Halloween Tales : Eulogy For A Witch--Chapter 4
Covering The Past
The pallbearers took the coffin a short way down a narrow lane, torches were held high by mourners on all sides and leading the way for those with the burden. We laid her in the sandy earth, beneath a centuries old live oak tree with no marker to identify the spot.
Everyone knew this was necessary and no one bothered to ask why. Some stood and gave their own memories of the witch, while others alternately laughed and cried along with them. We covered the grave and went back to the boats to leave in the darkness as we had come.
I was very surprised to see Hannah was making the trip back with us through the swamp to Grandpa's. “That was Black Hannah’s grandson who drove Mr. Hawkins here today,” my mother told my father. “She’s going back to Macon with him to live with her daughter until she finds another mentor, as she put it.”
She smiled at my father while putting her arm around him at the same time. “Hannah said grandmother especially wanted for you to come to the burial tonight. She knew you’ve always felt bad about waiting so long before bringing Scotty to her when he almost died. She just wanted you to know she always realized you were doing what you knew best and no harm was done.”
Old Injuries Healed
At this, my father broke down crying. This was something I had never seen him do before that night. It was a long time coming I suppose, because he looked so very happy and relieved during the long boat ride back through the swamps.
The long ride didn’t seem to take as much time as it did on the way in, but the sky began to turn pink in the east as we caught sight of grandpa’s house across the open water. I suppose it was because I was still thinking about what I ‘d saw right before the casket lid was closed on the witch's face for the last time.
Just before Hannah began to lower the lid down on the casket she must have bumped it a bit. I was frozen in horror as I watched the witch’s mole fall from her lip and tumble down onto the collar of her red dress and stop there, almost as if it had done so on purpose. The witch, even after death, had revealed one final secret to the last person ever to see her face.
Yes, the Klan had burned the wrong witch. In fact, it seems killing Sarah only made Tara stronger. Of course, great grandfather had known the difference in the two sisters as their dispositions were nothing alike.
But he had lost his one true love and he felt a certain loyalty to Tara, as she did him. This explained the coolness between them after their move to the island in the bay and after the witch's line was ensured. They didn't need to pretend love any longer, I suppose.
I never told anyone--especially my Mother--this last sad part of the tale, nor never related it to anyone else either, until now. There was a severe drought the next year and the McCall's Bay caught fire. The bottom of the bay consisted of nothing but a very thick layer of peat collected over a period of thousands of years.
This peat dried out during the long dry spell and when it caught fire it burned deep down into the peat, not be extinguished until the winter rains flooded the swamp again. Even the witch's island burned, and everything on it. Only the great oaks and pines withstood the conflagration, but the witch's grave was lost forever.
Which Is Indeed Witch
So, that's my story. Yes, a bit long and sad in places, but these tales often are. I suppose I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately, but I cannot help that. My youngest--and only--granddaughter just gave birth to twins.
Two red haired, green eyed, ferocious little girls who seem to be in constant motion. As I said, there have always been lots of twins born into the McCall clan, but my new great- granddaughters' both have hair as bright as orange flames. One of them--the most vocal and active of the two girls--has the cutest little mole right over her lip which dances around whenever she gets angry and.....
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