The stairs creaked beneath my feet. All was dark below, lit only by a thread of moon seeping through the open windows. I did not need a lamp; I knew where I was going. Numbly, I seemed to float to the cupboard, and I opened the drawer. The wooden handle felt cold on my fingers, and the smooth steel of its long blade caught the glint of moonlight and shimmered silver-blue.
I ran my finger along its edge. It was sharp. Dazedly I stared at it. I remember feeling the cool breeze of night as it gently caught my gown. Mixed with the soft breeze was a whisper. “Slit your throat, Rachel. Slit your throat. Slit it with the knife.”
Like a leaden weight, I felt powerless to move or think. The glint of steel mesmerized me and carried me away into the caressing voices.
Then I heard Mama behind me.
“Rachel! Pray, God, what are you doing with that knife? Give that to me! Give it to me this instant!”
Like a rag doll, I stood limply within her grasp, my head bobbing backward and forward as her hands shook my shoulders.
Salem, 19 July 1692
I think I am a witch.
Today I watched Goody Glover hanged. I stood on Witch's Hill, feeling myself a small body swallowed in the crowd of onlookers, and listened to the clop, clop, clop of the horses' hooves and the creaking of the cart wheels which carried Goody Glover up to her gallows. The air felt cool and damp on my cheeks after the morning rain. The branches of the tall, broad, hanging tree before me dripped with the moistness of the early showers. A wheel of the wobbly cart stuck in a muddy rut, and as it stuck, a loud piercing jeer rose from the crowd.
“'Tis the Devil trying to save her!” they cried. “He's trying to keep her from the gallows!”
But the driver overcame the Devil. With a whip of his oxen, he dislodged the wheel, and slowly the wobbly cart continued bumping and jolting its way across the marshes toward our small, barren hill and the sprawling branches which have become our gallows.
Reverend Parris stepped forward; his face was grim and solemn, his figure was clad in a long black waistcoat, and in his stern voice he asked of Goody Glover if she had any last words to offer for her redemption. Goody Glover spat out something mean and caustic. The crowd hissed, angrily. Then, calm as stone, Goody Glover marched defiantly forward, and the henchman with his brown hooded face placed the noose around her neck.
Two black eyes stared out at us. I felt those eyes searching amongst all our faces, coldly and with an accusing glare. Finally I felt them fall on me.
Shuddering, I wondered, “Does everyone feel Goody Glover's eyes on their particular person?” I tried to look away, but I could not. I don't know why I could not. Now I wish I had.
The crowd was still, watching, their breathing silent and intent. Then suddenly, without warning, a loud clang shattered that stillness, the floor beneath the gallows fell open and Goody Glover's body droppedâthen stopped with a small jerk. A silent scream filled my mouth, and one hand flew to my throat. Oddly, it burned with the feel of a rope.
Beneath Goody Glover's swaying brown skirts, two long feet twitched. Her head hung at a strange angle. Tiny bubbles of saliva drooled from the corner of her lips. Yet it was not the saliva nor the broken neck nor the twitching feet which so tormented me. It was her eyesâbig and wide and bulging. Like a frog in Papa's pond.
And they still stared right at me
Though they burned through me like hot coals, my body froze like ice. I shivered. Instantly I willed my hand to fly back down to my side. Terrified, I wondered, “Does Mama notice?” Hastily I pulled my cloak round my shoulders and murmured something about a chill caused by the morning's rain. I think Mama believed me. But my throat still burned so raw, I could scarcely swallow.
When we arrived home, I decided to write all this down and to hide it in a secret place, so that someday, if
When we arrived home, I decided to write all this down and to hide it in a secret place, so that someday, if I am found out, I can tell people about this journal, and they can read it and know I never intended to be an evil person. Mostly I do not think I am evil at all.