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Surprise
….”Hangman.” The Sheriff nods, and 5 bodies cascade from the gallows.











The crowd is in turmoil, whistling and screaming “begone, servants of the devil!”
I stand alone, watching the chaos unfolding around me, the lone voice screaming in despair to the night sky. They didn’t deserve this. I feel numb as I am sheparded home by my mother, her eyes gleaming with bloodthirst, her mouth set wide in a satisfied smile. “See, Ruth, dear?” My mother’s voice was sickly sweet, the words coated in sugar to hide the malice that she felt for ‘witches’.
“That is justice well done.” She motioned her hand towards the bodies of Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe and Sarah Wilde, all hanged only moments before. I swallowed the bile that rose in my throat when I glanced over at the bodies swinging in the wind.
“Y-Yes, Mother,” I said weakly, turning my head back to her quickly, unwilling to watch the swaying corpses any longer.
“What’s that, girl? I couldn’t hear you.” The sneer in my mother’s voice was unmistakable, and I knew I would get a whipping later for acting “uncivilized” in public. “Do you not approve of the law?”
“Yes, Mother” I say louder and clearer.
“Good. You are not a devil child.” She glares at Mr. Good, who is clutching his daughter Dorothy to his chest, sobbing as he is yanked away from Goody Sarah’s body by the law enforcers of the town.
“Mama-” I began uneasily, about to ask her if she could at least be sensitive to the relatives of those hanged.
“What, Ruth? Do you not think that we should speak out against the vermin plaguing our country?” Her voice grew harder, “Do you not believe that the followers of Satan should be hanged?”
“I-I…”
Her honey-coated smile disappeared. “We shall speak of this when we reach home.” Her voice was icy, and I knew my failure to answer would cost me. I followed her silently as we walked down the hill, heading towards the town. Salem was a modest little town- the only thing that made us unusual now were those accursed girls, who had thrown us into turmoil. Elizabeth Parris, Mary Walcott, Ann Putnam and Abigail Williams started having “fits” and claim that spirits of people in the town are hurting them. Soon people are being accused left and right of being witches, and now our town is complete chaos. No one knows who they can trust. My opinion on the matter is that it is ridiculous. Witches don’t exist- and if they do exist, then they certainly don’t exist in my town. Why, Martha Corey, Giles Corey’s wife, was accused because of her fondness for books! (By her own husband, which makes the whole matter even worse- at least, that’s what I’ve heard.) It’s not hard to ask questions in this town now… everyone is up to date on all things witchcraft.
My mother holds the door open for me as I step inside the house. She was unusually quiet the whole walk over, and I knew something was wrong the minute she walked out 10 minutes later. “I have some… errands to run.” She said vaguely, but I knew that wasn’t what she was going to do. So, as soon as she left, I ran upstairs and began tossing belongings into my father’s satchel. I should have known this was coming- the moment I had hesitated to answer when she asked if I approved of hanging she was suspicious. She was going to take me to court, I knew it- on charges of wishing the Devil’s followers to run free. It was preposterous for me to expect it- after all; it seems you have to be accused by the girls to be hanged. But still, the memory of that cold smile on the way home terrified me. Her own daughter… I zipped up the bag and ran downstairs, hoping I could slip outside and somehow escape the town. If I could make it to the woods, I had a fair chance.
I jumped the last four steps, landing on my feet, and opened the door- only to find my mother standing there.
With the sheriff.
And the hangman.
“H-Hello, Mother.” My voice shook as I stepped aside. “Won’t you come in?”
“Ruth Waghner, you are arrested under charges of Satanism. You are to be executed by order of hanging on August 19, 1692. Please come with us.”
“B-But that’s today. How can I be hanged today?! I should have a trial!”
“This is a… rather special hanging. It has been requested by your family, and others are witness based on your reaction to the hangings. Come with us.”
In other words, people were thirsting for blood.
“NO!” I screamed and struggled to get past them, but 20 minutes later, there I was at Gallows Hill with a rope around my neck.
A crowd had gathered- No surprise, considering that barely 30 minutes ago there had been a hanging. I searched the crowd, struggling to find that face…
“M-Mama-“I choked out, trying not to cry.
“It’s for the best, Ruth.” Her face was void of all emotion.
“It’s for the best.”



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chrissie said...
Dec. 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm
whoa, i'v always been interested in the salem witch trials. it would have been so creepy to live there then. i feel sorry for the girl. and i like how this was written.  
 
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