The Windenburg Witch Trials
“Townsfolk of Windenburg! There are witches among us!”
The congregation let out a collective groan. Wilbert was at it again. They’d just eradicated the vampires and now there were witches?
“What evidence do you have of this?” Noah Bucket asked, rising to his feet, supported by the general murmur of the crowd.
“Have you not reasoned for your failing crops, Noah?”
“Well, I did neglect to water them…” Noah sat back down, his cheeks flushed.
Wilbert walked among the crowd. “Or Winnie, have you not wondered why your husband alighted from your marriage?”
Winnie glared at the woman next to her. “I rather have a suspicion.”
“Or you, Peter; have you never considered the reason behind your lack of sightedness?”
“It is because I fell on a pitchfork…”
“Nay! It is because of the witches!” Wilbert tapped his head and waved his hand over the crowd. “That is what they want you to think. That you are to blame. My people.” He climbed back up to his podium. “You are not to blame.”
The crowd murmured to each other.
“There are witches among us.” Wilbert nodded gravely. “They may have hidden for centuries. But I shall not rest until they are found and destroyed.”
“Pray, how will you tell a witch?” Noah asked, his disbelief evident on his freckled face.
“There are a number of trials to establish the identity of the witch that naturally I, Wilbert Wangshaft, esteemed supernatural hunter, am expert in. All I ask of you, townsfolk, is to be vigilant. Report your maladies and misfortunes to me. I will seek to weed out and destroy the witches that infest among us.”
“I find this idea absurd.” Winnie scoffed. “If they are so very good at hiding, we surely shall never find them.”
“Spoken like a true witch!” Peter shouted. “I say Winnie be first to trial!”
The crowd murmured their general agreement.
“I am not a witch!” Winnie exclaimed.
“That is what a witch would say!”
“Alright… I am a witch.”
“She has admitted it!”
Winnie rolled her eyes.
“There is no evidence that Winnie be a witch, Peter. Rather just a difficult woman.” Wilbert walked among the crowd again, taking in every face. From the elderly lady who ran the curio shop, to the toddler who they had liberated from the vampires who currently had his face buried into his sister’s dress, chewing at the fabric.
“Finding the witches will not be so easy. Unlike the vampires who weakened in the sun and required to feed upon us, witches indeed can be devious. They can be hiding in plain sight. They could be any one of us.”
The crowd looked at each other. Suspicious of their friends, their relatives.