I went to high school with this girl named Elaine. My papa would have said she was “ugly as sin”- something I’d only heard him say about disfigured dogs. But he never met Elaine. I had no idea how that was possible, out here just outside the limits of Amish country where everyone knew each other, but he would swear up and down he never met her.
Elaine hated me: because I was a Christian, because my family was the only one that had money, because I looked normal, whatever. She hated me with a passion. She was the only one who didn’t go to church. We used to joke that she just couldn’t get her fat ass up the steps, but… there was something wrong with her. Dead wrong. Elaine didn’t have any friends. Elaine never showed up on social media. She was more than a regular outcast.
It was in middle school I started watching her. Whenever I could get a break from my friends, I would simply watch Elaine, observe her movements, look out for anything strange… She spent a lot of time looking at the sky. I almost gave up- but something was just horribly, horribly off with her. I had to find out what it was.
I made my first real discovery in my freshman year. I caught Elaine walking home from school. I wanted to say hi, almost- sure, I was still suspicious of her, but I was starting to think it was all in my head.
I’m glad I didn’t, but I could have lived without seeing her kill that frog.
She picked it up by the creek and squeezed it until it was almost dead. She slammed it down on a rock- I wanted to shout “Hey, bitch, the poor thing’s dead”- but I didn’t. I couldn’t. Something stopped me.
She started dissecting it. It was in pieces when she threw it back in the river.
I stopped watching her after that. I prayed that God would let me forget it. But He didn’t. I was the only one who knew. I was the only one who could do something.
Two months later, I saw Tom Mittelbaugh push her in the hallway and his trailer caught on fire.
A year after that, Lara Sanderson threw up in the lunchroom. It turned out she was pregnant. Lara wouldn’t do something that stupid, anyway, but she ended up losing the baby. We got the news on Elaine’s birthday.
She would have failed geometry if Mr. Harlow hadn’t have had a heart attack after the midterm. He didn’t like her, either. He was a retired priest.
Then, she decided to do something to me. I don’t know what she wanted, but she started infecting my mind, becoming all I could think about. It was prayer that saved me- but God didn’t strike down Elaine. He didn’t take her out of my head. God told me to stop her from hurting anyone else.
I knew her routine. It hadn’t changed much from middle school: what was she going to do, hang out with the friends she didn’t have?
Her house was far from the school. A long, long walk through the woods. I remembered the frog. I jumped her in the same place she killed it.
It started with a strike to the neck with my brother’s hunting knife.
She didn’t scream, just went down.
I could feel that what I did was right. If I was in the wrong, why did it feel so good to slide the knife through Elaine’s skin?
I turned her over. Stabbed her in the heart. I baptized myself in her blood, sanctified by the Lord.
My heart was racing as I prayed to Him, straddling Elaine’s pale corpse, and felt God’s smile upon me as I carried out His duty to completion. I wasn’t mean enough to leave her in the woods. I had plans- there was a pit near the lake where the boys hid their coolers when they went drinking. Perfect shape and size to hide a body, all I had to do was fill it with dirt and sand. It was at the edge of the forest, too- maybe I planned a little too well? Whatever. In the ground, she wouldn’t hurt anyone.
When burying her, I felt at peace. I decided to officially complete a job well done with a kiss before filling her mouth with sand and dirt. I waded into the lake to get all of the blood off me. Witch’s blood, made holy by my deed.
As I splashed my face with the cool water- watched it reflect a wide open sky, untainted by light pollution on a clear night so I could see the heavens unrestrained, I had a realization.
There are so many fucking witches in this town.