The ropes bit deeply into her wrists but she held her head high. Around her, villagers chanted, ‘witch, witch, witch!’ She ignored their cries and walked bare footed to the edge of the pond.
Everything was already set up, the witch hunter hadn’t delayed. He pushed her into a chair and she was tied into it. More ropes cut into her skin and cold prickled through the under dress she had been stripped too.
She said nothing. Knowing there was no sense in talking to anyone. They all believed what they wanted to believe and how could the single voice of the accused sway a crowd like this?
A crank handle was turned and slowly she rose up. Men pulled her out over the surface of the water. The villagers started yelling and waving their farming tools or whatever else had been to hand before they had come storming to her hovel.
The witch hunter called for silence and spoke out, ‘if she floats she is a witch. If she sinks she is not!’
‘Witch! Witch!’ the villagers yelled.
She felt the cold swirl of the pond water against her toes then her whole body was plunged into the water as the rope holding her snapped. She heard the screams of the villagers then nothing as the water closed over her.
It was time. I walked across the beach, wet with seaweed as the tide was coming in. Bringing my dad’s ashes back here was fitting. We had loved this beach as a family and there was special rock we had all ways sat on.
It was there I dug a deep, deep hole and hide him under the sand. I could have just thrown the ashes into the sea but I couldn’t let go that easily. At least here, I knew where he was.
Patting the sand back into place, I let the tears fall.
The last of the sunset was a glimmer in the sky, the final hint of color disappearing into the night. Darkness rolled in fast then, bring with it heavy rain which the blustery wind used to hit everything it could with. A rumble of thunder echoed in the distance, sounding like cannon fire.
Looking out on to my empty street, I saw windows of light from nearby houses, flashing car headlights down the road and leaves tumbling past. I looked for the lightening, craning my head up to search the sky, but none came.
I closed the curtains on this scene and went to stir the flames which were gaining strength in the fireplace. Waves of heat were beginning to roll off and the logs were blazing.
Settling on the sofa with a heavy woolen blanket over me, the weather and fire became background noises. I sipped hot chocolate from a polar bear face shaped mug which steam was still curling off of. Placing that down, I picked up the heavy book and opened the anthology of ghost stories into my lap.
It was a crazy idea, an office set up outside wouldn’t work! Mr.Cooper believed his team would be more productive without the ‘shackled desk’ atmosphere. It did improve things for awhile but then it rained and nobody wanted to work outside anymore.
The little dog popping out of a pink doughnut had been the cake topper on her first birthday. Her mother had kept it as a token, all these years. Betty smiled and placed the dog on top of a glazed pink sponge cake.
Lighting the single candle, she carried the cake into the dinning room and the awaiting crowd of family gathered there. She placed the cake before her first grandchild, who was sat in the arms of her daughter.
Betty still couldn’t believe and she knew her parents would be proud of her now.
It had all started out like this; singing on the city streets at the weekend. He had a simple guitar to strum along with, a microphone, an electric box and a head full of songs. No matter how he was feeling, he would get up in the morning, head in and find a good spot. He would lay his guitar case before him, sprinkle in a handful of change and hope that he would make something.
The crowds would come and go like the tide, he would sing and play, letting the notes carry. People would gather to watch him, pausing in their hurried shopping, surprised by his voice. When he was done, clapping and coins would rain down. He would be bow, feeling accomplished then strike up another song.
And that’s how it was for years, just playing on the streets and getting what money he could. Then he saw recordings of himself on Youtube from people who’d been in the crowds and an idea formed in his head. He switched things up, made a channel, recorded and posted his songs on the internet. His world just exploded and his steps into fame and the music career he always wanted began.