Friday, July 3, 2009

A Bell Witch Story by Adam Moorad

A Bell Witch Story
by Adam Moorad

The Bell Witch got a job in downtown Atlanta for a television station that broadcasted the news. Her job was to circulate information that would boost ratings and, as a result, increase advertisement revenue for the television station and its shareholders. She did this by pitching news stories on letter-headed memos about Hamas missile attacks on Israelites, about meth-related crime in rural Appalachia, or about busty Virgin Mary models stirring outrages in Italy. She would say, "We're live," and the stories would get sucked into the studio cameras and pumped into every television screen in every home across the country. The Bell Witch hated this life.

One day she was listening to the radio at work when she heard a report come on where a caller claimed that witches should still be burned at the stake. "They're evil," the caller said. "They're sickly and unattractive and not a single witch has ever done one good thing in all of human history." The Bell Witch turned the radio off. After work that day, she went for a walk along the banks of the Chattahoochee River and let her feet soak in the brown tide. She began to sob, quietly at first, but before she could help it, she was wailing sorrowful cries. Tears fell off her face and into the water below.

A few days later the Bell Witch was walking down the sidewalk on her way to work when she passed a newsstand. There were stacks of magazines and she paged through several of them. Angelina Jolie was on the cover of one. She was wearing a handsome dress and was smiling with pearly white teeth. The Bell Witch looked Angelina over and examined her beautiful cheekbones and her voluptuous set of lips. She held the magazine and, slowly, traced her own set of lips with her scabby fingers. When the man who ran the stand saw her, he said impolitely, "This ain't no library lady." The Bell Witch looked at him and, when she saw his mean eyes staring back, she made one of her horrifying faces where her tongue lashes out and swings like a whip around her mouth and her eyes grow black like those on a skull and the hair on her head frills up straight as if she were being electrocuted.

When the man saw this, he took off running down the street in fright, leaving his stand abandoned and screaming, "Witch! Help! A Witch!" The Bell Witch smiled to herself and continued to page through the magazine, setting one down only to pick up another. But soon the man returned with the police. "She's the one," said the man. "She's the witch!" The police handcuffed the Bell Witch and took her to the police station and put her in a holding cell. She stayed there for a several days. With her one phone call, she called her office and they told her she was fired for being a witch. She was not surprised.

A few days later, a priest came to see her. He sat down at a table across from her. The priest looked at the Bell Witch and asked her, "When was your last confession my dear?" She did not say anything. The priest asked her if he could get her anything and she shook her head no. They sat there in silence for a while, with the Bell Witch looking at the floor and the priest looking more and more eagerly at the Bell Witch. "Could I see your toes?" He asked her finally. The Bell Witch looked up but did not respond. "Please?" The priest said. "I promise I won't touch them." He was beginning to sweat. "It's so very hard being a priest," he said with a stutter as he produced a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed his sticky brow. The Bell Witch looked at him not knowing what to say. "I'll tell you what," the priest began. "If you show me your toes, I can probably get you out of here early for good behavior." The Bell Witch shrugged her shoulders and lifted up her ankle-length dress that concealed her hairy legs to expose her feet. Her nails were black and the area between each toe was caked with mud and gunk. "Oh – Thank you," said the priest, exhaling loudly. "Thank you very much indeed." He was out of breath.

Before she left, the Bell Witch was told to sign a paper promising that she would appear at the Fulton County Court six weeks from today. She looked over at the priest. He nodded with assurance and she signed.

A few hours later, the Bell Witch was out of the city. She had gone to the place along the Chattahoochee River where she knew she could be alone. She began to cry and tears gushed from her eyeballs. They dripped from the tips of her fingers and into the river. As she cried, the trees along the banks began to rustle. The wind began to blow harder and the sky began to grow darker, as if her emotions commanded the weather. The river grew choppy and a fish leap out of the water onto the dry banks. It landed in the orange Georgia dirt and flapped sadly. When the Bell Witch saw this, she stopped crying. She got up and went over to the fish and picked it up. It was a small with spiny little fins that tickled the Bell Witch's hand. "Just a baby," she thought. Its scales felt slimy against her skin as she dried the tears from her eyes. As the sky began to clear and the sun came back out, the Bell Witch bit the head off the baby fish and ate it for lunch. The bones crunched and snapped in her mouth as she chewed.

Author bio:

Adam's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Underground Voices, decomP , Red Fez, DOGZPLOT, Titular, insolent rudder, Ducts, among other places. He is also a contributor to the Nashville Scene and the Huffington Post. He lives in Brooklyn and works in publishing. Find him here:

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