An angry crowd begins to gather. They throw stones, sticks, and rotten food at me. I am dirty and rank, I have not bathed in months since my imprisonment. Men, claiming to be men of God, broke down my door dragging me from my warm house in the middle of a cold winter’s night.
They dragged me from my bed clad only in my nightshift, my husband protesting angrily and my children weeping. They protested my innocence, but it fell upon deaf ears. Ever knowing the truth did my family continue to try to save me from my jailors. It was to no avail.
We knew all too well the consequences of what would occur if we ever be found, and so my family daringly lied for me. Fear, torture, and death were the only words these men of God knew. They cared not if a person should be guilty or not. They threw me to the ground. The snow is cold. My hands and feet are numb with cold. I shiver uncontrollably.
I have been whipped. I have been beaten. What scraps of food I have had at all has been rotten and bug ridden in these long months. How long I have languished in this state I know not. I am only aware that by all accounts I should be dead. If not for my faith in the Goddess and God, I would have perished long ago, but it is by Their will that I still live and it is not for me to question Their will.
Oh, for sight and word of my beloved family! I have not heard if they live, nor if they have died because of me. The horses’ snort, the road is long. My legs ache to the point of madness. I can no longer feel them. The cart, which carries me to my death, is crowded with others that share my fate. The chains that bind me cut into my flesh, and blood falls from my wrists, like the tears that fall from their eyes. I sigh, I pray with what little strength is still mine own.
It is not my place to judge those who transpire to take me from this earth. I want to cry, but I have not the tears to make them. I am merely a simple housewife, skilled in the arts of healing and midwifery. For this they take my life. They say I am the Devil’s whore, they say that I am evil, and that I have conspired to kill my neighbors. Of these charges, I am guilty of two…that I am a healer and a midwife.
I had once been respected in this town. Now my friends have become my enemies, until these men came, claiming to be of the One True God. Divine is divine, and neither is above or below the other. Now I am reviled, feared, and hated among my peers, and about to be put to death by a hangman’s noose as they watch with glee.
The wagon comes to a stop. I am dragged down and pulled up some steps to a scaffold. I hear the villagers cheering for my demise and I am sick to my stomach they should be so pleased with my death. I hear the crowd shouting insults at me, their voices echo in my ears.
“Confess witch!” comes a voice from the crowd. I look, and I recognize the young son of a neighbor. I myself brought this boy into the world at his parent’s request just seventeen years afore. Now he stands here with a torch in his hand, shouting slurs at me and I stand here with a hangman’s noose ‘round my neck.
They glare at me with eyes that burn. My heart sinks; there is no reprieve for what I am about to face. I lift my eyes to the sky, even now enchanted by the splendor of a winter night; the moon is full and round. I lift my heart in silent prayer to the Mother Goddess and the Father God that my death be swift. I ask Them to protect my family.
I see them! My husband and my dear children clinging to each other in a sea of angry faces. Be not afraid I hear them say with my mind, we are with you. Do not say good-bye dear ones, for as constant as the moon and the tides of the sea so I shall be reborn. We will meet again you and I…I say to them. It is then I suddenly find my voice and lift my face to the crowd.
“Mark my words this night. Whatever you do to me and my companions will come back to you!”
It is then I am choking, gasping for air. I cannot think, or speak. It is pointless to struggle. I see a light!
A blinding white light comes to me. I feel love and comfort in the light. I am not alone in this light.
I am floating above the crowd; I turn to see my body suspended by a rope, unmoving.
The crowd is cheering my demise, all but three. I go to them.
“Merry Part, till we meet again,” I whisper to them.
I am suddenly pulled into the light.
I am going home.