay here tonight, I am afraid to be alone tonight.”
“Faith, my dearest, on any other day I would stay, but my journey must be done in the night” Goodman Brown replied.
“May god bless you.” said Faith saying her parting words.
“Pray for me and sleep well.” Goodman Brown in response.
Goodman Brown left his wife and looked back to see Faith and her pink ribbons. “Poor Faith” Goodman thought. “What kind of man am I to leave her for such a wicked journey.” He walked on a grim looking path, covered by dark trees. Goodman looked around into the black of the woods thinking there could be villains behind every tree. “The devil seems to be in these dreary woods” though he to himself. As he got to a bend in the road he looked again ahead of him and beheld a darkly respectable looking man. He continued to walk and the man joined him.
“You are late, the bells rang fifteen minutes ago” said this dark figure.
“Faith held me back.” Goodman said with suspicion to his new companion. This man was relatively old and looked remarkably like Goodman himself. Goodman, observing his surroundings, noticed the deep darkness of the forest enveloping him. The staff the strange man held seemed to have some kind of dark magic to it. It looked like a large black snake; in his bewilderment he could have sworn to see the staff move, just as a snake would.
“Come Goodman, we have far to go.” Said the grim figure.
“We already have gone too far! None in my family have done such things!” Exclaimed Goodman in near hysteria.
“You might think so, but many of them lead lives you don’t know about,” said the mysterious traveler. “I have been well acquainted with your family through the ages. I was with your grandfather as he whipped Quaker women through the streets of Salem; I was with your father when he burned an Indian village. They have shared much time with me on walks just like these.” Said the man in a matter-of-fact tone.
“If it is as you say then I wonder why they never spoke of such matters.” Said Goodman thoughtfully. “Yet if the people of New England would have heard these things they would have been driven out, the people of New England are good people.” Finished Goodman.
“Yes but many of New England are not as you think, the deacons of many churches have drank the communion wine with me and I am accepted among many governmental figures, and all of this is well covered up.” Spoke the man with a devilish grin.
“If I continue with this walk how can I go to the church of Salem and look our minister in the eye? How can I compose myself hearing his voice?” asks Goodman, with no real hope for response.
The strange old man bursts into a fit of laughter. “Please, excuse me, go on.” Says he between his chuckling.
“If I do keep with you I will loose my dearest Faith, she will be utterly upset with me.” Stated Goodman solemnly. What Goodman next beheld surprised him a great deal. He saw his spiritual leader, Goody Cloyse, in these woods at night. “It troubles me why she might be out in this place after sunset, and I must cut through she might wonder what I would be up to at this hour.” Said Goodman rather paranoid.
“If you think it is necessary, but I will walk the path.” Argued the man.
Goodman was off of the path and watching the man questioningly. The man got closer to old Goody Cloyse, “The devil is among us!” she yelped.
“Yes, well you know that it is I.” Said the dark figure, leaning on his serpent staff.
“It is you! I was on my way to the meeting, on foot as you can tell. Would you lend an old lady your arm?” said Goody Cloyse in a half-cackle.
“No, but you may have my staff.” Said the dark man, as he threw his staff to the ground, where it seemed to turn into a snake. Amazed by what he saw Goodman looked away for a moment, when he looked back all that he saw was the strange man, alone waiting to continue their walk.
“That woman gave me my faith.” Goodman said in a murmur as he returned to the strange mans side. As they walked Goodman found a stump and sat. “I will go no further with you, my should I follow that woman to hell? I want to stay with Faith and follow her to Heaven.” Cried Goodman in desperation.
“Think on that choice, if you wish to follow then have my staff” replied the man as he tossed the staff to Goodman. As quickly as he had first appeared he disappeared into the darkness. Goodman sat in reflection of the decision he had made, he thought of the clean conscience he could have when meeting the deacon or the minister, he thought of the sweet sleep he would have this night. As Goodman thought these things he heard the clatter of horse hooves, and the sound of their riders’ voices. As the riders went by he could not see them at all in the cover of the night. He listened carefully to their voices and heard the voices of the minister and the deacon.
“I don’t want to miss this meeting, there is talk of many people to be here. There is also talk of a young woman to be taken for communion tonight” said the voice of the deacon.
“Come Deacon Gookin let us go then, or we will be late. You know they can’t start without Me.” said the old minister.
The hooves of the horses clattered off into the distance, and Goodman caught himself on a tree for support. The realization that the most holy men of the town were here in the forest at night was paralyzing. As Goodman gazed at the stars of the night looking for hope he heard the strange sound of some chanting, then, it stopped leaving him to wonder if it was his mind or reality. He heard the speaking of a young woman, the other murmurs where of support to her, Goodman’s mind was reeling. He felt his feelings snap “Faith!” he screeched. The only response was the echo of his madness, and then there was something more, a scream and the low speaking of the gathering. Looking to the sky, possibly for his faith, maybe for a reason to continue, he saw a fluttering. This mysterious item was a pink ribbon. As he held the ribbon he let out a yell, ”My Faith is gone, claim me now Satan for there is no more good in me!”
Goodman cackled like a witch at night as he sped through the forest. In the distance a strange red light he spotted, and he heard a hymn a recognized hymn warped into something wicked. He ran faster, and beheld a great fire. An altar of stone was ablaze as where the tops of the four surrounding trees. As the flame leapt and danced it lit the faces of many he might see at church or at town meetings. He though of his wife, where was she? Just then the flames leapt and a darkly clad figure appeared in the fire.
“Bring our newest members!” boomed the voice. “Look at your newest family my followers.” The dark man said. As Goodman looked at all of the fiends around him and he saw his wife, Faith, she was shaking before the altar.
Goodman shared a moment of eye contact with Faith. “Faith! Look for the light of God and resist all that is evil!” pleaded Goodman. Just then, before he could see the outcome of the heretics meeting he awoke. Goodman was alone; the night was cold and damp. As he walked the village the next day he found that every thing was grim, misery was around every bend for him, he knew of their hypocrisy. For all of his days he was in desperation, in his dying day there was still no hope for him, no joy in his years of life. Even in death his misery was not lifted, his spirit found no rest in his demise.