**Author's Note** This week's installment is another themed word list with the provision that it is a courtroom drama and under 1000 words, but money, foolish, kneecap, trace, and widow must be among them. Enjoy!
The Village of Peabody, Near Salem, In The Year Of Our Lord, 1692
"Reverend Breedlove and the honored deacons of the church, there is much to this trial that remains to be seen. The widow Mary Selby stands accused of witchcraft and much evidence has been brought to light. Mr. Mason has gone to great lengths to convince you of her guilt of being a witch while I am not so certain. There is no doubt that on the night of November first, All Saint's Day, she went to the farm of William Smith, a close neighbor of hers. She visited after dark and spent some time at their window without knocking. She stayed long enough to observe them at their evening prayers and to trace a heart in the snow with a stick. Mr. Mason suggests that this was part of her spell to summon the Evil One. I say she went to see a happy family at prayer because she missed her departed husband, Peter Selby, a man that no one could impugned of being impious, and drew a heart to represent her lost love. She was lonely and heartsick, seeking comfort in the Lord by watching William Smith and his family pray." Nathaniel Saltonstall clasped his hands in supplication and then continued.
"Mr. Mason calls as evidence the imprint she made in the snow by the road. He says that this is where she had congress with the Horn'd One and sites the blood found there the next day as proof of how he used her rudely. I say she tripped over the stump that was hidden by the snow and cut her kneecap when she fell. Her footprints and her wound confirms it. Mr. Mason says that this is where her familiar, the hog, came to suckle after her deal with the Dark One. I say this is an untruth." Saltonstall dabbed his forehead with a handkerchief and paced the meeting house, but his eyes never left Reverend Breedlove.
"Mr. Mason makes much of the fact that Mary Selby owed a debt of money to the amount of three shillings to William Smith for the purchase of shoes for her son Elijah. A debt that was promised to be repaid in the spring with the slaughter of her hog. Mr. Mason cites this as the point she slipped into the clutches of the Evil One. That this and her coveting the husband of Patience Smith is what drove her into a pact with the Deceiver, and from then on, she was His agent in Peabody. This, he claims, is what drove her to make Mrs. Patience Smith to lose her unborn child." Saltonstall looked at the deacons and they seemed to be listening.
"I would ask you to not be foolish and hear the unfettered voice of our Lord. Listen to your God-given reason and return a verdict of Not Guilty." Saltonstall bowed his head. "Only He can guide you now."
Reverend Breedlove roused himself from his inattention and banged the gavel a few times when he realized that Nathaniel Saltonstall had finished speaking. "This court will reconvene at the summit of Gallows Hill where we will hear her confession."
"But Reverend, she hasn't confessed yet," Saltonstall sputtered.
"Well, we will already be atop the hill by then and there is still the flogging that needs attended to," the good Reverend mused. "Sheriff, do your duty!"