The Weakest Witch

By on Sep 12, 2011 in Fiction

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Weakest witch graphic

Out next view is of another corridor; the boy is waiting at the end. Faint sounds can be heard from the cell beyond.

You rejoin us as Matthew is about to show us in to the next suspect, Anne Mackerell.

Inside the cell an old woman sits in a corner, muttering to herself and chewing the hem of her filthy dress. She looks up vacantly as we enter.

“Goody Mackerell, do you know who I am?”

“You are the devil, come from hell to make me scream and laugh.”

“No goodwife,  I am Judge Aston, come from Boston to determine your guilt or innocence. Anne Mackerell, what say you to the charge that you are a witch?”

“I say fee diddle dee, I wish I was a tree.”

“Do you know the penalty for witchcraft?

“Do you know what is for dinner? I want to go home. Can I go home now? They are rude to me here, and the food is no good.”

“You shall go home soon enough, if you are innocent. Matthew, I have seen enough.”

The boy leads the way down a small flight of steps along the corridor to the final cell. Its occupant, a plain-looking woman in her thirties, leans against the wall, arms crossed, looking unconcerned.

“Goody Radcliff, I assume.”

She moves off from the wall and stares straight at us fearlessly. “Aye, who else would I be? You, I would guess, are Judge Aston.”

“That I am. What say you to the charge that you are a witch, Rebecca Radcliff?”

“I say that the charge is true.”

“What? You do not deny it? Your confession will see you hung.”

“I may be a witch, but I am no liar. And I serve a greater cause than yours.”

“I cannot believe that I am hearing this!”

“Believe or do not, Judge. I care neither way.”

“But do you not fear death? Surely you have heard that I have it in my power to save you.”

“Aye, I have heard that. But I think you overestimate your power here.”

“What do you mean, woman? Answer me!”

“And if I do not? Will you have them apply the thumbscrews? A fine example that would be, when one who has already given the crowd what they want is to be harassed for not pandering to the needs of a single man. And that is all I have to say until the trial. Good day to you.”

Shots of corridor, the boy’s back, the open square, as we head back to the house.

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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!