The Devil Made Me Do It



Flash fiction (243 words) — a woman accused of witchcraft and forced to walk the plank

The wind lashed at her face, rocking the whole of her body. Already soaked through, the wind felt long blades of iron tearing through her. Her teeth chattered uncontrollably. All feeling in her fingers and toes were lost what felt like a week ago. She had already said goodbye to those sensations; she’d never see them again.

She imagined what her hair would have felt like in the wind. The sheets of iron piercing her achingly cold flesh would have paled in comparison to the whipping cords of knotted, red tresses. If her hair had not been shorn so cruelly. What had once been called a treasure had been ripped apart, leaving torn and bald patches smeared with blood. The vision gave her laughter lost in the raging sea.

How wild she would have looked to them. Humbled and staring off into the surging black of the sea, yes. Barely keeping her feet on the pitching deck, yes. Yet with hair like Medusa. Defiant until death.

The laugh died on her lips. She opened her eyes for the first time since she was pushed to the railing. I will not be humbled.

She turned and looked out into the horde of bearded, scraggly men. One man's eyes were aflame in anguish. He held a book to his chest.

She held open her bloodied hands in a curtsey and smiled. “The devil made me do it,” she shouted.

And jumped into the ocean's torrent.

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