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.”

 

Book Suggestions For You…

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I had a review on Chapter 1 for Fall From Grace that was less than appropriate. Rather than discuss the subject matter, the reviewer chose to denigrate me and my lineage; he followed this up by wishing death and damnation upon me. Not once did this person say  what upset them about the chapter. They went on to violate the dead with such profanity that I fail to see how they can see the joy in life. I pity that person.

While I do give props for combinations of words, there is no reason to use such distasteful words to attack an author just because you are uncomfortable with the subject matter. Whether you agree with a person on politics, religion, or any other subject, there is no need to spread vile hate because you have nothing better to do.

Now I realize that we all have different opinions on this, but this should be common sense – yes I realize that common sense is in short supply for some folks.

I am an author. It is my job to entertain with words. If you don’t like what I write, might I suggest that you read a work by someone else?

In fact, if you like horror, quirky romance or a form of erotica I invite you to read any of the works by PM Barnes. The reviews she’s gotten for her work are stellar. Five out of Five stars. Point of fact, she has a great deal going on for reviews that comes with the ability to win a FREE SIGNED COPY. You can find her books here: https://www.amazon.com/PM-Barnes/e/B00LKPYTCE

pm-deal

David Moon is also a great author of the horror and erotica genres. His work is also highly rated. Again five stars. If you didn’t care for the writing style of 50 shades, you’ll want to read The Wife’s Wicked Weekend. The quality is better by a magnitude of 100, minimum. You can find his work here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HOLVSRW

In fact, I have an author friend in Indonesia who knows how to tell a tale. Jayedi Reiji has written a novel called Nigella. You can find his work here http://www.larc-nigella.com/ He is also on Instagram – Nigellanovel.

These are not the genres I write in, but they are great authors who would love to entertain your mind in ways that you may not have explored yet.

Each and every one of these authors can be found on Facebook. You can find their work on Amazon for purchase. I truly hope you enjoy their works in ways that you may not be able to mine.

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 10

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything from my latest work. I apologize for that, but I have been working further on Fall From Grace.

Without further ado, I give you Chapter 10 of Fall From Grace.

As always feel free to let me know what you think of this rough endeavor!

Happy Reading!!

Slowly the frigid icicles melted into sunshine and fragrant spring blooms. With earlier sunrises and later sunsets visitors were few and far between. The last visitor to appear was Grace’s dour grandfather. Grace lost count of the days since her arrival; sadly, conditions had only worsened since the beginning of her incarceration.

As the days passed, Mrs. Osbourne’s cough seemed to rack her frail body more and more, while people rotated through the cell like a millstone over grain. As people came and went their body heat often made the cell feel like the inside of a beehive oven at midday. The stone walls no longer wept with moisture; the sweat between her toes played havoc with the leather shoes on Grace’s feet.

After the midnight interrogation split the bottom of her shoes, blood saturated the leather. As the leather dried out, the shoes ended up encrusted and allowed sores to form between her toes. Fearing rot, Tituba peeled the leather off of Graces skin only to find that the flesh was growing over leather flaps .

They had been out of the Dungeon and Jail once when the sheriff had shackled them together in order to take a cart down to the river to wash. The pillory was removed prior to the river trip allowing Grace to stand fully upright for the first time in a month. The only reminders of that humiliating device were the bruises that surround her wrists and ankles. A fleeting smile flashed across Grace’s face as she remembered the rush of water running over her urine soaked body.

The water soaked her dress chilling her to the bone, but she was clean. The only other bright moment in this foul circumstance was the bible that Abraham provided. The three women had taken turns reading aloud. The back cover of the bible held the names of every soul who entered this jail written in blood. The comfort that this simple act brought them was immeasurable.

Currently, Mrs. Osbourne was reading the Prayer of the Lord from the bible. Grace was breathing heavily while biting her lips. Tituba was tugging at the stiff leather removing layers of skin the size of crabapples.

Mrs. Osbourne gently ran her fingers through Grace’s hair, giving the young woman some form of comfort for this painful ordeal. Strips of dead skin drenched in blood littered the floor as mice made their way into the cell chittering in excitement. The metallic smell of blood mixed with the nauseous fumes of tobacco combined to produce something far more foul than cow manure.

Grace flinched and bit through her lips as a flesh coated piece of leather joined the dead skin on the muddy floor. “Just a little bit more, Miss Grace, I promise. I’m sorry I got you into this mess. I just wanted them to stop,” Tituba softly apologized.

A lung racking cough from Mrs. Osbourne punctuated Tituba’s apology. Grace looked up from her position to see a trickle of blood escaping Mrs. Osbourne’s lips. With a shake of her head, Grace admonished, “You should be at home with your children and husband – not stuck in this oven-like, rat infested prison that smells worse than a tannery on a hot day.”

“‘Twould do me little good. My sons dispute my husband at every turn, and this affliction has been at my side for a number of years. I’ve gotten more rest in this damp dungeon than my ears would ever hear in my own home.

“Besides, if you can hold to your integrity and beliefs, so can I,” Mrs. Osbourne offered.

“But I’m not ill Mrs. Osbourne. If this affliction takes you to God’s waiting embrace, then at the very least you should greet him in your own bed with your family by your side,” Grace insisted.

“You and I may see that as a reasonable request, Grace, but methinks that our jailers would have something to say about that.”

Grace growled as she hissed low.

“Sorry Miss Grace, but that’ll be the last of it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep it semi-clean so the doctor won’t have to amputate it,” Tituba glumly informed.

“Somehow Tituba, methinks, the doctors would prefer to have to amputate. At this point, they would seek out the farthest seas of pain to press from us a confession to a crime that is not our doing,” Grace sadly stated.

“You’re positive it’s the grains, Grace,” Mrs. Osbourne questioned.

“I am as sure of that, as I am that God loves all his children. When father and I were in Stamford to see about some business, the same afflictions were occurring. Though they took a scientific approach and refused to believe the ramblings of a bitter person,” Grace whispered as she sat up.

Grace leaned heavily on the wall behind her so that she wouldn’t feint as violent coughing racked Mrs. Osbourne again. Tituba and Grace watched as Mrs. Osbourne stiffened as her affliction turned her face tomato red.

Grace pulled Mrs. Osbourne into a hug, “Rest your head on my shoulder, for now, Mrs. Osbourne. Should God call you home this evening, know that at least one person will miss you in this world.”

“May God bless your future, child,” Mrs. Osbourne blessed as her eyes closed.
Once Grace was sure that Mrs. Osbourne was asleep, she turned to Tituba and sadly smiled, “Thank you Tituba.

“Thank you Tituba. You’ve the steadiest hands in Salem.”

“Thank you, Miss Grace. Twas the least I could do after getting you in this mess,” Tituba whispered.

Grace shook her head before answering, “You’ve no reason to apologize when all you did was ask for succor. The beatings you received should never have been done in Gods name.”

“That’s kind of you to say, Miss Grace, but truth is, I’m the reason you’re here,” Tituba stubbornly insisted.

“We’ll agree to disagree then,” Grace fondly told her.

Tituba smiled before asking, “How’s Mrs. Osbourne doing?”

Grace looked at the older woman. The wrinkles on her forehead were relaxed and jagged breaths had ceased. Mrs. Osbourne’s jaw was ajar and crimson blood stained her chin. Her pallid skin held a bluish tint as lice jumped between hosts.

A tear fell down Grace’s face as it appeared that Mrs. Osbourne had cheated the residents of Salem. The citizens would no longer be able to see a neck stretched for a false accusation; for she was in God’s embrace now.

Time For Another Rant

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As most of you know, I keep my views on religion to myself. I respect your beliefs and ask the respect mine. The one thing I do ask is that you don’t shove your views down my throat and in return I will not shove my views down yours. Unfortunately, I read something that upset me and I had to respond. So I wrote another rant that I would like to share with you.

As always feel free to let me know what you think and happy reading!

Madame,

Do you realize that the religion you claim to follow is based on war, torture, lies, and identity theft? Adultery and repression are also hallmarks of said religion. As Heather McGinnis stated, check your facts.

Let us start with war, shall we? The death toll for wars fought in the name of Christianity is unimaginably high – some estimates range as high as nine million people. There were three crusades fought to reclaim Jerusalem – all were in the name of Christianity. Mind you all that power was in the hands of one mortal man.

Moving on to torture I present to you the Spanish Inquisition of 1480, instituted by Ferdinand II and Isabella I – King and Queen of Spain. Use a globe to locate Spain if you must. The Spanish Inquisition tortured people with branding, the pear, the rack, disfigurement, and water boarding. These are just a few. The number of victims is unknown.

Another time that Christianity committed an act of torture is known as the Salem Witch Trials. Nineteen men and women were hung because one man likened his struggles to that of Jesus. He thought they were against him and charges of witchcraft were levied. What those prisoners went through is considered to be crimes against humanity. If you don’t believe me, Google it.

As for lies, I’ll stick to lies by omission and there are more of those than I can list. All I have to say on that is a suggestion that you look up banned books of the bible. There are several and they are luminous, to say the least.

Identity theft is a fun one. Where do you think Christians get almost all of their holidays? The only way they could subjugate the locals of a religion was to give an acceptable meaning to their celebrations. By acceptable, I mean those that were tolerable to a Christian mindset. Halloween came from the Fall Harvest and the Christmas celebrations came from Saturnalia. All were ways to worship the old Gods for prosperity in the coming years.

For reference, the word Pagan is Roman in origin and was used to refer to the locals of a conquered region. It in no way meant ‘one who doesn’t believe in Christ’. Most of the regions conquered by the Romans were not as advanced as they were leading them to say that “Pagans were a backwards lot”.

Adultery and oppression were one and the same. The reason that women’s rights were stripped is because the church was afraid that the woman would take power away from them. The Borgia popes were notorious for having multiple affairs outside of their wives. Many times children were produced and they benefitted greatly from their father’s position. Yes, there was a time when priests were allowed to have wives as it was thought that they would relate more to their congregation.

The truth is that monotheism is a repressive culture that is designed to control the masses and incite violence. Look at how many people make vile comments and assumptions in the name of religion. If that doesn’t frighten you I don’t know what will, but far be it for me to ridicule you for your beliefs. If those are your honestly held views, then more power to you.
I would advise that the next time you choose to share them that you at least check your facts.

Celebrating Freedom Prompt

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This is the prompt I ran across the other day. You just know I had to answer it. Without further ado, I give you “Celebrating Freedom”.

Roman Feast

He’s dead. We are finally rid of the tyrant known as Caligula and are free. His little boots no longer crush us in fear. No more do we have to fear for our lives or our wives. The Praetorian Guard took care of the tyrant and his family over the evening. They may have been a bit zealous when it came to his infant daughter, but no chance can be taken that his family will try to avenge his sadistic lifestyle. What he did to our wives and children was deplorable; but threatening to name a horse as his council – that is a dignity that no man should have to face.

 
Looking at the revelers around me, I can clearly see how afraid they were. This much wine didn’t even cross my lips when I married. Though I cared greatly for my wife, on that day I was fearful. What if the emperor wanted her or the dowry she carried? What if he felt we were trying to assassinate him? Though we weren’t at the time, those are the thoughts that ran rampantly through my head.

 
I remember the day Caligula was crowned, we were excited for the hope that he brought our country. The spring sun was hot that day. It seemed as though Sol himself were blessing the day at Jupiter’s command. Such divine signs were not to be ignored – and that was something the Romans had never done.

 
At first, his reign was healthy and energetic. That slowly turned to madness after the fever took him.

 
The day he was crowned was truly a splendorous sight that the Ancient City hadn’t seen in years. He freed wrongfully imprisoned citizens and abolished the imperial tax. He filled the stadiums with chariot races and gladiator games. The populace was happy. Until the fever.

 
That’s when we realized that maybe we should have listened to the rumors of his youth on the Island of Capri. Long had we heard the gossip of incest with his sister and joyfully watching executions. We had even heard of his love of torture. Still we thought some of his father’s good sense would stick with Caligula. Never would we have believed such heretic words.

 
No descendant of Caesar or Augustus should be so cruel. Then again, spending so much time in Tiberius’ company couldn’t have been good for him. That man was as sour and lecherous as they come.

 
When Caligula contracted brain fever as Jupiter commanded the seasons to turn we mourned. Our great hope was at Mors’ doors. We prayed to the Gods that we wouldn’t lose our greatest hope.

 
Looking back, I clearly see how bitterly the Gods answered our prayers. Caligula was not the same when he came back to us. No longer was he jovial and understanding. He had become bitter, cruel, and twisted.

 
When Caligula was well again he instituted a food tax. He resurrected treason trials and through his rank around as he thinned out the senate. Those horrendous trials replenished our treasury after his extravagant spending; so did his extortion when a senator fell asleep at an auction. Thirteen gladiators never cost a man so much.
Upon his sister, Drusilla’s death, he had her deified; he even had the nerve to commission coins in her image, beautiful though she was, Drusilla should never have been on a coin. That is an act that will not hold out the year; coins will be melted and deification revoked. The senate will use Damnatio Memorae to wipe Caligula’s cruelty from our history.

 
Worst of all he declared himself a living God. The powers of the divine are something no mortal should pretend to have. The temples and statues he erected in the Eternal City are being destroyed as this banquet takes place.

 
I have not seen such celebrations since Caligula was crowned; unlike that day though, the weather is far colder. This merriment is sure to last a generation as no man wants to take his liberty for granted any more.

 
One can only hope, that come morning the senate will have even better news for us to celebrate – after all, it isn’t every day that they will be able to choose a new emperor and a new hope. Until then we will celebrate the demise of the tyrant.

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.