The Town

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The town will never be the same again, not after the girl showed up. It all started one cold summer night, the peaceful town square was dark and stormy. I remember walking through after my shift at the candle factory. I was about to dose off by the old well, when I heard a small whimper from the other side of the well.
“Hello?” I asked quietly.

Another small whimper, followed by a louder whimper came from the other side of the well. Slowly I crept towards the sound, only to find a young girl sitting there rocking back and forth, staring into the woods. Her clothes were tattered, her long black hair was greasy and knotted, and her face was covered in dirt. I immediately felt sorry for her, this young girl, maybe 7 or 8, had experienced something that she never need to experience.
“Are you all right?” I asked solemnly.

The girl only whimpered again, she was clutching her torso as if she was injured. Just watching her sitting there made me feel remorseful for her.
“I am Edna, Edna Berth. What is you name?” I asked.
“I…I…I don’t know,” stuttered the girl.

I stared silently at the girl, how could one not know their own name? How could you be so messed up, that you’ve forgotten your own name?
“That is okay… why don’t you come with me… we’ll get you a warm bath and some food in your stomach,” I said.

Gently I help her up and walked her towards my modest home. My husband and I gave her food, a bath, and a warm bed. She seemed happy. We took her into our little family. We started her working in the house during the day and at night we taught her to read and write. She was the daughter my husband and I could never have. She was a dream for us. The strange things started to happen…

Everyday, after she finished working, she would walk out to the forest and pick mushrooms. She would be gone for hours, but only come back with a few things. No one thought anything of it… not until the disappearances started.

At first it wasn’t all that noticeable, a few people who were staying in town for a few days would suddenly leave, a few carnival people would disappear. We thought that they left town because it wasn’t exciting enough. The disappearances only happened once in a while, but then hunting season started. The disappearances started occurring more and more often. As the season came to an end and the snow started falling, the girl began to go the woods for longer periods of time, still only coming back with a few mushrooms, still never letting anyone eat the mushrooms. Soon it became cold, bitter cold, almost too cold to be outside. The days turned darker sooner and the people found animals less and less often, but the girl refused to stop going to the woods.

One cold afternoon I decided to follow her, slowly creeping behind her, hiding as she cautiously checked behind her, until she finally stopped at a large clearing about a mile and a half into the forest. The area was bright and there was no snow on the ground. There were mushrooms everywhere; slowly the girl lifted a jar from the center of the clearing. She meandered around the clearing inspecting each and every mushroom until she reached to end of the clearing. Once she was there she picked several mushrooms and carefully set them into the jar. I watched in amazement, each mushroom turned the jar a pale shade of blue as it was placed inside the jar. I gasped, only magic could cause something like that… she’s a…
“Witch,” I said aloud.

The girl quickly turned around, dropping the jar of mushrooms on the ground. The wind roared, lightning struck in the sky, and the girl softly chanted. The wind pushed me down and I knew I had to get out of there, fast. I stumbled to my feet and ran as fast as I could away from there, I ran until I couldn’t run anymore. “She’s a witch, she practices Wicca. That’s okay, she hasn’t done anything, and she won’t do anything. This is fine. I only ran so she wouldn’t kill me. I’ okay with all this… I’ll support her in all this.” I thought to myself.

So we did, we supported her in any way that we could. We bought her a cauldron and got her a black cat, which she called a divining familiar, we even got her a broomstick. She seemed happy again. She obeyed our wishes to not practice Wicca in our house. Everything seemed normal… until the Elders discovered our little secret.

It was an average day when the Elders showed up at our home. They looked nervous as they shakily arrived at the door. Three sturdy knocks was all it took for me to know what was about to happen. I knew that they were coming for the girl, for me. I looked around the room, making sure that there was nothing Wicca around to room, luckily there was nothing. Nervously I walked to the large, oak door and watched as it creaked open.
“Hello,” I said sweetly to the old men.

They said their share of hello’s and then invited themselves into my home; where they sat at the long, pine table. Twelve men sat at the ten person table, all demanding drinks before they would discuss the matter at hand. After an array of drink orders, we were finally ready to discuss why the Elders had decided to arrive at my house that day. The Elders rambled for a bit about the safety of our town and then finally got to the part about the girl.
“She is suspected as a witch by several people,” said the eldest Elder.
“A witch?! Who would make such an accusation?” I questioned.
No one replied.
“Who made such an accusation?” I asked again.
Again there was no reply.
“There is no mistaking the signs, she acts like a witch… therefore she will be burned tomorrow,” said an Elder.
“Burned?!” I screeched.
With no reply, the Elders stood from the table and left, quickly and quietly.

The next day there were a series of hangings from the town jail… they all seemed to lead up to the “big event” as most people called it… the burning of the witch, the first witch the town has ever burned. The day seemed to drag, there were four murders that were hung individually and then we took a break to participate in the classis All Hallows Eve traditions. As it got dark, the trial began. The towns people gathered around the large stake that was built in the center of town, the Reverend held his bible as he slowly walked around the stake to which the girl was tied, all her belongings around her.
“The accusation of witchcraft has stayed away from our town for many years. Today is our first witch trial. It is a shame to have such a young girl in our mists being burned for witchcraft,” the Reverend said in a low, raspy voice.
A few people murmured, whispers spread from ear to ear.
“Young girl… what is your name?” the Reverend asked the girl.
“Mary…” the girl said, “Mary Easty.”
“Today, in the name of the great Puritan town of Salem, Massachusetts… we burn Mary Easty for her crimes in witchcraft… Mary? Have you anything to say for yourself?” asked the Reverend.
Mary was silent… the Reverend continued.
“For her sins, she will suffer, for her crimes, she will burn,”
“This is not the end… there will be more… this is not the end,” cackled Mary as flames began to sprout at he feet.
“Burn for your crimes… burn,” several people shouted as the flames climbed.
“Witch, you are a witch, burn witch,” shouted others.

Mary only cackled the loudest she could. As the flames reached her skin it looked green as they came to her hair, her hair looked red... the people shrieked, they cursed, they prayed, they even judged others. They only judged by appearance… the people came rely on judging people by appearances and accusations…

Just as Mary had said, more witches arrived and more were burned… it was not the end, it was only the beginning. Like I said… the town will never be the same again… not after the girl arrived…





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