She was a witch in the eyes of the townspeople, nothing but a monster. Someone to glare at as you walk past, someone to scoff at. And she knew that as the man brutally dragged her limp, helpless body across the gallows stage. Tears streaked down her heart shaped face, covered in a grimy layer of mud and dust. She tried to look at her mother in the crowd of jeering people, but she would not make eye contact. She would only stare at the prairie grass that flowed hypnotically with the wind. The man openly announced her crimes to the people of Salem. She was accused of witchcraft and theft. The young girl continued crying. This was not like a British hanging. There was complete and utter silence, and the people were looking somberly at the girl and her accuser, who was gripping her bruised, shaking arm with a viselike certainty. Amidst the silence, her mother burst into tears and fell on the ground, her hands clutching handfuls of grass and lifting them over her head. She was screaming an incomprehensible rant. She was shivering on the ground, her blue dress clashing with the earthy field. The accuser announced the precise reasons why the girl was being executed, and the mother simultaneously screamed the word lies. The girl knew that none of this was true, but she had accepted the truth, she had realized that she would die for no reason. Two young women had been burned at the stake before her, and she was the first to get executed via hanging. The silence corresponded with the endless expanse of light blue sky. There were no clouds, just the sky and the silence, save the now muffles sobs of the girl’s mother. The man positioned the girl in the correct spot to be hung, and quickly wrapped the strategically placed noose around her thin neck. The girl could smell the mans rancid breath and body odor. He pulled the noose tighter around her neck, and it cut deeper into her skin. He asked her if she had anything to say before they murdered her. She told him that she loved him, and that she loved everyone in the town. She told them that she hopes that they will soon realize the horrors they were committing. She told her mother that she would see her in heaven. He pulled the crudely made lever, and ther platform released beneath her bare feet. As she struggled to breath the rope dug deeper, and the pain grew. And yet, in the last few moments of her life she could appreciate the beauty of the world, the little things that made it so stunning. Birds fluttering lazily past in the warm spring air, green grass with flecks of dandelions floating away in the wind, a gnarled tree with a warm brown trunk, sweet green leaves, and tiny imperfections that made it so beautiful. These images were the last the young woman witnessed, and she grew limp. The wails of her mother pierced once more through the silence, and man led her back to her home so her grieving would not disrupt the other townspeople. The birds flew away, mixed with the dandelion seeds and the leaves of the oak.
The Meadow, The Birds, The Dandelions, and the Oak
January 24, 2010