Salem

Don't know where this one came from- just sort of sprung to my finger-tips!
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1. Salem

“Whore!”, “Demon!”

The gathered crowd of angry faces scream at me and the other women present- tied to posts individually.

My tattered clothes fly about in the wind and my golden hair now flies away from me, having been ripped out of my scalp more than shaven off.

A single teardrop trickles down a dirt covered cheek and my eyes vacantly wonder over to the woman to my left, also tied to a post.

She is in a similar state to me; rough bald scalp, dirtied face and red, sodden eyes producing far more tears than my own. Her cries are loud and speak of her terror.

“Burn in hell!” is the most common shout I hear and I grunt as small stones hit me in various parts of my bound body and I feel a few fresh wounds open on my battered skin.

To be treated in such a way for something you never claimed nor aspired to do ever, to be accused, arrested and judged without a single consideration given to your efforts of self-defence.

Witchcraft.

To even whisper the word is considered a sin in our community, to say it out loud is to suggest that you are a witch yourself and if you deny it, heaven help you for you are now suspect to the entire community.

Soon enough you shall end up like me; bound to a wooden post, surrounded by wood and a crowd of the people you once called friends, sisters, brothers, mother and father, to be burned alive even after the torture you endure in questioning…testing if you are a witch.

But it’s a waste of time hoping they’ll finally see that such things cannot exist from you, for they shall find evidence that you are a witch, create evidence and call it genuine- one way or another, you will die by their hands.

I was accused of witchcraft after creating a new recipe that apparently tasted `too good to have come from God’s fruit`. I denied and waved off such rumours at first but then everyone was staring at me in disgust, spitting at my feet and whispering behind my back.

Soon I was kidnapped in the night and locked in a room I would soon know as `Man’s Wrath`.

Torture was inflicted upon both mind and body; I’m not sure which was worse…

I look up ahead of me and see the village priest speaking words of condemnation to the crowd.

The God-fearing crowd that eagerly voiced their agreement, that shouted “Amen!” every once in a while with venom in the utterance of the holy word- venom meant to poison we who stand tied to our posts.

The priest turns and says “May God have mercy upon your souls for the sins you have committed!”, received a torch from our local farmer, a man I spoke to everyday to and from my duties at the school…a man who now regarded me as less than the mud he scraped off his boots.

Before I realise he has cast the torch into the wood at my feet, the flames have already begun to lick at my legs.

To my left and right, screams of the other women pierce me and the night air deeper than any blade, any needle and scrape a rusty path over my innocent soul.

The agony is unlike anything in this world and my body acts on its own, trying to avoid the flames, trying to get away from the impending doom.

But I refuse these people the satisfaction of my voice; despite a scream hammering against the backs of my clenched teeth I hold it in with all my might and will…

They will not know my resignation! They will only know my defiance and strength of will and they shall know I was innocent…

I close my eyes and wait for God to retrieve me…

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