The Weakest Witch

By on Sep 12, 2011 in Fiction

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Weakest witch graphic

We see a room with wooden floor and walls. The furniture consists of a table, two chairs, a writing desk  and wooden chest. The remains of a meal — a pewter flagon, a plate with some crusts and cheese rinds on it and a folded napkin — lie on the table. To one side, a window lets in the evening light, but due to the poor quality of the glass and small size of the lead-edged panes, little detail of what lies outside can be seen. On the writing desk is a black cube the size of a child”s clenched first. A hand comes into view and places this incongruous item in a small wooden box.

Hello to viewers who’ve just joined us from India and New Zealand! According to my monitor, our audience has now topped the two hundred million mark. As you can see from my button-cam, I’m currently in the house allocated by the good folk of Martinstown for Judge Aston’s visit to their lovely burg. The Judge himself is currently at our network’s private hospital, where he is receiving the best medical care that twenty-first century medicine can provide to ensure that he suffers no permanent after effects from and retains no memory of his experiences.

<Press the red button now for full details of the temporal exchange process>

My housekeeper has just answered the door, and I believe she is about to show in the town’s self-appointed witch-finder general, Reverend Dawkins.

Our view shifts from the desk to the door as a stern-looking man in his forties strides in.  

“Ah, Reverend. To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?”

“Good day, Judge Aston. I shall come straight to the point. The Mayor has informed me of your request, and I feel it is highly irregular.”

“Whilst I respect your opinion, as the representative of the governor of Massachusetts, I decide the procedure here.”

“But there is no need to see the women.  You have interviewed the townsfolk and read the depositions of their victims. You have seen the confessions. What profit is there in talking with them? You will have time enough to question them tomorrow at the trial.”

“And I will. However, I should like to meet them beforehand, to get an idea of their personalities, away from the pressures of the courtroom.”

“Their personalities? If they are guilty, then they must be punished. What has personality to do with justice?”

“After recent events in this state, the governor wishes to be sure that no further miscarriages of justice  occur.”

“Is that any reason to let the guilty walk free? It is said that you intend only one of these women to hang, even if all three be guilty of trafficking with the devil.”

“Whilst in matters spiritual I bow to you, in matters of material justice you, and the mayor, must obey me. I am sorry to be blunt, but that is the way of things.”

“Then I will not stand in your way.” Reverend Dawkins leaves, frowning to himself.  

Well folks, looks like we”re finally going to meet our candidates. But first, a brief word from our sponsors.

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Jaine Fenn is a British science-fiction writer. Her short stories have appeared in various 'zines including Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, On Spec and GUD. She is the author of the Hidden Empire series of books, the first two of which, Principles of Angels and Consorts of Heaven, are published in the UK by Gollancz. She has no time for reality TV shows, because they combine two things she dislikes. Her Web site can be found at

One Comment

  1. Keep this going please, grea job!