20 seconds is all it takes for the body to slip into unconsciousness, after that my death will be easy.
“The Court is all in agreement! Martha Carrier has been found guilty of Sorcery and Witch craft in the city of Salem! Her punishment will be suited to the crime she has committed! Death by hanging!” cried Salems most acclaimed Witch Hunter.
I stood, hands tied, stripped to nothing, soaked from the lakes water, where they tried to make the shallow waters my grave.
I failed the test. I floated. I am now sentenced for the crime of inheritance. Pitiful.
Giving man power to take a life, that’s the real crime.
I stood, shivering. My hands clenched in fists to stop the shock from hitting my body. I heard those words, those 3 final words and in that moment, I ignored the ferocious shouts of the bigot witch slaying men and prepared myself for those dreaded 20 seconds.
Two brawny warm hands grab my shoulders, their heat flooding down my back. As they began to tug me to the righteous standing tree which stood behind me. Every step was exhausting. My knees rattled and the thud of my feet hitting the ground sent my spine stiff.
The shouting hateful voices began to blur, as I allowed a prayer to be quietly said from my purple trembling lips.
They turned me around, so I was faced with the burning torches and the face of those condemning me to death, and then as if to take away my last shred of dignity those men, those foul smelling, small minded animals began to spit at me as the noose was placed over my head.
In this moment I heard my mother. Standing in the same place where her life was unjustly taken, her voice her whispers kept me strong.
“Do not waste a tear my darling. Do not hold hatred in your heart, not to these men and not towards your children.”
I lifted my head to look at each man in the eye.
“Do not wish death upon these men, show forgiveness, for their blind sighted eyes have made them this way.” She whispered in my ear. “Believe that God will show mercy to you and soon you be with me. 20 seconds my darling Martha.”
I took one last breath of the fresh air and my last seconds begun.
I was pulled up quickly my final breath didn’t get a chance to reach my lungs before the rope grabbed onto my throat forcing the air out of me. Instinctively my legs began to kick trying to find ground, trying to find safety. I let out a squeak, wanting to call out, wanting help.
My body was stiff, shock consuming it and fighting to stay alive.
I am still kicking but every effort became slower, weaker. Taking bursts of breath was growing more painful by the second, the rope just got tighter and tighter. The rope just got tighter and tighter, as if it was a Boa Constrictors preparing for it’s feast.
I forced my mind to think not of the crushing feeling around my neck, not to think of the lingering burn that I began to feel in my chest, but of my husband; Thomas.
My beautiful husband, who I never got the chance to say goodbye too. I love him…
I thought of his eyes and the way his cheeks dimpled as he smiled. I thought of his soothing voice, telling me things will be okay, that we would get out of this mess. Look at me now Thomas I am a branded and murderous witch.
I hope you still love me too.
A pain shot through my spine and my body began to say it’s goodbye. My kicks and struggles were now helpless twitches. I couldn’t even feel my feet any more. The numbing began to spread up my body.
The scrutinising burning in my chest started to become too much to bare. I tried to cry out, but it was hopeless. I felt a tear sting my cheek as it rolled down my face. I feel so cold.
I will be the first women in Andover to die for this crime, but I won’t be the last. That brought no comfort.
My last few seconds were of my children. It wasn’t there fault. They were vulnerable and naïve. I thought of each one of my beautiful babies, my lasting memory of them will be their joy’s laughter as they chased each other around the garden. I remembered the warmth their bodies gave me as they ran in for an evening hug after dinner.
Josie, Brandon and Mary.
I love you all.
They bring me slight comfort as I began to feel my body going limp, and my eyes slowly began to close.
I want to try one more breath but I stop myself, this feeling… this feeling of my body finally resting was all I needed to feel. The pain had stopped, the burnning had stopped. The fould shouting from those bastard men, stopped. I was beginning to find peace.
In my last second, I feel my body lay on the ground. My body grows colder, but I feel warm… I feel at peace.
I force a small smile just enough to show them that their hatred will not be beaten.
This story was based upon the life of Martha Carrier.
Martha Carrier, aged 33, lived in Andover and was the wife of Thomas Carrier. Carrier was also the niece of outspoken opponent of the Salem Witch Trials, Reverend Francis Dane of Andover, and the sister of accused witch Mary Toothaker of Billerica.
Carrier was the first person in Andover accused during the Salem Witch Trials. She was accused by her neighbour Benjamin Abbot after the two had a dispute over land and Abbot immediately fell ill.
Her children were also accused and were coerced into testifying against her. Carrier was brought to trial on August 5 and executed on August 19, 1692.