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I screamed. “Stop! Please, I’m begging you!”


“Look away, Deliverance!” Mother shouted. The noose tightened around her neck, causing her voice to wane. “You’ll pay for this, Reverend Hale. As God as my witness, I’ll see you burn in Hell!”


“Mary Parker!” Hale’s voice was thick with hatred and I felt it vibrate through my body. Wrenching me from the grip I held on my mother’s leg, he tossed me to the ground before continuing his rant. “The name of God on your lips is an abomination!”


“Mother, make it stop!” my sister Sarah shouted, the noose now fully around her neck as well.


“Silence, Sarah Parker!”


“A pox upon thee, John Hale!” Mother shouted the words as her body was hoisted from the tree and into the air. “May thou suffer the wrath of a thousand deaths!”


John Hale’s face was red with anger and nervous perspiration—his eyes wild with hate. “Die witch!”


I watched in horror as they were strung from the hanging tree high on the hill—their feet twitching with desperate jolts—their souls gasping for air.


“Bring them down,” I sobbed. “Let them go!”


“Hush child,” he hissed. “I’ve enough rope to hang you too!”


Pulling my knees to my chin, I cried out for my mother and sister. The patch of barren land in Salem was quiet, save for my own muted wail. And then I heard my mother’s voice.


“It has begun.”


A collective gasp erupted from the dastards who’d gathered at Gallows Hill to watch my family die. My mother’s eyes opened. The weight of her body no longer swung, but was still, as if captured by the black of night and cradled in its arms. “Mother!” I shouted, rising from the hard ground. 

“Thunder my anger, lightning my might,” she began. “Bring to me clouds, clouds black as night.” 


Rushing toward her, I shouted her name once again. She looked past me and the others there to witness her death. Her eyes glowed in the darkness, red as hot pokers. She wasn’t alive, and yet she wasn’t dead.


“Burn them!” John Hale shouted over the howling of the wind. “Burn them now!”


“Restless on earth you ever shall be. Unknowing to love, a pox upon thee!”


As quickly as the words left her mouth, strong winds came in from the north and storm clouds formed over our heads. “Momma!” I cried over the roar of the rising tempest. “No!” 


Running toward Hale to knock the torch from his hand, I stepped into the scorching white light of my own mother’s spell.


It was over in a flash—literally. The light and hot energy from the bolt of lightning that coursed through my veins didn’t kill me. In fact, I rose from the ground—my body smoking with the strength of a thousand men and the anger of ten thousand scorned women. I was only sixteen, but felt as if I could rule the world.


“Get thee away, witch!” Hale shouted as he ran into the woods with the others.


I looked to my mother and sister, their bodies now burning into ash while the storm raged and the wind howled.


“Nice job, ox-head!” my sister yelled at me while removing the scorched noose from her neck.




“You clay-brained bull’s pizzle! You just ruined Mother’s spell!”


Their bodies exploded in a bright light and as suddenly as the lightning and thunder came, it went. The only thing left on Gallows Hill was two charred nooses and me, the smoking girl. 


I stood in the silence for only a moment, and then I saw it. Coming across the meadow below, a cyclone of epic proportions was roaring toward me, kicking up dust and destroying everything in its path. Hitching up my smoldering dress and petticoat I began to run toward town then stopped, realizing there was nothing there for me. Hale would surely want to hang the last witch of the Parker family. My life in Salem was over—gone.


Turning, I faced the raging storm. The winds strengthened in force and my feet became evermore rooted to the ground as my hair and clothes whirled in the chaos. My mother’s book of spells magically appeared in my hands and as I gasped in disbelief, found myself no longer tethered to the earth. Lifting from the ground, my body swept up and away into the rotating tunnel of the heavens.

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