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The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Additional Scene)
Their only way of sight was by the flickering glow of the candle that Abigail held shakily in her hand. Her other arm was draped over her cousin, Betty’s, shoulders. The night air was crisp against their exposed hands and faces. Abigail could see figures and hear giggles through the darkness. It was the other girls; they were all going to the woods tonight. The Barbados slave, Tituba, had told them she knew spells to make their wishes come true. It was all in good fun, of course.
Betty, her teeth chattering: Abby, I am so cold.
Abigail, whispering: Hush, Betty, we are not far. Tituba is said to have a fire going.
Abigail stopped in her tracks as a voice called out her name, “Abby! Abby, where are you?” She knew the voice almost immediately. It was Mercy Lewis, the Putnam’s servant.
Abigail, in a harsh tone: Mercy! Do you wish for us all to be caught and whipped?! Watch your tone!
Mercy, latching onto Abigail’s arm that held the candle: I was as blind as a bat! Forgive me, Abby, I was frightened.
Abigail continued through the woods following the giggling voices scattered through the trees. The wind threatened to blow out their only light and the moon was not visible through the dense trees. Betty continued to shake violently, her body not used to such cold. Abigail worried if she caught sick, her uncle would suspect. Ahead, she saw a bright fire burning with several girls twirling around it.
Mercy, in sudden joy: There it is! We made it!
Abigail let her go and set her candle down by a tree stump. Betty, holding her arms close to her, stared at the fire in a daze.
Abigail, reaching for her hand: Come, Betty. You’ll be warm.
Tituba, her arms stretched to the sky: Aye! We all are here! Now let us be free of them men and the others! Let us sport and show our true selves!
The girls laughed and danced as Tituba sang her Barbados songs. The chill of the night was suddenly absent as they all spun and waved their arms around. Tituba pulled out a dead chicken from her cloaks and held it out to the girls.
Tituba: A sacrifice for your wishes!
Playing along, the girls began to shout out what they wished for.
Mercy Lewis: I wish for love!
Ruth Putnam: I wish to see my dead sisters!
Abigail, reaching for the chicken: I wish for Goody Proctor to be cold and dead! She tore at the lifeless bird and drank what blood was left. She threw it into the fire and wiped her face with the back of her hand, her eyes burning with pleasure.
Betty, thoroughly frightened by all that was happening: Abby, what are you doing?
Tituba, playing the part, closed her eyes and began humming and chanting something in Barbados: Join hands girls! Join hands!
The several girls locked hands and began swaying back and forth, humming along with Tituba’s chant.
Ruth Putnam, crying out: I see them! My sisters!
Mercy, beginning to shed her dress: I can feel it! I feel it!
Abigail watched as the girls joked and began to dance again. She had read that drinking blood was a charm to get whatever it was she desired. Although none of the girls knew why Abigail had wished for Goody Proctor’s death, she felt as though she were on fire knowing that if her charm worked then John Proctor would be hers. She let out a joyful scream and danced with the girls.
Betty: Abby! Abby! Reverend Parris is coming! He’s seen!
Abigail and the girls spun around in a sudden terror. Reverend Parris was walking towards them in a dreadful haste. One of the girls screamed a blood curdling cry and ran through the dark woods. The girls followed suit and all of them scattered. Abigail went to Betty, who had fainted onto the cold ground.
Abigail: Betty! Get up! We must go; we’ll be caught and whipped! Run I say! Get up! She tried shaking her awake but Reverend Parris was already upon them. His look of shock and fear tore into her. How much had he seen?
Parris: What are you girls doing out here? Who else was here? What was Tituba saying? Answer me girl! He grabbed her shoulders violently.
Abigail, desperately: Nothing! It was just for sport!
Parris, cutting her off: Chanting strange words around a fire is sport?! More like witchcraft it sounds! Please, Abby, tell me you had not come out here to make spells and blacken my name! My niece, a witch!
Abigail: It wasn’t me, uncle I swear! I had come out to get Betty. We were just dancing! That’s all!
Parris, with sudden realization, he turned to his frozen daughter on the forest floor: My Betty. What has happened to her? Turning back to Abigail, What did you do?!
Abigail: I say again, it was not me! She must’ve taken sick from the cold and then struck with fear and fainted is all!
Parris didn’t believe her. He wanted to but he had seen the girls. The fire’s glow gave Tituba and all the girls a strange look. As if they weren’t really girls but strange creatures prancing around a wild flame. They had been chanting strange words and moving in such a way it disturbed him. Girls did not do such things, it wasn’t right. What would the people think? The people already out to blacken his name would hold against him that there are witches in his own house! He began to sweat in a panic. He grabbed Abigail and shook her.
Parris: You will tell me everything if Betty does not awake by tomorrow’s morning, you hear? You hide nothing. You will confess to everything that happened here tonight and give all the names of who was here.
Abigail, beginning to panic: But uncle, I told you! It was just for sport! Nothing happened! We are no witches!
Parris, striking her hard against the cheek: You will not deny me girl! Or I’ll have you whipped alone! I know what I saw, now you will confess if I ask you again!
Abigail, in such fear and pain, answered at a stressed whisper: Aye, sir.
Parris, lifting Betty in his arms: Come, Abby.
They walked in silence the whole way back. Abigail couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe. What would happen to her if Betty didn’t wake come morning? Would she have to confess to witchcraft and be hanged? Aye, but it was not just her in the woods tonight. The other girls are just as frightened for being caught. Abigail’s twisted heart conjured, not spells but a plan that would end in her favor. She would not be the one who hanged. She would have John Proctor.