1The flames are so hot...

The wood behind me is raw and smelling like ash.

They won't stop staring at me...

Mindless faces are gawking at me like a spectacle.

How could they watch?

Eyes reaming with satisfaction give me chills even though I can feel my flesh cooking in the fire around me.

How could they do this to me? I'm the innocent one...

All because my niece called me a witch. A lover of Satan. User of dark magic to kill the pure and help the twisted. And the whole time I was innocent and only trying to help my family.

I suppose the rumor began when I would use herbs to cure ailments from my children. I was friends with my town's healer and midwife. She was a childhood friend of mine and she had become famous in the more recent years. She helped me birth my two sons and when either of them were sick, she would use potions of herbs and forest water to help them. Eventually she had begun to teach me her ways.

But as time went by, rumors were spreading from visitors to our town that witches were killing cattle and bewitching men into doing their evil deeds and committing murder. This caused panic among the people in my town. Suddenly, anyone who did anything magical or suspicious was tailored as being a worker of Satan and was put on horrible trials and publically killed.

My dear friend was one of the first accused. One of the mothers she had birthed told everyone that she had given her child a fatal illness. His breathing was unnatural and he died a few weeks after birth. Since no one was with her when she helped birth the child, the people of the town said she had taken the child into a room of her home and created a wicked potion to have him drink so he would die. The mother said it was because she was jealous of her husband and was angry that he had a child. Soon almost everyone who she had helped birth cried foul against her.

The townspeople broke into her home and destroyed it, along will finding evidence of her herb recipes and she was thrown into jail, given little food and sunlight. Pickers were taken to her to search for the "devil's mark", and they found a scar on her thigh. She was taken to trial not too long afterwards and stood in the nude while she was bombarded with questions by the judges. Through drama and trickery, she was surely tortured and finally cracked, saying that her herb potions were used to made children sick and to also cause hexes on their mothers. She would often commit murder on the children because she wanted their skin and hair for sacrifice to Satan.

When this came out she was executed immediately in front of the entire town. She was brutally tortured and hit with burning metal along with one of the most disgusting tortures my eyes had ever laid sight upon. The men hired to tie her to the stake used a pear-shaped tool and detached her breasts from her body. I felt her pain as I watched. They shoved the bloody fatty flesh into her mouth and made her swallow them before lighting the hay below her. So much blood...everyone just stared at her burning body. These people were those she had helped. But we were all silent in fear we would be next.

For days after, the town had been silent. No one mentioned what happened, and the governors of the town seemed satisfied. A month passed and rumors began popping up again. Mothers had been seen using herbal potions on their children, and so more women were sent to public execution. It came to a point where a woman was killed almost every week, maybe two.

My mistake was leaving out my dead friend's recipes out in the open. My niece and recently-widowed sister were visiting for a few days while passing through to another town. I was out in my garden, planting some seeds for some vegetables, when she had been playing in the kitchen and found them. Without my knowledge, she ran out to an official and reported it. Without any chance to say anything, I was taken by the official to the two jail and thrown into a cell so small that I could only stand.

I stayed there for days, with little food and almost no water. There was almost no light nearby and I felt like I was going to go mad. I heard voices around the cell and pieced together that my sister had come up with some story against me, to make the officials certain that I was a witch. Soon after, two large men I had never seen before ripped me from my cell and tore off my tattered clothes. I had never felt so violated. Their eyes stared at me like I was a piece of dirt for their disposal and pleasure. I tried to fight them off of me, but I had no choice but to let them abuse me in the worst way a woman could be physically abused. It made me want to cry all the time afterwards. I had pins driven into my sides and legs while they tired to get a confession out of me. I had my hair pulled as well, every time I would cry out in pain.

About 3 days passed, I think. I was then taken into a small courtroom built off of the jail and was ordered to walk in backwards and in the nude.

Like I could be humiliated any more...but I was sorely mistaken.

I was hit with barrages of questions and when I was being sexually abused, one of the pickers had found a small scar on my arm and told the three old judges that it was where I was having sex with Satan. From fear of more torture, I finally buckled and said that I had learned the potion-making from the midwife and I had been an accomplice to her murderous ways. I had also planned on killing my husband because I knew my sister wanted him as her own. Everyones' eyes gleamed with excitement and horror as I told my false story. It pained me to lie, but I knew at that point that I was damned either way, regardless of what I did. I was declared guilty and was to be executed by burning.

This morning I was yanked out into the middle of town. I had been lucky enough to not have my breasts sliced off of me, but I was instead tortured by heated pokers, whipped, and had to kneel down before a cross to confess my sins against God. I was forced to take a knife cut into my skin after I confessed each 'sin', so the blood could seep into the ground. This, they said, would show Satan that I was going to be sacrificed and punished by his hated opponent. Priests preached about me and what would happen to me after death, feeding continuous lies onto the crowd.

As I was finally strapped onto the wooden pole that had been used for the burning, my eyes caught sight of my husband and sons. My husband looked as if he had believed everything being said, and I felt such hatred from him. My sons looked as though they were empathetic and wanted to help but couldn't. One of the officials cried out "May God have mercy on your retched soul," and lit the hay below me with a torch.

Now I cry out into the crowd and they are watching silently, waiting for me to stop breathing. Maybe I will go to heaven. Maybe to hell. This isn't fair...not to me or my family. I did not deserve this. The flames are growing higher around me, and I can hear myself screaming louder and louder. The pickers and judges who are standing watch look like they are aroused by my torture. How can they be so cruel? I can feel my consciousness fading. I hope God will look upon my family and treat them well after I am gone. I only wanted to help them.

The flames are so hot...