Sunday, August 28, 2005

In jail! (part 7)

“A witch!” Nicholas exclaimed, his face red. “Why, I’ve…”

I put my hand on his arm.

“Let’s just go along peacefully,” I said. “We will work this out.”


I shook my head. Nicholas sighed loudly, but said nothing.

“Wise decision,” the constable snarled. “Come this way.”

By this time, a few people had come out into the street. I heard a few mutter, “Witch” and a couple said, “The plague.”

I did not like the sound of that.

By the time the constable got us to the jail, there was a small crowd.

“If we burn the witch, the plague will end,” someone shouted.

“There will be no burning until there’s been a trial,” she constable growled.

He led us into the back area, putting Anna Kristina in one cell, and Nicholas and me in another.

“Excuse me, sir,” I said. “This is all a mistake. Probably just a misunderstanding. Can we know why she is accused?”

“The only mistake you made was coming to our town,” he said. “We know how to deal with witches.”

With that, he left.

“My sister is no witch,” Nicholas said angrily. “How could anyone make such a mistake?”

“Remember,” I said. “This town has been struck by an illness. There is a lot of fear. When people are afraid, they sometimes blame strangers.”

“But we just got into town.”

“For all they know, we could have been haunting the woods around the town for days or weeks,” I said.

“But Anna?”

“I suspect in this town women are expected to keep their mouths shut when men are around,” I said. “Remember how the constable reacted when Anna spoke? He didn’t like that.”

‘He’s right,” Anna said from her cell. “Not al villages are like ours.”

“What do we do?” Nicholas said.

“We wait,” I said.

“For what, some trial where they’ve already made up their minds?”

“Trust me,” I said. “All will be well.”

How could I expect him to take the word of an old man when his sister’s life was in danger - and maybe his as well?

But he didn’t know about my elves.

We spent the afternoon in the jail. Outside we could hear occasional cries of “Witch.” At dinner time, the constable brought us some stale bread and some water. He never said a word.

As soon as the sconstable left, I said, "Don't drink the water. Experience tells me that it may be what is making the people sick."

"Then what do we drink?"

I took two small flasks out of my pocket.

"Good thing he didn't search me," I said. "Slide one of these to your sister."

The door to the room was a heavy wooden one, with a few small bars in the middle instead of a window. But the bottom of the door was high enough to fit an arm under.

"Anna," he called, "stick out your hand under the door and catch this."

He slid it.

"Got it," she said. "I heard that this is what I should drink."

Nicholas took a bite of the stale bread, and took a sip from the flask.

"It's sweet."

"Flavored with honey," I said. I didn't add that elves did the flavoring.

Darkness came.

Nicholas paced for a long while, then finally settled down on the floor – there were no beds.

After a while, he was breathing regularly.

“Nicholas,” a tiny voice said.

“Shhh,” I answered.

My elves had come.

‘What do you want us to do?”

“Did you scout outside?”

“Yes,” Eloham said. “Everyone has gone. We could get you out now.”

“But then we wouldn’t be able to help the people,” I said. “No, we need to come up with a plan.”

‘We will keep watch, then,” Dahrima said.

They left.

I looked over at Nicholas.

He was staring at me, his eyes wide open.



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