8:15 AM Saturday 1598 AD
The punishment that Mathilda endured for the past month was beyond comprehension. She wanted the pain to end but broken ribs and fingers were hard to ignore. It was a bitterly cold morning but at least it was sunny, she thought. She felt the frigid air on her battered skin all night. A thin ray of sunlight came piercing through the tiny hole for a window at the top of her jail cell providing a drop of warmth. She could hear the Saturday morning crowd building up to watch her execution.
She was a witch, or at least that's what the town decided that she was. She argued her heart out in court for a week, but all she got was thrashing and the water torture. There were only so much a seventeen year old can endure. In the end, the towns folk beat the confession out of her and sealed her doom. She was sentenced to death by burning today at nine.
As far as Mathilda knows, her parents and little sister had already been executed. Little Agnes, only nine years old, what did she do wrong? Nothing mattered now. She just wanted to get it over with and maybe she will be united with her loving family. Her parents were good hard working people, farming people. Her family provided all of the milk and meat for the whole town. Her father Frederick was a kind generous man who looked after the needy and gave tithing to the church every Sunday. But nothing you do in life mattered when you were accused of witchcraft. Their only evidence of "witchcraft" was selling herbs from her garden at the markets that helped the customers with the common cold. A jealous old woman who couldn't grow two cloves of garlic alerted the authority and accused Mathilda and her family.
None of that mattered now. Mathilda's family were all but gone and now it was her turn. The only good thing that will come in the next half hour would be the end of her pain. The towns folk showed no mercy. They called themselves Christians and even the priest who preached compassion and forgiveness was the first to throw a stone that fractured her forehead. Her body shook uncontrollably. She could feel the time coming soon. Her wrists and ankles were scraped raw and infected from the rusty chains meant for murderers and thieves. She said a little prayer, to whom, she didn't know. She prayed to who ever was listening. She didn't even know what to say.
The sun rose higher up and the little bit of sun ray that soothed her wounds disappeared and the cell became dark again. At that moment, four soldiers came and unlocked the door and it creaked open. Mathilda was numb. There were no more to feel. A soldier unlocked the chains and roughly got her up on her feet. Her legs were weak from three weeks of being locked in this dirty cell. The soldier encouraged her with a hard slap to the cheek. She got up and got dragged up the stairs to the gallows.
The January air to her exposed skin was a thousand needles. But she told herself, not long now, it will all be over. She took a deep breath and walked to the massive pile of wood. In the center, eight feet up was a large man wearing a big black cloth over his head. The soldiers lifted her up like a worthless piece of meat, then the large man with cloth on his head tied her up. It was so tight that, she couldn't feel her hands and feet within seconds. The crowd booed and hissed at her as if she did something bad to them individually. She was tired beyond belief. The large man jumped down to the ground and cheered on the crowd. They got louder and began throwing anything nasty they got their hands on.
The man lit the pile of wood. The crowd went crazy. Not long now. Mathilda was preparing herself to sleep. Only a few more minutes and it will all be over. The flame grew hot and intense quickly. Within a minute, the flame engulfed Mathilda. She closed her eyes.
She kept her eyes closed. She could hear the crackling of the fire and the crowd cheering her death. Somehow, she didn't fade away, somehow, she didn't feel her pains. Maybe she had died and moved on she thought. Mathilda opened her eyes. She was free and floating ten feet in the air. Her clothes were as fresh as the day her mother washed and clothed her. She no longer felt the piercing cold on her skin. She slowly looked down.
The crowd went dead silent. The soldiers began to shoot arrows at her. They simply did not reach her. The flames grew large and hot and like a hurricane, swirled fiercely and swirled its way to the crowd. The Saturday morning towns folk who came for the light entertainment got the just desserts. The hundred burning bodies ran in all directions helplessly, wailing like demons. The powerful flames tossed the soldiers like rag dolls in all directions, killing them instantly.
When the spectators and the soldiers were all dead, the invisible force gently put her down on the ground. Mathilda couldn't understand. Maybe her prayers were answered. She no longer was in pain. A black majestic horse came galloping and lowered itself. Mathilda got on the horse and with one leap, it jumped over the massive fence and ran towards the town.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2021 EVERYONE
Written by David Kim