You could hear her crying, all through the night, if you passed over the bridge on the way out of the village, past the old chapel. Wailing she was. Like a ghoul. We tried to get through to her, but she was whispering to herself, talking to the walls, sat on a rotting pew, in the dark and damp and all that. They said the devil has her, that he’s had sex with her, used her. You’d think she’d come out and protest, but whispering like that, all hunched over. She’s done in herself, we think. She’s done.
The constables went to collect her after two days when the other girls had been trialed. She didn’t eat nothing and she looked like one, she didn’t help herself, all thin and with twigs in her hair, she looked like one. They dragged her through the street, and John came shouting and huffing out of the pub, screaming at her, that she’d fucked the devil, that’d she’d fucked the devil and sent his wife mad. He had beer all down his chest. After she passed, he went back inside and sat down on his bench, feet in the straw, chin in a tankard.
They asked her then, one last time, in front of the gallows, was she a witch? Was she? She said nothing, and the crowd starts shouting to get it over with, but the constable doesn’t understand, so he slaps her cheeks, and asks her, are you a witch? And she says yes, that the devil did it, that he came as a baby boy and sucked from her teat, and from then she was a witch, he came again and sucked her secret places and yes, the devil had fucked her. At that point the crowd went all silent. The constable walked her up on the gallows and they hung her right then and there, and all awhile everyone was quiet, and they stayed quiet when her neck snapped, even though they tried to draw it out, make it slow, her neck snapped.
Work of the devil.
All was quiet when the witch was left hanging in the square. Swinging. Limp.