An excerpt from the diary of Sarah Richards
September 11, 1692
My dear sister presented me today, my birthday, with a lovely leather bound diary!
It is so lovely and she is such a sweet sister, I shall write as often as I can!
How wonderful it will be to look back upon my life when I am old. I am twenty two today!
September 14, 1692
Such a beautiful day it is today! My dear husband has gone off “to make the world a better place” as he says often.
He is the magistrate of our township, and so handsome he is..
I shall spend my day here beside the river enjoying the beauty of the day.
September 19, 1692
John arrived home late, tired and worn, the poor dear! The witch trials! Such a sad affair it must have been.
They have taken Ms Parker this time. I don’t understand, I have known her since I was a girl. She once cured me of a fever, and another time of the pocks.
Such a sweet woman she is, although a bit strange with her herbs and always talking to her cats.
Lord I hope she will be alright!
September 21, 1692
My heart is breaking! Poor Ms Parker, they have found her guilty of being a witch! I find this whole business utterly savage!
I can never speak this aloud, but my husband is to blame for this I know it! He never could abide her since she refused to heal his sister of the palsy when they were children.
Could such a thing even be done? I think not!
Oh poor Ms Parker! God help her!
September 22, 1692
That man! My husband John! He forced me to go to the burning. How could he? He knew how I felt about it but he would hear no refusal from me. He said as the magistrates wife I must be beside him to show face.
Damn him and his face!
About his face, as he pronounced sentence on poor Ms Parker, she spat right in both of his eyes and screamed at him. I don’t know what she said, the language was queer, I have never heard it before.
I’m sure she cursed him but he only slapped her and called for the firebrand.
Poor Ms Parker. It’s so strange, she never screamed or cried out. She just let the flames take her. God rest her poor soul.
October 1, 1692
I have been unable to write for the last few days, John has taken ill. He has begun to have terrible headaches, his skin is flushed and red, and hot to the touch especially around his eyes and face, his eyes are blood red.
I have sent for the doctor but he can’t be here for two days. John is calling, will write soon.
October 5, 1692
Dear God, what is becoming of my husband? The doctor saw him at last but could do nothing. He told me we should call for the church elders. He has asked me to bleed him twice a day but since yesterday the blood runs black.
His hair has fallen out, his head swells in it’s entirety.
His eyes push out like a frog, and his tongue and lips are swollen.
This is the curse, I know this to be true. The elders have abandoned him to his fate; only I am with him now.
He never stops moaning and crying. I must sleep but it escapes me.
October 9, 1692
I don’t know where to begin, this day, this night! What evil is this?
Surely the demons have escaped from hell only to visit their wrath upon my poor John.
I will try to recount the best I can; if I don’t write this down I will never believe it happened.
I was dozing in my rocking chair. I sleep so little now.
Suddenly John’s crying out startled me awake.
His head was so large, I saw the veins throughout pulsing with his rapid heart beat.
His skin was literally burning hot to the touch, and his eyes. Dear god I will never forget those eyes! They were pushing all the way out from his head; large like large plums and dark purple, almost black.
I didn’t know what to do, I stood back from him, he was screaming now. I wanted to go to him but I was paralyzed with fear.
God help me as I write this, I can not tell this!
As I stood frozen, it happened, God help me this happened.
His eyes just popped, first the left and then the right. It was a sick sound like a grease bubble in a hot pan.
Black blood sprayed all around, covering he and I in black gore.
I screamed at the sight, and then he gave a long low gutteral moan.
His head began to swell larger then, almost like a black pumpkin. His entire face from his chin to the crown of his head finally just ripped open, he screamed then, he screamed until his tongue fell from his mouth and the torrent of black blood poured forth. And still I heard the blood gurgling in his throat.
A swoon was upon me now but as I began to fall, I saw something emerging from inside him. From within the skull, covered with blood and brain, I could see a bright white sheen. Like a giant pearl erupting, and I saw two black eyes.
And then I saw nothing.
October 31, 1692
It has been many days since I have written. My life has become something I never expected.
John did die that night, God rest his soul. And I was sick for days after the ordeal. But now things are better.
John is gone, but something else has taken his place.
Something good, something beautiful, something amazing.
John was a good man in many ways but he was also bad in many ways. He hurt me many times, he treated me poorly and he abased me.
But New John, yes I call him that, is wonderful to me. New John is the seedling that sprouted from the dark dirt that was “Old John”.
He does look, different, but I prefer it.
He has no hair, his skin is white as snow, his eyes are large and black. He is a bit smaller than “Old John” was, but certain parts are much larger. Dare I say!
We have moved from the township into Ms Parker’s old farm house. I tend to her herbs and talk to her cats. I think she would like that.
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