[i Everything had changed when people realized that we aren’t like them…]
1692 Salem, Massachusetts.
The first to hang was Bridged Bishop. One of the colonists. Accused of practicing witchcraft. She was innocent. Then it was another… and another and another… They were all hung by the nearest tree, drowned or burned alive. It was a painful reminder that we didn’t belong amongst the others. We were the outcast, the dangerous. We were not welcomed, we were hated. We were born with the flesh of evil and the soul of the devil. We deserved only death with no mercy.
At least that was what my mother had taught me. And for years we hid from the city, the towns of folks whom lived their daily lives without any thought that we existed. That we had not been extinguished. Instead, we had become more cautious and sneaky. Living amongst the shadows, in tiny small crawl spaces. Or amongst the trees, in nature. We became few in numbers over the course of years, but we were mighty.
Yet my curiosity always seemed to get the best of me. I longed to live amongst the others, not having to hide within the darkside of the moon. To be able to befriend those around me instead of running away in fear to be caught and slaughtered. It was a beautiful dream, but it was only that--A dream.
“Nicholas.” My mother called out, my eyes shifted up to meet her soft silver eyes that matched mine. “Nicholas, have you been practising? I see you reading that book, but I have yet to see you use any of it. Is something the matter?”
“No, mother. I believe I just lost myself in thought, is all. It won’t happen again, I promise.” I smiled at the woman who in turn smiled back. I watched as she approached me, suddenly pressing her soft lips to my forehead.
“I am truly lucky to have you.” She whispered before looking down at me. “I’m going to the town to gather some supplies. Please finish and practise the incantation. We will need it for tonight. The moon will be at its peak and we need to take advantage of it.”
I nodded. “I will do so. However, do you not wish for me to go to the town instead of you this time? Last time you went you stated that you had a bit of a hard time carrying all the supplies back here… Maybe this time I could go for you instead? I promise to be back before sunset.”
I could sense the sudden hesitation from her. The worry in her eyes and the unsure sigh gave me the clear answer that I wasn’t going to have the benefit of seeing the town’s folk upfront and personal. It wasn’t the first time that my mother had neglected my help or my freedom from the forest. But somehow I had hoped that she would at least give me a chance for once in my life to prove that I was already the age to explore and also responsible enough to keep myself from getting into trouble.
“Very well.” Her answer surprised me. Yet I wasn’t about to ask why. Yet I could not contain my excitement. I quickly closed the book and stood up from the windowsill. “I will make a list of things for you to bring and I shall draw you a map so that you will not get lost. But please, please be careful.”
I nodded without hesitation. “I promise.”
I had read in books, and seen pictures of the town. Yet nothing compared to have seen it with my own eyes in person. I couldn’t help but stare wide-eyed at the stone and brick buildings. They stood higher than me and seemed to be as tall as the trees I had seen. Maybe even a bit taller. My eyes loomed over the different faces. The way the men dressed up in full suits and hats with polished shoes. The women were elegant and beautiful with their colorful, long gowns that hugged their figure, complementing their natural grace and beauty. It was all so different, so strange… and I was loving every second of it. But I had to focus. I had to gather the materials on the list and get back before sunset.
I followed the map that my mother had given to me, it was small but it was accurate. And I had quickly found the store that she had mentioned inside of it. My eyes lurked around the shelves full of different merchandise and items that I hadn’t really ever seen before. I only wondered about their uses and yet also wondered if they were really even that useful. I then directed my attention to the man who stood behind the counter. I cleared my throat and held out the list to him to which he quickly took. His eyes stared at the paper before looking at me from head to toe. He was examining me as if I was a thief. Possibly because I wasn’t entirely dressed like most of the men around, yet I didn’t look like a homeless person either. A heathen maybe, but not some scammer from the streets.
“All this for you?” He asked in a low husky voice.
“Yes.” I responded while nodding.
The man smirked. “And how will you be paying?”
And I was right, he did assume that I was a thief. I chuckled and pulled out the small sack of coins. I placed it upon the counter and smiled proudly. “If you need more, I have more.”
The man’s smirk soon turned into a smile. “Well then, I shall be sure to gather the things quickly and be back with you. Feel free to look around for anything else.”
“Thank you, I intend to do so.” I smiled politely before he left. I turned on my heel and looked around the shop. At least I was already fitting in, right?