The Witch List

Propped on her elbows, belly on the floor, the child scratched a list on to her slate in wobbly block letters, copying the words from a battered old book.

How To Spot A Witch

1. Witches are ugly, usually with warts.
2. They keep black cats.
3. They can’t recite the Lord’s Prayer without making mistakes.
4. They live alone.
5. They often have a squint.
6. They fly on broomsticks.
7. They float when you drown them.

The last was underlined three times.

Wren pushed herself into a seated position and stared down at the words, diligently repeating them to herself, memorizing them. She had little interest in witches in and of themselves. For that matter, she wasn’t convinced there could be anything beyond a mundane explanation for most of the supposed indications of witchery. But she was a pragmatic child and had determined that a witch trial could be an excellent source of good corpses, if one were to disregard the warts.

Below the first list, she began a second, this one, a list of names. She felt no compunction about accusing women who were likely innocent. If indeed they were not guilty of witchcraft, their bodies would sink during the drowning test and their names would be cleared. As an added benefit, the Scientist would reanimate them, making them better than they’d been. He would give those solitary women a purpose and a sense of camaraderie in their noble mission. Whether they be witches or innocents in this life, in their next, they would evolve into soldiers of good.

In the distance, a church’s bells called its congregation to service. Wren sprang up, snatching her slate and chalk. She skipped off to join, hoping to catch a potential witch fumbling as she said the Lord’s Prayer.


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I have a mechanical heart and green reanimation serun for blood. I have glowing eyes that look like The Scientist's, but they're not his, they just look the same. I don't like swimming on account of I think my pilot light might go out.