It’s cold. A bitter cold that cuts through your clothes and creeps into your bones. At first, I just stand there and watch my breath create puffs in the space in front of me. I think, weird, it’s only September. Then I realized, I should be in my room, not outside. I begin to look around and notice that this isn’t even close to my room. My heart begins to pound. Where am I?
I try to take a few calming breaths as I draw my blanket around me. That’s when I realize it’s not the blanket from my bed – it’s some sort of cloak. Where did this come from? As bizarre as all of this is, I am really glad it is warm. Must be wool, thank goodness! It’s freezing! Slowly I raise my eyes from the cloak and begin to look around. This is definitely not my room, not my house, not my….time? What is going on? I see that I’m in some type of historic village. The streets are dirt – muddy, puddles, snow drifts here and there. There are no cars in sight. Off in the distance I hear the whiney of a horse and the bark of a dog, some bits of conversation. The homes are brown, simple, small. Nothing about them stands out. They seem to create a small village. My gaze travels to a larger building, in the center of this town. Must be the town hall or something. Maybe I should head there and try to figure out where I am. Hopefully someone there can tell me how to get home, although I don’t even know how I got here in the first place. I’ll just sneak in and wait.
Making my way over I can hear voices a bit clearer. It sounds a lot like proper English – kinda like that book I was reading, um, Wicked Girls, I think it was called. Those girls spoke strangely, old-fashioned, but not like grandma, like really old, Shakespeare or something.
I reach the door, slowly pull it open, and slide into the back of the room. No one seems to notice me enter, probably because they are all watching a group of girls near the front who are acting like they are nuts – jerking around, screaming, falling over. Maybe this is one of those church services in which people get possessed by God or demons or something, and they can speak in tongues.
Suddenly the girls start pointing and someone in the front row.
“She’s doing it! She’s making us hurt!” screams one girl.
“Make her stop! I don’t want to go with her! Don’t make me go!” yells another.
A man at a table at the front of the room, looks over at the woman the girls are pointing to and says, “Sarah Good, do you not see now what you have done? Why do you not tell us the truth? Why do you thus torment these poor children?”
The woman, Goody Good, looks at this man, and says, “I do not torment them.”
“Who do you employ then?”
“I employ nobody. I scorn it.”
Is this what I think it is?
“How came they thus tormented?”
Sarah Good answers, “What do I know? You bring others here and now you charge me with it.”
I feel like I can’t breathe, like I’ve got to get out of here. I reach around and sneak back out the door. Taking deep breaths, I try to figure out what I just saw and heard. This has to be a re-enactment. They are really good, I mean, they set up the town, the season, the people are dressed right and speak the right way. Really good re-enactors. No way this is real. Catching my breath, I head back to finish watching their scene.
Another man has jumped in who seems to be her husband. “I fear that she is a witch, or shall be one soon enough. She is always mean and muttering. She is an enemy to all good.”
The man at the table asks, “What say you Goody Good?”
“It is not me who torments, but Osborne.”
Osborne? She was an accused witch too. This must be a witch trial.
Goody Good is taken away and the girls seem to settle down once she has left the room. As I look around, I see that these people do not look like tourists. There’s no one taking pictures, no cell phones, no applause for the scene that’s just been completed. If this is a re-enactment, why is no one in regular clothes?
Shuffling ensues and the girls are escorted out of the building. As they walk past, they are quiet, reserved, withdrawn. I try to shrink into the shadows, but one of the girls glances up. Our eyes meet. She mouths, “Witch”, and I gasp, as everything goes black.