In the Scottish village of Glockneister, a stranger posted a notice on the town square, informing the townspeople that in Chelmsford, Essex, three women, accused of being witches, were hanged.
“I have a warrant and will pay one gold sovereign for information of anyone engaging in necromancy,” Matthew Hopkins proclaimed.
Deep in the Selkirk forest lived a hag named Diana Quinlyn. She was a High Priestess of Wicca, a midwife and a healer for the village of Glockneister. Quinlyn knew that her enemies would lead Hopkins to her door and collect the bounty. The town was anxiously awaiting the Mayday celebration.
That evening Quinly treked to celebrate the Sabbat Beltane with her coven. By the light of the full moon, they would develop a plan to subvert the witch hunt.
The next morning, feeling somebody was watching her cottage. She nimbly climbed the oak to check a nest. It was custom for the village boys to destroy the nest and break the eggs of the nesting song bird. Local superstition held that the Yellowhammer drank a drop of the Devil’s blood every Mayday morning. The reason for this superstition was the birdsong resembled a warning,” de’il tak ye’” (“devil will take ye”).
Making sure that the eggs were safe, Quinlyn scuttled to the ground. Two eggs were gently cradled in her apron while three boys came out from the bushes.
“The villagers tell that you’re a witch.” The oldest one said.
“Is that what they’re saying now? That didn’t seem to much matter when I was your mother’s midwife.” Quinlyn said.
“We saw you talking to the ‘Gwas y Neidr.’” (The servant of the snake).
“Aye I was. I’ll show you what I was doing,” she produced the eggs.
“The brown markings on the eggs, do know what they’re for?”
The three boys blanched white when they saw the markings.
“The priest said the marks were put there by Satan.”
“The universe and everything in it constitutes the Gods. The brown lettering on the eggs denotes the earth.”
“What does it say?” One of the younger boys asked.
“It is writing from the Cabala announcing the circle of life.”
The boys, scared witless, sprinted into the woods. They sought out Matthew Hopkins, telling him what they seen.
Quinlyn carefully removed the bird to another nest and prepared for visitors. The three boys returned with their benefactor.
“The eggs with Satan’s writing are in that nest!” The oldest boy said pointing.
“I shall see about this,” Hopkins said, climbing the tree, sliding his pasty fingers into the nest, trying to collect the eggs. Gasping, he quickly withdrew his hand. He crashed to the ground, lying motionless.
“What happened?” The youngest boy squealed.
“He offended God and was struck dead for committing a sin,” Quinlyn said.
The boys froze in their tracks.
“What will happen to us?” The youngest boy started to cry.
“Nothing as long as you keep this episode locked in your heart and never mention it to a living soul.”
“We swear!” They trembled in unison.
“Just remember if you do, God will take his vengeance, because he always protects the ones he loves.” Quinlyn said.
The boys looked at each other, turned and bolted. Quinlyn watched the boys disappear into the brush. She climbed the tree and carefully removed the Asp coiled in the bird’s nest, returning the viper to the forest, where it belonged.
My friend Steve Slack was kind enough to help me finish up the A to Z Challenge. I hope you keep your eyes out for Steve’s books that I believe will jostle your senses. Steve is a published writer with loads of experience in sniffing out evidence.
You can find Steve on twitter @iwritecrime
his blog: http://weshootcrime.wordpress.com
Facebook: Steve Slack