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Apr 2013
The smell was gagging her.
She no longer felt the constant agony which was a relief but the smell indicted
A severe infection
Perhaps she would get lucky and cross the veil soon
Her day of execution was coming upon her
She could hear stakes being placed and wagons
Delivering peat, coal, and wood
Oh how she feared the burning
Once as a child she burnt her hand in her father’s smithie
She cried till her mother rubbed a poultice of comfrey upon it
She never forgot the pain of that burn
All  the comfrey in the world was not going ease her pain after tomorrow

She remembered growing up hiding in the hay mound
Watching her father
It fascinated her, turning hot molten metal into something useful
Working the elements her father would say was an honor.
She secretly yearned to do the same but her father said it was ’men’s’ work
So when not in the fields her brothers got to spend time with their father not she

Not that she minded spending time with her grams
Learning the healing arts
Using herbs and precious stones with magical properties
Working the elements but in a more subtle way
But she was more drawn to her fathers work
And look where her grams legacy has gotten her now
If she had been allowed to work with her father and brothers she thought bitterly….

She tried to move and felt an instant stab of pain where her bones had once been
Her right foot was nothing more but dangling rotting flesh
The Malleous Malficarum meant nothing it seemed
The traveling inquisitors did not receive the confession they sought
She refused to confess even under torture
So instead she would burn to purify her soul  
They would get their entertainment
As would her village

She heard moaning coming from the cell next to hers
It was her neighbor old Hatty Beckwith
She had been accused by Ned Higbee of consorting with the devil and killing livestock
The whole village knows Ned wants her land for the water
This was insane
The inquisitors fees for Hatty would come from Hatty’s estate she supposed
She wondered how her father and brothers would manage to pay her fees
She heard the guards talk and say the expenses for torture and burning were great
As were the cost for their food, drink, and their diversions
As if torturing were not enough entertainment

The sound of screaming suddenly pierced her senses
Someone was being pulled on the rack again
She knew that pain too well
Not being able to stand the smell of blood and listen to the screams any longer
She struggled to crawl to the dark corner of the cell
She lost track of time being in the dark for so long
Only seeing slivers of light through the opening of doors
As the guards came and went
But she calculated Samhain would soon arrive
Possibly even this evening

The village would be preparing and celebrating
The ending of the last harvest and the beginning of a new year
Honoring their dead ancestors
Setting a place for them at the table
She wondered if her father and brothers would set a place for her next year
Telling her tale as they have done for her mother and her grandmother before her
About now her brothers would be taking stock of the herds and grains
Deciding which animals to slaughter
Preparing stores of meat, fruits, and vegetables
In order to help them survive the coming winter

A huge bonfire would be lit in the village
And the villagers would extinguish all other fires
Each family lighting their hearth from the common flame
Bonding the families of the village together.
One big happy family she thought with irony
She still knew not who turned her in
But one thing she was sure of and that was fear changed people
Or maybe it only brought out their true selves

She shifted trying to get comfortable and began to drift off into a merciful sleep
When she awoke hours later she sensed a difference in the air
She heard drums keeping time
And she could see and smell old autumn leaves gently swirling in her cell
She thought she saw a gate, opening wide
And from this gate appeared the dark mother in her terrible naked glory

She froze -fear overtaking her
She closed her eyes tightly only to feel a gentle touch
Her mind crossing another’s
And when she found the strength to open her eyes
There stood her mothers mother

Her grandmother’s arms inviting
She stands, pain forgotten
She feels the nights stretching behind the days till
She reaches the darkness where all of her is ancestor
It is who she has been all along
She is ready for this journey, crossing the dark river
Into the country of death

She will join her ancestors and her witch sisters
Breathing freer knowing that her death
Will shed her of her female body
Cleansing her of the sin of being a woman
Who is more than the sum of her part’s
Taking the dark mothers hand, now hearing whispering and laughing
Her grandmother smiles and she sees the moon and stars above her
They cross the veil together, the gate gently closing behind them

She understands clearly now
In Mabs cold womb life will start again
A child of light to begin a new
The wheel continues to spin, the cycle continues
And she will always be a part of it all ~M
Michele M
Written by
Michele M  Feral Wilderness
(Feral Wilderness)   
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