The cell was dark. At least, it felt dark.
Mary wanted it to be dark.
The light that did work its way in from the small window was unwelcome.
She sat in the corner, hugging her knees to her chest, her eyes closed. Her clothes were dirty, disheveled, and still sitting toward the door. She had pulled a rat-chewed blanket partially over herself just to help with the cold, but she hardly felt anything anymore anyway except the aches of where she had been punctured. All of her skin was covered with deep blue bruises. Other spots were red where she had bled underneath her skin, while still other spots were covered over with dried blood.
She had accepted she was going to die. Hopkins had assured her of that when she finally broke down and confessed to being a witch.
She heard voices outside, getting louder.
“I won’t believe it!” she heard one voice yell.
A door unlocked, and she heard footsteps approaching. Someone gasped. She could sense people standing outside her cell. She did not want to turn her head or open her eyes to see who, but she knew it was him.
Go away, she thought. She wanted to keep it dark until it was over.
She continued to sit in her corner, unmoving. Mary did not want him to see her. Not like this. Not like this ever.
“Mary … Mary please …” Vicar Price pleaded.
It took all the strength she had in her body and spirit to move her head, and look towards the door. She opened her eyes only slightly.
She could see Vicar Price, Richard, and the constable standing at the entrance to her cell.
“Bring her some water!” Vicar Price shouted.
“Mr. Hopkins did not say that we …” the constable began.
“To hell with Hopkins! Are you going to let her die here?” Vicar Price interrupted.
Mary could feel the tension in the air, but also felt detached from it. She felt as if she were only a ghost, watching this scene happen but not part of it.
“You know, Vicar, there are a lot of us that think you may have questions to answer,” he said.
“I’ll answer once asked,” he said, “but as a man watching a fellow human suffer, how do you think you’ll answer before God?”
Mary saw the constable hesitate a few moments, and then slowly walk away. Vicar Price turned to her.
“Mary …” he said, his voice breaking.
She resented him being here. She resented that he was seeing her like this, that neither of them could stop it.
Her mind continued to spin but she knew all the loathing she felt was coming from a darkness inside her. She hated herself for it. She hated everything.
She just had to wait.
And then it would all be over.
She tried to smile, to send a small piece of goodwill toward Vicar Price, but her face only contorted.
His face was filled with so much grief. Next to him, she saw Richard staring down at her, stoic. She groaned, and turned her head away.