The Witch of Greyfriare
by L. M. Townsend-Crow
Disclaimers: mild language, hint of domestic violence, 17th century Puritan witch paranoia, and maybe some subtext, but I truly don't think you'll find much of offence in here. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
It wasn’t that Morgan didn’t believe in ghosts. She just never expected to encounter one, unlike her best friend Molly who claimed to have some sort of spiritual encounter at least every other week. Then, too, Molly found a new “love of her life” almost every month. Her current “soul-mate” was a security consultant and Morgan had indulged her friend by allowing him - a tall, lanky young man named Jim - to install a new security system in Morgan’s bookstore/gourmet coffee bar.
Morgan Colton lived above the store in an apartment. This was her childhood home. She had been raised by her grandfather after the death of her parents. The bookstore had originally been a huge old house at the edge of the small New England town of Greyfriare. In Greyfriare, most of the families had been residents for more than three hundred years and despite the fact that Morgan’s grandparents had moved there fifty years before Morgan’s birth, she was still considered a “newcomer”. It was only natural, then, that Morgan and Molly would become best friends. Molly and her parents had emigrated to Greyfriare from Ireland when Morgan was a little girl and the two “newcomers” gravitated to one another and became best friends. It was a friendship which had lasted for almost thirty years now. Molly worked in the store with Morgan, running the coffee bar.
Morgan loved to read more than anything else, so it was no surprise when she turned the immense downstairs of the old house into a bookstore after the death of her grandfather. With a little renovation and a small business loan - which she had paid off in a few years, Morgan had converted the old mansion’s kitchen into the coffee shop. She knocked out a few walls until she had a room for every genre of fiction, one large room for non-fiction, one for used books which she bought back and sold at a discount, and a special, climate controlled room for rare, old manuscripts. In the center of it all was the reading room with leather chairs and couches, coffee tables and a great big fireplace which was rarely lit except on special occasions - or when the ancient furnace in the old mansion was colicky. Fire plus books was a recipe for disaster, but Morgan had placed none of the stacks in this room and she had a sprinkler system and several hand-held fire extinguishers about whenever it was lit.
She had an eclectic collection for any taste in Greyfriare and the surrounding towns and she could obtain any book requested as well, even rare and out of print books. She had read and could discuss intelligently every book in the store. People came to her for information and conversation. They came to the bookstore and ordered coffee just to be in the atmosphere. Morgan never stopped anyone from reading any book on the premises, even if they didn’t buy it. They ordered the cappuccino and espresso and other gourmet coffees and read and talked. People loved the atmosphere of the store and they loved Morgan, but the business was successful mainly due to Molly’s charm and exuberance. People came to the store not only for coffee and books, but to see Molly and to spend a few hours in her presence, listening to her tales of a childhood in Ireland, the “Little People” and ghost stories. Molly claimed to have inherited “the Sight” from her Granny.
Morgan thought it more likely that the big old house would be haunted than Molly’s little studio apartment in the newer part of town, but Molly swore she had ghosts there. The house had
been built over the site of the burned out old courthouse where it was reputed that witch trials and executions were held. The town had expanded, growing away from Morgan’s house until it sat just at the edge of the town limits. Molly’s ghosts never seemed willing to make their presence known when Morgan was over visiting, though.
“Aye, ye’re a ghost bane, ‘tis sure,” said Molly shaking her head. “They sense yer here and they hide.”
Molly also claimed to have seen spirits in the bookstore, but Morgan, who lived upstairs had never encountered anything more than the occasional hapless mouse, usually dispatched by her long-haired tabby, Priscilla. Priscilla did sometimes act strange, suddenly waking from a sound sleep to run off downstairs and investigate some sound heard only by her feline ears, but she always returned and lay back down to sleep. Morgan assumed that was just normal “kitty business”. She wouldn’t have been surprised if there were spirits residing in her home, but she certainly never expected to encounter one, not even on Halloween.
She had closed the bookstore early that day to prepare for the trick or treaters whom she knew would be stopping by that night. Morgan loved Halloween, even more than Christmas, and she always made sure to have plenty of special treats for those who came by. Even in these times when parents were more cautious about their children’s treats and trick or treating in general, Morgan’s home made cookies and warm cider made the bookstore a favorite stop for children and parents alike. Morgan adored children and was at the age where she was beginning to regret never having any of her own. With a sigh, she realized that it may be too late now, but she had just never found that perfect person with which to share her life. Oh sure, there had been the casual boyfriends and girlfriends, as well but she had just never found “The One”. That was how she and Molly referred to that elusive person who come into their respective lives and just take their breath away. Molly was still searching, but Morgan had given up. Life just didn’t follow the wonderful formula of her beloved books.
Morgan had decorated the bookstore for the holiday, though not her upstairs apartment. She was setting out plates of cookies beside a group of glowing candles and was warming the cider upstairs when she heard a loud beep and then a click. She went to the front door and saw that the security system had been automatically engaged. The little red light on the console glowed brightly. She punched the code in to no avail. The door’s lock remained engaged and Morgan was effectively locked in until morning unless she opened it manually with the key. With a sigh, Morgan ran up to her kitchen and turned off the stove, then began to hunt for the key.
With growing frustration, she heard the first of the trick or treaters outside twenty minutes later and she still couldn’t find the key. She also heard distant thunder and knew that Halloween would be over for the children gathering their treats before much longer when the storm came this way. Morgan went to the phone to call Molly.
“Aw, crap!” she exclaimed.
There was no dial tone. The phones had evidently been knocked out by the approaching storm. She went to the window and tried to open it, but Jim had been thorough in protecting her and her stock; the window was locked as well and the glass was bullet-proof and essentially unbreakable - not that Morgan wanted a gaping hole in her window anyway.
Suddenly, there was a loud crash of thunder and a bright flash of lightning and the lights went out, save for the candles on the table.
“Oh, that’s just great,” Morgan muttered. She looked out the window and saw the children and their parents scrambling for shelter from the driving rain. With a sigh, she realised that the holiday was ruined and began to plan for a lonely evening.
“Hah, with all these books, ‘lonely’ is not what I’ll be,” she said, looking around.
Priscilla came up and wound around her ankles, annoyed by the continuous crashes of thunder which shook the building. Morgan bent down and picked her up, cuddling her close. “Nope, never lonely, not with you, my little Pris’.” She set the cat down and went to the check out desk, looking in the desk drawer below the computer and the cash register for a flashlight. Suddenly, she felt cold air all around her. She grabbed the torch and looked up hopefully.
“Hey, if the power’s out, the doors must be unlocked!” she said. “Probably even open, with this draft in here.” She looked around at every door and then checked the windows, but all were closed up tight. Even upstairs, in her apartment, the windows were securely locked. Stranger still, the little red light still glowed brightly on the security console.
“What the heck kind of power outage shuts down everything except the security system?” she said aloud. “Oh, of course, it makes sense. It must have a battery or something. Otherwise, all a thief would have to do is cut the power to get past it. Well, Jim, you’ve done your job very well. I hope you last longer than a month.” Morgan shook her head, thinking of her best friend, Molly.
Most of Molly’s boyfriends were okay. Jim was exceptional and Morgan hoped he was Molly’s “One”. The last one though - Matt – made Morgan cringe. She hated even thinking of the scumbag. He had almost come between her’s and Molly’s thirty year friendship. Almost.
She remembered walking in on an argument between Molly and Matt. That had been it. She saw then that her suspicions provoked by Molly’s bruises had been correct as she stepped up and let him have it.
“Get away from her, you sorry ass son of a bitch!” she said through gritted teeth.
“The only bitch I see around here is you,” said Matt, grinning, clearly enjoying the confrontation.
Morgan, on the other hand, hated confrontations and normally avoided them at any cost. This was Molly, though. Molly was her best friend, more like a sister, really; and Molly was in trouble.
“I said get away from her,” said Morgan, her voice dangerously quiet.
Matt looked at her, incredulous – was this crazy bitch actually talking back to him? Well, obviously, this was another one who needed “educating”. He pulled back his fist and Morgan winced, bracing herself for the blow. The wince did it for Matt and he made heavy contact with Morgan’s face. Morgan sported a shiner for almost a month. A fraction of an inch to the left and he would have broken the bones which formed her eye socket and possibly blinded her or worse, according to the emergency room physician.
Matt was led away in hand cuffs, swearing revenge.
“You made him hit you,” said a tearful Molly, her mascara smeared all over her face.
“Come here – you look like a rabid racoon,” said Morgan, wiping her friend’s face as they got into Molly’s little red VW beetle to go to the hospital.
Molly laughed a bit through her tears, then grew serious.
“You made him hit you,” she repeated. “Why?”
“Well, he was going to hit one of us,” said Morgan, grimly. “I just knew that I was the only one of us willing to press charges and get that bastard out of your life for good.”
“I’m sorry,” Molly said, looking down.
“Forget it - come on, this is starting to hurt,” said Morgan.
But Molly hadn’t forgotten and when Matt was released from prison, she was already dating Jim. It had been Jim’s idea to install the security system so that Matt wouldn’t be able to harm either of the women. Molly’s time away from the bookstore was secure because every moment was spent with Jim and Jim, a former Marine turned police officer turned civilian security consultant held an upper degree black belt. Morgan had no such “safety net”, hence the system.
Morgan was startled from her reverie by a sharp rapping sound. She looked at the door, frowning.
“Now who would be fool enough to be out in a storm like this?” she asked Priscilla. The cat merely looked at her, eyes wide and glowing in the firelight. “Hm, Molly, of course. Coming to check on me, no doubt - or thinking I’m lonely here all by myself.”
Morgan went to the door and tried to look out, but could see no one through the driving rain. Nope, not Molly, she thought. Molly would have waited no matter how long it took.
“And Molly has a key,” said Morgan with a sigh. She sat back down on one of the comfortable leather chairs and noticed a book on the coffee table before her.
“What’s this? I don’t remember putting this here,” she said, picking up the book. “The Infamous Witch of Greyfriare? That’s odd. I never ordered this book. Must have been Molly.”
Morgan picked up the book and started leafing through the pages. Suddenly the pages began moving of their own volition and Morgan stared at the book, too scared to move. The book was now open to a page describing the arrest, trial and subsequent execution of a Native American woman from an Abenaki tribe just north of the village of Greyfriare. The villagers had called her Sokoki. Morgan forgot her fear when she saw the artist’s rendition of the woman. It was her eyes that caught Morgan’s attention. So deep and intense, they seemed to penetrate her very soul, even from the sketchy pencil drawing in the book.
“Oh,” she whispered. Her fingers traced the lines of the drawing and tingled with the contact. She began to read to story.
Sokoki was a healer of the Abenaki Tribe which had lived north of Greyfriare. Morgan shook her head as she puzzled through the old spellings of the trial transcripts.
“It has been reported that in and upon the 30th day of Novembre in the Yeare 1698
And Divers other Days & Times as well before as after Certaine
Detestable Arts Called Witchcraft & Sorceries Wickedly Mallitiously
& felloniously hath used practised & Exercised at & in the Towne
of Greyfriare by one Sokoki, A woman of the savages
as Contrary to the peace of o'r Sov'r lords the King and Queene and
their Crowne & Dignity & the Laws in that Case made
The charges againste are that she did willfully practise
Certaine Detestable Arts called Witchcrafts, and Sorceries, Wickedly, and
felloniously, hath used Practised.&.Exercised
That she practised a healing on the Sabbath and then, to escape the Lord’s good judgement as exercised by this court, did escape in her native savage wilds ...”
Morgan read on. Sokoki was finally captured by trickery. A man of the village who had formerly defended her betrayed her for fear of being accused of witchcraft himself.
Once captured, the tortures she had suffered were horrendous. Sokoki refused to confess to any other “crime” than healing on a Sabbath which to her was no crime at all. She did not share the faith of the villagers.
That was her real “crime”, Morgan thought with a sigh. To her, the Sabbath was just another day.
To extract a confession, the villagers imprisoned this free spirited child of nature in a foul jail cell. Even there, however, it seemed she couldn’t keep from committing the “crime” of what the villagers termed “witchery”. Morgan read the trial transcript, the words taking her within that moment in time so long past.
“Is it not true that even within the confines of the gaol You did willfully exercise your foul trickeries and evil dealings with the Prince of Darkness?” asked the judge.
“What do you mean?” asked Sokoki, calmly.
“The jailers report that you had congress with several fell creatures from Hell!” cried another judge.
“Oh, you mean the mice?” said Sokoki.
“Aye, the demons of Lucifer which visited you in the guise of mice!” said the first judge, satisfaction gleaming in his eyes. A confession would follow this examination soon, he believed.
“The little brothers and sisters were hungry,” said Sokoki, with a shrug. She winced; the scourging she had received at the hands of her jailers that morning still stung and Sokoki had no access to her healing herbs. Instead, she had entered a light trance from which she could control the pain and still remain somewhat aware of what was going on around her. It was probably that trance which had been her undoing.
“You made offerings in the form of food to these demons to carry back to their master - your master, Satan! You were also heard speaking to them in the language of hell,” the judge pronounced. “In return, when the jailers cut off your food in punishment for this sinful act, the creatures brought food to you!”
“The little brothers and sisters were hungry,” Sokoki repeated. “I fed them. In return, when I was hungry, they brought food to me. I speak to them in the language of my people. They tell me N'kadopi. - ‘I'm hungry.’ I give them my bread and say to them, Niga kadopi. - ‘Then eat.’”
At the sound of her words, many in the courtroom swooned and cried out, covering their ears. Only the judges remained silent, glaring at her until the courtroom quieted.
“You will not use that demonic language in the hearing of these good Christians again, do you hear me?” said the first judge. “Now, how do you answer these charges of consorting with the demons?”
“They were mice,” said Sokoki.
“So you do not deny it?” asked the second judge.
“No, how can I? It is the truth. I fed the mice. They brought me corn and other bits from their foraging,” said Sokoki.
“And is it not also the truth that you are a witch?” said the first judge with a triumphant gleam in his eye.
“I do not know what you mean by this ‘witch’ word,” said Sokoki.
“That you willfully and maliciously have dealings with and worship Satan, the Devil instead of the good Christ and his Father and the Holy Ghost, which is the Trinity,” said the second judge.
“I’m afraid I do not know any of those folk,” said Sokoki. “Nor do I worship what I do not know.”
“There! She has confessed it - she does not worship Christ and his father - and, as it says in the Holy Writ, all who are not for him are against him - she has confessed it - she is a witch!”
The courtroom was noisy with exclamations from the audience and the jury. The first judge banged his gavel and roared for order. When it was quiet, he pointed one finger at Sokoki and spoke his verdict.
“Guilty of witchcraft!”
Sokoki merely blinked, thinking the whole room fools. How could anything like healing be considered evil? They spoke her sentence, “Death by hanging!”, then carried her back to the jail cell.
Morgan looked up from her reading and was surprised to find her face wet from weeping. She hadn’t realised that the story affected her so much. Morgan wiped the tears from her face and shook her head.
“What’s the matter with me?” she said to herself as she closed the book and set it down on the table beside her. The room grew suddenly cold and Morgan rose to tend the fire. She was startled when the book fell from her lap with a loud thud and opened to the page of Sokoki’s picture. Frowning, Morgan bent and closed the book, placing it back on the table. She stared at it for a few moments, as if daring it to do something a book shouldn’t. When nothing happened, Morgan sighed, then chuckled at her own silliness and tended to the fire. The room remained cold despite the roaring blaze in the hearth. Morgan stood before the fire, shivering and debating whether to brave the dark upstairs to get a sweater. All of a sudden, she heard another thump. She turned to see the book had opened again.
“That’s not possible,” she whispered. “I mean, if it were a paperback, I could see it, but it’s one heavy hard cover ...” Her thoughts trailed off with her voice as she watched, shocked, while the pages riffled to rest again at the page holding the picture of Sokoki. Goose bumps which had nothing to do with the chill in the room began to rise on Morgan’s neck and arms. “There has to be a logical explanation for this. There just has to.”
Morgan wanted nothing to do with that book now, but she couldn’t seem to stop herself from going over and picking it up again. She paged through the book, but the story of Sokoki was only a page long. She needed to know more about the woman who had died so long ago and so unjustly. Morgan looked longingly at the computer on her desk, but with the power out, the internet, that infinite source of knowledge, was closed to her. Instead, Morgan took the book into the stacks. She went to appropriate section and scanned the titles with her flashlight. Placing the book on the shelf, she admonished it to “Stay put!”, then withdrew a similar title, Legends and Folklore of Greyfriare Village. She carried the book over to her chair before the fire and checked the index. She found several references to Sokoki and learned that it was the name of a specific Abenaki tribe.
“‘People who are separate’,” Morgan read aloud. The name struck her. She herself had always felt set apart, separate from her peers, first as a “newcomer” and as an orphan in a part of the country where everyone knew exactly who and where they came from for generations back. She began to feel a kinship with this woman long dead. “I wonder if that was her real name, or only what the villagers called her.”
It was “ Môlsem” - wolf.
Morgan looked around the room, startled, then realised that the voice she thought she heard was only in her head.
“I should just go to bed. I’m so jumpy, this is getting ridiculous,” she said to herself. “Look at me, talking to myself and everything!”
She set the book down and rose, only to watch in fascination as the book opened its own heavy hardcover and began slowly turning the pages until the book lay open to another version of the Native American woman who had been tried fro witchcraft in Greyfriare so many centuries ago.
“It was Môlsem!” said Morgan, excitedly. She picked up the book and began to read.
This was a more fantastic version of the story, as the book’s title had indicated. This was more than just a case file, this was the legend which had followed Môlsem after her death.
“In 1698, six years after the Salem trials had died down and the new laws instituted regarding the trying and execution of purported ‘witches’, Greyfriare flouted the new laws and held their very own trial. An Abenaki healing woman, whose name was Môlsem, was accused of healing on the Sabbath - a very serious crime in Greyfriare. Her capture and subsequent arrest was a matter of scandal. Môlsem was a well-known figure in Greyfriare and the outlying farms which surrounded the growing township. People who knew her and had been the recipient of her great knowledge and skills in the areas of herbs and healing were reluctant to give her up. The very difficulty of her capture led to rumours of witchcraft - the town preacher, one Repentance Abernathy, stated that it must be the devil himself hiding the woman from good Christian eyes.”
Morgan rubbed her tired eyes a bit. She wondered what time it was. All the clocks in this room were electric and her watch was upstairs on the night stand in her bedroom. Morgan wasn’t about to go anywhere right now. Instead, she leaned forward and began to read again. As she read, the old magic began to happen. Morgan was drawn into the story as if she was really there, in the book with the characters. It had always been so when she was a child. As she grew up and went to college, suffering through required reading assignments which neither piqued her interest or her imagination, that magic had faded away until it was gone. Now it returned with such a poignant sweetness that Morgan almost imagined herself in the branches of the old weeping willow tree which still stood in the backyard and had been her childhood refuge. Every Summer day, she would climb the tree with her books and read until the sun went down too far for her to see. Almost Morgan could smell the sweet summer breezes. Then those scents made way for the acrid smell of wood smoke, unwashed bodies, rotten food, the coppery taint of blood ....
“Môlsem was lured out of hiding by one who she had thought her friend, a Thomas Black. The Black farm was far enough from the town proper that Môlsem should have been safe there, but Thomas’s wife was threatened with a veiled accusation of witchcraft. Salem Village was not too far from anyone’s memory in that part of the country and Thomas betrayed Môlsem to the Reverend Abernathy and the Magistrate of Greyfriare. She was taken in chains and thrown into the old gaol, a rough and filthy hole dug behind the courthouse by the last prisoner to occupy it decades before, shored up with roughly hewn timber from the pine forests which surrounded the village at that time.
“Despite pleas from the good Christian wives of the Rev. Abernathy and the Village Magistrate - the two most prominent women in town - among others that the gaol was no decent place for a woman, even a savage, Môlsem was kept confined there throughout the Summer. Only when the Autumn rains began to fall and Môlsem developed a deep and racking cough did they pull her from the muddy hole and confine her to a cell in the new jail building.”
“The right Reverend Repentance Abernathy must have feared that his ‘pet witch’ would die before he got a chance to kill her,” Morgan muttered, angrily.
That is exactly what he feared, came that same “voice” from inside of Morgan’s head. By now, the magic was so strong, Morgan didn’t notice it. Instead, she read on.
“The Trial of Môlsem has been well documented and quoted in many other works. Suffice to say, the Abenaki healing woman was convicted of witchcraft on the flimsiest of evidence, as were so many just a few years before. But questions arise – was Môlsem really a witch?”
“Huh?” said Morgan, her eyes widening as she read the words over again. “Oh, please! Everyone knows that no ‘real’ witches were ever executed here! It was all political!” She glanced again at the cover of the book and remembered the title - Legends and Folklore of Greyfriare Village, then nodded. “Of course, I should have realised.” She went back to the tale.
“The legend which follows Môlsem behind the true facts of the case began the night of her trial. It was recorded that the howling of a large pack of wolves heralded a tremendous hailstorm which destroyed all the crops just before the harvest. It was also recorded, though this cannot be confirmed, that the smallest of the hailstones were the size of two fists put together and that they fell from a clear night sky. New England weather is unpredictable and most harsh; that the large hailstones fell and ruined the harvest is not in question. The likelihood of hail falling from a clear sky, however, must be viewed with scepticism towards the superstitious minds of the day.”
“Damn right,” said Morgan, still caught in the spell of the tale.
“This indulgence towards the genuine, if contemptible, fear of the villagers of that era must also be employed when one reads of their actions the following night. Fuelled by the Reverend Abernathy’s explosive hellfire and devil-at our-heels speech, the townspeople set out to destroy what they viewed as the cause of the destroyed crops: the ‘witch’ in their jail, awaiting her execution. The villagers decided they themselves must purge their village of her evil. They set fire to jail where Môlsem was confined.”
“Damn!” said Morgan, anxiety rising as she felt the heat from the flames and smelled the wood smoke growing thicker all around her. She was startled out of her reading trance by a particularly loud crash of thunder. Priscilla ran from wherever she had been hiding and jumped into Morgan’s lap, not sparing her claws. A small red stain bloomed from her blue jeans clad leg where the cat’s claws had bought her purchase on her human companion’s lap. Morgan rubbed her stinging thigh, but didn’t scold Priscilla. Instead, she petted her long, soft fur.
“Alright, Pris’, I know - it’s a little spooky tonight,” said Morgan, soothingly. She picked up the book again and read on with Priscilla lending her warmth from her purring body.
“The wooden building burned fast, lighting up the night sky as if it were mid-day. Then the fire spread to the courthouse and the rest of the town began to burn, killing over seventeen people, including Rev. Abernathy’s wife and three children. By morning, not a building was left standing in the town proper. As many as thirty eyewitnesses to that night swore that they saw an Abenaki woman riding away from the burning town on the back of a large white wolf. The next morning, when the jail was examined, no sign of Môlsem’s body was found in the ruins. The bones and teeth of the other prisoners, trapped in the locked cells were intact, however. To this day, it is said that the ‘Witch of Greyfriare’ escaped death on the back of a demon wolf. And sometimes, when the moon is full some still see the witch of Greyfriare, riding through the woods on the back of a great white wolf. ”
Suddenly, Morgan heard it through the drumming rain and crashes of thunder: the howling of wolves. Shivers moved up her body and she clutched a growling Priscilla closer as the room grew so cold she could see her breath puffing out in gasps of mist. Through that mist she saw her: The Witch of Greyfriare.
“Oh, my god,” said Morgan in a whisper. Priscilla backed up against her, growling and hissing before yowling and trying to claw at the apparition.
She wore a tunic and leggings of elk skin. Long black hair hung down her back.. Several pouches hung from a wide, beaded belt around her slender waist.
"Y-You … who are you?" Morgan stammered, though she knew just who stood before her.
“You know who I am,” said the woman, looking around the room. “Right now, you are in danger.”
“What do you mean?” asked Morgan, feeling the cold in the room penetrate to her bones as fear took a firmer hold on her, squeezing her heart until her breath came in short gasps - when she remembered to breath at all.
“You have an enemy,” said Môlsem.
“Me?” squeaked Morgan. “Who?”
“A man - he is here now,” said the apparition. “He is growing angrier by the moment because he cannot get in here to harm you. His hatred has festered in him until it is ready to boil over.”
“Wha - what do I do?” asked Morgan. Priscilla calmed in her arms and Morgan released her. The cat walked slowly to the apparition and sniffed at her ankles, then returned to Morgan and lay down beside her.
"Leave him to me," said the ghost. Then Môlsem faded slowly from Morgan's sight. Morgan sat in the leather chair, frozen with fear. She could neither move nor speak until she saw a bright, white blur outside of her window. Morgan went to the window and peered out into the darkness and storm. Through the driving rain, she could just barely make out a dark, crouching figure, hiding in the trees and shrubbery along her driveway. She stared intently at the figure, trying to make out the features, to determine who this "enemy" was, hiding in her bushes.
Suddenly, Morgan let out a horrified scream as a white, grinning face popped up in the window. It was Matt, leering and screaming words she could not hear clearly in the noise of the storm and through the insulation of the thick, reinforced glass of the windows. His message was clear, though as he raised a large, shining knife in the air and struck at the window. The blade bounced off and suddenly the crouched figure in the trees sprang out, a great white wolf landing on Matt's back, growling and snarling.
Morgan watched in terror as the wolf mauled her would-be attacker.
“No!” she cried. The wolf stopped and looked up at her through the window for a moment before running away. Morgan looked and saw the rain washing away the blood. Matt did not move. Morgan turned away from the window, her heart pounding uncomfortably in her chest. She reached for the phone, but it was still dead.
“Oh, god, oh god, oh god,” she whispered in a panic as she sat on the floor, placing her head in her hands.
“What is wrong?” Morgan looked up to see a puzzled Môlsem gazing down on her.
“Is he ... is he ...?”
“Dead? No,” said the ghost. “You stopped Brother Wolf, though the man would have killed you.”
“Yeah, I know,” said Morgan, rising to her feet. “I can’t even call the police to come and lock that psycho out there back up.”
“There is a more important thing to consider now,” said Môlsem, gravely.
“What’s that?” asked Morgan.
“A child is in danger,” said Môlsem.
“What child?” asked Morgan, her eyes wide.
“The Reverend has returned, as so many do this night,” said the spirit. “He considers himself the hand of his god, meting out ‘justice’ and ‘righteousness’ - whatever that is supposed to be. He is trying to enter the body of this child, to push the child’s soul out and take over the body as his own. If he succeeds, this child will grow up to be a great evil in this world. We must stop him.”
“Okay, just give me a minute. This is a lot to take in,” said Morgan, her hand to her head as she tried to believe what was happening. Môlsem frowned, then turned her head and glared at the radio for a moment. Suddenly there was a crackling noise and a voice emerged from the speakers,
“We interrupt this program on this rainy Halloween to give you the latest on little Justin Marks, missing since earlier this evening. The six year old left with a group of older children to go trick or treating but did not return with the group when rain ended their holiday early. Justin was last seen wearing a blue and red superhero costume. He is six years old, has blue eyes and light brown hair. Justin is approximately forty-two inches tall and weighs about 40 pounds. If you see Justin, please contact your local police department immediately.”
“Oh, that poor little boy,” said Morgan. “And his poor parents must be worried sick!”
“Fear not for the parents,” said Môlsem, grimly. “They’ll get their ‘little boy’ back - or what appears to be him. Fear for the whole world if the Reverend Abernathy succeeds in his plans. We have only until sunrise to stop him.”
“How?” asked Morgan, troubled by the thought of such a small child out on his own in the dark and the rain - and on Halloween, a night that was, by popular culture’s way of thinking, “spooky”.
“By becoming what he fears the most,” said Môlsem, her eyes narrowing. “A witch with real power.”
“I’m not a witch. I don’t know anything about being a witch,” said Morgan.
Môlsem looked around at the stacks. “With all this knowledge at your touch, you know nothing?” she said.
“I’ve never really thought about that subject,” said Morgan.
“Yet you honour the holiday most associated with witches,” said the spirit, puzzled.
“Well, I mean, I’ve thought of witches, naturally - just not in relation to myself,” said Morgan.
Môlsem wandered over to Morgan’s desk and looked at the pictures of her grandparents and her parents Morgan had placed there, along with other “trinkets” she’d collected that had some memory or sentiment attached to them. Priscilla jumped up onto Morgan’s desk and hissed protectively at Môlsem’s intrusion.
“You have an altar, icons of your dead ancestors - and a familiar spirit who protects that altar,” said the spirit, amused at the cat’s behavior.
“That is my desk,” said Morgan. “It is where I work - it is not an ‘altar’.”
“The altar is the witch’s desk,” said Môlsem. “It is one of the places a witch ‘works’. You can do this, Morgan - you must.”
“Why me?” asked Morgan. “Why do you appear to me and this ask of me? I don’t know how to do what you’re asking of me.”
“You have eight hours to learn,” said Môlsem, pointing to the stacks. Books began to float across the room and land with quiet thumps upon the table before the leather couch. The lights came back on and the computer booted up with a chime.
“Where do I start?” asked Morgan.
“With finding my bones,” said Môlsem, turning and pointing to the cellar door behind the coffee bar. It swung open with an eerie creak.
“So you didn’t survive the fire,” said Morgan, sadly.
“But I did,” said the spirit. “I am here, am I not?”
“No, I mean - the fire killed you, along with all those other people,” said Morgan.
“My body was consumed, but my spirit was freed,” said Môlsem.
“Then why didn’t they find your remains?” asked Morgan.
“They were not where anyone thought to look,” said Môlsem.
“I don’t understand,” said Morgan.
“You’re stalling,” said Môlsem, a mischievous smile playing about the corners of her mouth. “Think, you are already speaking with a ghost; what could be in the cellar more frightening than that?”
“That’s just it - I don’t know,” said Morgan. “Are your bones down there?”
Môlsem nodded once and pointed again to the open cellar door.
Morgan closed her eyes for a moment, then started towards the door. She stepped into the dark, automatically reaching for the light switch. It came on and Morgan breathed out with relief. She walked down the stairs.
“Why am I looking for your bones? How will that help us de-” began Morgan. Then she realized that Môlsem was not following her down to the dank old cellar. She stepped quickly back up to the door and peeked around. Môlsem stood before the window, glaring out at the rain.
“Hello? What are you doing?” asked Morgan. The spirit turned and looked at her. Morgan saw such sadness on Môlsem’s face, it clutched at her own heart. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” said Môlsem, smiling a tiny smile and wiping the tears from her eyes. “I cannot go down there with you. I cannot bear ... to re-live the horror of that night.”
“Okay,” said Morgan, turning and descending into the cellar. She looked around, wondering where to start searching. “Can you give me a general idea of where to look?” Morgan called up the stairs. There was no answer. Morgan sighed and began walking to the nearest wall. The original dirt floor had been covered in concrete which was cracked in some places. Morgan hadn’t really been down here since her grandfather had died. She realized that she was going to have to hire a contractor to do some repairs - especially where the concrete had pulled away from the old wattle and daub walls in some places. Morgan followed the wall around until she saw, near the ceiling, some the old wooden beams were charred. She followed the wall with her eyes down to the floor and saw the water was seeping in through a crack in the concrete.
“Oh, great!” said Morgan, grabbing a plastic bucket and a handful of rags to try and catch the wayward water. Then she remembered something from when she had originally started the renovations on the house. She ran back up the stairs and to her computer.
“What are you doing?’ asked Môlsem.
“Trying to find what’s left of you,” said Morgan, typing rapidly. A blueprint came up on the screen. Morgan clicked the mouse and the image shrank. Morgan typed some more and another image came up on the screen - a map of the old village from 1697 - one year before the fire.
“See, I wanted to expand - build on to the house, but I wasn’t allowed to because they told me this was a ‘historical landmark’ - because the old courthouse had once stood here,” Morgan began to explain as she continued adjusting both images. “Here! That’s it - that’s where the water is coming from - the old gaol. The hole in the ground - it was deep enough to de-stabilize the ground the walls of the cellar were built against ...”
“Then you will find my remains just a few feet north of there,” said Môlsem, solemnly.
“Under concrete,” Morgan sighed. “I’m afraid there’s no way to retrieve them - not without all kinds of heavy equipment to tear up the concrete.”
Môlsem nodded sadly. “Then we will have to find another way,” she said. “You will have to go to the old cemetery and get some dirt from the Reverend’s grave.”
“Are you nuts?” asked Morgan. “Not only is it pouring rain, it’s Halloween and even more than that, Matt is out there ...”
Once again the radio crackled.
“News Bulletin - we once again interrupt this program to give you latest on little Justin Marks, the six-year old who is missing from trick-or-treating. Witnesses say that the little boy was seen walking towards the old cemetery at about eight-o’clock. When they called to him, the child seemed to not hear them. As the witnesses approached, he ran. Police and volunteers are combing the area around Greyfriare Cemetery but so far have found no sign of Justin. Stay tuned to this station for more updates as this story progresses.”
“That is so unfair,” said Morgan with a sigh. “You’re working on my guilt - you know I can’t let a child come to harm. Besides, with the police swarming the area, Matt will be the least of my worries. He won’t go anywhere near the police no matter what.”
“There are others searching for this child, as well,” said Môlsem. “You can join them, get the dirt, and then ...”
“And then what?” asked Morgan, grabbing a jacket from a hook behind her desk.
“It will come to you when the time is right,” said Môlsem.
“What? You want me to go up against this evil, soul-stealing ghost with just a handful of dirt?” asked Morgan. “What will come to me when the time is right?”
“The words of the spell, and unless you can exhume my bones so that I can do it, I’m afraid we’ve no other choice,” said Môlsem.
“You were a real witch, weren’t you?” asked Morgan.
“That all depends on what you think a ‘witch’ is,” said the spirit. “I did not worship some ‘evil’ thing from their book; I did not - and still don’t - even believe in this thing they called the devil. I never sought to cause harm to any living creature. I knew the ways of nature and was a part of the land of my birth. I knew which herbs would heal and which could harm. I knew the signs of the heavens and the behavior of the creatures of this land. I claimed my power as a child of the Great Spirit and of Mother Earth and Grandmother Spider, who spins and weaves the lives of all the earth’s children. Is that ‘magic’? Is that witchcraft? Not by the definitions of Greyfriare and their Reverend, but I was killed for these things, nonetheless.”
“Why?” asked Morgan. “Why did they kill you? It had to be more than what was in that book - that you healed someone on a day you weren’t supposed to?”
Môlsem looked startled, then remained silent for a moment.
“You have work to do,” she said at last. “The reason for my arrest does not matter.”
“It does to me,” said Morgan.
“Let it go - we do not have time for that now,” said Môlsem.
“Fine,” said Morgan. “But will you tell me later?”
“If I can,” said Môlsem.
Morgan nodded and tried the door. It opened with ease now. Priscilla ran out ahead of her.
“No, Pris - wait here,” said Morgan.
“No - take the cat with you,” said Môlsem. “You will need your familiar.”
Morgan frowned, but left. The rain had let up some and was now just a cold, misty drizzle. Morgan glanced over to the window and saw to her dismay that Matt was gone. Still she kept walking towards the old cemetery which was only a half mile from her house. As she approached, she saw the searchers equipped with flashlights combing the area in and around the cemetery. She clicked on her own torch and began calling Justin’s name, blending in with the volunteers as she made her way to the center of the graveyard.
As Morgan moved away from the main search, she stopped calling for the little boy and walked swiftly and quietly to the Reverend’s grave. The rain had softened the earth so all Morgan had to do scoop some of the wet earth from the ground. She stood and turned and there before her was Matt, grinning, the knife in his hand. Morgan stifled a scream and swung the heavy flashlight at his head while Priscilla hissed and yowled, leaping and clawing him in the face.
“No!” Morgan screamed as he threw Priscilla from him. Blood flowed freely from the fresh scratches Priscilla gave him. The cat landed on her feet a few yards away and shook herself before running back to Morgan.
“I spent two years in that stinkin’ jail, an’ all I thought about was how I was gonna get my paybacks on the bitch who put me there,” said Matt, coming at her, brandishing the knife.
“Stay away from me,” said Morgan, backing away. She tripped over a fallen grave marker and fell. Matt pounced on top of her, holding the knife, poised to strike. All of a sudden Priscilla leaped on his back with a yowl, digging all four sets of claws deep into his flesh. Matt reared back and Morgan threw the muddy dirt she’d been clutching into his face, blinding him. She scrambled to her feet scooped her cat up and ran blindly, hoping to find one of the police officers who were conducting the search.
Priscilla hissed and jumped out of Morgan’s arms, landing and putting her ears back. She growled and Morgan followed the cat’s gaze. She gasped. There stood a man, dressed in Puritan clothes, holding a small boy dressed as a blue and white super-hero by the hand.
“Justin?” said Morgan, her voice barely above a whisper. “Justin, come here, Honey.”
“Back away, Wench,” said the man. “You have no business with us this night. Leave us be and no harm will come to you.”
“No, let the little boy go,” said Morgan, shining the flashlight directly into the man’s eyes. Morgan stifled a scream when she saw that they were empty eye sockets.
“Please, Lady - I want my mama,” the little boy whimpered.
“Let him go, Reverend,” said Morgan, stepping closer.
“Ah, you know who I am,” said the man, grinning. “Then you know that I need to have this vessel on my grave before sunrise - now move!”
“Why on your grave?” asked Morgan, frowning.
“Never mind, Woman - you’re stalling me! Now move, or he will regret it!” said the Reverend with a growl.
“”No - you need him,” said Morgan. “You aren’t going to harm him - not before dawn, anyway.”
“Clever witch,” said the Reverend, snarling at her. “Once I annoint this vessel with the soil of my mortal resting place, then when the sun rises and sends me back, I will be able to take this body as my own.”
“Why pick on a little kid?’ asked Morgan. “This way, you have to start all over again - jeez, puberty alone should be a deterrent!”
“You are keeping me from where I need to be,” said the Reverend, his voice low and angry.
“Yes I am - why can’t you just walk past me?” asked Morgan.
“Witch! You have bewitched me!” cried the Reverend. “I will have you hung - or better, burned!”
“Like you did to your wife and children?” asked Morgan. “Or were they just .... ‘collateral damage’ - victims of the fire you set to kill Môlsem, the Abenaki healing woman?”
“Not my children - or my wife, save in the name of decency - something that savage witch had no concept of,” snarled the Reverend.
“What do you mean?” asked Morgan.
“My brother’s wife,” said the Reverend. “Or rather, his widow. And his children. Out of good Christian charity, I took them into my home after his death, but with no wife of my own to chaperone, I had to marry her for the sake of decency, though her foul witchery never shamed me into her bed; thank the Good Lord, He gave me the strength to keep my chastity.”
“I’m sure she was just as grateful,” said Morgan, rolling her eyes.
“Nay, she was not!” cried the Reverend, letting go of Justin to pound his fist in his hand. “She betrayed me - abetted the escape of that other savage witch after the Good Lord’s court found her guilty!” He raised his empty eyes heavenward and began preaching against the devil and sin.
Morgan grabbed the narrow window of opportunity and grabbed Justin away from the Reverend, picking the little boy up and holding him close to her. So engrossed was the Reverend Repentance Abernathy in his otherworldly “sermon” against the evils of witchcraft and women in general, he did not at first notice that Morgan was backing away from him with Justin in her arms.
She continued backing away until she bumped into a body. Terrified, she whirled around to see Matt. She let go of the little boy and screamed, “Run, Justin!” as Matt grabbed her, holding the knife to her throat. With a presence of mind she’d had no idea she could muster, she elbowed back into Matt’s side and stomped his foot, causing him to drop the knife and let go of her.
Reverend Abernathy was pulled away from his sermon by the disturbance. He reached for Justin who was trying to run past him in the slippery grass.
“No!” Morgan screamed, holding out one hand towards the ghost. She began to chant words she had no idea she’d ever heard or known,
“Black-souled spirit fell
risen from the pits of hell
Begone this night before the day
I command you back into your clay!”
With a horrendous screech, the Reverend began to contort in ways not humanly possible, then disappeared with a “popping” sound. Morgan ran over and helped Justin to his feet. She looked over at Matt. The man was looking at his hands, smiling.
“Oh, yes - this is so much better,” he muttered, feeling his face, then his arms. “This body is so strong! And young enough - there will be time to build my flock, even if it is not a child ...”
“Oh, my god,” Morgan whispered, watching and remembering the “annointing” she had given the felon when she threw the muddy grave earth at him. “Oh - he took Matt’s body instead.”
Matt/Repentance looked up at her and grinned. “Oh, yes - I thank you, Witch,” he said. “You have served me well - and now I shall reward you by saving your soul from hell.”
He picked up the knife and started after Morgan. She grabbed Justin and ran as fast as she could manage in the rain-slicked grass.
“Hold it right there!”
Morgan looked up and saw policemen surrounding them. She breathed a sigh of relief and set Justin down, but Matt still ran towards her with the knife glinting in the light of police flashlights. Suddenly a shot rang out. Matt flew backwards and landed on his back, clutching his shoulder. Blood seeped through his fingers as he rolled back and forth and groaned, but he was still alive.
“You alright, Miss?” asked one of the officers.
“Yes, I’m fine,” said Morgan, gathering Justin into her arms again. “And so is he, I think.” Priscilla sauntered up to the pair and Justin let go of Morgan to pick up the cat and cuddle her.
Officers approached Matt, guns drawn, then lifted him and cuffed his hands behind his back. One picked up the knife with two fingers while another pulled the wallet from his back pocket and read the name off of his driver’s license.
“Matthew Grant,” he said. “You are under arrest for kidnaping and attempted murder. You have the right to remain silent ...”
Morgan listened to the officer read him his rights as they led him away.
“Justin!” The child looked up and set Priscilla down, grinning as he ran to his parents.
“We’ll need your statement, Miss ...?” asked one of the police officers.
Morgan looked up at him and smiled. “Of course, I understand - but can it wait for tomorrow? I’m ... I’m exhausted,” she said, wanting to get home to talk to Môlsem.
“Of course,” said the officer. “Just a couple of questions, then if you’ll just come into the station tomorrow morning and give us a full statement?”
“Yes, absolutely,” said Morgan.
Morgan told them she had heard about Justin on the news and had decided to join the volunteers searching for the boy. She had found him with his abductor, distracted the man, then grabbed Justin and tried to escape. It wasn’t exactly a lie; if the officer chose to believe that Matt was the original abductor of little Justin - well, they would still be right, now that the Right Reverend Repentance Abernathy was inhabiting Matt’s body.
“You were lucky; we ran his name through the system,” said another officer, approaching the two. “He’s a violent felon - just got out of jail for assault.”
“I know - I was the one who put him there,” said Morgan, wryly.
“Well, that’s interesting,” said the first officer, looking at Morgan. “Interesting coincidence.”
“You’ll never have to worry about him again - kidnaping, attempted murder - this is his third strike,” said the second officer, waving away the first’s suspicions. “He will never see the light of day in anything other than prisoner orange again.”
“As long as we can get him convicted,” said the first officer, rolling his eyes.
“Oh, I will be happy to testify,” said Morgan, her eyes narrowing.
“That and the knife should be pretty much all we need,” said the second officer, cheerfully.
“Ma’am, I think we’re done for the night,” said the first officer taking one last look at his notes. “If you’ll come in to the station around nine o’clock tomorrow morning and just ...uh, fill in your statement, I think we can get you a ride home tonight.”
“Thank you,” said Morgan, picking up Priscilla and walking towards the police car indicated by the second officer.
She arrived home and stepped into the bookstore. All was as she had left it except that Môlsem was no where to be seen. With a sigh, Morgan set Priscilla down and locked the door, re-setting the alarm system as she did. She wandered over to the coffee bar and started a pot of French Roast, then sat down on the leather couch. It was then she noticed that the stack of books Môlsem had originally put on the table were gone; they had been replaced by the original The Infamous Witch of Greyfriare. Curious, Morgan picked up the book and began riffling through the pages until she came upon the chapter on Reverend Repentance Abernathy.
“The Reverend was the brother of one Robert Abernathy, a well-liked fisherman from north of Greyfriare. He emigrated to New England from England after the death of his brother and took it upon himself to save the souls of the widow and children of his late brother. No one is quite certain why this was such a mission for the Reverend, but it was speculated that Robert’s widow was half Abenaki and their children were also part “savage” through her.
“Repentance and Ruth were married just three years before the great fire which nearly destroyed Greyfriare and took the lives of Ruth and her three children. It was known by the villagers that the last three years of Ruth’s life were not happy ones.”
Morgan sighed sadly. “No, I imagine that they weren’t,” she said.
“After their deaths, Abernathy was ostracised by the villagers who blamed him for inciting them to burn the Abenaki Healing woman known as Sokoki, or more probably, Môlsem. In an act of penance, the Reverend put out his own eyes, declaring that God would heal him and on that day, he and the villagers would ‘see the light’. Repentance Abernathy lived the rest of his life a blind man and died eight years after the fire when he fell into the old abandoned pit that had once been the village gaol - the same pit to which he had consigned the Abenaki healer before her trial.”
“Ironic justice,” muttered Morgan, then she chuckled. “Ironic justice twice over – he succeeded in coming back into a human body only to be jailed for the rest of that body’s life.”
Morgan paged back through the book until she found the ink drawing of Môlsem. Her eyes detected subtle differences in the drawing she hadn’t seen before.
“That wasn’t you, tonight, was it?” she said aloud, then shivered as the air grew chill.
“No,” said the spirit.
“Ruth,” said Morgan.
“Yes,” the spirit bowed her head.
“Ruth, you saved a child tonight - and stopped that evil spirit from doing more harm,” said Morgan.
“Yes, but I could not save my own babies,” said the spirit sadly.
“What happened that night?” asked Morgan.
“He caught me helping my kinswoman to escape,” said Ruth with a sigh. “He did not know of my heritage until he saw us together.”
“He was blind even before he put his eyes out,” said Morgan, looking again at the picture in the book.
“Yes,” said Ruth. “Oh, no doubt he may have suspected, but he didn’t really know until then. He said that I would pay, that I was irredeemable because of my ‘savage’ blood and my children too, bore that ‘tainted’ blood. We would all pay for my ‘sin’ and the sin of his brother. Oh, my beloved Robert!”
The spirit released a long pent up sob.
“Why did you marry the Reverend? Couldn’t you have just gone to the Abenaki?” asked Morgan, gently.
“I suppose,” said Ruth, composing herself. “My Robert was a wonderful man - I had hoped his brother would be like him. That was my folly and it cost my children their lives. At first, he was kind and wonderful. But then, after I married him when it was too late, he was cruel. He beat me and my children over the least infraction of his book.”
“Ruth, I’m so sorry,” said Morgan, eyeing the grey skies of pre-dawn through the window. “Why didn’t the villagers help you?”
“Because ... you have to remember how times were then,” said Ruth. “I was still very much an outsider.”
“They haven’t changed all that much,” said Morgan.
“That is why I came to you, Morgan,” said Ruth. “I thought, of all people, you would understand. I must go now.”
The spirit started to fade.
“Wait!” Morgan cried, but the spirit was gone as the first ray of morning sun shot through the window.
Morgan waited as long as she could before calling Molly.
“Morgan, you’re a hero!” cried Molly the next day. Morgan had called her best friend to accompany her to the police station; she figured she could use the moral support and it would give Molly the added feeling of security to know that Matt was never going to be able to come after her again.
“No, not really,” said Morgan.
“Ah, ye’re always so humble,” said Molly. She listened to Morgan’s account to the police of the previous night’s rescue of little Justin Marks with wide eyes. Morgan left out the part of seeing Matt at her window.
“The guy’s raving,” said one of the officers. “We won’t even have to go to trial - seems he thinks he’s the spirit of some dead preacher guy. His lawyer doesn’t even want to try and get him off; he’ll be locked up in some hospital for the rest of his natural life - and if he does manage to get cured, then he’ll still have to stand trial - and this was his third strike. He’s never coming out again, Ladies.”
Morgan found herself missing Ruth. In fact, the ghost haunted her days and nights.
Outsiders and kindred spirits, thought Morgan. She was right; I do understand just how she felt ... still, I’m becoming obsessed and that is not a good thing ...
The contractor Morgan hired to replace the concrete floor in the cellar was shocked to find bones buried only a foot or so beneath the original packed dirt floor, but not as shocked as he was by Morgan’s complete lack of surprise that they were there.
“Oh, Ruth, there you are,” she said a little sadly, as if she had merely misplaced someone or something and there it was.
Morgan had Ruth’s remains buried in the Greyfriare cemetery, alongside Robert Abernathy and their three children.
Every so often, she would go to the cemetery and lay a rose on each grave. “Finally, you’re at rest,” she whispered each time. Morgan knew that she had done all she could by making sure she’d been buried next to her family, but still she thought about the spirit all the time.
Then one October morning, one year after she’d rescued the little boy from the evil spirit of Reverend Abernathy, Morgan was paying a visit to the graves. As she turned to leave the cemetery, she was startled by a white wolf some distance away. Morgan hurried towards the wolf, but as she left the shade from the great willow tree under which Ruth had been buried, the bright sunlight dazzled her eyes, blinding her for a moment. When her vision cleared, the wolf was gone and in her place was a beautiful, dark-haired woman.
"Ruth?" she whispered. "No, Môlsem."
"Excuse me?" said the woman, smiling.
Morgan realized that this woman was probably from Abenaki blood, but she was no ghost.
"I'm sorry," said Morgan, walking towards the woman. "I thought you were someone else."
"I'm Fran," said the woman. "I was curious – I know why I'm at this grave, but why are you?"
"I - I found the bones in my cellar," said Morgan. "Ruth Abernathy's bones."
"You found Sakukia – that is the name her own people gave her," said Fran. "How did you know it was her?"
"You would not believe me if I told you," said Morgan.
"I am a descendent of her kinswoman, Môlsem," said Fran. "I found her while I was researching my family tree. I thought I would come and pay my respects since if it wasn't for her helping Môlsem escape, I would not be here."
"I will leave you to it, then," said Morgan, respectfully turning to leave.
"Wait!" Fran called after her. "Do you know anyplace good to go for coffee in Greyfriare?"
Morgan looked into Fran's dark eyes and found a comforting familiarity there.
"I know the best place for coffee in Greyfriare," she said. "Come on – I'm buying. And I want to hear all about Môlsem's life after she escaped."
"It's a deal," said Fran and the two women walked back to Morgan's place together.