The Weakest Witch

By on Sep 12, 2011 in Fiction

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Weakest witch graphic

The adverts fade to show a mud-filled open space between timber buildings. Behind the buildings, a forest looms. Various dark-garbed townsfolk glance across from under their hats as we pass. Ahead is the broad brown-clad back of a boy in his teens.

Welcome back. I’m currently making my way across the town square — such as it is — to the courthouse, which doubles as the town’s prison. The boy you see walking ahead of me is, believe it or not, the town’s jailer. Matthew is dumb in both senses of the word and barely sixteen years of age: these were hard times indeed.

Matthew leads the way into the largest building on the square and down through narrow corridors. He opens a heavy wooden door, then turns and gestures for us to enter. Beyond, standing with clasped hands, is a handsome woman in her early twenties. Voluptuous curves show beneath the severe puritan dress.

“Thank you, Matthew. You may leave us. Now, Sarah Tanner, do you know who I am?”

“You are the Judge sent from Boston to condemn me for a crime I have not committed.”

“You deny that you are a witch? There are witness statements —”


“— and confessions.”

“Extracted under duress! I committed only one crime, and God shall judge me for that. But it was not witchcraft.”

“What, then, was your crime, my child?”

“I allowed the mayor to press his affections upon me. I was too weak to resist. But he spurned me, and when I told him that I was with child, he called me witch and had me thrown in here. You must help me, please!”

A wool-clad heaving bosom advances on our viewpoint.

“He is a wicked man, judge, small-minded and spiteful.”

“If what you say is true, then he has indeed done you wrong, but —”

The bosom presses closer, obscuring our view of the cell.

“I hear rumor that on your word, two of us may be released. Is that true?”

“It is. Yes.”

“So on your decision hangs my life, and that of my child.”

“Yes, you could put it that way.”

“And is there anything, anything at all, that I could do to influence that decision? I would willingly be damned as a whore to save myself from the witch”s fate.”

“I”m not sure I…  oh, Goody Tanner!”

The view of bosom twitches as the camera jumps.

“Would you spurn me, too?”

“Yes, harlot! Leave me be!” The bosom recedes a  little.

“No one will know, Judge. No one but thee and me.”

The bosom advances again, and we hear a faint rustling sound, as of cloth being parted.

<Cut to commercial>

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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!