There I stood, in a drab dress, one that flowed around me. I hated the thing. The colour, the material, the way it made me look weak and as though I were an innocent young woman, a man’s personal slave…mindless, and the way all women here acted.
I was always different from everyone else, even as a young girl. I remember when I went to school, I would always want to play a different game to the one the girls were playing. They would sit in the corner and play with their dolls, the ones made from corn. I tried to get involved, I tried to just sit there mindlessly and pretend to be a mother, but it was tedious and boring that I often went off on my own and played in the mud, always ruining my white dress. My mother would scream at me and Cain me, swearing she would never make me another, thinking I would beg for forgiveness. She was constantly mistaken by my reaction, because I would always beg of her to be serious.
The other children’s mothers soon realized that I was different, and warned their children against me. They would corner me before school and throw stones at me. I was never afraid to face them, but it wasn’t necessarily a nice thing to deal with. The stones would usually hit my head, or my stomach, and blood would instantly spurt from the hole made by the sharper ones.
The boys soon caught on to the girls cruelness, and decided that they wanted to get involved. More stones, more blood, more scars. And the words cut deep as well. Still, every night I closed my eyes, I could still hear their sing-song rhymes in my head. “Rebecca Nurse, the weird little Curse. Running round scared, with snakes for hair.” I know it’s stupid to feel so hurt by immature minds, but it did, and it still haunted me up until the day I died.
You’d think that the bullying would end as I grew older, right? Well, you would have been wrong. As I progressed into my teen years, I only became more of an outcast. My body formed faster than everybody else’s and I was better at sport, even better than the boys, which was incredibly unusual. I was faster, I was stronger, and I was far more skilled. I didn’t mean to be, I just was. It caused for the school to not allow girls to do sport anymore.
And that’s when they started to call me a witch. I would walk into school and I would have stones still thrown at me, and screams of “Witch!” would follow me everywhere I went. I never thought much of it, and I just adjusted, like I always did. What I didn’t expect was the craze to grow and have my two sisters be called a witch too. They blamed me, of course, but I didn’t mind. Everywhere we went, we called the Three Witches of Salem, and it didn’t help the fact that we had a black cat.
Eventually, the chants of Witch became louder and more pronounced to the outside world, and one night, there was a rapid knocking on our cabin’s door. My mother, weak with illness and coughing up a storm answered the door in the middle of the night, not expecting it to be who it was. The rude man holding a scrap of paper up with a crowd behind him pushed passed my deadly-ill mother and ripped us out of our warms beds by our hair, the crowd following closely behind him.
As he ripped us from our home and into the black night outside, the crowd were screaming in cheers, holding pitchforks and fire sticks high in the air. Me and my two older sisters were instantly bound and gagged, being dragged to some place far away, our mothers screaming weakly behind us. I saw my two older sister, Sarah and Elizabeth crying. Elizabeth was the oldest, and it was the first time I had ever seen fear across her face, and Sarah…well, I was used to seeing Sarah cry, I just wasn’t used to knowing it would be the last time. I couldn’t help feeling undeniable guilt for everything that was going on, and since I had seen other trials, and other events that happened EXACTLY like this night had unfolded, I knew that tonight was my last, and also my sister’s last.
We were thrown before a judge and a crowded room, in only our night gowns in which we slept. The judge scorned down at us, hatred filling his bog coloured brown eyes, but they also held an element of fear.
“You three, Elizabeth, Sarah and Rebecca Nurse have all been accused of practicing the dark arts of Witchcraft. How do you plead?”
“Not guilty!” Screamed both of my sisters while I just stood there. It didn’t matter whether I denied the false accusation or admitted to the lies. I was to die either way, along with my sisters. We were innocent, but what did that matter?
The judge noticed my silence and his deep voice boomed, “And you? Do you admit to your treacherous crimes?”
The courtroom was silent and my weeping sisters looked at me, staring straight ahead at the person who will decide our fates, even though we all knew we were to die. “I plead not guilty, but of course that doesn’t matter,” I answered bluntly. “You’ve obviously collected some evidence that proves otherwise, and our pleas mean nothing, correct?”
The court room broke out in rage, and I heard a chant start up behind me. “Burn the Witch!”
The judge tapped his gavel and silence fell like…well, like a spell was placed upon them to be quiet.
“Now, present the evidence!”
A girl from my school stepped forward and looked at all three of us with disgust in her eyes.
“What makes you think that the Nurse Sisters are in fact Witches?” asked the judge.
The girl from school, I think her name was Susannah, pointed at me. “That one, Rebecca Towne Nurse, she’s better at sport than any of us, even the boys. She’s faster, and stronger, and her body developed a lot faster than any of the other girls.” Her arm moved and she pointed at Sarah. “That one, Sarah Brigit Nurse, she can hold her breathe longer than anyone else, and she can climb the tallest of trees with no assistance.” Her arm moved again and she was pointing at Elizabeth. “And that one, Elizabeth Ann Nurse, she gets the best grades in school and her voice must belong to that of a Siren. And they all have hair blacker than midnight and eyes greener than the grass, which also happens to be the rarest colour of them all! They MUST be the Devils children!”
The on looking audience all gasped in realisation at the facts. Yes, they were all true, accept the absurd ending and the part about Elizabeth’s voice being from a Siren.
The judge gasped also, and demanded that Elizabeth sing, to see if the words spoken were the truth. Sarah instantly broke down and started screaming and crying. She had just now realized how our fate had been sealed.
Elizabeth was thrown forward, and she fell to her hands and knees, where she was whipped until she began to sing. It was an old lullaby that our mother used to sing to us. We knew it by heart and even now, in the situation we were placed, it was still tempting to join in and sing along with our older sister.
“When the wind blows harder than the average blow,
When the rain falls with unnatural flow,
Remember my voice, telling you not to fear,
Remember my voice, remember being here.”
Elizabeth only sang the first verse because then she was demanded to be silenced, many people screaming that her song would kill them or boil their ears, or something ridiculous like that.
And then, the judge said the words we knew we would hear.
“BURN THE WITCHES!”
The three of us stood upon on the wooden podium, itchy rope tied around our necks and rubbed against our wrists, creating open wounds where blood trickled out. The crowd in front of us all threw more stones, something I had dealt with my entire life, and something I would not miss in the afterlife. Every single face in there was one I recognized and one that held disgust and fear upon it.
My own mother was in the crowd, watching the events play out, and even her face held hatred. She now thought she had given birth to daughters of the Devil, and later, she would be hung alongside us. Sarah was tearful and quite willowy; Elizabeth held her head down and just watched as the stones came flying towards us. I simply looked down at those people, throwing things, and allowed my mind to wonder which of them will soon be here in my place, probably still trying to convince them of her or his innocence.
The last thing the Three Sisters of Salem heard were the sound of heavy footsteps, the sound of people chanting BURN THE WITCHES and the sound of a leaver.
But, the last thing I heard, was the sound of my other two sisters screaming, as though they were leaving this life and entering an eternal one of burning sorrow and pain.