Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Hunt

The following is based on a true story!

Wendy hummed a happy tune as she deftly sliced up parsnips. Chop chop chop! She raised and tipped the cutting board and scraped the chucks into the great simmering pot of stew which monopolized the entire stove. Then she pulled another basket up onto the wooden table and took up a stiff brush and began scouring the next lot free of soil. A firm knock sounded at the cottage door.

“Hello!” she cried.

“Constable McMacken here!”

“Come on in, George!”

The door creaked open, revealing a man in tall hat standing in the shadow of night. He removed the hat and stepped forward; presenting his lined, clean-shaven face to the bask of candle light. “Good evening, Wendy,” he said in a deep gravelly voice.

“Make yourself at home,” she said. “Here! Try the soup.” She handed him a wooden spoon. “Be honest now! It’s not too late to tinker with it!”

George McMacken frowned uncomfortably. “Oh, uh. I’m really not hungry currently.”

Wendy laughed. “You needn’t finish an entire bowl, constable! Just have a sip. Tell me if it needs more salt or what not!”

“Or more eye of newt!”

Wendy laughed. “Okay then! Or more eye of newt!”

“So you confess!” McMacken blurted. His face hard.

Wendy blanked. Her hand which held the spoon dropped to her side. “Whatever do you mean?”

“You confess to – to – eye of neutering!”

“Are you quite mad, George? I was joking. As you also were, I sincerely hope.”

“Wendy, I’m sorry but – well, there is no easy way to say this. Accusations have been brought forth against you. It is my duty to take you into custody.”

“Wha-! Surely this is some fine jest! You can’t be serious!”

“Oh but I am. Put down the spoon please. And any other implements you might have on your person.”

“This is madness! Implements? Whatever-“

“Like a – your wand or what not.”

“Wand? Oh this has gone too far. Really George.”

“Do you declare yourself free of devices? And charms?”

“I declare I’ll not go along with this farce a moment longer!”

“You will submit to the will of the law! You have been accused!”

“Of what? By whom?”

“Of witchcraft! By villagers. Several in fact.”

“That’s preposterous. I’m fast friends with everyone in the village.”

“Friends or not, no sorcery shall stand in this fair village of Horton! You’ll come with me now. You’ll cooperate or I shall have to use force!  Come at once. You’ll receive a fair trial.” He pushed the cottage door wide open and outside she spied another pair of men standing by a carriage.

“Merrick?” she said. “John?”

“Good evening Ma’am!” said John.

“Come in from of the cold!” she said. “Have a foresampling of tomorrow’s festival soup!”

“Why thank you!” said Merrick, stepping forward.

“There will be no foresampling!” cried the constable, “nor any other trickery!”

Merrick halted. Wendy rolled her eyes.

< ---------- {0} ---------- >

Wendy found herself standing in the centre of the wide circle of villagers. Behind her stood a pyre of straw and from the centre rose a thick wooden pole. Many of the villagers held such cheerful recreational items as ropes, gas cans, torches, matches and lighters. One young fellow had a long tweezery metal sparker device which made a gentle grinding noise and emitted sparks. Perhaps the author will look up the proper name for this device and edit this stupid paragraph. Or maybe not. The fellow wore a dark grin and a sparkle in his eye as he squeezed the device repeatedly, causing tiny sparks to dance.

To be concluded tomorrow…

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