They don’t burn witches any more…do they?
Fiona MacLeod returns to Dunmorgan to gain revenge for Gran’s burning as a witch a decade ago. Friends accompanying Fiona have a row and in their tempers use the word ‘witch’. The villagers’ attitudes are ancient, and the friends are soon on trial for witchcraft. To avoid the stake Fiona must confront the charismatic but brutal Blue Eyed Man. She must also take on the sadistic villagers who were responsible for Gran’s death, and who are desperate for another burning.
“Don’t burn me.” Bonnie’s wide eyes fixed on the flames dancing from the firebrand. “I’m really sorry I upset you. Please don’t burn me.”
“Maybe The Good Lord can show you mercy.”
Bonnie met the Blue Eyed Man’s gaze. “I haven’t done anything to deserve it. Please.”
His fists found his hips again, and Fiona was sure he spoke the crowd’s entertainment as much as to Bonnie. “Maybe God will forgive you, if you repent of your witchery.”
Bonnie cocked her head.
“Do it, Bon.” Ashmati shrieked. “Do it, and they’ll let you go. Just repent.”
“I’m sorry, for whatever I’ve done. I’m sorry.”
The crowd muttered, but The Blue Eyed Man’s raised hand demanded silence. He leaned closer to Bonnie. His voice lowered to a whisper, but still carried around the horseshoe. “They say, if the executioner is skilled and the fire is kept under control, death by burning can take two hours. We’re not particularly skilled—we don’t tend to have cleansings lasting more than an hour.”
The crowd laughed. Bonnie looked into his eyes. “Please…”
Spotty giggled. “Was that, ‘please can we try for two hours,’ witch?”
The Blue Eyed Man continued. “If you repent, witch. If you admit your sins, and renounce witchcraft…”
“Do it!” Ashmati screamed. “Just say it!”
“I’m sorry.” Bonnie whispered.
“I denounce witchcraft.”
“Repent of your witchery.”
Bonnie looked at Ashmati.
Ashmati’s fists clenched. “Say it! Just fucking say it!”
“I repent of my witchery.”
“That is good, my dear.” The Blue Eyed Man’s eyes remained cold as he faced the crowd. He flicked a thumb toward Bonnie.
“Now, burn her.”