The tiny Puritan settlement of Piety, Massachusetts, in the year 1692. For a solitary practicing witch like Susanna Blood, not the most tolerant atmosphere to live in. But it could be far worse. In the nearby town of Salem, for instance, things are about to get very nasty!

usanna Blood performed her Mabon ritual late that night.  She thanked the Goddess for the bountiful harvest.  She sat cross-legged on the ground and began to concentrate on the point of light from one of her candles.  She breathed deeply in and out, rhythmically.  She imagined herself coming out of her body for an excursion.  She felt the sickening ooze and dimming of her consciousness which always occurred as she started an astral projection.  She knew by now that this was normal and would pass; it used to unnerve her and render the projection unsuccessful.  She began to sense the sludgy, milky feeling that accompanied this magic.

She saw herself put on her coat and walk out her door.  She saw herself move along the stone path, out to the village thoroughfare.  She thought about the Parker kitchen- and was instantly there.  She had to exercise incredible control in these instances as whatever was thought took place immediately.  She moved past the sleeping family toward a small curtained area that had been set up for the baby, to keep the others from infection.  Josiah and Elizabeth were lying awake and a few candles were lit.  They were listening for something.

Susanna saw the silver cord emanating from her stomach, an umbilical back to her own body.  She knew this was real and taking place as planned.

She sensed an outsider in the house but saw no one.  She’d have to hurry more than was preferable.

She moved into baby Jonah’s enclosure.  She saw the dark blotch on the forehead.  It had shape to it, but she didn’t understand its meaning.  This “rash” looked horrible; she had never seen its like and couldn’t identify it.  She heard a noise behind her and turned.  She was face to face with Reverend Spiddleton, who was adjusting his trousers and must have been in the outhouse.  He looked around.  He sensed something.  He moved to the baby and took out a small oval pillbox.  It was filled with a salve that he rubbed in the affected area.  Susanna had a familiarity with what was happening but couldn’t place it.  She never had the strongest mental capacity in this state.  She would have to be on her way, though she wished she had gotten close enough to smell the wound, even though she may not have been able to use that sense as well as she’d like.  As she tried to back away, the Reverend appeared to look in her direction.  She froze.  His eyes were entirely too focused.

He saw her!  How?  What power did he possess?  This shock snapped her instantly back to her physical body.

She sat for a moment, shaking.  He had his spectral evidence.  She knew with certainty; the end was in sight.

Susanna tried to go about her business for the next couple of weeks.  She knew the Reverend was moving against her and would need the proper paperwork to seal her fate.  This could take weeks.  She lived in perpetual fear, waiting for the axe to fall.  She could neither sleep nor eat properly.  She almost wished it were over.

The night of the full moon, known as the Blood Moon, was October ninth, a gorgeous Sunday.  She dreaded the task of slaughtering some of her animals, but had to prepare for winter.  She planned to clean up and begin some weaving before Church Meeting.  She loathed going.  She knew exactly what was meant by the new sort of looks Spiddleton gave her.

That evening at service, the Reverend was observing Susanna closely and whispering to Myles Benedict.  She felt the world closing in on her.  But this feeling was replaced by revulsion as she watched Spiddleton perform the baptism of a baby he’d birthed.  Of course, she thought.  She suddenly ran from the church.  Several prying eyes watched her go.  She had not seen any of the Parker family there, so she headed to their door.  She knocked and Elizabeth answered.

“Please Lizzie,” she started right in, “you must let me see the baby.  I may be able to help.”  It was obvious the poor woman was without sleep.  She stared off into space.

“I guess it doesn’t matter now,” she whispered, “tis nearly over.”  She stepped aside for Susanna to enter.  Susanna could see Josiah at the table, head in hands.  She hurried to the little boy.  His forehead was blackened and his breathing so shallow that certainly he would not last the night.  She got a good look now; the wound was unmistakably shaped like a cross.  She smelled it closely and got the familiar scent of arsenic.

Her stomach churned.  Her anger flared.  Monster.  Bastard, she thought.  He’s been poisoning the innocent since his baptism to build evidence against me.  A supposed man of God.  Jealous bastard!

Susanna went out to the family and expressed her sympathies.  She knew the poison had gone too far to do anything.  Everything from her war with the Reverend to this business in Salem had gone too far.

Susanna hurried home.  She changed for her Blood Moon ritual.  She put on a black robe she rarely used and shrouded herself in a black cape.  She carried an apple, a pumpkin, and a small wooden box to her sand labyrinth in the backyard.  She opened the box and removed a large black-handled knife.  She used it to carve a circle in the sand.  As if by request, some late season thunder began to rumble.  Her rage was tangible; she felt her strength rise.  She donned the hood of the cloak.  She turned to the east.  She thought of Salem and called out in a firm voice over the blast of the thunder:

Build my power, now commence,

Release those charged, the innocents.

Continuing to face east, she raised the knife in front of her, declaring:

I invoke thee, Powers of Air,

Fill my space; be present here.

She turned to her right toward the south:

I invoke thee, Powers of Fire,

Fill my space; work to inspire.

She turned right again, to face west, the knife still raised high:

I invoke thee, Powers of Water,

Fill my space; solve the matter.

She then raised the knife again while turning right toward the north:

I invoke thee, Powers of Earth,

Fill my space; by right of birth.

The heavens roared as she continued to face north.  She held the athame up, pointing it toward the moon.  She lowered the pitch of her voice and called out:

I call on thee, dark-faced crone Goddess,

Hear me tonight, Hecate to redress.

Balance the scales and crush his ill will.

Cost be great, an offering fulfill.

Susanna then took the apple and cut it in half horizontally.  The split core and shape of the lines, when cut in that manner, reveal a pentacle.  She placed the apple pieces on either side of the pumpkin and began to move her hands in a circular motion above them.  Swaying her body around in this rhythmic way, she chanted in an even deeper voice:

By blood and bone

By tree and stone

Bide the Rede

Failed to heed

Crone Divine and Council of Nine

These men unkind, I seek to bind

By blood and bone

By tree and stone

Bide the Rede

Failed to heed

Crone Divine and Council of Nine

By trick and lie, a babe shall die

By blood and bone

By tree and stone

Bide the Rede

Failed to heed

She raised the knife one last time.  Those with the ability to read auras would have seen a tremendous white light issue forth from Susanna Blood that night.  Thunder shook the earth as she cried out:

Hecate, Crossroads Goddess of Death,

Exact a judgment for false breath.

Though man be a mystery to me,

My maidenhead I pledge to thee.

My fruit be Thine and thy Council of Nine.

She could barely hear own voice over the din of the thunder.  Lightning lit up the yard like it was day.  She yelled each line very deliberately and paused after each:

By blood and bone…

By tree and stone…

My spell create…


Susanna collapsed to the ground breathless and dizzy.  In her haste and anger, she had not taken proper precautions, and was unaware that she was being watched.

© Richard Alan Scott