Three men dressed all in black trudged up Main Street. All but one clutched bibles as the throngs of villagers parted like the Red Sea in Exodus. The sky was dark and heavy, threatening to downpour at any moment. As the three turned off of Main, they entered the meeting house yard where a hastily built gallows waited. They marched up to the gallows where the condemned stood. Goodwife Ayres waited – flanked by militia – a sick, crooked smile formed on her face as she saw the men approach. Her eyes met Magistrate Olmsted’s. The two other men looked away and then quickly cracked their bibles open in hopes that it would shield them from the witch’s glare.
“Goodwife Ayres,” yelled the Magistrate. “Ye have been condemned of witchcraft and colluding with the Great Deceiver. Make peace with God Almighty and prepare to be hanged from the neck until death!” Olmsted and the rest of the crowd stood silent, almost as if they were waiting to hear Ayres’ retort. It never came.
The body was left hanging on the rope for a hour to ensure she was dead. They couldn’t be too safe. As the sun set, the magistrate ordered the men to cut her down and cart her off. With a thump, the body smacked the muddy ground and fell in an awkward pose. Magistrate Olmsted left once the cart pulled out of the meeting house yard.
The rain began its tumultuous descent as Olmsted walked home. A gust of wind blew his hat off his head and shot it into a puddle a feet away behind him. He turned to see Ayres’ figure floating above him. Her head cricked to one side with that same sick smile twisting across her face. He tried to take a step back, but in seconds he was on the ground. Ayres’ hand rose slowly up as did Olmsted’s thrashing body. Her other needle-like hand clutched the air in front of her as Olmsted’s neck started to tighten. His arm shot up; his fingers clawing at the air around his neck in a vain attempt to save himself. The witch’s eyes sparked to life as two green embers burned in their hollows. Revenge was at hand, but before she could end it, a shot rang out. Her floating body went tumbling across the air. Olmsted fell to the ground. It was the town militia captain. While on guard he must have seen the unholy spectre assault Olmsted.
The captain dropped the butt of his musket to the ground and started reloading: first the powder, then the ball, packing it all down with a ramrod, then shouldering the firearm. He fixed the ember on his matchlock and tested the match’s strike. His eyes scanned the road. The magistrate was still on the ground in panic, but the ghost was nowhere to be seen… until he looked up. The crooked face of the witch stared down at him as she swam in midair. He jerked the gun up quickly but it was too slow.
Magistrate Olmsted looked over as the second gunshot rang out. Smoke and fire emptied out into the air just as the gun crashed to the ground. The good captain went flying into the air thrashing. Then all at once his body stopped moving; his arms and legs went limp and his head bent into an unnatural angle. Then, like a discarded toy, the body was flung off the road. Olmsted quickly tried to run but there was no use – she was always there, right behind him.
The next morning, alarms were rung. The captain of the town militia was found dead in a ditch, and the magistrate was found hung from his foot in the hastily made gallows. Both of their faces twisted in terror.
Most claim it was the Natives who killed the men, but some know what really happened…
Never kill a witch, unless you plan on killing her twice.