The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Witchfinder General
by E.A. Black
Agnes Morrell stood on the platform and watched the horde as more and more people stuffed the town square, eager to see the latest witch hanging. These hypocrites sought her services for love potions, curses, and tinctures to enhance youth and good luck. These same people shoved their way through the massive crowd to see her twitch at the end of a noose.
When she was asked if she had any last words, she fumed at her captive audience and ranted.
“I was good enough to use my powers to heal your livestock and to bring forth a bountiful harvest. I also was good enough for several married men in this audience who wanted me to give them a lust potion – for their mistresses. I kept your secrets. I cured your children when cholera passed through town. And now you turn on me? Heed my words – your lives will never be the same once I’m gone. The Witchfinder General must place my skull in a glass cabinet for all to see.”
“I cast my curse upon this entire town. Your crops will wither and die. Your children shall succumb to smallpox. Your livestock will refuse to eat until all the creatures are dead. And finally, if my skull is removed from its place in the glass cabinet I shall scream bloody hell until it is put back into its proper place. My skull shall remind all of you of the travesty you are committing today.”
Once she was burned and her ashes dumped into a canister, the people went back to their daily lives. The Witchfinder General laughed and tossed Morrell’s skull into a trash heap. That night, the most bone-chilling shouts and cries echoed through the mansion. His horse went lame. Townspeople complained about a noxious smell permeating the town that originated from the Witchfinder General’s home. He sent a servant to fetch the skull and then he placed it in the glass cabinet outside his bedroom. The shrieks and assaults came to an end.
Each day, the Witchfinder General feared for his life. As long as the skull sat in his cabinet, the more paranoid he became. He could not avoid the skull. It seemed to glare at him as he walked past it. Terror visited him daily for ten years and then he succumbed to the Black Plague. The moment he died, the shrieking stopped. No one dared remove the skull from the cabinet so they wouldn’t hear the screaming coming from his house. In the end Agnes Morrell won the battle with her superstitious neighbors.
Fiction © Copyright E. A. Black
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from E.A. Black:
Nature. Filled with wonder, beauty, majesty and mystery. Also filled with things that want to kill us. Normal things, little ordinary things. Things that creep and crawl. Things that fly, swim, scuttle and slither. Things that you might expect and be rightfully phobic about … as well as things you may have never imagined as a threat. Individually, maybe they wouldn’t be. But that’s just it. They aren’t coming for you individually. They’re coming for you in swarms, in flocks and hordes, in masses and multitudes. They’re coming for you by the thousands. They are … TEEMING TERRORS.