The Seasoning of the Witch

I watched the oven as the skin crackled, the fragrant scent of meat and spices lingering in the kitchen. I stacked more wood into the stove. The heat must be even for the roast to be tender and delicate.

A messenger knocked upon my door, calling me away from my duties. I implored my maid to watch over the roast while I went to the town square. But I tripped over the cobblestone path. The air clung with the stench of burning flesh; shrieks of a burning woman cut through the massive crowd.

The woman’s name was Goody Porter. The town priest accused her of witchcraft after the children went missing. Her screams filled the air as the townspeople gathered, the priest glaring over them. They kneeled in abject silence, waiting for the screams to stop, for the priest to say it was safe to go home.

Smiling as I watched her burn, her charred flesh peeling from her skin and the stench of her torment rising to the heavens. I had always hated Goody and her simplistic ways. She was only a milkmaid; she had the intelligence of a child. There was no way she could be a threat to children. But she would stop by the path to collect flowers and pray to the old gods. So many villagers prayed to the old gods and would teach their children to do so. I would not have it! God would damn them from salvation.

By accusing Goody, I was saving the town’s future. The True God would consume everything, including the next generation. It would savor their souls in heaven. Goody’s screams stopped, and the priest cried. He went on his usual sermon of thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. The same tiresome prattle he gave every Sunday, with a dose of fire and brimstone. I would suffer none of these witches, these pagans, to live. And the priest would give me all the children who misbehaved.

With that said, I must return home. I have a roast to attend.

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