"Angela Corner has pleaded guilty of witchcraft, and will be burned in the square in a fortnight." The young woman on the chair in the front of the room sobbed silently as the mayor announced her sentence. There was only a small crowd of townspeople at today's trial; they were no longer as exciting as they used to be. After all, Angela's accusation was not scandalous. There were only four people that regularly came anymore; three girls and a woman. The woman seemed ordinary; an ordinary dress, ordinary face, ordinary hair, and well, she was ordinary for 1692, but this woman was far from ordinary.
Verbena Cahors lowered her head, refusing to meet the eyes of Angela. She cast a glance at the girls laughing in the bench, with a barely concealed hatred in her eyes. Another! It was another woman condemned to death, all for the entertainment of three girls. Verbena walked quickly out of the hall and headed towards her house.
She entered her front door, but she did not stop. Instead, she lifted the rug in her kitchen to reveal a trapdoor. Verbena walked down the steps, replacing the door and rug as she went. The steps opened out to reveal a large room, as big as the entire house. Light came from a skull atop a post, and Verbena walked beside shelves contained herbs, and books in foreign languages, and a pickled hand. She stirred the bubbling brew in the pewter caldron that sputtered above a fire, and went over to the thick book sat atop a pedestal in the center of the room. Have you figured out why Verbena is a very extraordinary woman? You guessed it. Verbena is a witch.
"Book," she crooned, "Angela confessed."
And the girls?
"They were her convectors, as always. They infuriate me!" A sharp wind blew up then quickly died. "I'm sorry Book, I lost my temper." Verbena stroked a corner of the Book softly. "I need you Book," she whispered, "I want to hurt them. I want them to suffer for what they have done."
That may not be the wisest of ideas Verbena. You do not wish to be found out.
"Book," she pleaded, "they have murdered nineteen women for their own entertainment. How many more will be destroyed? We know they were not guilty. Help me bring them to justice- No matter the consequences."
Are you sure?
Very well. You must bring them here.
You must bring them here to punish them.
"There must be another way Book. You have never asked something like this of me. Why?"
I have an answer to our problem Verbena. You must trust me. Bring them here and I will show you what to do. You said you did not care of the consequences.
"Very well Book, I will."
Verbena acted the next day. She found the girls, as always, talking in the square. They did not seem to care that the gallows sat behind them, or that the townspeople would not meet their eyes.
"Cassandra, Victoria, Angelica," Verbena smiled, "I was wondering if the three of you would like to come over for cookies and tea?"
"Miss. Cahors," Angelica said smoothly, "we were unaware of your fondness towards us. I must admit it comes as a surprise. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept today. We have a meeting with the council- Right girls?"
"But you said…" Cassandra began until she was given a sharp jab in the side by Victoria.
"Yes, of course, Angelica, whatever you say." Victoria said softly.
"Well," Verbena said, "I suppose it will have to be some other time." She walked away cursing under her breath. She would try again the next day. Verbena did not like to use any noticeable witchcraft during the trials, and it would be a while until she would resort to forcing the girls to come with her.
The next day, while Verbena was in her room, a knock came at her door. "I'll be right back Book," she said.
The mayor stood at Verbena's door; behind him were Gabe, the executioner, and Father Gunter. The mayor then said, "Verbena Cahors, you have been accused of attempting to seduce Cassandra Neil, Victoria Guff, and Angelica Kaut into ungodly ways. Do you confess?"
"Very well, your trial shall be held on the 31st of October." With that, Verbena was taken by Gabe to the jail. She sat there plotting until the day of her trial, All Hallows Eve. The night before she could be heard calling, "Book of my ancestor's creation, faithful servant of the Cahors, come to me now. Come!" Later, some swore they had seen a large book bound in what seemed to be human skin flying to the square.
Verbena was brought to the courthouse on All Hallows Eve. The entire town had turned out to see her; Verbena had kept her secret well. In the front bench sat the girls, the girls that had started all this. Cassandra and Victoria would not look at Verbena, but Angelica stared straight at her, smiling.
"Verbena Cahors, you have been accused of the crime of witchcraft. What do you have to say?"
Verbena looked around the room. "You are fools," she said coldly, "to think that any true witch would submit themselves to this. If I wished I could destroy you all, but I have not." Verbena walked up to Angelica. No one stopped her. This was why she needed her Book, they were all frozen, all except Angelica. In her stay in the jail, Verbena had realized something. Cassandra and Victoria were not the true antagonists in this story, but Angelica was, and now she would suffer. "Angelica Kaut," Verbena hissed as the Book flew in the window and came to rest in Verbena's hands, "you have been the cause of unjust executions. You shall be punished," she looked down at the open page.
"Thank you, Book. Angelica, your punishment will not be to die, but to live forever with your guilt." Verbena blew onto Angelica's forehead and the rest of the room came back to life. The crowd looked around fervently, but their witch was gone, and the only one who could tell them what had happened was running around their feet.
The witch trials stopped after that, and if you visit Salem on All Hallows Eve, you still may see a small black cat, mewing.