On Pendle Hill


The old woman’s burnished eye added a stamp of theatre.  It rolled at all angles in its sagging socket, barely controllable.  Ugliness is a sign of guilt, the crowds mutter.  Poverty is a sign of sin.  Yet there was no shame in her then as she stared down her accusers, only that ancestral shame that harks back to the nest of vipers.

I’m no judge at heart.  I’m a patient man.  So I recorded the drivel she mouthed as she limped to her fate.  “All your praying is just fighting with shadows,” she hissed.  “Grow up, children, and accept your vulnerability.”

Then we drowned her in the fountain.  Then we drowned her cat.


This piece of flash fiction was written in response to the Wordle Challenge #29 at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, where all stories in the link-up were prompted by the wordle at the top of this post.  The rules are that at least 10 of the given words are to be used. This time I used all of the words, although “sciamachy” appears only by definition in the old woman’s speech.

8 thoughts on “On Pendle Hill

  1. Drowned the woman AND her cat? Must admit to having no idea where Pendle Hill is/was — a quick Wikipedia consult confirmed why you’re killing the cat. 🙂

    Loved this second take on the wordle — 😀

    • No, I didn’t know about the Pendle witches either (not as famous as Salem, for instance) but I’d read a book review about witch trials not long before seeing the prompt.

      And… I’m beginning to understand why, when writing so regularly, you like to throw in new “hurdles” to be jumped. So, with this I wanted to make the story as small as possible while using all 12 words in the prompt – then follow it by writing an entirely different story using exactly the same prompt words. Just to keep me on my toes 😉

      • Right – those hurdles keep you sharp!

        And honestly – I’ve seen wordles that are short but look choppy – yours always flow so naturally though. Quite an accomplishment !

  2. I’m no judge at heart either but poverty and Ugliness are signs of guilt and sin….
    That was truly ready-witted. Excellent.
    Best wishes dear Sue and thanks a lot for sharing!, Aquileana 😛

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