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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2210039
Convicted Witch surveys her fellow citizens

         Here I stand, listening as he reads, in a somber voice, from the book of judgment, reciting my crime of Witchcraft. Little does he know of those not recorded. Yet my crimes are trivial compared to those of the powerful self-righteous. Their crimes are not crimes because they write the law to make their outrages legal. I face the loop for the absurd nonsense of witchcraft. They skate through the loopholes to steal, plunder, and persecute in the name of God and the Law.
         I survey the crowd observing me. Strangely, I am able to see into them -- beyond the skin and bones -- into their soul. Some eagerly wait for the spectacle. Among them, I see Silas McCaskey and his wife Abitha. T’wasn’t witchcraft when they came to me seeking my potions to cure their sick child. Then I was ‘a saint sent by God.’
         Thaddeus and Priscilla Chamberlain feel discomfort, recognizing it was the fake screaming of their wretched spoiled daughter that put me here instead of her in the lockup for trying to steal my chickens. Will their day come before they meet their maker naturally?
         Still, others stand confident that God has given them the solemn duty to carry out his vengeance, not comprehending that God gives not a rip about them or me.
         Father Iorath Maddocks stands beside me, feigning remorse for my soul while he savors his last adventure stealing the innocence of one of his altar boys. He did not fear my witchcraft when he came to my house to save my soul by forcing me to bed.
         A few shed heartfelt tears, trying to reconcile this absurd social ritual with their belief on where we stand with God. There stands my dear friend Widow Prudence Anderson who shared the warmth of my fireplace and the few scraps of food I could spare for her. Are those tears of pity or tears of fear that she might be the next to stand here?
         Off to the edge of the crowd I see Homer Perkins and Jedidiah Taylor, who spoke kind words to me when they needed a favor, then defamed me behind my back to those set on putting me on this scaffold. They will pick a few pockets while they watch.
         Close at hand stands the one who makes his living carrying out the edicts of the state. In his soul, I see nothing. No compassion for the victims, no satisfaction in supposed justice. Just a job to be done by one who somehow finds himself at this station in society – respected, feared, loathed -- doing what no others have the courage or stomach to do.
         Has it never occurred to them, were I the witch they accuse me of being, I would cast a spell sending them all to the fires of hell and walk down from this gallows laughing?
         In a few minutes, I will stand before God seeking the favor of his blessing, far from this madness they call civilization.
         “Hangman — do your duty.”

Word count: 506
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