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HOME >> Product 0201 >> A WITCH'S TALE>>

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A WITCH'S TALE

W. Richard St. James

"I am not sure that you can hear me.  I am not sure if you are still near to me, somewhere in the dark.  I am not even sure that you are still alive.  Last night, I heard you sobbing.  The night before, I heard you scream when they came for you.  Perhaps it was your screams, later on, that were punctuated by my own.  Perhaps you cannot hear me, perhaps you will not comprehend the words that I am using.  Perhaps you are not there at all.  Still, I will continue to shout out my confession, to you and to the One God, as long as my voice persists.

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Would that I could write, but there is no vellum, no ink, no light.  My arms are chained to the prison wall, spread above me.  It is futile, futile.  But, perhaps, if you can hear me, perhaps, if you can comprehend, my memory will live on for another year, another day, another hour.  My time grows shorter now.  I can hear the drums beating, the drunken peasants cheering.  Even in this dungeon there is the sickening smell of burning flesh.  They have already begun their festival day.  Soon, perhaps, I may be served up for their amusement.

"What they did to my mother was unspeakable, and yet, if we do not speak of it, how will we ever know, ever learn, ever stop that horror?  So I will speak of things that should not be spoken, tell of things that should not be told, reveal the mysteries that must remain forever hidden.  And you, hanging in the cell next to me, my unseen, unknown companion, you cannot run away from me, you cannot cover your ears.  You can, perhaps, scream loudly enough to drown out my exposition.  But, I pray you, do not be too hasty to condemn, too quick to turn away, too eager to avert your sensibilities from what I am about to say."

Hanging in a dungeon cell, waiting for the bonfire, Fiona screams out her confession.  And what a tale it is.  Her sins are numerous and exotic.  There is hardly a taboo she has not broken, a forbidden pleasure she has not sampled.   She tells it all with intense longing and regret.  Her last few months have been full of danger and adventure, loss and discovery, lust and horror, love and loathing, revelation and betrayal.  She has learned the dark secrets of the ancients.  She has tasted their power, their knowledge, their utter depravity.  She has yielded to utter degradation.  What has she become -- monster, goddess, slave, assassin, whore, something of all of these?  Will her life be a blessing, or a curse, or will it simply end here, futilely, burned at the stake?  Brace yourself for A Witch's Tale.

 

eBOOK STATS:

   

Length:

77929 Words

Price:

$5.99

Sale Price:

$1.99

Published:

2010

Cover Art:

T.L. Davison

Editor:

Scott Winfield

Copyright:

W. Richard St. James

ISBN Number:

978-1-926839-41-7

Available Formats:

PDF; iPhone PDF; HTML; Microsoft Reader(LIT); MobiPocket (PRC); Palm (PDB); Nook, Iphone, Ipad, Android (EPUB); Kindle (MOBI);

Paperback Price:

$9.00 Paperback Buy Link

 

EXCERPT

   

I AM NOT SURE that you can hear me.  I am not sure if you are still near to me, somewhere in the dark.  I am not even sure that you are still alive.  Last night, I heard you sobbing.  The night before, I heard you scream when they came for you.  Perhaps it was your screams, later on, that were punctuated by my own.  Perhaps you cannot hear me, perhaps you will not comprehend the words that I am using.  Perhaps you are not there at all.  Still, I will continue to shout out my confession, to you and to the One God, as long as my voice persists.  Would that I could write, but there is no vellum, no ink, no light.  My arms are chained to the prison wall, spread above me.  It is futile, futile.  But, perhaps, if you can hear me, perhaps, if you can comprehend, my memory will live on for another year, another day, another hour.  My time grows shorter now.  I can hear the drums beating, the drunken peasants cheering.  Even in this dungeon there is the sickening smell of burning flesh.  They have already begun their festival day.  Soon, perhaps, I may be served up for their amusement.

Are you astonished at how I address you?  Are you amazed that a simple peasant girl should use such flowery language?  Ah, but then, my mother was a very learned lady.  She instructed me in reading, writing, Greek, Latin, the proper usage of our own crude tongue, and all the arts: mathematics, philosophy, medicine and rhetoric.  She had a library, oh, such a library, of ancient, secret texts: Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Virgil, Ovid, all those worthy men and more, and Sappho, lovely Sappho, the sweet voice of the Goddess.  All those lovely books, waiting to be read some day.  They used them for kindling, when they burned her.

What they did to my mother was unspeakable, and yet, if we do not speak of it, how will we ever know, ever learn, ever stop that horror?  So I will speak of things that should not be spoken, tell of things that should not be told, reveal the mysteries that must remain forever hidden.  And you, hanging in the cell next to me, my unseen, unknown companion, you cannot run away from me, you cannot cover your ears.  You can, perhaps, scream loudly enough to drown out my exposition.  But, I pray you, do not be too hasty to condemn, too quick to turn away, too eager to avert your sensibilities from what I am about to say.

Let me begin, then, with my mother, for is that not how all of us begin?  Well, I know, before that, before my birth, there must have been some dark deed, some act of love or passion, rape or seduction, or perhaps a ritual coupling.  I never knew who my father was.  Oh, there were men who came to my mother's bed, not the rude peasants from the village, not the crude swordsmen from the castle, but huge men, terrifying in dark hooded robes, terrifying even more when they shed those robes to reveal gaunt, pale bodies.  They were tall, almost skeletally thin, with gigantic hands with nails like claws, and enormous phalli.  Does it shock you that I should speak of them thus?  What could shock either of us, after what has been done to us?  Has not every crevice of your body been probed with flesh and iron, strained to the breaking point?  Have they not poured their semen, their urine, their bile, into every cavity, have they not attempted to burst you with their passion and disdain?  Can there be any secrets of our bodies that remain any source of pain or pleasure that has not been exposed?  We have been rendered up as an entertainment to stoke or sate their dark desires.  Soon, our broken bodies will be consumed in the pyre of their hypocritical self righteousness. 

But I digress.  They would send a messenger, these tall pale men, a crow, perhaps a raven, which descended with a black ribbon attached to its foot.  My mother would detach the ribbon, replace it with a white one, and prepare herself for them.  When they departed, there would be gold coins upon my mother's bed, coins with strange patterns, pentagons and cosmic eyes and inscriptions in a language that was neither Greek nor Latin.  She would laugh bitterly at those coins, for she could not spend them in the village.  So she secreted them away, in a jar kept hidden in the floor beneath her bed.  I did not understand, if she could not spend the coins, why she continued her dark commerce. 

Sometimes, when it had not rained for weeks, the elders from the village would come to visit us.  She would summon a dove, calling in a special way, and tie a white ribbon around its leg.  The next night, one of those gaunt, pale men would come, perhaps two or three of them, and the next morning my mother would be sobbing just as we now sob.  But then the rains would come. 

Real coins she garnered as a midwife and a healer.  She took me with her on her rounds and I saw many a tiny, wrinkled head emerge from between a peasant's thighs.  She taught me the secret ways of roots and herbs, of bark and skin.  She taught me how to fashion a poultice from moss, how to wash a wound with honey and urine from a donkey, how to seal flesh with fire and to cut it with stone.  Iron she disdained; her blades were made with black obsidian, so sharp that they could slice through bone without resistance.  Sometimes, when our larder was becoming emptier than usual, she would go into the village on an evening and return inebriated, singing, her clothing in disarray and with a bag full of the copper coins that would buy us foodstuffs for the winter.

I never celebrated birthdays.  I would not even have known about the custom, had it not been mentioned in some of the tales that I read.  My mother never spoke to me about my age.  I asked her once and she refused to answer.  After that, I never questioned her.  I had friends, among the peasants, who seemed to be the same size, the same age as I.  But their bodies began to swell into womanhood, and mine remained childlike, taller, perhaps, than any of the others, but not as rounded.  Boys found my friends, and they would whisper, giggling, of what they had done, or attempted to do.  It was no mystery to me.  I had seen what those strange men did to my mother, and I was ready, more than ready, to part my flesh.  But no boy came for me.  My friends drifted away, no longer children.  I withdrew then, to my mother's books and to her garden. 

But once, one of the men who visited her, one of those strange, pale men, caught me watching him as he impaled my mother.  He caught me with his eyes and I could not look away from him.  He caught me with his eyes and I started to walk into that room.  I was only wearing one garment; a shift made of roughly woven linen and I removed it.  I stood there, naked, caught in his gaze.  I wanted to see how he had buried himself in my mother's flesh, how she was stretched around him, strained as wide as those peasant women giving birth but I could not tear my eyes away from his.  I walked forward and he touched me with one of those great, clawed fingers.  It ran across my nipples, searching for some hint of breasts and I could feel them harden.  It ran down lower, to the bottom of my belly, and I opened my legs for him in invitation.  My mother screamed.  In a blink, one of her very sharp knives was poised against his testicles.  He laughed.  "Soon enough."  I remember those words now with a shudder.  It was the first time I had ever heard one of those strange men speak.  His voice was no more than a shrill whisper, like the rustling of dry leaves -- a tiny sound to emanate from such a huge body.  "Soon enough.  Will you observe us, little one?"  I watched.  I understood at last that it was not for coin that my mother invited those demons into her bed.

 

 

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