The Witch's Grave

The Witch's Grave by Phillip Depoy

Book: The Witch's Grave by Phillip Depoy Read Free Book Online
Authors: Phillip Depoy
don’t leave without first fetching the lily you’ve cut from my lady wife’s garden walk, give it again to our Molly. Once a lily’s cut, its savor wanes.”
    â€œâ€˜And he was gone.
    â€œâ€˜So it was I came into the house of a good man, into my time of apprenticeship. I learned to spin silver into teapots and fine plates and loving rings and ornate buttons. The nights were filled with longing for sweet Molly, a stolen moment in the kitchen or garden before falling to fitful sleep. When the day came at last that Mr. Jamison let me take on a project of my own, I fashioned a silver lily. It took the better part of five nights. The old man could see I’d not slept for working, and he praised the silver lily.
    â€œâ€˜What’ll it be, son? A pin, an ear piece, a ring?”
    â€œâ€˜It’s a gift, sir.” I could not look him in the eye. “Useful for nothing else save a token of affection.”
    â€œâ€˜That night after dinner I found excuse to wander in the garden, moon the color of the little lily folded in my right hand. Molly came out into the moonlight when she was done with chores.
    â€œâ€˜Look how fine this night is, Mol.”
    â€œâ€˜She laid her head upon my shoulder as sweetly as autumn leaf falls to the ground. I could barely breathe.
    â€œâ€˜She looked up into my eyes. “You’re the dearest man ever I knew, Conner Briarwood—and I love you till the seas go dry.”
    â€œâ€˜Look here, Molly. I’ve made you a lily that’ll never fade. It’s a token of my regard for you. This silver lily would sooner turn to clay before my affection for you is cold. I love you till the day I die.”
    â€œâ€˜And then we kissed.
    â€œâ€˜Straightway I went to Mr. Jamison and told him of my intention to wed Molly. While his gladness seemed a little short, he was happy for me, offered to pay for the church on All Saints’ Day. But his final word was strange. “This world is filled with the bitter as well as the sweet.” He’d say no more.
    â€œâ€˜The next day was clear and golden; all the leaves were turning.
I heard Molly’s laughter down by the brook at the farther field, under the hazel.
    â€œâ€˜The sight that stabbed my eye when she came into view still cuts my brain.
    â€œâ€˜Molly was entrapped in another man’s arms. I could see he was a lord by his fine clothes. I could see he was kissing her neck. I could see he would not let her go. She hadn’t been laughing at all but crying for help. I ran to her aid.
    â€œâ€˜Out came the dagger and rapier to my hand.
    â€œâ€˜You there!” I shouted. “Leave off with that girl or I’ll break open your breastbone. You’re a dog and I mean to kill you.”
    â€œâ€˜Molly broke free from his grasp. Her face was flush with fear and she came running for me.
    â€œâ€˜No, Conner! Don’t fight him!”
    â€œâ€˜But she need not fear for me. I grew up wild and brawling with tougher men than this rich pastry, and I told her so.
    â€œâ€˜Quit this place, Molly. I have something to do with your malefactor.”
    â€œâ€˜Hold, boy,” he said calmly. “You don’t have the understanding of this situation.”
    â€œâ€˜Will you take out your sword?” I spit back at him.
    â€œâ€˜Here it is then.” He drew. “But I only mean to relieve you of those weapons and calm you down. You don’t rightly know what’s at work here.”
    â€œâ€˜There was a rage in me; the Devil had my throat. I threw myself at him and beat down his resistance at once. He fell backward puffing and stumbling and trying to shake off his cape. Molly was screaming, but the rage in my head would allow me nothing save the object of my blade. I took my dagger to his chest without a word, cracked his breastbone, spilled his blood, cleft his heart in twain. He fell to the earth,

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