2 weeks later, was the hanging for Goody Osborne, and I was with the townsfolk and girls cheering and she hissed at us as she passed. The major people of the town threw rotten food at her, or spat at her. Even Betty and Ruth were cheering. And when she was hanged, the roar of the crowd was louder than ever.
That was a while ago though, that fall, 3 months later, I was walking past the jail- looking to the place where my parents were with sadness, and I saw Herrick, nearly drunk, walking in. I smiled. I went closer.
The past three months had been a most eventful.
After the court meeting, I'd run after my father, and we talked Herrick left us for to a moment.
"Daddy- I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I was terrible, and I didn't stop. I was in too deep…and I didn't stop."
"Julie. It's alright. Julie, you're the eldest, you and Mary watch over your brothers for me and your mother. I'm not mad, just disappointed."
"I was so worried you may hate me."
He relented, seeing my tears.
"Julie, I could never hate you. You're my eldest child; my only daughter. I love you. But these are terrible times…" he trailed off.
"Daddy, just promise me you'll fight. For us, your children and wife. I don't know what we'd do without you."
He smiled weakly, and Herrick came back.
"I'm sorry Ms. Proctor; I have to take him now."
I nodded my head, wiping my tears away with my fingers. I sniffled. "Alright."
I went closer to the jail and listened in on what was happening. They were saying how Mother was pregnant…how Dad seemed lifeless…
I tried to think of better things.
I'd come to the jail frequently over the summer months to visit my parents, to try to feed them, spark hope in them…I could remember the first time as clear as any other.
"Marshal, will you permit me? I'm just a young girl- 14! I've lost my parents. Let me see them. Please." After pleading with him for a bit, he accepted and let me go. Mother seemed dull, but tried her best to comfort me. She would play with my hair or clothes when I visited, and often remarked how beautiful I was becoming. With Father, it was like I wasn't even there. He muttered things, like my name for instance, but nothing I could completely understand.
I came to the jail frequently. So often that I struck up a relationship with Herrick.
At first it was friendly, then one night, after I'd finished visiting my parents and was to go to Samuel Nurse and take the boys home, Herrick stopped me and kissed me so passionately, I thought might topple over. He was an older man, but he was still young- and apparently- I wasn't too young for him. I welcomed his kisses from then on. I'd completely forgot about John Willard by then, because I knew in a matter of time, I'd be the Sherriff's wife.
I saw Herrick, Danforth, Hale and Parris exit the jail and wait outside. I crept closer and listened to what was going on inside. Giles was dead, she told my father.
I sighed. That man was murdered by stoning, and he didn't care.
They changed the subject to Father confessing, and mom confessed she wanted him alive, but she would not take away his choices. I wanted him alive too. He asked about Rebecca, and when Mother gave him the reply, he said it was a pretense.
They spoke of that until lechery came back up, now they blamed themselves for what Abby had caused. I remembered telling Abigail she could burn in hell, for it was her fault my parents were condemned. Her "love" was condemned, and she did nothing. She was a selfish whore.
Hawthorne came in, and then rushed out screaming that Dad would confess.
I let a tear fall. But hearing my mother weep made me weep as well.
Everyone walked in but Herrick. He had seen me and had been embracing me, trying to soothe me in the hall.
Parris from the door shouted, "Marshal, hurry!" and with one last look of devotion, he ran.
Dad confessed to seeing the devil, and doing his work. He tried to say he saw no one with the devil- so they could go free- but Danforth would not allow it.
Dad had to sign the paper that would go on the church door for the village to see, and he wouldn't. But when he did sign, he snatched the paper away and said they saw him sign it, and God did too- what more was needed. I agreed silently.
I turned my head away for a minute and when I heard Father mention his 3 children, my heart panged.
I then heard a huge dispute going on, and knew Father had torn up the document. He would hang, and everyone else wanted him to live, but mother did not dare talk him out of it. He was in a good place.
At the next hanging, with Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey, and some others, including my father. Everyone was silent and guilty.
The girls' faces showed so much guilt, as I did. But I looked at my father, and started to sob when they all started to say in unison the Our Father. The major people of the town were silent and sad as well.
I heard my father break off for a moment and whisper, "Be strong Julie." Then he continued with the prayer.
He had heard my cries, and knew it were for him. It was our entire fault for these innocent people being hanged, and I could no longer do anything about it.
When they stepped up to the platform, and put their heads through the nooses, everyone held their breaths. When the bottoms beneath their feet dropped, they were hanged. I looked away, they deserved that. Herrick stood across from me, his eyes reading much sorrow. I closed my eyes, wanting it to be over.