Fall From Grace – Chapter 12

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Hi folks!

Aside from the deplorable review that had nothing to do with Chapter 1 of Fall From Grace, nothing much has happened in my own little world. On the other hand I have been diligently working on Fall From Grace. I’m currently at almost 34,000 words and I’ve got to say, my characters have a mind of their own! lol

At any rate, in honor of All Hallow’s Eve, I  thought I would share the rough draft of Chapter 12 with you. So without further ado, here is the next installment of Fall From Grace!

Happy Reading, and as always feel free to tell me what you think!

As Grace sat taking in the news that her father believed her, Abraham turned to Tituba and asked, “Tituba, I have no right to ask this of you, but will you continue to care for Grace until the day you are both released from the suburbs of hell?”

“You don’t have to ask that of the likes of me Mr. Bacon. Were I not a slave I would still care for thy sister. Though my state be lonely, Miss Bacon is one of the few that have always shown me kindness and mercy. It would be a disgrace to me and God were I not to help in any way I can. Specially with all the trouble I’ve caused,” Tituba answered sincerely.

“You’ve caused no grief, Tituba,” Grace gently rebuked.

“Miss Grace if I hadn’t asked for thee, you wouldn’t be sitting here with an open wound on your foot,” Tituba insisted.

“Tituba, you didn’t force them to use a whip, you weren’t even in the cell, when it happened. You did nothing except to call a witness to your character,” Grace reasoned.

“Had I left you out of my pleas, you wouldn’t be suffering in the suburbs of hell,” Tituba countered.

“Man has a choice as well, in the acts that he partakes of. The way of God does not include the atrocities that are being committed in his name,” Grace reasoned.

“We’ll not agree on this, Miss Grace,” Tituba stated with a grim smile.

Abraham snorted before interjecting, “Grace is as stubborn as the sun is hot, Tituba.”

Grace chuckled at the description that her brother had given. “The warmth of the sun feels like heaven on my skin. Especially in comparison to the hellishly frozen caverns of the dungeon,” Grace whispered.

“Truthfully it is,” Tituba quietly intoned.

Grace looked up from her seat and tentatively asked, “Has the Millson family said naught of this whole fiasco?”

Abraham shook his head, creased his brow and solemnly replied, “I would not hold thy breath for fear of turning blue when this ordeal is at an end. It seems they are as believing of these trumped up charges as God was in creating the earth in six days.”

Already tired shoulders sagged even further as moisture gathered in Graces’ eyes. Tituba reached over and pulled Grace tightly to her. “Twill be all right, Miss Grace. You’ll see. Let’s enjoy the sunshine that God has provided,” Tituba comforted.

The two women sat close for several minutes while Abraham shook his head at the quiet pleasure that the ladies took in breathing clean air. A man clearing his throat broke the quiet serenity in the exercise yard, “Time’s up. Back into your cell.”

“Sheriff, I see you’ve returned from your duties. Perhaps you could find it in your soul to allow the ladies to sit here for a bit longer,” Abraham dourly asked.

“That I have and with one less witch to feed. Those same duties also state that prisoners are only allowed a short stint in the courtyard at a time,” the sheriff retorted.

Abraham bit his lips while his face turned tomato red, a vein at his temple pulsed. Grace reached a hand up to rest on his forehead as she shook her head. “God will see us through,” she insisted.

“You shouldn’t have to rely solely on God. Man should know when they are crossing the line into hysteria and nonsense,” Abraham growled.

Grace sighed as she struggled to her feet, “Trust in God, Abraham. He is the only surety we have in this life and the next.”

The sheriff stood in front of Grace and Tituba and tied a heavy hemp rope to each of their waists, there were no shackles to bind their ankles. He then grabbed the rope between the two and pulled them forward, leaving Abraham to bring up the rear of the party with a scowl on his tan face.

The sheriff led the small party out of the afternoon sunshine into the dark, humid Dungeon and Jail. The air was thick enough that Grace could reach out and almost grab the air. The stones that made up the walls were warm enough to blister a carelessly placed hand. Grace slowly limped onto the wooden floor with Tituba’s support. The sheriff escorted both women to the tiny cell they occupied. Once the door was locked and the sheriff gone, Abraham promised, “I shall see you in the future, Grace.”

 

Fall From Grace – Chapter 11

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Hi all!

Sorry it’s been so long since my last update, but things have been a bit hectic. The more that I read and learn about the Puritans and the form of Christianity they practised the more I understand them. I also find that I can empathize with them.

I encourage you to study them more. You would honestly be amazed by how much you can relate to their struggles and fears.

I promise that I have multiple chapters written in this upcoming novel. Without further ado, I give you Chapter 10 of Fall From Grace.

As always feel free to tell me what you think of Grace Bacon’s journey so far!

Happy Reading!

 

The humidity in the prison gave the mirage of life to Mrs. Osbourne’s body. Grace and Tituba sat huddled in a corner, as far from the rancid scent of decay as their shackles would allow.

Mrs. Osbourne lay peacefully while Grace whispered a final prayer, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

“As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter:

“Nevertheless, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“Amen,” a male voice answered when the prayer was over.

“Abraham,” Grace gasped as she looked up.

“Offering holy guidance to your fellow accused, Grace,” Abraham asked with a smile.

“Were the priest to do his duty I wouldn’t attempt to take a place that God reserved for man. Either way last rites had to be given,” Grace tiredly stated.

A grey storm cloud passed over Abraham’s features as he darkly rumbled, “Truthfully?!”

“Barely a soul has crossed this threshold since the day of my interrogation,” Grace confirmed.

“The doctor for your foot was here then?”

“Nay. Tis the handiwork of Tituba that you see.”

“Then who called upon you after the interrogation?”

“Mother’s father.”

Abraham shook his head in denial. “The accused should not be held in such deplorable conditions. This is not our way.

“I’ll see you shortly,” Abraham coldly stated as he turned on his heel and stomped away.

“He didn’t sound too happy, Miss Grace,” Tituba mumbled.

Grace smiled grimly when she replied, “Abraham takes God very seriously. A more devout person you’d be hard pressed to find. He knows that God would frown upon this.”

As Grace finished she heard quick and heavy footsteps coming through the communal cell. Being accused of witchcraft saw the privilege of that cell denied to Grace; the walled off courtyard was another luxury that had been denied. All because people listened to the word of children rather than reason.

When Abraham returned the sheriff was with him. Both of their faces resembled the ripe apples used to make pints of apple jack; although the sheriffs skin resembled that of a shriveled apple. “What have you Godless creatures done to one of your own,” the sheriff growled.

“That is not the way one speaks to a lady,” Abraham warned.

“These creatures lost the protection that God gave them when they signed the Devil’s Book.”

From inside of her cell Grace snapped, “We signed no such book!”

The sheriff’s eyes blazed in anger as he glared at Grace with all the power of a storm.

Before the sheriff could say another word, Abraham warned, “Sheriff unless you want to be held accountable for plague spreading in our village, you had best remove Mrs. Osbourne’s body, before decay sets loose a pandemic.

“Were I to write to the governor about your treatment of a lady, you might find yourself at the receiving end of His Excellency’s pleasure,” Abraham ended with enough derision to curdle milk.

The sheriff’s face turned pale as he demanded, “I’ll need your guarantee that the prisoners won’t leave the jail.”

“Neither myself or the ladies will stray from the prison. We shall stray no further than the bench in the courtyard,” Abraham assured.

On that assurance the sheriff unlocked the cells and demanded, “Stay next to Mr. Bacon he’s better than either of you deserve.”

Once the shackles were off Grace leaned on Tituba as the two women hobbled out of the cell; Grace had her bible clutched tightly in her arms as her foot throbbed with each step. By the time they were out of the cell salty tears streaked clear streams down Grace’s cheeks.

Abraham wasted no time in helping Tituba to hold Grace up so that her weeping foot would touch the ground as little as possible. Once they were in the sunshine, Abraham directed both women to the bench that sat along the outer wall. When he had them seated, Abraham asked, “How long were the two of you shackled to her body?”

“Barely quarter of an hour, though it seemed forever,” Grace answered truthfully.

“Spring planting has begun and the shop is busier than one would think, otherwise I’d have been here sooner, “Abraham apologized.

“There is no need for an apology when the land calls, Abraham. I know mother is taking my place at the counter. I pray that you and Hope have had luck with a child?”

“God has not blessed us yet, though thanks to you, Hope is helping mother more and more,” Abraham stated grimly.

“Prithee, why am I the reason?”

“Dearest sister, you’re the one that noticed the stew. Father had been furious thinking you would turn your back to God, until reason lit the problem as bright as day. Father has been over at Stamford for the last couple of weeks,” Abraham explained.

Grace sagged in the bench as though someone had removed a waterwheel from her shoulders.

Fall From Grace – Chapter 9

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I have been working slowly but surely on Fall From Grace. The amount of research that I have already put into this is staggering – and to think, I’m still not done. One thing I have found is a new sympathy for the Puritans.

Other things I have noticed are the severe inaccuracies that we are taught in school. There are quite a few of those. A fascinating fact is that  the colonies were known as the land that spawned grandparents. Less industry in the so-called new world meant people could live longer and for the first time, parents were seeing their grandchildren being born.

Another fact is that contrary to popular belief, Puritans married for love. The median male age for marriage was 26, while the females tended to marry at 23.

Before I continue on the amazing and wondrous facts that I have learned, I give you Chapter 9 in Fall From Grace.

As always feel free to share your thoughts and Happy Reading!

The three prisoners stayed up well into the night as there was no way for them to get comfortable. The full moon lit up the little cell illuminating the haggard looking prisoners.

Though thunder rolled through the sky promising to let loose a downpour that could flood the crops – and their cell, there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

“What happened to Mrs. Good,” Grace whispered.

“She was sent to Ipswich Jail on account of her being with child. They’ll probably try to charge her newborn with witchcraft as well. Lord above knows that they charged her four-year-old with it,” Mrs. Osbourne bitterly informed.

Grace sighed and managed to look angry rather humiliated. With her neck bent, the moonlight made the lice in her hair sparkle and crawl at the same time. “They’re charging children,” Grace exclaimed in horror.

“That has been our way since the beginning. You know well how children are expected to act, Grace,” Mrs. Osbourne sternly reminded.

“I realize they are held to adult standards but, at four a child’s mind is filled with whimsy and imagination. Young Dorothy Good wouldn’t be able to speak intelligently enough to answer the interrogators,” Grace confirmed with muffled tones.

“What they’re doing’s not right, Miss Grace. They even sent Miss Dorothy to Ipswich with her mother,” Tituba whispered.

“Why do they have the right to hold a child in shackles,” Grace asked plaintively.

“Those are the rules. Besides, she claimed that a snake spoke to her,” Mrs. Osbourne insisted.

“Rules or not, they aren’t right. A talking snake is nothing more than her own imagination. There aren’t many ways for a girl to occupy her time. It’s not like we could go out and learn a trade,” Grace insisted with her bent head.

“We shouldn’t be here accused of crimes that weren’t committed, Grace,” Mrs. Osbourne stated to a flash of lightning and roll of thunder.

Rain poured from the sky in bucket loads obscuring the once bright moon. The fire in the hearth across on the other side of the jail did nothing to warm the cell as rain leaked through the window above them.

***

The mid-day sun was turning the cell into a sauna. Bodily waste baked in the scorching heat of the sun. Water from last night’s down pour had long since evaporated. An incessant clanking of metal on metal reverberated around the room.

It wasn’t long before long the clanking stopped and the women gave a sigh of relief as their shoulders sagged. Their semi-relaxed air was not to last as stomping feet made their way closer to the cell.

The women gazed at the cell bars from the floor. Tattered and stained clothes only enhanced the bruises and lacerations that adorned their faces. A short, thin man stopped in front of the cell. The thick blue haze of tobacco smoke that surrounded the man smelt vaguely nutty.

His leather boots were worn in such a way to blend in with the drab wooden floor. He was bald except for a white ring of hair around the base of his skull. He looked upon the prisoners with enough disgust to wither a crop field. He shook his head and sharply stated,

“I hadn’t thought to believe that the daughter of a baker would stoop so low as to sell her soul to the devil’s fiery furnace.”

Grace tried to look up to glare at the man only to find herself staring at her soiled skirt. “I will tell you like I have told the interrogators, Grandfather. I am no witch; nor would God allow me to sign the Devil’s Book,” Grace snapped.

“I told your mother she was marrying the wrong man. She was of age and wouldn’t listen to me though. She could have had a wealthier suitor and more comfortable life, but she chose your father. Now look what she has to deal with. A daughter that would dare go against all that is holy,” Grandfather spat.

“At least she has love. Unlike you she didn’t dishonor herself and God,” Grace venomously spat back.

“Instead, she gets a daughter whose neck won’t bend from stubborn pride,” he shot back.

“I am not guilty of turning my back to God. If my faith costs me my life, than so be it; but I’ll not confess to something that I didn’t do,” Grace forcefully stated.

“And break your mother’s heart while your at it, no doubt,” Grandfather sneered.

“Man breaks my mother’s heart for bearing false witness,” Grace snapped from her bound position.

“You are naught to my family. The next time I will see you is the day you swing on Gallows Hill for your treachery,” Grandfather fumed as he stormed away from the cell.
Grace took a calming breath as her grandfather arrogantly strode away from the cell and implored, “Pardon the disgraceful scene, ladies; unfortunately, grandfather has always been a bitter man.”

“I’m no lady Miss Grace, but to me that sounds like ones dirty laundry blowing in the breeze – and were always taught that God frowns on that,” Tituba said dismissing Grace’s apology.

“Bah, child. No need to apologize for someone else,” Mrs. Osbourne firmly informed as she began to cough.

Tituba tried to reach around Grace to comfort Mrs. Osbourne as hacking coughs racked her body. The only comfort that she could give was to hold the older woman’s hand.

Fall From Grace – Chapter 8

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As many of you know I am in the midst on writing a novel that takes place against the bloody backdrop of the Salem Witch Trials. Previously I have given you the first seven rough chapters. Without further ado I give you the eigth chapter. As always feel free to tell me what you think of the story thus far.

Happy Reading!

The days dried out as Grace sat with her back to a wall and her wrists and neck locked in a pillory. Her wrists and neck were chafed and her hair looked as though it were crawling of its own free will.

The frail Mrs. Osbourne sat on one side of her and Tituba on the other. All three women were shackled at the ankles. Mrs. Good hadn’t been seen in the jail for more than a day.
It had taken a couple of days for Grace to sit upright, rather than lay hunched over in her own waste; now, though, she gingerly sat with her back to the harsh stone wall. Mrs. Osbourne and Tituba had managed to move her away from the far wall and closer to the middle of the cell. All three of them may have been covered in their own filth, but none of them wanted to sit closer to the five gallon buckets that their waste was supposed to go in, than they had to.

The tiny cell reeked of human waste and stale, coppery blood that turned black as it dried. There hadn’t been a single soul to visit the jail in the last day. The jailer himself served their dinner – and that was naught but a bowl of stew with stale, crusty bread.
The women sat in silent, miserable camaraderie as the morning sun dimly illuminated the cell. Tituba looked over at Grace and gasped, “Miss Grace, your hair is crawling!”

“I had hoped that the itching was merely my mind trying to escape from this brutal prison,” Grace whispered tearily as the room descended into encompassing silence.
The deafening silence was broken by the steady clank of metal on metal. The hardened voice of the sheriff derisively called out, “Supper time you foul creatures.”

As the sheriff arrogantly strode into view the ladies could see that he was accompanied by a woman who was carrying a loaf a bread and tray with three bowls of steaming stew on it.
The woman that accompanied the sheriff was of moderate height. She had a round oval face. “If you’ll unlock the door, sheriff, I will leave this bountiful meal for them to eat. These bowls won’t be missed overnight,” she serenely stated.

Grace gasped as she heard that familiar, jovial voice. Abraham’s wife, Hope, had delivered dinner this evening!

The sheriff bowed his head at the woman as he replied, “As you wish Mrs. Bacon. Are sure you husbands mother won’t run short of food for her Godly household,” the sheriff inquired.

“She’s the one who sent the food to them all,” Mrs. Bacon informed.

“How does only one of her children turn to the devil’s charms?”

“Abraham is a saint sheriff,” Mrs. Bacon agreed, “So is Nathaniel.”

The sheriff chuckled and complimented, “Hope Bacon, you are indeed a saint to always find the good in even the worst of people.

“Alright, I’ll open the cell for you, after which we’ll tally up what these pathetic creatures owe you.”

“Nonsense, sheriff! Mrs. Bacon wouldn’t dream of charging for such a simple meal. She believes, as all of us do, that even the smallest kindness can cause a person to consider repenting their sins.”

“These creatures deserve no kindness from you,” the sheriff coolly informed as he opened the door to the cell.

Once Hope darted into the tiny cell to lay the bowls of stew at the feet of the prisoners. The sheriff brusquely informed, “I’ll be waiting out front for you Mrs. Bacon.”

“Thank you sheriff, and may God bless you,” Hope answered as she knelt to place the still warm bowls of stew at the feet of the prisoners.

The sheriff shrugged dismissively as he walked back to the front of the jail. The heavy wooden door slammed shut after the sheriff.

“Grace what happened,” Hope exclaimed with eyes the size of dinner plates.

Grace couldn’t look at her sister-in-law, but she could hear the horror in her voice.
“Tis been a long few days, Hope. I refuse to confess to something that I haven’t done,” Grace hoarsely replied.

“This is inhumane! To be lashed for refusing to confess is abominable! As for the pillory there is no reason to shame you.

“As for the cell bars no jail in the colony has those. None would dare to escape,” Hope declared.

Grace snorted inelegantly at Hope’s indignation before answering, “Methinks that our jailors don’t have a worry for our well being; the jailers don’t trust us to meet our fate,” Grace finished grimly.

“Your brother will be extremely upset.”

“Pray that he does nothing rash,” Grace implored.

Hope shook her head and gave all three ladies in the cell a warm bowl of stew. Tituba and Mrs. Osbourne reached for the bowl as Hope attempted to feed Grace as though she were a newborn.

The women ate in silence, relishing the warm stew that was coating their hungry stomachs. Grace was eating with her eyes closed; trying to forget her misery for a moment.

After a few bites Grace asked, “How are mother and father?”

“Your father is stubborn in the fact that if you are accused than you must be guilty. He doesn’t show it, but this is breaking him.

“Your mother refuses to believe that you are capable of such a thing. Nazareth has heard them viciously arguing over the matter. He doesn’t believe these charges other.

“You already know Abraham doesn’t believe them,” Hope quietly informed.

Tears flared behind Graces’ eyelids forcing her to open them and look into the spoon that

Hope held in her hand. Grace gasped sharply causing Hope to question, “What?”

“It’s the stew. It’s black and purple,” Grace exclaimed. Tituba’s face turned ashy and Mrs. Osbourne set her bowl down with a thud.

“I don’t understand what you’re saying Grace,” Hope softly stated.

“St. Anthony’s fire. It’s the reason the children are acting up. The grain crops are rotting with St. Anthony’s fire,” Grace insisted.

“Grace, I’ve never been out of Salem. I literally don’t know what you’re saying,” Hope informed.

Grace took a breath and whispered, “Father and I went to Stamford a while back and there was talk of the grain crops being tainted. They had symptoms just like the girls. They called it St. Anthony’s fire,” she finished desperately as thunder rolled across the darkening sky.

Bloody Maples

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Recently I have been working on my first ghost story/horror story. A few people have read it and they encouraged me to share it with you. This is far beyond what I normally write so I would be really appreciative of your comments on it.

The current title for this piece is Bloody Maples and it ponders what the malevolent spirits that were persecuted could want after all this time.

Happy Reading!

Tall sugar maples shaded a lifeless tree that clung to a sheer cliff bluff. Below the cliff a shallow ravine trickled with red tinged water. Frayed ropes swayed on the lower branches of the dead tree.

No birds flew overhead; even the calls of the animals died this crisp autumn night.

Clouds rolled in as the earth began to shake. Red water crested the bank as the earth shook allowing the ravine to rise and rest at the base of the maples. Lightening flashed as forms emerged from the water and stood with bowed heads at the base of the dead tree.
One figure, then another, knelt next to the tree as the water receded. It was a somber affair as nineteen figures prayed over lives long lost.

Tonight though, they weren’t here to mourn the past; they were here to celebrate the future.

Lightening cracked across the sky as another figure stepped out of the tree.
She wore an elaborately antiquated dress whose colors were as faded and luminescent as the moonlight. The only bright color that adorned her was the sparkling sapphire that shone from her eyes.

As wind howled through the trees, the woman chillingly whispered, “My children, for far too long this mortal realm has rested on our innocent souls! They shed our pure blood for the comfort of their minds. Tonight these vile mortals will lose the solace they purchased in vain!

“Tonight they shall suffer the tortures they rained upon our heads as we walk through their homes and into the dreams they hold true,” she rasped as the wind howled into the night.

A man in tattered breeches and a wide brimmed hat gracefully rose and grovelled, “For that milady, on this treacherously bright All Hallow’s Eve.”

Milady looked upon the humbled man and cooed, “Father George, you need not thank me for what The Impaler has declared a treat for his most faithful.”

Excitement fluttered through the translucent ghosts faster than a humming bird could flap its wings. The tittering exclamations of, “He remember us,” flickered faster than a candle in the wind amongst the pale group.

Milady smiled benevolently as she assured, “Most fondly does the Prince remember those that floated with him during the Mafiosi Uprising.”

The pallid ghosts gleamed like a dim light bulb under their Lady’s praise. “Now my children, let us fly while the veil weak and the moon high. Show these mortals that they have rested easy for the last time on our memories and blood. Bestow on them visions of the despairing world that they will rise to in the morning,” Milady eerily commanded.
The ghosts howled around the dead tree as their spirits rose to the highest branches and flew apart in what any observer would call a shooting star.

Clouds began to cover the pale moon and wind began to blow leaves from trees as the ghosts approached the nearest town. A final clap of thunder turned what little moonlight there was the color of blood.

One by one ghosts entered the houses of the sleeping inhabitants who were snugly in their toasty beds.

In the first house a woman wearing a tattered skirt and bonnet cruelly smiled as she entered the mind of her target. The man had the same sneer in his sleep as the judge who had condemned her, and she was delighted to stand here and show him the future that awaited him.

Slowly the form of the woman sank in to the sleeping man and his body turned blue for a moment as his mouth opened in silent horror.

Inside his mind the woman cackled, “Young Sewall, the time has come for you to taste the payment due for the crimes of your ancestors. Once you cross our realm, not even God will save you!”

“I don’t know who you are,” he whimpered.

Her ghostly face smiled in rage, revealing rotten teeth as she whispered, “The judges son doesn’t know a Good? How cruelly then, will it be as flood drowns you at the stake?”

The cracked and cackling voice of Good sent goose bumps up young Sewall’s spine as he was flung towards a stake that popped up from the fertile ground strewn with grain.

Quickly ropes bound him as a stone sprung up from the earth. Stacks of kindling and firewood surrounded his feet as blood fell from the sky.

Young Sewall’s eyes widened as the fertile ground turned to blood and slowly began to rise. “Dear God,” he horrifically uttered.

“He’s not here to save you! As in life we make our own choices after death. He may hear your screams, but he’ll not answer them, young Sewall. Thanks to the laws of the After Life, God has a strictly hands off policy.

“How does it feel to be alone and bereft of help through no cause of your own? How does it feel to be one of us,” Good snarled.

“Please, I never wronged you,” young Sewall pleaded.

“Do you not recognize a witch? While alive, I never wronged anyone either. My soul refuses to accept the fake apologies of your ancestors,” Good sneered.

“That was centuries ago,” young Sewall panicked as the blood crept up the rock he was confined to.

“Vengeance takes eternity to serve,” Good spat.

“Why haven’t you taken your rest after the courts declared you innocent? The judge professed his guilt in those dark times,” he whispered as the bloody water inched ever closer.

“They wouldn’t believe me when I was alive, why should I believe them when I am dead. Their mortal words mean nothing to one who has eternity to watch,” Good coldly explained.

“Taking my life won’t help you now,” young Sewall pleaded.

“True, but an oath I have sworn and keep it I shall. They took my life and you shall drink blood for it,” Good viciously informed as the bloody water lapped at young Sewall’s feet.

Young Sewall gazed at Good with horrified bewilderment. “Good, you’re making no sense. What happened was a tragedy!”

“As a God fearing man surely you can understand that an oath has to be kept,” she icily soothed.

“It’s not too late for your soul Good! God will forgive you for this,” young Sewall pleaded as the blood encompassed his ankles.

Good cackled as a silky male voice smoothly intoned, “Weren’t you listening? Your God has a strictly hands off policy when it comes to the living and the dead.

“I, on the other hand, reward my faithful; and they have decided the fates of those that wronged them.”

Young Sewall looked around frantically, his eyes darting in directions that his head could not swivel. “Who are you? Stop this madness,” he demanded from his bound stake.

A dark chuckle filled the air before an answer was forthcoming, “I am Vlad Tepes. Vovoid of Wallachia. In my time I was a great man, known for rewarding my faithful.

“Tell me, why should I deny Mistress Good her just reward, after such faithful service,” Vlad queried condescendingly.

“Because I’m innocent,” young Sewall screamed from his post.

“So was she, and not a single mortal care,” Vlad sneered as young Sewall slumped against his post allowing the bloody water further up his calves.

Such a pathetic sight cause Good’s cackles to turn from cruelty to delight.

Vlad sneered and responded, “Have they changed so much that the innocent still suffer?” The cold sneer of Vlad’s face was such that the metallic smell of blood mingled with feces, causing Good to cackle once more.

Vlad looked to Good as midnight skies began to lighten and bloody water faded to pure. With a light sneer on his face he commanded, “Mistress Good, our time on this plane is nearing an end this solstice eve. I would suggest you warn this modern man of that which awaits him upon crossing over to us,” he finished in a cool whisper as he faded from thought.

As the lightening flashed once more Good watched the blood drain from young Sewall’s face and assured, “Worry not young Sewall, you shall greet the sun once more. But when your time in the mortal world is through, your soul belongs to the Salem 19. We will see you again,” she promised as her shade faded with the calming waters.

Fall From Grace – Chapter 7

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After fixing my computer I have been on something of a roll with my writing. Between writing an honest to goodness ghost story and working on Fall From Grace, I haven’t been short of  ideas.The question I have for you all though, is will Grace stoutly stand against those that would do her harm.

Without further ado, I give you Fall From Grace – Chapter 7.

 

Cold, wet stone dug into Grace’s back as she let out a nauseous moan. Her stomach churned as the scent of stale urine and rank feces permeated her nose. Every muscle screamed in stiff agony as her senses slowly returned. She tried to raise a cold hand to her face only to find that her hands were restrained next to her head. Her butt was numb and water came halfway up her hips as she languished in the dark puddle on the ground. She squinted as she tried to look up, only to find that her head could not rise more than half an inch. On one side of her Grace felt the rough stone cutting into cold skin; and the other a warm presence.

“Careful Miss Grace. The priest didn’t like what you told them and had you locked in the pillory,” Tituba thickly whispered. The swelling Grace had last seen was gone, though she was still covered with fading bruises.

“To be punished for avowing innocence is a crime frowned upon by God,” Grace whispered hoarsely through cracked lips.

“I fear our captors have little belief in innocence; and I don’t think they have the respect for God they should,” Tituba replied.

“Where are the others?”

“Mrs. Good and Mrs. Osbourne have been taken to the interrogators over at Ingersoll’s Tavern. That was early this morning, Miss. It’s nearing supper time now, I’ve not heard a souls whisper in hours so I’m not thinking supper’s gonna be arriving anytime soon.

“More have been accused since they questioned you,” Tituba fearfully blurted out.

“Who?”

“At least half a dozen in the last four days, Miss Grace. The affliction’s spreading and they say other children are doing the accusing now.”

“None in the community would dare turn their backs to God,” Grace insisted from her bowed position. The silence of the empty cell echoed around her voice.

“That’s not the rumors that are going around Miss Grace. People are saying it’s been awfully cold of late and that God was sending the cold as a way to punish sinners; rumor has it even the pastor thinks God is punishing him,” Tituba plaintively whispered.

“Hush now Tituba. There are always those who wish to call trouble upon others. As for our current situation we can only hope that mortal man can see what God clearly knows,” Grace tiredly informed as her chin hit the board.

“What if that’s not enough,” Tituba worried.

The only answer that Tituba received were the watery breaths that escaped Grace’s now bruised and sleeping form.

 

***

 

Grace jumped awake as a sharp sting struck her foot and thunder rumbled outside. The pillory didn’t allow her to raise her head as another sting raced through her foot. The sturdy leather shoes on her feet were not enough to numb yet another sting.

A flash of lightning silhouetted the narrow legs of a man in dark breeches his white stockings gave the man a supernatural appearance in the eery light. This time the sharp snap of a whip accompanied the sting on her feet. A quick glance around told Grace she was alone in the cell.

“Ow,” Grace whimpered as another lash struck her feet.

“Who else signed the Devil’s Book,” the male voice harshly snarled.
Though she could not raise her head Grace refused to sit there in shame. She may have been forced into the pillory, but the reason behind it was no fault of hers. She squared her shoulders as best she could before answering with a bowed head, “I, nor anyone else, have signed NO book.”

The darkened figure seemed to erupt in rage as he swung the whip once more. This time the leather cut into the soles of her sturdy shoes. Grace flinched in her seat and knocked her head against the pillory as fresh pain racked her foot.
A rolling crack of thunder covered Grace’s whimpers of pain.

“Name your conspirators,” he commanded.

A tear fell down Grace’s mud caked face as she gasped for air. As she was about to respond her mud encrusted face turned as pale as the moon. With no other warning, she spewed the bile in her stomach all over her urine soaked skirt.

As the bile was dripping from her mouth Grace spat, “The only crime being committed here is the disgrace that you are showing to women.”

“You lost any protections that your sex demands when you signed the Devil’s Book,” the man coldly informed.

“I signed no such book,” Grace stubbornly insisted.

Even though it was dark in the cell Grace could tell the man was shaking in rage. “Your protestations of innocence will do you no good. The children have seen you,” the man snarled as he cracked his whip once more.

This time, the man didn’t give Grace a chance to claim innocence. He continued to snap his whip delivering lancing sting after cutting lash to the bottom of her feet. Grace’s wails of pain were drowned in the downpour of rain outside her cell.

Fall From Grace – Chapter 6

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Hi all!

It took me four days to fix my computer that decided it wanted to crash. The frustration was of epic proportions! I do hope you will forgive me for not getting this next chapter of Fall From Grace up sooner.

Without further ado, I give you Chapter 6 in Fall From Grace.

Happy reading and feel free to tell me what you think!

 

Thunder shook the sky as lightning illuminated the Salem Dungeon and Jail. As wind howled through the stone walls and iron bars, Grace shivered in her sleep. The four women were huddled next to each other for warmth.

As goose bumps formed on their chilled flesh, ice crystals formed on their stringy hair. While Grace stirred in her sleep the stones of the cell wall began to weep with the late winters rain that ushered spring into the world. Grace turned her head and gasped as she woke. With one hand on her racing heart and the other in her lap, Grace urged, “We need to be up ladies. Else wise we’ll be frozen in a bath before our due is collected.”

The others grumbled from where they slumbered and Grace tried again, “Hurry ladies! Standing is better than sitting at the moment. Even the rats have bailed ship,” she insistently whispered.

That seemed to do the trick as the other three rubbed their eyes and looked around them. Once they had time to adjust their eyes Mrs. Good snarked, “Even God doth try to make our stay more miserable.”

“Hush now Mrs. Good. Your bitter words of reality won’t help us much now,” Grace admonished. “Help Tituba to stand whilst I assist Mrs. Osbourne.”

Mrs. Good raised a white eyebrow as she spat, “Tis not my place to be helping a slave.”

“We’re in this together at the moment Mrs. Good. You are no better than Tituba, nor is she any better than you. If we are to survive this than we must stand together or surely the devil himself will feast on our souls,” Grace asserted stubbornly.

Mrs. Good narrowed her old eyes but decided to say nothing as she reached a hand down to help Tituba to her feet.

At the other end of the short chain gang Grace did her best to support Mrs. Osbourne only to find herself leaning heavily against the cold, weeping wall. “Thank you dear, for helping to make an old woman more comfortable. With God’s grace we shall be out of this devilish nightmare before the day is up,” Mrs. Osbourne hoped.

Mrs. Good frowned deeply as Tituba whispered, “We should do better to hope that common sense rules out a child’s imaginary word.”

Leaning on each other the women began to raggedly pace the tiny cell. No more than four half steps were taken before they were forced to turn the other way. Slowly loose threads became heavy and ankles turned numb. The sloshing of water could be heard with every step.

Lightning flashed, illuminating the women; two were covered in purple and blue bruises, one was bitter, and the last held the pale pallor of the ill. Frozen facades concentrated on the weeping stone walls while numb and shackled feet forced the women to stumble into an ever increasing puddle of muddy blood. The women moaned as they landed one on top of another like a pile of freezing logs forgotten in the night.

As the women tried to pull themselves upright once more they could hear the heavy clang of metal against metal. The slow steady clanging reminded them of a hammer hitting iron ore at the smithy. The clanging was accompanied by the soft scuff of leather boots against the stone floor.

When the loud clanking stopped a hoarse voice commanded, “Grace Bacon.”

The four women finally pulled themselves up and Grace meekly acknowledged as her eyes landed on an elderly woman dressed in black, “Yes.” Her mud encrusted head looked out the cell, showcasing the black eye that covered half her face.

“You’re to come with me for examination on charges of witchcraft and heresy,” the craggy faced woman brusquely informed.
As the guards with the nun opened the cell Grace stood her ground, “Holy Sister, I am not guilty of this crime.”

The nun sneered coldly at the ragged women in the cell. The moment her shackles released Grace took a step backwards and one of the guards reached forwards and derisively snorted, “None of that now, girlie. Come and let the sister have a look at you.”

“No,” Grace shouted as her legs crumbled beneath her. A loud splash greeted her landing as she doused the others in the cell with icy water.

The wrinkled nun shook her head as the guards gripped Grace’s upper arms and drug her to her feet. “Ow! You vile doormen are hurting me,” Grace vehemently exclaimed.

“Were you a better child of God your treatment would reflect that,” the nun coldly stated.

“I may not wear the cloth of God, but the devil has never found a place in my hands or heart,” Grace grunted as she was being forced from her cell.

The nun snorted, “Lies will not best serve you on this day.”

Grace continued to struggle against her captors as she was drug down the frost covered stones of the hallway outside of the communal cell. As Grace’s leather clad feet drug across icy stones a tear fell down her bruised and swollen cheek.

With little warning the guards released Grace as she looked up to find herself under the wrinkled and disapproving glare of the Holy Sister. As wood splintered across the stone floor, Grace glared back with the ferocity of a tiger and warned, “The same God that judges you, watches over me.”

The Holy Sister gazed upon Grace with enough condescension that she could have fermented rye on a cold winters night. “God heavily frowns upon those who signs the Devil’s book,” she sneered.

Grace’s eyes barely had time to widen at this accusation before her jailers roughly grabbed her arms once more. After this short trek through the passageways that Grace was beginning to think of as hell, she straightened her spine and asserted, “He also frowns upon those who bear false witness.”

With this assurance Grace walked through the door that the guards had opened. With what pride she could muster Grace walked through the doors into a dimly lit room. The sun hadn’t yet risen allowing no natural light to illuminate the room; only a couple of simple torches on the back wall lit the room. A small door was centered between the torches.
The stone walls were damp while puddles formed on the wooden floor under the windows. The guards shoved Grace to the center of the room. The guards each took a place on either side of the door, leaving Grace to the mercy of the mercurial and wrinkled nun.

Bruised and hungry, Grace stood in front of the Holy Sister. Where her ankles had been chained, her skin was now scratched allowing fresh blood to spill onto already formed scabs. Her dress was torn and stained. Grace refused to bow her head revealing hair that was matted to her head.

While she did not bow her head, Grace did drop her shoulders under the heavy scrutiny of the wrinkled nun. The squeaking of hinges broke the deafening silence. Grace whipped her head around to see a priest and two brothers enter the room from the hidden door.
The priest sneered at Grace while nodding towards the guards and greeting, “Thank you Sister for waiting. I would have been here sooner had I not been asking for guidance when it comes to these sour creatures that would go against His way,” the priest informed.
The priest motioned for the two brothers to stand next to the guards as he circled Grace with a sneer. “What do you have to say for yourself,” the priest asked derisively as he came to a stop in front of her; blocking any view of the nun.

Grace let out a deep breath as she met her accusers gaze head on, “As God as my witness I am no witch.”

This declaration turned the priests face the shade of a ripe apple, “You are no more than the harlot of Satan,” he snapped.

“God would not allow such a thing,” Grace stubbornly asserted.

The priests eyes narrowed as he crossed himself. As Grace stood there trembling the priest cocked his head and viciously grabbed her by the shoulder.

Narrow, cold fingers pulled Grace forward before flinging her towards the rear wall. For a terrifying moment Grace’s arms and legs flailed through the air only to be stopped with a sickening crunch. A moan escaped Grace’s lips as she landed in a broken pile next to a puddle of icy water.

“Listen you vile Bride of Satan, you and yours will not leave this mortal prison until you name those that signed the Devil’s Book,” the priest thundered as lightning flashed outside.

Grace moaned weakly as she muttered, “My soul belongs to G0d.”

“Stubbornness will not stand against God’s judgement. Perhaps the pillory will break your pride, sinful child of Satan,” the priest threatened.

“Do what you will. Just remember, God will judge you for your crimes against a woman,” Grace whispered from the floor.

“I am not guilty of selling my soul to the devil, and you are nothing more than a bedamned, soulless creature who knows nothing of God’s plan,” the priest coldly informed Grace.

After finishing his condemnation the priest turned to face the guards and ordered, “Take this pathetic creature back to her cell and lock her in the pillory. Her protestations of innocence are but the devils handiwork.”