Dr. Putnam wondered, If she was really a witch how could she have died? Or how could she have stayed dead? Or, even more-so, how could she still be staying dead even as we speak? Just from a little water in her lungs?
He looked at her there drippy on the table, all white faced and thin and peaceful and not-witchy. Just a plain little girl (young woman actually) who that slave-girl Kazimba went and named and so we had to burn her with the others. But instead, somebody (probably John Malice) gave her a heads up and she ran for it in the cold, tried to diagonal straight across Duck Lake. Fell in. Frozedrowned. Her witch skills couldn’t make her super light or super fast and pattery and well-postured like one of those a sprinting water lizards. She just fell through and they found her today – a month later. Found her all well-preserved and dead.
That was kinda witchy, thought Putnam now. Kinda witchy how well-preserved she’d stayed after being underwater dead for so long. Sure doesn’t look a whole month dead. More like a couple days. I mean, the ice helped, obviously.
Still though, not witchy enough, was Putnam’s general feeling. The others: Goody Chelsea and Goody Badham? Well, the fellows went ahead and set fire to them and that made plenty of sense. Fire can kill them, burn all that hellish witchpower away. They died and stayed dead and No questions here! Goodbye actual witches. But plain water? Fresh enough to drink, even?
These things tormented Dr. Putnam. Got him thinking. Thinking maybe she wasn’t really quite as witch-being as the tribunal said she was. Maybe the slave-girl Kazimba was getting a little overzealous there.
Oh, he had no doubts about the others (the Goodies). They were premium witches no doubt—hopefully at least. But this one? No. We’re being honest here? Probably just a girl. I mean, here she is with her face all porcelain dollish. Quiet as a footstool. Skin all hard looking and waxy-
But here’s the thing: this was all outdated stream-of-consciousness info. Outdated by like five or six seconds. Because that’s not how her face was like anymore. Now her face was all sneering and her eyes were open and she was hissing at Putnam like one of those bad cats.
After a long hiatus, I’ve decided to try and shoehorn some fiction back into practicallyserious. My decree: I will quarantine any and all fiction to Saturday. This way it can’t really hurt anybody. Saturday will be like the Village of the Crazies in “Gymkata” (check it out).
For another creepy-ish short story, check out The Crawling Hand (With a Gun).