Fall From Grace – Chapter 14

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Here is the next installment of Fall From Grace. As Always feel free to tell me what you think and Happy Reading!

The blazing midday sun turned the Dungeon and Jail into a humid oasis of pain and displeasure baking in a cramped beehive. Grace and Tituba sat in the shadows of the window bars with their backs to the stone wall.

Grace’s bloodshot eyes glowed as brightly as hot embers in the dim lighting of the cell as they overlooked the roaming prisoners, her throat and jaw were a mottled mass of bruises resembling the garish makeup worn by the royal court.
Just after dawn the two guards came and whisked Mrs. Nurse away to her trial, leaving Tituba and Grace alone in the confines of the cell. Tituba quietly sat up with Grace after the sheriff departed from the communal cell last night, whispering prayers that no one could hear; every so often she would wake Grace to make sure that the young woman didn’t leave the cell in the company of the grim reaper – the king of terrors frightened all who resided on earth. After the sheriff stormed out in a rage the other prisoners settled down to rest as best they could in these hellish conditions.
The heat of the sun signified that it was almost time for the afternoon meal. The accused in the large, communal cell took turns walking in the walled off courtyard, while Grace watched them as her head rested on Tituba’s bony shoulder.
The bruising on her neck resembled the vibrant hues of autumn leaves with some patches being as dark as freshly tilled soil. The dim lighting of the cell may have hidden her bruises, but it couldn’t hide the ominous glow of bloodshot eyes leaking murky tears.

Those same eyes widened when the door separating the cells from the sheriff’s office opened with a thud. Four men rushed into the midst of the prisoners. Grace could hear metal clanking as the shackles that hung at the deputies waists moved about. Their hands were filled with rough, heavy rope.
Each of the deputies had full beards and enough scars on them to frighten the devil himself. They wore no hats, leaving their shaved scalps, glistening with sweat, for all the world to see. As the grit built up in her eyes and her vision continued to burn and blur Grace watched the deputies roughly seize the prisoners and bind them together with shackles.
Shrieks and cries resounded in the Dungeon and Jail as multiple people were crammed into the remaining solitary cells – four at a time. The prisoners rained curses down upon the jailers as though it would make them see reason. They tripped over each other as their bindings caught and landed in piles of arms and legs. Apparently, the sheriff had not taken the prisoners show of solidarity lightly.
The cacophony of terror that the prisoners were shouting resembled horses stampeding down a dusty road in a deluge of rain. The only thing clearly heard over the noise was the foul insanity that the deputies were growling. Once the last of the restricted cells were slammed shut, the deputies stomped out to the courtyard and rounded up those that were still free.
Those outside were pulled into the communal cell in pairs of two, bound by rope. More than one of the prisoners had fresh cuts that stung as sweat and dirt mixed into them. Of all the prisoners only one was escorted in by herself.
Her proud head was bent while her steel grey hair was streaked bright with blood, but the strength in her shoulders was not to be denied. As the guards drug the middle-aged woman between them, her head flopped from one shoulder to the next. When Grace caught a look at the limp face on the rough body that the guards were dragging towards her cell, she paled allowing her blood shot eyes to glow in horror at the sight of an abused human being.
Bruises formed on Mrs. Bishop’s blood soaked body. Two deputies roughly pulled the unconscious form of Mrs. Bishop in front of the cell Grace and Tituba inhabited.
One deputy roughly held the still body of the tavern owner and the other unlocked the cell. Mrs. Bishop was roughly thrown to the floor in a limp heap as the cell door slammed shut.
Grace looked upon Mrs. Bishop with pity and took a deep breath while glancing at Tituba before gruffly asking, “Why are we the ones accused of witchcraft, when they are the people that go against God’s Law?”
Even though prisoners were still wailing and groaning about their fate, Grace’s gravelly voice carried. Tituba looked at her friend as though Grace had lost her wits. The other prisoners were muttering in agreement with Grace’s statement and the guard that had thrown Mrs. Bishop around like a rag doll had the decency to blush apple red in shame.

The other deputy on the other hand, sneered at Grace and spat, “Were you Godly citizens we wouldn’t have to be teaching you your place.” The grey eyes of this deputy were colder than a sunless day in the dead of winter, showing Grace all she needed to know about this so-called creature of God.
“Were the Reverend Parris not so greedy, we wouldn’t be here. He wanted more firewood and stricter laws to curtail our small earthly pleasures away from the Town and thus reigned this evil down upon us. Now he and the judge believe the mouths of babes who have naught enough to do during the day,” Grace boldly stated.
The deputy with the cold grey eyes turned an angry shade of purple. Rather than open the cell to rain down another punishment on Grace for her stubbornness , the deputy stood as close to the cell door as he could and spat on Grace.
The man’s spittle landed on Grace’s chin and was a mix of slimy mucus and day old tobacco. Grace angrily bestowed a glowering glare on the guard as his spittle dripped onto her already tattered and filthy dress adding another stain to the mix; she refused to give him the satisfaction of seeing her clean his filth from her face. Pride may be a high offense to God, but Grace would not give this soulless creature the pleasure of seeing her break.
“We shall see how prideful you are the day you swing lifelessly from Gallow’s Hill as God condemns your soul,” the deputy sneered as he turned from the cell in a cloud of dust.
“Should that day arrive I will meet God with a heart full of devotion. Can you say the same,” Grace retorted. This bold statement caused only one of the guards to hang their heads in front of the prisoners; though none of them could face the accusation honestly.

Rather than face the truth, the deputies did the only thing left to them. They strode from the communal prison leaving only a mouse to scurry around looking for crumbs of a meal not yet served.

Fall From Grace – Chapter 13

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It’s been a while since I posted about my latest WIP – Fall From Grace. For all of you wondering about what is going on, here is a rough copy of Chapter 13!

I would also like to remind you that the Salem witch trials were a dark and ugly period in the United States’ past. In this story I am striving for historical accuracy. My goal is to shed light on these actions and to tell a tale that leaves you thinking and wanting more.

As always, Happy Reading and feel free to leave a review!

 

The dying embers of the communal fire were all that could be seen in the despairing pit of the jail. The heat the fire gave off disappeared shortly after sunset leaving the multitude of prisoners lost in their own shadows and trapped in the torments that their minds played on the stone walls. Grace and Tituba sat next to each other in their tiny, rock-hewn cell; the rope that bound them together lay lax between them. They shared what little heat their bodies provided. An old woman with steel grey hair lay just outside their cell.

Tituba’s head rested on the wall as she asked, “Miss Grace, why aren’t you bitter for being held with no cause?”

Grace let out a breath and quietly answered, “Bitterness has only been known to accomplish despair; faith in God, on the other hand, is known to work miracles.”

“You can’t see God, Miss Grace. In times such as these, seeing is something we can grasp in our darkest hours.”

Grace hummed lightly and answered, “God is all around us. He created the sun to warm us and plants to nourish us. If the bounty in the earth can come back after a bitter winter, surely we can follow God’s plan without seeing him,” Grace finished serenely.

“To right you are Grace Bacon. Remember though, the bible also directs, ‘When ye thought evil against me, God disposed it to good, that he might bring to pass, as it is this day, and save much people alive,” the old woman on the other side of the cell softly croaked.

“Mrs. Nurse! You shouldn’t be awake. The least you could do is try to rest in these deplorable dungeons,” Grace quietly exclaimed.

Mrs. Nurse scoffed before replying, “Tosh Child! These hard stones do nothing for my creaky, old bones that hurt with the cold and rain. ‘Sides you’ll need to speak louder than a prayer for my failing ears to hear you. What need of sleep have I, when they’ll be deciding my fate in the dawn,” she boldly stated in her frail voice.

Grace shook her head and answered, “Mrs. Nurse they could do nothing but find you innocent of all charges. The entire town knows of your piety; your regular attendance at church shows that – as does your kindness for those in need.

“Besides, your children and grandchildren follow yours and Mr. Nurse’s generous lead in the world,” Grace insisted.

Mrs. Nurse scoffed as she began, “Good Lord child! You are naive! The curse of man is that he always has a choice. Remember, God does not force our hand; man does.”
A lightening bolt flashed outside emphasizing Mrs. Nurses’s dire words. Grace sighed loudly at the omen of the weather to come. Before she could say anything a roll of thunder shook the Dungeon and Jail.

“It seems that nature thinks we need another bath,” Grace tartly stated.
Mrs. Nurse chuckled at that before muttering, “I’d rather meet my fate clean and smelling of rain than streaked with mud from these suburbs of hell.”
Tituba and Grace chuckled at the truth in that. “The court would definitely prefer the smell of clean skin and spring blooms to the stench of human waste,” Grace assured grimly.

“I think we’d all prefer it,” another woman replied from within the cell.

“A gentle rain would be nice; it’s been awful dry this spring. They’ve not even brought us winter wine to drink,” another woman hollered from across the room.
Several of the prisoners nodded at the injustice of being denied a strong drink.

“You think we can get them to bring us some from The Ship,” the same woman halfheartedly mused.

“Doubtful, Mrs. Bishop, but it couldn’t hurt to try – especially as what they serve is the best made on Gods sprawling hills,” a man dryly answered.

“The Reverend didn’t like the fact that travelers stayed up later than curfew, gambling and a drinking; so it’s Witches Brew they accuse me of making.

“Never mind that Judge Sewell uses my winter wine for his fancy syllabub. A noble drink for a high-classed man.

With my luck they’ll post the jury summons for the trial on the doors of my own tavern,” Mrs. Bishop finished snidely.

Before the imprisoned crowd could become unruly Grace began, “Ladies and gentlemen, please calm down. If the sheriff should come in here and find us in a such an angered state, I feel God wouldn’t be able to make our stay in this Dungeon and Jail more bearable.”

“The devil himself couldn’t make our stay more vile,” a random man called out.

“You would be surprised by who and what can be forgotten. A meal or two can easily be missed as the sheriff will easily be distracted by other duties,” Grace insisted.

“They’d not miss a chance to charge us for our stay,” another woman countered, this was punctuated by another flash of lightening.

“Yet such an act has been done,” Grace tried to reason over the growing dissent as thunder rolled once more.

As the prisoners grew more restless a clinking of metal on metal rattled causing Grace and Tituba to flinch.

“Enough! Bacon if it be your wish to start a ruckus, mayhaps you should plead guilty to the courts and see us all rid of your abhorrent presence,” a rumbling male voice shouted from the front of the cell moments after Grace’s warning.

Lightening flashed outside the Dungeon and Jail, illuminating Grace’s pale, haggard features. Her stringy hair lay matted to her face while eyes flashed in anger. For the first time in months her scalp didn’t itch. Her temper on the other hand would not be stayed, “May God lay me low if any word I speak is untrue. My hand has signed no contract with the devil, your actions on the other hand suggest you have.

“Were your mother to see the way in which you treat these fair people she would bear more shame than there are leaves in the trees,” Grace finished vehemently.
The sheriff stormed over to the tiny cell, pushing the other prisoners out of the way. Thunder rocked the Dungeon and Jail with every step he took. The anger distorted his face and the dim cell light so that he resembled the creature the accused were said to follow.

The sheriff stopped at the edge of the cell and reached one hand in, tightly gripping Graces’ jaw, “ My sainted mother sits in the golden pews with God. She would have no pity for the likes of a witch serving a sinful master!”

Gasping for breath, Grace gurgled, “Than I hope God takes pity on your soul; for there is no way that your mother would.”

As the sheriff’s hand squeezed her throat tighter, Grace began to wheeze. Her vision started to gray while her arms and legs became tingly and numb. She struggled to pull the sheriffs hands away from the base of her throat. Her nails were so weak they wouldn’t leave a scratch against the sheriff’s tough, leathery skin. As bleak unconsciousness was about to claim her, Grace heard, “Let her go!”

With a whoosh of air Grace looked up to see Tituba clinging to the arm of the sheriff. On the other side of the cell the prisoners were pulling the sheriff away, forcing distance between him and the confined prisoners.

A human shield formed between the sheriff and the bars to Grace’s cell. These tired and tattered people found a cause to unite them – protecting one of their own from undue harm.

While the sheriff limped from the communal cell, Grace lay confined in her tiny cell with her head in Tituba’s lap. The filthy rags on her chest heaved as though she were drinking in the air around her. As sweat beaded her forehead and she tried to catch her breath, Grace heard, “Don’t let them forget us, Miss Grace.”

Puritans

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I am in the midst of writing a historical fiction novel in which I am striving for accuracy. Luckily for me I love history and research

.

At any rate, my current work in progress (WIP) is titled Fall From Grace. It is a story of an accused witch’s survival during the Salem Witch Hangings.

 
The more I learn about the Puritan’s and their daily life, the more I realize how much the history books in school left out.

 
Normally when we think of the Puritan’s we think of all black clothes, highly religious, and down to earth. Not to mention reserved and dour. In my research (thank you Google), they were so much more than that. The Puritans took their religious beliefs from the Geneva bible which was written in 1658.

 
Let’s start with clothing and jewelry. Yes, jewelry was seen as adornments that weren’t to be worn for fear of you forgetting your place before God. Their clothing on the other matter was a whole different matter. Very rarely was black worn. As colorful as their clothing was it was simple in design so as not to forget one’s station in life. The Puritan’s wore every color they could derive from natural dyes. It being that cloth was expensive they would mend their clothes until the couldn’t any longer.

 
Those natural dyes were boiled down wood, berries, grasses, and vegetables. Woad was used for blue dye and madder root for red bases. Weld was used to produced the color yellow.

 
The colors in their wardrobe had meaning. Servants wore all blue which denoted servitude and heavenly grace. Black and brown stood for humility. Orange and red represented courage while yellow and green meant renewal.

 
Among the many laws that the Puritans had were sumptuary laws. These laws forbade poorer people to dress like ladies and gentlemen of means.

 
The reason that they puritans didn’t have grand celebratory feasts was that they believed that everyday was reason for a feast. History may have recorded the Puritans as a somber group, but their food was anything but. They tended to eat three meals a day.

 
They were a highly religious group of people who felt that one shouldn’t dress above their station in life less it lead to corruption of the immortal soul. Attendance at Church was mandatory twice a week. Anything less and you risked being excommunicated or worse – accusations of witchcraft were known to happen to those who abstained from attendance. For the Puritans their soul was the most important part of their lives. They believed that there were two groups of people, the Chosen and the Unchosen. It was the job of the Chosen to lead the others to God’s Grace.

 
Amongst the many reasons that the Puritans left England was that they didn’t agree with the Anglican/Catholic stances in the church. The Puritans felt that the earthly church was to decadent and heavy handed, they also despised Rome as it was the embodiment of the ecclesiastical church and therefore far too rich and bold for their tastes.

 
The church in England felt that the Puritans were to harsh in their thoughts and manners. The Church even had insults for the Puritans. One of these insults was the term “round-head”. They were called this due to the fact that the Puritan males shaved their heads bald. They shaved as a way to keep head lice under control.

 
Upon arrival in the “new world” the Puritans wished to found a “shining city on the hill” – a city that would be admired by all. While the Puritans wished to outlaw drinking it was realized that they couldn’t. This was due to the fact that the tavern was essential to their survival in this new land. In fact the first building to be raised in any new city was the tavern. On colder days when the church wouldn’t warm up enough the tavern often substituted as a place of worship.

 
On a side note all legal business was handled in the tavern until the capitol building of a city was built. After the capitol building went into use it was acceptable to put a jury summons on the door of the tavern for jury duty. It was thought that since everyone went to the tavern they would see the summons and appear.

 
Another side note is that Puritans tended to accept their fate if they went to jail and most often would not try to escape.

 
Though drinking was legal, drinking in excess was illegal and frowned upon. Alcohol and the tavern were considered a necessary evil. Then as now, the more money you had the more you can get away with.

 
Many researchers feel that the Witch Trials were used as a form of retribution on those who had too much money or were too far removed from the daily life of the church – the tavern owners. This is, in part, born out by the fact that one of the first accused witches was Sarah Bishop who owned “The Ship” tavern. Of the many side notes in this article, I should mention that the songs sang in the taverns were as raunchy as anything we could come up with today. *insert full body blush*

 
A member of her husband’s family married into the powerful Putnam family and felt that she was owed some of the profits of her late brother’s business. The Putnam family was a prominent member of the Puritan Church and was a main accuser in the Trials.

 
Another reason for the Trials was that the Pastor in Salem, Samuel Parris, was persecuting those that had voted against his becoming the leader of their church and were therefore not paying their portion of his salary.

 
Other researchers believe that what started the accusations was ergot of rye. Ergot is known to cause hallucinations and body contortions that the original accusers were noted as having.

 
These accusations also occurred in a particularly cold winter which is, historically, when most accusations of witch craft and trials happened. These trials were more than likely the darkest period in Puritan history.

 
When it came to education the Puritans were truly a society to marvel at. If a village had more than eighty residents they were to establish a school that was funded by the taxes collected. Both sexes were taught to read – primarily so they could read from the bible or help in the house hold, but at least they were all literate. This puts them ahead of many other societies at the time.

 
They were also the ones to print the first bible in the New World. The first was actually written in Algonquin by John Eliot. After taking the time to learn the language in hopes of converting the Natives, Mr. Eliot realized that certain words did not exist in the Algonquin language. This can be seen in the passages regarding the birth of Christ.

 
Though their clothes were bland and they were a reserved bunch of people one thing about them that was neither, was food. Much of what they ate would be on par with some of today’s top chefs. Food was prepared in the European or African styles and was enjoyed by all.

 
Meals were served three times a day with breakfast usually being stew and bread, lunch being a left over with some type of fruit and dinner was usually bread and cheese. All of this was accompanied with either cider or beer.

 
To get an idea of the type of foods they ate, the first “Thanksgiving” consisted of eel, mussels, lobster and other assorted meats. Squash, potatoes, corn, asparagus and other greens were also on the menu. And lest I forget the sweet aspect of nature strawberries, blackberries, and sweet grapes were also to be had. This type of meal would have been eaten on any day of the week as the Puritans didn’t need a particular reason to hold a feast since being alive was celebration enough.

 
On a side note I should mention something about lobster. It was considered cruel and inhumane to feed it to a prisoner – there are records of a jailer asking that it not be sent to the prisoners for this reason. This was because at the time lobster was piled up to two feet high on the beeches and could be picked up easily. When they did cook the lobster it was already dead. Therefor when it came out of the pot it was disgusting. The only reason they ate it at all is because it was so plentiful a food source. That is a massive change from what lobster is considered today.

 
Their beliefs on marriage came as the largest surprise to me. Puritans did not believed in arranged marriage. Men tended to marry by the age of twenty-six and women at twenty-three. A marriage was based on love. There were courtship rules and men would often by small gifts for the family of the girl he was courting. A woman was free to turn down an offer of courtship.

 
Obviously sex was reserved for marriage but it was not frowned upon. Puritans believed that sex was an act of love and a healthy part of a marriage.

 
Women were expected to be obedient and be able to be a help to the husband in his daily life. Women were expected to be what they are by nature, a help mate.

 
While frowned upon, a divorce was granted in certain circumstances. Those circumstances were abuse and neglect. A man convicted of either was often fined, imprisoned, or executed. Women were also allowed a divorce if a man proved impotent. In this last way, the views of Puritans seem extremely modern.

 
While children were a blessing, they were also essential to keeping a colony afloat. Aside from life older children were also able to contribute to the work force – a thought that makes many modern minds shudder.

 
All of this research leads me to wonder how far removed we are from the beliefs of our ancestors. In one way, I would say not very. In another, drastically so. If the only way to understand the modern world is through religion than maybe we should ask ourselves why we still believe that an institution has more sway over our lifestyles than we as humans do. I personally don’t believe that an institution of any sort should dictate what I, or you, can do. I do believe that we should all respect one another. But my beliefs are not what I am questioning; and that doesn’t make me different from anyone else.

 
In conclusion I would say that in one form or another the Puritan beliefs still exist to this day, what we see in reference to them is up to us. They have different names, but as a whole are generally classified as the Religious Right. They are often considered old-fashioned in their views and beliefs but they aren’t necessarily wrong. Just different and in my personal opinion, close minded.

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.

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.

Cover Concept Fall From Grace

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I’ve been working on a new book set during the Salem Witch Trials. This book stars Grace Bacon as the protagonist. The following is a brief summary for this upcoming trial of tragedies.

Grace Bacon is a baker’s daughter in Salem Massachusetts, 1692. She devoutly holds the beliefs of the Puritans in her heart. God and his plant are the only way for her.

After finding out that Mr. Millson has asked permission to court her Grace is on top of the world. Until the unthinkable happens and she is accused of the vilest of sins – witchcraft. To her utter horror Grace is arrested and thrown into Salem Dungeon and Jail awaiting interrogation and trial.

Will the atrocities that she is subjugated to break her faith or will Grace rise ever stronger. Will the suspicious minds of mortal man manage to take the breath from her body or will the Grace see her through?

Next up we have a concept cover for this intriguing tale of faith and horror.

Fall From Grace Cover 1

And finally for your reading enjoyment we have the first chapter to Fall From Grace. I hope you enjoy this peak into the inner mind of Grace Bacon, a devout believer of the way she was raised. This young woman is the person who will never renounce her faith.

HAPPY READING,

Grace Bacon stood behind her father’s bakery counter. The smells of fresh baked breads and pies surrounded her. On top of the counter were several pieces of paper; the uppermost sheet was partially filled with neat rows of writing – a legible account of the sales. The far corner of the counter held a bowl full of dried apple slices. Off to the side was a bible. Her brother, Abraham, was helping a woman load a wagon for Reverend Parris. Only one customer was in the bakery at the moment and he was Ephraim Millson. Ephraim’s family owned the largest mill in town.
Ephraim stood a head taller than anyone else in the village and his green eyes always seemed to sparkle. A wide brimmed hat hid his closely shaven head. When he smiled quietly, Grace couldn’t help but to return the small affection.
As Ephraim approached the counter he greeted, “Miss Bacon, how are you this sunny day?”
Grace smiled and replied, “Quite well, Mr. Millson. How about yourself?”
“It looks like we will be having a busy season. Father just had a load of rye arrive at the mill,” Ephraim genially replied.
“Looks like God has blessed you with work this fall day,” Grace serenely stated.
“That he has. The crisp, clean air of spring will make it more enjoyable in the mill as well.
“How do you intend to cope with the warmer months ahead,” Ephraim asked inquisitively.
“The way God intended, Ephraim. By keeping my hands and mind busy; thus denying the devil a foothold in my heart,” Grace authoritatively answered.
The door to the bakery opened, admitting a dark skinned woman wearing a thin white bonnet and tan dress. Wisps of dark hair escaped her bonnet giving the appearance of exhaustion. She had brown eyes with dark bags underneath them.
Grace looked up from her conversation and greeted, “Good morrow, Tituba! How fares the Reverend and Mrs. Parris?”
“The Reverend is looking forward to morning services and Mrs. Parris is afflicted again,” Tituba meekly informed.
“God will surely see her well soon,” Grace promised before asking, “Was there something the Reverend was looking for?”
“The Reverend was wondering if there was any of Mrs. Bacon’s bread to be had. “It always makes Mrs. Parris feel shades better than the gloomy night,” Tituba quietly informed.
“Several are fresh from the beehive. I’ll have a package ready for you shortly,” Grace helpfully informed.
Tituba bowed her head in thanks as Grace stepped away from the counter.
“How fares the Reverend’s youngest,” Ephraim sternly asked Tituba.

“After seeing two doctors she’s still afflicted,” Tituba replied docilely. 

Ephraim frowned at Tituba. “As God wills it,” Ephraim ended the conversation as an awkward silence filled the little bakery. A grey cloud passed over his face at the thought of a child suffering.
Tituba bowed her head once more as the rustling of Grace’s petticoats could be heard. With a content smile on her face Grace handed Tituba a small bundle. Before Tituba could walk away Grace reached into one of the baskets on the counter and grabbed a handful of dried apple slices.
Handing the slices to Tituba, Grace quietly blessed, “May God ease your sufferings even the tiniest bit.”
Tituba gave a tremulous smile of thanks before hurrying out of the store.
“You’ve done her a far kinder service than she probably deserves,” Ephraim stoically complimented.
“God loves us all; even the Unchosen. Perhaps one day she will walk with us on His path,” Grace reasoned.
“What will your father say to the loss of profit,” Ephraim questioned.
“Father loves a good deed as much as God does. Blessings will come in one form or another,” Grace assured.
“Your faith is a model for all of Salem Towne to follow,” Ephraim complimented warmly. “Are you not afraid though for the children in her care?”

“The Reverend would not have her about were Tituba to harm their immortal souls,” Grace reasoned.
“True, though God tells us that the Devil can blind the best of us,” Ephraim admonished.
“The Reverend would never be blinded by such as that foul creature! Besides, I have it on high authority that he sent for another reverend from the village to see if any sense could be made of Miss Betty’s affliction,” Grace stridently informed.
“Let us pray that you are right,” Ephraim stated with concern.
“Ephraim, we are all God’s children. It is up to those of us who are chosen to lead others to the Righteous Path. Compassion is needed for all people who walk this test with us,” Grace implored of a doubtful Ephraim.
“Though you are right, I fear there is no saving the ignorant,” Ephraim observed.
Grace shook her head in dismay as her brother, Abraham, walked into the family owned bakery.
“How fare you this chilly day, Ephraim,” Abraham cordially asked with a smile.
“With God’s blessing the afternoon harvest of winter rye will be ready for the mill; by morning it should be ready for sale,” Ephraim cheerily informed.
“Our thanks Ephraim. Father will always be willing to pay a fair price for God’s bounty,” Abraham assured.
Ephraim nodded and thanked Abraham as he took his leave of the bakery.
Abraham turned to look at his sister and gently teased, “He seems like a pleasant sort.”
“He is polite enough,” Grace returned with a smile.
Abraham chuckled at his sister before asking, “If he asked father for a courtship, would you consider it?”
Grace cocked her head to the side and with a sly smile replied, “That depends. Has he?”
Abraham chuckled lightly as he responded, “Father was going to say something to you this evening. Fortunately, I know that you loathe surprises as much as God despises Hell.”
“Surprises do me no good,” Grace calmly stated as fire lit her eyes.
“Are you going to accept,” Abraham asked insistently.
Grace raised an eyebrow and stared into space for a moment before answering, “I do believe I shall. After all, life is a blessing; learning to love another is part of that blessing,” she finished serenely.
“Sister you truly do understand God’s will. Remember, father will not be upset if you find that you cannot learn to love him. Being honest and truthful is the first law,” Abraham reminded.
“Of course he wouldn’t. One cannot learn if one does not try though,” Grace insisted.