Ann Jr. arrived in the kitchen. She seemed unaffected after the onslaught in the church. Ann helped Tituba carry breakfast to Betty and Abigail without a complaint.
“Last night after Father brought me home,” Ann said, “my mother complained that you are afflicted children. Mother said bad spirits from the Devil are waiting to hurt us. She has feared such things for a long time.”
Ann glided her finger around inside a small pot of porridge like she was waiting for a reaction. Betty, under triple blankets, lifted her head off the mattress. “Why should we be afflicted? We are good girls.”
Ann produced a horsehair poppet and twisted the stiff arms. “Mother says to look for a stranger, a short man in a black coat.”
“A strange man has no business with us. We are good girls,” Abigail affirmed.
Ann tittered, “Father says most everyone will go to Hell, even some saints among us.” She dipped her fingers into the food and flicked a particle at Abigail.
“We shan’t go to Hell, shan’t we, Betty?” Abigail retorted.
Betty’s chest whistled as she labored to breathe. A coughing spasm ended the discussion.
Hours after she cleaned up after breakfast, Tituba looked in on the children and lit a fresh candle. Except for Ann, the other two had eaten little.
“I have brought you fresh bread and butter with honey. You must eat to regain your strength.”
Betty was still in bed, with her hands clasped above the covers. When Tituba looked more closely, she noticed the child was wringing her hands.
“What is it, Betty?”
“I had a dream. A great black man came to me and he said, if I abide by him, I should have whatsoever I desire, and go to a Golden City.”
“Abide by him? Does that mean, let him take you away?”
She had no answer.
Ann fed bits of bread to Betty. “I saw that old beggar woman, Sarah Good, at our house this morning. She brought along her lousy daughter Dorothy to help her beg.”
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