February 4, 2015: The Missing Wife, or Iron Scissors and Immolation

Bridget smiles and I feel sick.
Her hair is stringy and singed, her clothing melted to her skin in places.
She smiles, her eyes twinkling, teeth showing through missing cheek.

Not what you’re used to seeing, huh?

She sighs and little sparks trail off from her lips.
She ignores the baby playing at her feet.

That? That’s not mine. Just look at it. It’s so weak…I would never give birth to something so weak.

The fireplace roared in front of us, black smoke filling the room. I was finding it hard to breathe and everything smelled like lamp oil.

You know, they wrote a little nursery rhyme about me. How horrible is that? I never expected to have a legacy…especially not one as ghastly as that.

Banging on the front door. Voices of men, angry men, yelling and swearing, cursing Bridget’s name.

They want the child. Apparently I’m not fit enough to raise it. They can have it – I don’t really care. If they can get in, I won’t stop them.

She touches the child with the burnt toe of her shoe, then looks away into the fireplace.

I don’t belong here.

I don’t belong here.

She’s distant. Her mind is far away, her eyes looking at different surroundings. The child looks as if it has been neglected for days.

It’s not really mine. Look at it. It’s like a little old man. So feeble. I did have a child…but this isn’t it. A mother can tell.

I had a husband once, too…

She looks towards the door, where the thumping and yelling has continued.

I don’t belong here.

My husband could see that. He convinced a few others…But I…she…never returned.

Her clothes begin to smoke and her hair glows orange at the ends.

Do you want to know what I am? A witch? A fairy? Just the wife of Michael Cleary?

What does it matter now anyways? I’m nothing but a half-smile and cinders.

The door bursts open and Bridget and the child blow away in a cloud of ash and dust.

Ten men stand around me, lanterns held high, brandishing sharpened pieces of iron, staring at flames and the void.

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