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Authors: Dana Donovan

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Bones of a Witch

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BONES OF A WITCH

 

Author's notes: This book is based entirely on
fiction and its story line derived solely from the imagination of
its author. No characters, places or incidents in this book are
real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places,
events or locales is entirely coincidental. No part of this
publication may be copied or stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopy or otherwise without the expressed written permission of
the author or author’s agent.

 

BONES OF A WITCH ©Dana E. Donovan 2008,
2011

Smashwords Edition

Published by Smashwords 2009

 

 

Books in this series
include:

The Witch’s Ladder

Eye of the Witch

The Witch’s Key

Witch House

Kiss the Witch

 

Other titles by Dana
Donovan:

Abandoned

Skinny

Resurrection

Death and other Little
Inconveniences

 

This book is dedicated to the victims of the
Salem witch hunts and all those persecuted in the name of fear and
ignorance throughout history. Let not divergences weaken our bonds;
when true strength lies in our diversity.

 

Author's notes: This book is based entirely on
fiction and its story line derived solely from the imagination of
its author. No characters, places or incidents in this book are
real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places,
events or locales is entirely coincidental. No part of this
publication may be copied or stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopy or otherwise without the expressed written permission of
the author or author’s agent.

 

 

 

“In time ye pass this one of eight
as thou doth hang in morn of late. Let earth and ashes
be

thy fate till beckoned home to
Bishop’s Gate”

 

 

Foreword

 

 

In 1688 John Putnam, an influential elder in
Salem village, offered Samuel Parris a job as the village minister.
That year Parris, a struggling plantation owner from Barbados,
moved to Salem with his wife Elizabeth, their six-year-old daughter
Betty, a niece Abigail and a Barbados slave woman named
Tituba.

Four years later in the spring of 1692 the
villagers, having weathered an especially harsh winter, found
themselves suffering through economic hardships, political discord
and divisional inequities. This, along with anxieties over an
on-going frontier war with Indians, led many to believe that the
Devil was at work against them. When a number of children in the
village, including Betty Parris and Putnam’s eleven-year-old
daughter Ann, became inexplicably ill, someone suggested that their
illness, along with the rest of the village’s misfortune, was the
direct result of witchcraft.

Acting on that, a neighbor of Putnam’s proposed
a method of determining the culprit. She instructed Tituba to make
a witch’s cake containing the urine of one the bewitched girls,
believing that when fed to a dog it would reveal the source of the
witchcraft. When that failed, young Betty and her cousin Abigail
took matters into their own hands, accusing Tituba of being a
witch. Nearly immediately, two older girls, Mary Walcott and Mercy
Lewis, collaborated with Betty and Ann to bolster their accusation
and further accused Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn of the same charge.
From there the charges and accusations of spectral attacks ran
wild, and the more practiced the girls became at staging
spontaneous fits of seizures in the presence of the accused, the
more believable they became.

The first woman to stand trial for
witchcraft was Bridget Bishop, June 2
nd.
1692. Bishop lacked
respect in the Puritan community. She owned a tavern that allowed
drinking on Sundays and did not attend church. That, along with her
quarrelsome nature and reluctance to pay her bills, made her a
probable candidate for persecution. By this time, many had been
charged with witchcraft, and witnesses of all ages came forward
offering testimony condemning the accused. One particularly
convincing field hand testified he saw Bridget Bishop stealing eggs
before turning herself into a cat. Others claimed to have been
approached by Bishop’s specter, who pinched them and asked them to
sign the Devil’s book. But perhaps the most damning evidence came
when confessed witches, Deliverance Hobbs and Mary Warren,
testified that Bishop was one of them. On June
10
th
1692, Bridget Bishop was found guilty and hanged on Gallows
Hill.

Rebecca Nurse, whose family had
ongoing disputes with Putnam’s family, stood trial next. Evidence
against Nurse was hearsay, speculative and outright fallacious, yet
when Ann Putnam and the other girls fell into choreographed fits in
her presence, mimicking her body movements and pretending to be
struck dumb; jury members found it hard to believe her innocence.
Rebecca Nurse and four other women were hanged on Gallows Hill July
19
th.
1692.

Subsequent defendants followed Deliverance
Hobbs’ and Mary Warren’s example, finding reprieve from the gallows
by confessing to the accusations. Parris’ own slave woman, Tituba,
admitted to being a witch through coercion, claiming the Devil
sometimes came to her in the form of a dog, asking her to sign his
book and bid his work by hurting the children. Ironically, such
confessions only gave creditability to the accusers, making their
assertions more believable. Those taking a stance against the witch
hunts soon found themselves targeted with the very same
accusations. But confessing did not mean freedom. Those who
confessed often escaped the gallows only to endure intolerable
suffering in jail where some died anyway or went completely
insane.

In all, nineteen men and women were tried and
hanged in the summer of 1692. Hundreds were accused of witchcraft;
and one man, Giles Corey, who refused to stand trial, was pressed
to death. Even animals were not immune, as several cats and dogs
suspected of aiding witches were summarily executed.

Almost as suddenly as it began, however, the
hysteria of the Salem witch hunts stopped. With urging from a
prominent Boston minister and a mandate from the governor’s office,
spectral evidence and touch tests were ruled inadmissible in court.
The final straw may have come with the hanging of the village’s
ex-minister, George Burroughs, accused of being the witches’
ringleader. At his execution, Burroughs vehemently maintained his
innocence, reciting perfectly the Lord’s Prayer; something thought
impossible for a witch.

By the spring of the following year, Governor
Phips of Massachusetts pardoned all the convicted witches and
ordered the release of those accused still in jail. That
effectively put an end to the witch hunts, but it did not eliminate
the fears and apprehensions of many who believed that witches still
operated freely among them. In the void left by the courts came the
insurgence of a grassroots campaign by extremists aimed at
eliminating witches everywhere. What follows is their
story.

 

 

 

Tony Marcella:

 

It was something Lilith said to me on our walk
back from the Cyber Café that got me thinking about my eventual
legacy. I really had not given it much thought before. The future
seemed so distant to me then. Now, however, it’s all I can think
about, and I wonder if a second lifetime is even enough time to
effect a meaningful legacy at all.

The sun had been tucked behind a rolling band
of clouds all morning, casting a dull grey shadow-less light on the
sidewalk that gave the impression we were walking on dirty ice.
Subconsciously, I suppose my mind worried I might fall, and so I
tried several times along the walk to take Lilith’s hand, but she
waved me off, apparently not sharing my insecurities.

We were two blocks into our three-block walk
home when she broke what had been a silent journey thus far to ask
me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She said it
sarcastically, of course. Sarcasm doesn’t just come easily for
Lilith, it comes naturally. Sometimes I don’t think she even
realizes she’s doing it, but I guess that’s why I love her. The
spit and vinegar in our relationship keeps us both on our
toes.

Her question, if I read her right,
referred to my recent promotion as Detective
1
st
class at the 2
nd
precinct, made possible by Dominic Spinelli and
his wizardry with E.I.N.I., the electronic intelligence network
interface system at the Justice Center, a system he helped develop.
After I graduated from the academy for the second time in my life,
he was able to somehow merge my official entry into the force with
my previous records as a senior detective and have it spit out a
legitimate title for me. So, to the computer I am an old
acquaintance. To the rest of the guys on the detective’s floor I am
the new kid, Tony Marcella Junior, son of a legend and green as a
toad. But that’s all right; I don’t mind. Starting over lets me do
differently all the things I wished I could do differently before
going through the rite of passage ceremony with Lilith, returning
me to my physical prime and shaving forty years off my age. For me
it’s a second chance to get right the nuances of my old life. For
Lilith, it’s a chance for me to do what she believes I was put on
this earth to do in the first place: be a witch and become a legend
among legends of history. A tall order, I know, but she thinks I
have it in me.

“Are you going to start with that again?” I
said. “You’re always asking me what I want to be when I grow
up.”

“Tony, it’s been over a year now since the
ceremony and you haven’t cast your first spell. Don’t you feel like
you’re wasting precious time?”

“Wasting it?” I laughed, which pissed her off,
I could tell. “Lilith, ever since that rite of passage thing, it
feels like all I’ve got is time. Don’t you see? A year ago I was
sitting down in Florida sipping frozen guava drinks and counting
liver spots on the back of my hand. Now I feel like a kid
again—hell, I am a kid again. And what’s more, I get to do over all
the things I fucked up in the past and no one will know the
difference.”

“But that’s just it.” She swung her computer
tote over her other shoulder and yanked my arm, causing me to stop
and face her directly, thus forcing me to look into her eyes. I
have always contended that anyone who looks into Lilith’s eyes does
so at great peril, for either she is scouring your psyche with her
ever-intrusive, hauntingly penetrating glare for the purpose of
reading your soul, or she is harvesting the nature of your being in
a way that draws you into her, making you surrender your defenses
and submit to her will. The latter, I am sure, was her intent this
time. But in the year since inheriting the powers of the coven I
have learned to deflect her clever attempts at mind
manipulations—most of the time.

“Lilith,” I shook a scolding finger at her.
“Don’t try it.”

“Don’t try what?”

“You know.”

“Tony, look. All I am saying is that you had
your crack at playing detective. You were good at it, damn good.
But now there is a new door open to you. Why don’t you step through
it and have a look around?”

I shrugged lightly. “Maybe I don’t want to go
through that door just yet.”

“Why? Are you afraid of what you might
find?”

“No, I simply like what I’m doing
now.”

“But you’re wasting a special gift.”


Hey, I didn’t ask you to include
me in on your ceremony; you know that.”

“No, but don’t tell me you would take it back
if you could.”

“You’re right, I wouldn’t,” I said, and I
cupped the sides of her face in my hands and brushed her cheeks
softly. “Because then I wouldn’t have you in my life.” She smiled
thinly, her lips like a slender thread curved up slightly at the
ends and dimpled in place with two little pushpins. “You know how
happy you make me, Lilith, don’t you? In sixty-five years I’ve
never met anyone who makes me feel the way you make me feel. If I
died this moment because of that damn ceremony, it would have all
been worth it.”

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