Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to Hocus Pocus or The Blair Witch Project.
Author's Note: This is my first Hocus Pocus fanfic, so I will try to keep it as faithful to the original cannon as possible. Anyway this story is about Thackery and Elizabeth, another soul who was cursed by Winifred Sanderson the night she and her sisters were hanged, her story has been long forgotten in the pages of history.
This is the true story of Hocus Pocus...
Salem Village - 1689
When Elizabeth Taylor was ten years old she moved to Salem Village with her widowed mother, who was with child, to live with her uncle the Reverend Parris after her father went down with his ship near Cape Cod. They had lived on the sea front of Salem Town, a busy port that was full of trade from England and far away Europe. It was on a return voyage from such places that Elizabeth's father lost his life, leaving behind a grieving wife and daughter.
The Reverend Parris was her mother's brother, and their only male relative living in the colonies. So it was decided that they would move in with him and the two young girls under his care, Betty Parris his daughter, Abigail Williams his late wife's niece and their slave Tituba. They were welcomed to the small farming community with open arms and respectful sympathy for their loss, but it did not take long for the townsfolk to warn them of the Sanderson Sisters.
At the time Elizabeth was of the right age for them to steal her away, and the Elders of Salem had told her such tales of wickedness and evil that they caused her to faint onto the floor. Her mother had soothed her when she came round, even though she was close to her time and was warned not to move around too much.
Her cousins were instructed by the Reverend Parris to teach her how to be a respectable Puritan child, since the religion was followed more closely in Salem Village then it had been in Salem Town. Elizabeth found it hard to conform to such strict rules, but for the sake of her mother she tried to follow them in public to spare her uncle any embarrassment. Not that it would have made much difference, since it seamed that he was fighting the Village council over the ownership of the Vicarage.
He explained to her mother one evening that when he came to the village, the previous council had given him the deeds to the Vicarage which stated the building was his and did not belong to the church of Salem. The current council claimed that the old council had no right to give him the deeds and demanded that he return them, since the building belonged to the village in general and not to the Reverend who lived in it. It was a bitter argument that had lasted for many months, with each side stubbornly refusing to back down till the other yielded.
A few months after their arrival, Elizabeth's little sister Ruth was born. The birth had been difficult but both mother and babe were strong and healthy, and Elizabeth actually began to smile again. Ruth grew stronger every day, growing into a loveable toddler who was doted upon by her elder sister. Her cousins also loved her dearly, playing with her and singing songs to her while the slave Tituba did the household work.
Then one day, Ruth disappeared.
Ruth had gone to bed with both her mother and her sister, sleeping between the two of them as she usually did. The next morning she was gone, the door to the house was ajar and little footprints in the mud lead towards the woods. The men immediately went out to search while Elizabeth and her cousins tried to comfort her mother, praying that the men would find her safe and sound.
The men returned that night with a small bundle in their arms.
Her mother flew to them crying her thanks to the Lord for delivering her baby, but she stopped dead when they showed her what lay inside the blanket. Her mother looked for a few moments before screaming, snatching the bundle away and cradling it to her chest as she fell to the ground. Elizabeth tried to go to her, but her uncle Parris held her back as the townsfolk looked on with horror and fear.
Ruth was dead, murdered by the Sanderson sisters for her young life force.
Elizabeth went down that night to where her sister was laid out, ready for her burial the next day. A shroud lay over her tiny form, and Elizabeth pulled it back gently as if she was afraid to wake her from her eternal sleep. The sight that greeted her was horrific, and caused her to cry out in heartache and pain.
Ruth was a withered husk, her skin shrivelled and pale with the veins sticking out like rods travelling up her arms. Her hair was a stark while, no longer the rich golden brown that she had brushed daily for her. If it were not for her nightdress and her little wooden cross around her neck, Elizabeth would never had known it was her sister. Her mother came upon her the next day, her arms propped up on the rim of the coffin holding Ruth's withered hand within her own.
They buried Ruth that morning, a simple service that was alive with whispers of the Sanderson Sisters.
It was not long after the funeral that she met Thackery Binx.
Elizabeth was consumed with guilt and self loathing over Ruth's death, blaming herself for not protecting her baby sister from the witches. Nightmares plagued her at night, visions of Ruth screaming for her while three dark figures turned her into the withered husk she became. Sometimes it was hard to stay inside the Vicarage without being reminded of Ruth, so Elizabeth would flee the house and sit in the meadow that was next to the Binx house. A withered old tree stood in the far corner facing the woods, Elizabeth would sit amongst its roots and weep for her sister in private. It was on one such occasion that he found her crying among the roots, his voice making her jump nearly out of her skin with fright.
"Are thou alright, Elizabeth?"
She looked up to see young Thackery Binx, standing over her and holding out a handkerchief. She stared at him for a few moments, before her wounded pride and embarrassment reared its ugly head.
"Do I look alright to thee, Master Binx?"
She had not meant to snap at him, but she was scared and humiliated that someone had found her like that. She was supposed to be strong for her mother, not crying like a weakling at the drop of a hat when her emotions got the best of her. Thackery crouched down to her level and held out the handkerchief once more.
"No, thou do not. And my name is Thackery, I can not stand it when folk call me 'Master Binx'."
His scowl made Elizabeth smile through her tears, and she gratefully took the handkerchief from him. He sat down next to her as she dried her eyes, his eyes holding a far away gaze. Elizabeth was grateful her was not looking at her, for she knew she must have looked pathetic and she forced herself to stop crying and calm down. She folded the tear stained cloth and held it out to him.
He shook his head.
"Nay, thou should keep it. Just in case."
She slipped it into her sleeve, her eyes focusing on the woods so that she would not foolishly burst into tears over a simple handkerchief. Elizabeth had in her anger desired to go into the woods and find the old crones and had marched from the Vicarage and across the very meadow she now sat in, but at the edge of the woods she realised that all she would do was cause her mother more sorrow. So she remained in the town, anger and self-hatred festering within her soul. Thackery must have noticed the emotions flickering across her eyes, for he spoke up just as she took in a deep breath to calm herself once again.
"I am sorry for thy loss."
His voice was soft, as if he were afraid of breaking her if he spoke any louder. His sympathy was genuine and it caused tears to form at her eyelids, but she blinked them away. She had cried enough for one day.
"It was not thy fault."
Elizabeth knew it was true, she could have done nothing against the sisters and their dark spells. But she wished she could have done something, anything at all instead of rolling over and letting her baby sister die all alone in those woods.
"Yes it was. I should have protected her better."
Thackery turned his head sharply towards her, his expression causing her to jump at its fierceness. It reminded her of her father's expression when a sailor had tried to touch her mother, and it had not ended well for the other man. But it was strange to see such a passionate fire in the usually reserved young man.
"Elizabeth, it is not thy fault your sister has returned to the Lord. If any one should be blamed, it is the Sanderson hags!"
He grabbed her hand, the comforting gesture causing tears to build once more. She knew he was not angry with her, but with the ones who had caused her grief and guilt. Those feeling were burning her alive, and her mother was so grief stricken that she refused to leave their bed. Her uncle was kind, but he had no experience in dealing with children. Thackery was the only one to see what she was really feeling, and she was so grateful that he had and was trying to help her. She nodded her head, and he squeezed her hand once more in comfort.
"Come. My mother was asking after thee and thy mother, she would welcome the company."
She allowed him to pull her up, and to take her by the hand to his house where his mother was washing clothes in the sunshine. Goodwife Binx paused her work as the pair approached, rising with some difficulty since she was now quick with child. The woman approached Elizabeth and hugged her, which caused her tears to come forth once more.
"Poor child. Your mother and thee have my heartfelt sympathy, if thou ever need help we are at thy service."
It took Elizabeth a moment to find her voice.
"Thank thee Goodwife Binx."
The woman released her, a sympathetic smile on her face. Thackery cleared his throat.
"Should thou be doing that mother? The doctor said…"
"Oh bother the doctor, he is no woman and neither is thee. Who else is going to clean thy shirts while ye are in the field with thy father?"
Elizabeth watched Thackery turn bright red as his mother scolded him, and she could not stop the laugh that burst from her lips. Thackery's mother chuckled as well when he turned as red as a strawberry, shooing him back to the field to help his father with the harvest. Elizabeth watched him go, unsure of what to do next when his mother called her over to the wash tub.
"As much as I love my son, he does worry so. But he was right, I am tired and should not be doing this work. Not that he will ever hear that from me."
"Would thou like some help, Goodwife Binx?"
The woman looked at her like she had just uttered an oath.
"Oh no child! I can not ask thee to do that, not when ye are still grieving for thy sister…"
"Nay, I do not mind. It helps me to stay busy…"
Elizabeth's mother had said the same when her father died, and she proved it by throwing herself into the task of moving them both to Salem Village. But now she had no move to bury herself in, just her pain and misery. Goodwife Binx gave her a look of understanding, putting her hand on Elizabeth's shoulder in a comforting gesture.
"Aye, that it does. Well if thou has no objections, I shall not refuse thee."