• Burning Regrets

    Once upon a time, in a small german village of the middle ages, there lived a witch. This witch had no name that anyone remembers; it has been lost to the sands of time. However, her grim tale lives on in the minds of those who hear it. This witch always kept her distance from the village: living on the outskirts, making most of her own food, only coming in for certain supplies or to try and sell her wares. One day, priests from the catholic church came into the village on a mission trip. They heard of the strange lady from the villagers; heard the whispered accusations of “witch!” The priests were greedy, corrupt, and power-hungry fools. Seeing an opportunity for advancement, they seized it. Under falsified orders from an obscure Eastern bishop, they seized the witch from her house, dragging her to the village jail.
    There they questioned the witch, implementing horrid tactics of torture to render a confession from her. She pleaded with them to spare her, even giving them the confession. However, the villagers and the people of the surrounding towns had come, expecting entertainment. To feed this insatiable appetite for blood, the torture continued. They burned the witch, cut her, stuck her with needles to search for her “devil's spot.” The torture lasted for days, in which time she was held at court and tried for her crimes. After nearly a week and a half had passed since she was taken in, the day of her final execution arrived.
    Upon arriving at the stake where she was to be burned, she was asked for a last statement. One of confession; one of remorse. However, her statement was a curse upon those who had caused her this misfortune. She reminded them that no harm of her fault had come over them, that she had always stayed out of their way, and had never been unfriendly towards them. She cursed them to eternal pain, one as strong as hers. When the pyre was lit beneath her, it sputtered and burned slowly, setting off little heat. She burned for hours, still alive, still screaming in pain.
    Only a few short weeks after the witch was burned at the stake, strange things happened to the wicked little village. Farm animals and pets alike died overnight in large numbers, children would wake up in the morning to find their hands stained red, plants and fruits shriveled up minutes after they were harvested. Strangest of all, dark shadows were seen to lurk in corners and alleys, even during midday. Some villagers believed it was the witch's curse, but the greedy priests silenced there fears with words of comfort and threats of accusations alike.
    As time went by and the months passed, the problems only became worse. The villagers were starving, bones showing through their clothes and skin; people went mad, though none were sure whether it was caused by the curse or the hunger. Babies were forced to go hungry, children died of sickness. The shadows were easier to see now: blotches of darkness on a land that the sun burned to a crisp. Many people tried to move away, but found they were unable to. Everyone was sure that it was the witch getting her revenge for an execution undeserved.
    It was almost a year to the day when the witch was burned after being imprisoned and tortured. The villagers had died off slowly and painfully, falling one after another. The madness had gripped them all; mothers killed what children remained, people hung themselves from the tree in the town square. No one bothered to remove the bodies, leaving them to rot. The villagers didn't seem to notice the shadowy demonic figures that swirled around them, bringing misfortune and pain. As the exact hour when the witch had finally died began to draw near, the dead were raised back to life to suffer again, and the town itself began to rot away and decay as with age.
    At the moment at which the witch's life had once and for all left her body arrived again, the villagers each felt a tug at them. Not a physical tug, but a calling. A signal from somewhere deep within them. The village rebuilt itself, the townspeople were restored to their former selves, unaware of what had transpired. They were only left with a strong sense of insurmountable despair. Yet the spell was not broken, the torture not yet ended.
    For the village remained removed from time, forced to go through it's despair over and over as each anniversary of the witch's death passed. The witch's revenge would never be completely extracted; it would continue repeatedly without ending for all time. So let me ask you children: Who truly was at fault in the tale? Who was the lesser of two evils; the witch's punishment of revenge or the priests selfish killing of a single person? The answer lies in your own hearts and minds, brought to the surface by the black fires of my darkened stage. So remember children, while not all lines between good and evil are well-defined, they all can lead to a misfortune for all involved. Believe only in what you yourself view as right, and my stage of devilish dramas shall forever remain open to you all. Have a pleasant night.