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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: Witch Family Tree
By Nichole Hall


“How can that be?” Parker asked as she reached for the family Bible.

“I’m telling you. We do.” Libby said as she plopped down beside Parker trying not to spill her big bowl of popcorn and water she had carried in with her.

Parker thumbed through the first few pages of the Bible stopping at the family history. She had not completed any research herself but those who had gone on before her had left her a legacy to follow. Her finger pointed to the line second from the top. “There she is. Annabelle Jackson.”

“Told you.” Libby leaned over to see for herself what Parker had just read.

“But it doesn’t say what she was.”

“Like it’s going to say Annabelle Jackson head witch of the family. Come on Parker. Don’t be so dense.”

Parker let her insecurity take advantage of her and stuck out her tongue at her older sister like she had when she was eight.”

“Feel better?”

“Yes. Look at this Libby.” Parker pulled out a bookmark made of red hair. It was braided and had a purple ribbon intertwined. She guessed it was about a foot in length and the ribbon braided throughout had tails that wrapped around the braid finishing it off.

Libby popped a handful of popcorn in her mouth. She reached over taking the braided bookmark from her sister’s hands. “Did you see this?” Libby fingers found the ribbon’s tails. Her eyes caught the lettering. “A Jackson 1692.”

Parker’s brown eyes met Libby’s blue. She studied their lineage in the front of the Bible. “Her death date was 1692. You don’t think she burned do you?” She followed the tree down one level and saw that she had had two children. One five, the other eight. “Her children died sixty years later, so they must not have burned with her.”

“What about before her?” Libby shoved another palm full of popcorn in her mouth. “When did her mother die?”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full.” Parker chided as she skimmed the page once more. “1642. There’s no birthdate or birthplace listed. And no record she was ever married.”

“Fifty years prior to her own death.” Libby washed the popcorn down with the water she had brought with her to the sofa. “1642…why is that date sticking out in my mind?” She let her mind wonder back to what she’d learned in college. She snapped her finger and sat up straight. “That’s right! 1642.”

“You gonna let me in on this secret of yours?” Parker reached over Libby and tossed a few pieces of popcorn in her own mouth.

“If memory serves, that was when there were witch trials like in Salem, but in France. I remember briefly studying that in college when we studied the Salem Witch Trials. It started in Europe and about the time the persecution ended over there it began in the new world, give or take ten years.”

“So you think her mother was a witch too?”

Libby shrugged, “That’s the way it usually works.”

Parker tossed around the new information in her mind. Was it possible their ancestors were witches? Parker and Libby had been raised as God fearing children and all they had learned growing up taught them that witchcraft was the work of the devil. So if their parents and grandparents were God fearing people, when had it changed? At what point in their family line had one person taken a stand and turned away from what the family had always been? Had it been their parents? Their grandparents? Where had it started and who had changed it?

Parker studied the tree one more time. Now that their closest relatives were gone all they had to go by was this Bible and whatever else they could find in the attic. According to the good book their family history ended with her parents in Louisiana, but there was enough information lined out to show their family had come to the Americas from France. Annabelle had been born there, after all. But that’s where the well went dry. She looked back at the family history seeing that it all started with Annabelle’s mother. Her mother was the key. She was the beginning. And most often, that's where the answers were.

She put the Bible on the coffee table, stood up and grabbed Libby’s hand pulling her up from the couch. “Come on.”

“Where are we going?” Libby asked reaching for one last bite of popcorn.


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This article has been read 463 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/21/10
You told an exciting tale. I'm eager to read what happens next. You did a nice jobshowing the sisters' dialog and setting the scene. Make sure you hit the preview buttonbefore you hit submit that'll show you the glitch with the italics. Nice job.
Sarah Elisabeth 10/21/10
Your title was a great hook! Loved the journey these two sisters are on.

Really good writing here!
Jan Ackerson 10/24/10
I like the little details (like the bowl of popcorn) that make this story seem true to life.

It read more like a middle chapter in a longer work than a complete short story; I'd have liked some sort of closure. What does knowing about their ancestry imply for these characters? Incidentally--those who were accused of witchcraft in the trials are generally considered now to have been innocent. I'd like to have seen that acknowledged--maybe that's what they'll discover in France!

Agreeable characters and a mood of adventure make this a pleasant read.
Cheryl Harrison10/25/10
Your writing skills are evident. I don't see you staying in beginners for very long at all. Your story is a novel in the making. Would love to see you take it further.
Caitlyn Meissner10/27/10
What an interesting idea. It does sound like a chapter in book, what with the ending. I enjoyed reading it. Good job!