Book of days

[Prologue

Salem, Massachusetts: 1692

A thick fog hovers above the ground and the sky is cloudy and gray. The grass glistens with dew and in the distance, a dog barks. A crowd has gathered around three large, slender wooden poles planted firmly into the ground with pieces of chopped wood at the base. Tied to those poles are three women with ropes around their waist while their hair flutters softly in the early morning fall breeze. A reverend stands in the center, clutching a bible. He is face was frozen in a mask of sympathy and fear as he looked at the three women. The air was thick and heavy with fear, anger and revenge. The reverend clears his throat and begins speaking.

"Young Charity Cromwell," the reverend addresses the woman in the center with shoulder length blond hair and blue eyes. His eyes shift to the woman on the left, flanking Charity. "Young Mary Beaumont," his eyes then shift to the woman flanking Charity on the right. "And Young Sara Bolton, you have been found guilty of witchcraft. How do you plead?"

All three women just glared at the reverend without speaking. The reverend sighed. He was hoping they would redeem themselves and repent from their sins, but alas they were not speaking. There was nothing much he could do for them. He traced a cross in the air using his index and middle finger and stepped back as three executioners dressed in black with a hood over their faces stepped forward and lowered burning torches to the base of the poles. The three women exchanged looks and an understanding passes between them, along with something else.

"We shall have our revenge!" screams Charity Cromwell. "I curse everyone here, their children, and their children's children that we will return!"

Flames engulf the wood chunks and begin licking the women's long black skirts. The women in the crowd turn their faces away against their husband's shoulders and cradle their children against them. By now the flames ignite the women's bodies to the point where recognition is nearly impossible. Screams erupt from the three women, but after several moments, they stop.

The crowd watches in horror as the flames briefly shoot skyward for a moment before receding. All three women's bodies have vanished without a trace. Panic and hysteria settle throughout everyone's minds. The air thickens now with terror and fear. The three women re-appear again in thin air behind the crowd, who scream and turn around in terror. Charity's fists clenched at her sides as she takes a step forward. Her eyes are hard, cold and unfeeling. Mary and Sara flank her in the same positions. One by one, the skirts and slacks of everyone present go up in flames spontaneously. Screams are heard throughout the village as women; children and men flee to escape the wrath of the three heathens. One by one, the villagers drop to the ground, aflame. As the three women walk slowly away, behind them, buildings explode and flames ignite them. By now the entire village has gone up in flames and the screaming has silenced. Smirking, they exit the village.