Disclaimer: I owneth not these Invader Zim characters... and THOU art a witch!

Witch Hunt

(A/N) Gaz talks the way she does here ("muttering toothlessly") because has lost too many teeth due to her poor eating habits. There were, after all, no dentists back then.

Chapter 3

The village, however, was not willing to give up Dib's useful ghost hunting services so easily. A stir of murmuring broke out in the courthouse.

"She hath bewitched even her own brother!"

Almost as soon as Dib and Gaz had moved into the village, Dib knew how many of his new neighbors had seen a ghost, which of them was bothered by fairies, who had met a werewolf and lived to tell about it.

When the first terrified family had run into town screaming that they had been run off their farm by ghosts haunting their barn, Dib had immediately offered to help. To more easily spot the ghosts approaching, Dib cut down some stray tree branches that were growing over the window they favored, but the ghosts were very clever at hiding. He next went all the way to Boston to purchase iron nails, sets of which he hammered in geometric shapes into all four walls of the barn. The noise flushed out and drove away many bats and quite a few owls, but Dib saw no ghosts.

When no ghosts had appeared even after a fortnight of waiting, Dib poured a line of salt across all the doorways of the barn as well as the house to keep away the old ghosts as well as any new ones. As a finishing touch, he hung a large bottle of sand in the window, because, he explained, any ghost would have to stop and count the grains of sand before it could enter. Dib assured the family that he had put in enough sand to keep any ghost occupied until sunup.

After that, word spread quickly until the villagers were begging Dib to never move again, saying please don't leave us, Dib, we need you! By the time the witch business had started, the very idea of losing Dib had become unthinkable. Who else could protect them from the creatures of the Devil?

"She triest to kill him, but by having us do it for her! We seest through the witch's evil scheme!"

They needed his help in more earthly matters as well. Was not Dib also unafraid of even the Indians Zim and Gir, those with the strangely colored skin and the even stranger customs?

When the two Indians had wandered into the meeting house a few Sundays ago, all the men had instantly reached for their muskets. But before anybody had time to aim their weapons, Dib had reassured the entire assembly that Zim had come only to trade the beaver skins under the arm of his servant Gir. Knowing a few words of the Indian tongue, Dib then advised Zim to return the next day, because trading for money on the Lord's Day was sinful. As they were leaving, Gir had bumped his bundle against the edge of a pew and the skins burst out and scattered all over the floor, which delayed their departure until the skins could all be picked up and securely tied once again. Gir kept making faces and thumping himself on the head, but none dared laugh in church for fear of hellfire. However, the incident was responsible for many a chuckle and giggle once the service had concluded.

"Killest thou her and the spell shalt be lifted!" It was some time before the judge's gavel could quell the nervous murmuring in the courthouse.

Dib now hastily added, "Gaz is praying for the strength to control her temper. Art thou not praying for that, sister? Why doth thou not pray for God's protection now, pray for it right now, where all canst see thee?" Waving his hand, Dib now turned to face the assembly. "Canst a witch pray?" Dib shouted.

Gaz's only response to this gambit was a scowl. "I need no pro'ec'ion," she sneered, "because I am no wi'ch."

"She hath bewitched her own brother into defending her." Heads shook. They already pitied Dib for having to go home to that scolding shrew day after day. If they saw her as rarely as they did and could still shudder at the mention of her name, the thought of what Dib endured on a daily basis was not for the faint of heart.

The judge then called for Gaz to testify in her own defense.

Gaz's only reply to each question was to sneer, "I a' no wi'ch."

Row after row of faces grimly watched Gaz's every move. She never goes to any of our social events, but instead stays home staring into the fire. Who knows what she sees there? Hell is fire... perhaps she is wishing to return to hell? Perhaps when she stares into the fire she is communicating with the devil!

His hands clenched into fists, Dib's eyes silently pleaded with Gaz, Just say it. Say you're a witch. It's your only chance... ! He wondered if she even remembered any of his advice for her best defense. She had certainly been less than impressed with what he had urged her to say.

Dib had many times heard and several times actually witnessed what happened in witch trials. Those accused who confessed were actually much safer. For one thing, as soon as they confessed, their accuser's afflictions immediately ceased. For another, the newly convicted "witches" could then bargain for their lives by agreeing to assist in searching out other witches. If they refused to do this, their confession got them at the very least shown the mercy of being hanged before being burnt.

But Gaz stuck out her chin and dug in her heels. Not only did she refuse to believe in witches, but she considered it a surrender to do something after it became too obvious that somebody else wanted her to do it.

Once more came the question. "Art thou a witch?"

Gaz had now grown tired of being asked the same question once too often. Fire in her eyes, she screeched in a voice that seemed to echo from deep within the bowels of Hell itself, "'Ere AR' no wi'ches, 'ou IDIO'S!"

The courthouse fell deathly silent, but only for a moment.

A squeaky voiced fellow concealed in the back of the room was the first to cry it out; then his voice was joined by more and more until the entire room was shouting a frantic demand. This time the magistrate did not use his gavel, but instead, joined in the shouting himself.

Defeated, Dib glanced around at the furiously screaming throng, and dropped his hands with a sigh. He had tried his best, but it is impossible to save those who do not wish to be saved.

- - - - - - -

To her dying breath, Gaz screamed that there were no ghosts and there were no witches and that anyone who did believe in them was an idiot.

It did not stop the crackling flames from climbing higher and higher all around her.

The End.

(A/N) There... and it even fits in with the general tone of the series. You can be 100 in the right without anyone believing you, and this can be made to work against anybody else as easily as it has been made to work against Dib.

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