The Scab Tree – Part I

By Gregory J. M. Kasunich

Sarah Willow screamed and the crowd cheered.

The tears streaming from her colorless eyes chased the dirt away from her cheeks and left behind tracks of pale white skin marred by scratches. Her scalp screamed even louder than she did as the two young priests dragged her by her faded snowy silver hair, the crowd following close behind jeering and spitting and slinging stones upon the girl.

Their voices screamed “for vengeance!”

Their voices screamed “for God!”

Their eyes that screamed for death.

Everything was black and white and dead or dying. The thin fog from the morning persisted into the midday and moistened the already freezing air. Only the sick yellow moon dripped light into the dead, black forest of late October. Even her blood looked black and filled the air with the faint scent of copper as it mixed with the dirt.

The blood.

The blood from everywhere.

The blood that poured out of Sarah Willows spilled out of tears in her skin left a trail of dark streaks in the dust and stained her once immaculate hair.

One frail arm desperately clenching and tearing at her head, flailing, striking the wrists of her captors as they dragged, dragged her along the icy earth, their faces solemn, their garb black and white.  The rocks scraping her milky flesh off her splintering bones, she could not get free. He other hand clawing the ground, scratching for purchase until one by one her fingernails ripped free of her fingers in quick wet snaps and spouting springs of think red plasma from her finger tips, all the time Sarah screamed her throat more raw than her blistering, bleeding skin.

Sarah screamed and the crowed cheered.

She screamed louder, looking for sympathy in the crowd, looking for decency, looking for reason or humility or sanity. Every scream she forced through the chapped cavity that once was her throat was met with an even louder cry from her audience.

            He body was thin and nothing less than brilliant. As was her white skin stretched over a frame of bones. Her black lace dress, though modest, gave her shapeless body form. Her beauty, her effortless aura of sensuality, gave the woman of the town reason enough to hang her, their husbands shooting her surly glances in the square and driving jealously into their wives. There was something more to this ordeal, something known and unspoken among the men and woman alike. The children, although unaware of the reasons, enjoyed the commotion and joined in mocking and humiliating Sarah.

            As they reached the willow and the crowd cried for her end. They demanded her blacken soul released into whatever hell awaited her. The judge and the priests with their black hats and white collars, frowned down on her from above, their eyes full of pity and hatred. A stable boy who was charged with knotting the rope took his time as he looped the thickly spun twine, as to not make a mistake and allow a chance of survival. The crowd teeming around the broken wet girl salivated with anticipation.

“Lift her!” a voice demanded.

“To the tree!” another shouted

The judge and priest stepped aside and allowed the mob to swallow her, lift her, and press her against the willow. Her body light and flaccid gave no resistance. Her eyes still moist with the last of her tears flickered for an instant in the moon.

“Give it to the witch, through the heart with her!”

A man of thirty with arms like tree trunks held Sarah’s feeble frame against the stalk of the tree with one hand. Another man held an iron spike to her chest. Another swung the mallet driving the black rusted metal through the core of her body, pinning her to the tree that bore her last name.

She had no voice left to scream.

She had no tears left to cry.

She had no soul left to save.

Then another and another nail was driven through her shin, her palm, her cheek, her hip. Each time less and less blood spouted from the puncture. Her blood ran quickly down the rough bark and into the dieing ground.

In less than a few moments, Sarah Willows was dead. 

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