I was standing on the narrow lane soon Tom would be sent down to the village by old Gregory to do groceries.
I was anxiously waiting for him while Lizzie was hiding with Tusk in the bushes.
My aunt sniffed three times.
“He’s coming don’t mess up girl” she whispered.
I was terrified I didn’t want to lure Tom but I was to scared of Lizzie to say no.
Tom walked straight keeping three good paces between us.
“I’ve come to say goodbye and warn you never to go walking near Pendle. That’s where we’re going. Lizzie has family living there.” I told him.
“I’m glad you escaped” he said coming to a halt and turning to face directly towards me. “I watched the smoke when they burned your house down” he answered.
“Lizzie knew they were coming, so we got away with plenty of time to spare, she also said your shadow had a funny smell” I told him trying to retain his attention a little longer feeling sicker by the second.
He laughed out loud at that.
“Ain’t funny” I accused. “Ain’t nothing to laugh at. She only smelled your shadow where it had fallen on the barn. I actually saw it and it was all wrong. The moon showed the truth of you.”
Suddenly I took two steps nearer, into the sunlight, then leaned forward a little and sniffed at him, he smelled like grass and lavender soap.”You do smell funny”. Then I stepped backwards quickly his scent printed in my nostrils. Lizzie and tusk were about to catch him and i couldn’t hide my anguish.
Tom seemed to notice something was wrong but he smiled and put on a friendly friendly voice thinking I was just anxious about his idea of running away from Lizzie. “Look don’t go to Pendle. You’re better off without them. They’re just bad company”
I was about to get sick for betraying him.
“Bad company don’t matter to me. Won’t change me, will it? I’m bad already. Bad inside. You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve been and done. I’m sorry” I felt shameful, I was thinking every word, I was so sick of myself. “I’ve been bad again. I’m just not strong enough to say no—”
Suddenly, too late, he understood the real reason of my fear. The sky went dark and birds flew away.
Tusk snatched Tom’s empty bag over his head and shoulders, he struggled for a moment but it was useless. I felt sicker than ever, I went blind for a couple of second feeling a migraine.
“Good job girl” Lizzie said with a wide smile which revealed flesh between her teeth. I was about to threw up my dinner.
We walked an hour or so my shaky legs barely holding my weight when we reached Lizzie’s cottage, birds flew in our path tusk roughly dropped Tom onto the ground, he tried to escape but he was thumbed twice in the back. I heard his bones crack.
Lizzie tied him with a bloodstained knot. It was hopeless.
“You can start digging” she ordered to tusk.
As he did the smell of the wet ground turned my stomach I could perceive the worms stir, soon they would rummage into Tom’s corpse.
Then she sharpened all of her knifes to cut Tom’s thumbs.
The pit was dug he was going to die here by my fault my vision blurred sweat ran down my temps. Lizzie threw Tom into the pit, he was covered in dirt, his hair full of sweat were sticking to his terrified face. The witch jumped after him laughing, nourished by Tom’s despair, her eyes flickered with hatred.
“Your thumbs will help me kill your master” she said triumphantly to Tom, as I dreaded, she seized his sweet and shaky left hand, it was going to be mutilated in seconds.
I could hear Tom’s irregular heartbeat, he was crying and begging, “No please ! Please ! Mam help me ! Mam !”
“Calling for your mom won’t save you child !” Lizzie shouted without any mercy.
I heard the blade cut through the air, then Tom’s left thumb being sliced, the blade cutting trought each coat of his skin, reaching the bone and breaking it, finally his cry of agony. A soft noise went to my ears : Lizzie has dropped his bloody hand in the wet ground. She held up Tom’s pale thumb in the moonlight.
I couldn’t bare it, I ran as fast as I could in the dark woods covering my ears with my hands, it was useless I could still hear Tom crying in pain, tears where uncontrollably running down my cheeks. I ran faster, Tom’s cry echoing in my head. I slipped and fell into a thorn bush trying not to hear his screams while they buried him alive.
He would never became a spook, I killed him ! Disgusted I threw up near a three, crying, coughing, hardly breathing and ran as far as I could from Tom’s grave.
My legs didn’t hold me any longer and I collapsed on the dusty ground. I couldn’t see anything anymore, I couldn’t hear anything. The only thing that still came to me was the smell of grass and lavender soap.
That’s how Thomas Jason Ward story end, he died at 13, buried alive, he never became the greater spook of the county, he was John Gregory last apprentice.
Alice became the most powerful malevolent witch of the county turning her guilt and grief into cruelty.