2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist
Quakers throughout the room had put their silence aside, and the meetinghouse began to hum
with their voices. More than a few people demanded that Nathan reveal the witch.
“You’ve given your warnings,” John Lewis called out above the other voices. “Now
give us her name!”
Nathan stared at me with unabashed hatred. “The spirit commands me to reveal the
witch!” he thundered, pointing a finger in my direction. “It was Selah Kilbrid that I saw in vision,
selling her soul to the Devil.”
A hushed silence fell over the meetinghouse as every eye turned in my direction. I sat
ramrod straight under their gaze, my chin slightly raised. Nora and Anne kept a firm hold on
each of my hands. Henry was poised to spring at the first hint of danger.
“You’re mistaken, Nathan,” Anne said calmly. “Selah is not a witch.”
“The spirit is not wrong!” Nathan cried. His nostrils flared and his eyes blazed like a
maniac. “Selah Kilbrid is the Devil’s whore!”
Confusion and shouting took over the meetinghouse. Several women hurried to get a
safe distance away from me.
“Mark Flanders lost a heifer two days ago,” a man shouted from the crowd.
“It died of acorn poisoning,” William yelled back angrily.
“Maybe it was Selah and she just made it look like the cow had eaten too many acorns,”
“Maybe you need to shut your mouth before I come over and shut it for you!” William
shouted, standing to face the man.
“Let the witch speak for herself!” the man yelled back.
During this exchange, Henry came over and pulled me protectively to his side. Nora
and Anne also stood, keeping close. Allison started to walk toward me, only to be stopped by her
mother, who looked uncertain. When William joined us, Henry leaned over to whisper
something in his ear. William nodded and then hurried toward the back door.
I stood stone still, my heart pounding painfully as my name spread through the crowd
outside, bringing more people into the meetinghouse to see me. The space in the middle quickly
disappeared, taken up by those being pushed forward to make room.
“Order!” Gideon bellowed, standing on a bench. “We will have order in God’s House!”
One by one, people fell silent, waiting for what the Elder would do next.
“Selah, please step forward,” Gideon instructed.
I did as he bid me, brushing past Nathan on my way. Henry stayed at my arm, a threat
to anyone who dared harm me.
“Selah, are you willing to answer some questions?” Gideon asked. He was all
seriousness, but from the concern in his eyes, I knew he meant to help.
I nodded and turned to face the crowd. Looking out at the mass of people, I was
amazed by my complete lack of fear.
Author Kari Edgren Kari Edgren did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, she dreamed of everything else and was often made to stay inside during kindergarten recess to practice her letters. Despite doting parents and a decent school system, Ms. Edgren managed to make it through elementary school having completed only one book cover to cover – The Box Car Children, which she read approximately forty-seven times. Things improved during high school, but not until she read Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in college, did she truly understand the power of a book. Ms. Edgren aspires to be a Vulcan, a world-acclaimed opera singer, and two inches taller. She resides in the Pacific NW where she spends a great deal of time torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts. Ms. Edgren hasn’t stopped dreaming, but has finally mastered her letters enough to put the stories on paper.
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