The Sabbat

Night Sky

After Our Ali lamed that peddler in Colne they came for me.  I told the justice about that lot over at West Close, and afore we knew what’d happened we were rounded up and sent to Lancaster – me, Ali, Old Chattox, and Anne Redferne.

Lizzie and Chris called a meeting of the locals.  They even invited Bessie Whittle, since her mum and sister were also in the Well Tower.  They summoned up all those neighbors who owed us favors to find who’d been named, and to chat about what might be done for them.

This gathering took place last Good Friday at Malkin Tower.  I’m told two dozen souls or more came, and Jim stole a sheep from Barley so they’d have mutton for roasting on the outside spit.  Someone suggested trying to rescue us, but that was  a daft notion as you’d need gunpowder or summat to blast through walls this thick!  So common sense won out, and they ended up making a list of who’d bring our food here each market day, instead.

Now Constable Hargreaves is going round telling folk that this gathering was a secret sabbat – a great assembly of witches – and that everyone who attended it is in league with demons.

What do YOU think they were up to?

Squinting Lizzie

Let me tell you a bit about our lot at Malkin Tower.  First off, there’s my lass Lizzie.  She’s not the bonniest of the bunch, but she’ll service aught that can pay, and has plenty who’ll visit to do the things that their wives at home won’t allow!

She must be nigh-on forty two years, and if anyone ever dares question her powers I chuckle and say, “Well, she got John Device to wed her!”  Even I don’t  know how she conjured up that miracle – not that the vagabond was aught to boast on, but at least he made her legal.

Lizzie

Lizzie had four bairns – Jim, Ali, Harry, and Jenny.  Little Harry died around the same time as his dad.  Jenny came later, but when no one bothered to add up the months the villages called her a Device, the same as the others.

We all keep dogs, except wee Jenny.  Lizzie’s got a nasty white mutt named Ball who likes scrapping and mounting bitches.  The Justice calls them familiars.  We play along, because when all this witch-mess is over it’ll pay handsome to have the village folks thinking we’ve got a pack of  demons doing our bidding.  That’ll make them think twice about swindling us.  That’ll bring the alms in when we go begging!

Our Lizzie’s got the gift of second sight and of that there’s no doubt.  She does a roaring trade reading palms and telling fortunes, though she can’t scry in the mirror as good as me.  In winter she works at the Great Wheel, spinning our Chris’ fleece into wool, earning that lot at Hay Booth a pretty penny.  Still, I mustn’t grumble just because they’re better situated than us – our Chris looks after his old mum better than most.

I often wished he lived here instead of Lizzie.  She’s turned into a mean, grumpy cow and I’m sick of looking at her ugly face.  I know she can’t help being born like she was – one eye drooping half way down her cheek and puffy lips that seem bee-stung.  But with that pock-scarred skin and wild gray hair it’s small wonder she puts the fear of God into folk.  Even I wouldn’t want to meet her in a country lane after dark, and neither would you!