Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chapter 18

The next week and a half went by without incident. The group handed in their papers that first Monday after what was now being referred to by Alex, Nick, Chase, and Faith as “the intervention with Reese.”

Reese hadn’t contacted any of them, but he wasn’t at odds with them anymore either. It was as if both sides called a truce and peace had settled on Chatwick Hollow.

Alex knew that it was a false sense of peace though, at least for himself and his friends. For them, it was more like the calm before the storm. Each day that passed brought them closer to the final showdown with David Godfrey/the Dark Power. The group had been using that time wisely—practicing their natural magic and creating protective charms.

Tonight, the night before the final battle, the four of them would head out to the circle for one last session. For now, they had to make it through the school day acting like everything was normal.

Alex walked into Mr. Kovacs’ class and sat in a desk next to Faith, Nick, and Chase. He looked back and gave a slight nod to Reese who returned the gesture. Luke, Cole, and the rest of Reese’s gang still couldn’t figure out what exactly had occurred to change the dynamic between the two boys, but they followed Reese’s lead and were keeping up the truce. Turning back around, Alex heaved a sigh and got out his Early American history book and opened up to the section on the Salem Witch Trials. They were finishing up the section today. Thank God, Alex thought to himself. He really didn’t want to hear any more about the persecution of witches.

The bell rang and Mr. Kovacs spoke as he handed back the papers, “Good afternoon, folks. It looks like we got a mixed bag in regards to the grades received on the Salem Witch Trial papers. Some of you really took the topic seriously and came up with some pretty plausible conjectures; others, it seems, stuck to the more typical and mundane.”

As students got their papers back and checked their grades moans could be heard from select students.

“A ‘D’?! My mother is going to kill me,” Layla hissed out as she shoved her paper into her bag.

Mr. Kovacs continued on, “Understandably, many of you used the same resources and therefore came up with some similar causes; however, there were those of you came up with some new and intriguing theories. I applaud your efforts.”

Alex looked down at his paper and saw an ‘A’ at the top. He stole a glance over at Nick’s and Faith’s and saw As at the top of their papers as well. Unable to see Chase’s, Alex whispered, “What did you get?”

Before Chase could answer, Mr. Kovacs cut in, “Most of you stuck with the themes of fear, money, power, greed, and hysteria. However, there were some unique theories among you. One of the most surprising theories came from our own Faith Martin and Chase Pruitt.”

Chase ducked his head, but not before Alex saw the scowl on his face. Looks of disbelief spread around the room. If there was one thing that Chase was not known for, it was academic excellence. Faith merely looked at Chase with a dumbfounded expression on her face.

“I’ve actually never heard this particular theory before. Chase would you care to share your theory?” Mr. Kovacs asked.
“No,” was Chase’s terse reply.
“No thank you”
“Allow me to share then. These two wrote of forbidden love. Not between John Proctor and Abigail Williams as The Crucible would have you believe, but between John Proctor’s son, William, and one of his father’s accusers, Mary Walcott.”

“Forbidden love?” Alex said aloud glaring at Chase. Snickers were heard around the room. Chase sunk down even lower into his chair, struggling to mask his humiliation.

Faith simply shook her head in disbelief, how had Chase written about the same thing? Sure, they had done their research together, but that was it. Faith tuned back into what Mr. Kovacs was saying.

“Well, let me clarify that these two actually wrote the same theory, but from different perspectives. Faith looked at the story from Mary’s perspective and Chase from William’s.”
“What happened between William and Mary? Were they some kind of colonial Romeo and Juliet?” Layla asked Mr. Kovacs.
“You could say that. The story goes like this: William is believed to have been quiet and submissive to his father’s authoritative nature. On the other hand, Mary was vivacious, pretty, and tended to get herself into mischief. William was drawn to Mary to two fell secretly in love knowing that his father wouldn’t approve of Mary the young couple would meet in the woods whenever they had the chance. One night, William and Mary were caught by William’s father, John Proctor. Angry at his son for such behavior; but unwilling to blame his son, John Proctor accused Mary of seducing his son and attacked her. William stopped his father from trying to strangle Mary and being the acquiescent son that he was, he returned home with his father promising to never meet with Mary again.”
“How tragic!” Layla exclaimed.
“There’s more,” Mr. Kovacs continued, “Mary was desperate to have William come back to her and in her desperation made a terrible mistake. She assumed that if she could get John out of the way, she and William could be together forever. So, she did the one thing she knew for sure would allow her and William to be together…”
“She accused him of witchcraft,” Alex said, realization dawning on him.
“Exactly, Mr. Martin. What do you think happened next, class?”

Layla waved her hand emphatically in the air, nearly coming out of her seat.
“Yes, Layla?”
“Well, if this is going to be a Romeo and Juliet story, I’d have to say that her plan backfired and they didn’t end up together. Did they die in each other’s arms?”
“Not exactly. But you’re right, they didn’t end up together. John Proctor was imprisoned and then hanged. William, feeling betrayed by not only his father but also by the girl that he loved, died a few years after the Salem Witch Trials ended. And poor Mary, ended up marrying and moving away. No one is sure of how she lived her life or how she died; no headstone has ever been found for her.”

“That is so romantic,” Layla said with a sigh.

“Romantic? What is so romantic about two kids who messed around and in the process contributed to the deaths of 25 people? That girl basically killed her boyfriend’s father. It’s pathetic, not romantic,” Chase said, disdain dripping from his voice.

“They’re not pathetic,” Faith countered. “They were young and foolish, but they weren’t pathetic. They were two teenagers, who simply wanted to be together; but William wasn’t man enough to stand up to his father, so Mary, in her naivete, did what she thought would be best for both of them. She didn’t know she’d essentially sentence John Proctor to death.”

“Oh, so because she ‘did it for love’ it makes her actions excusable? I don’t think so, Faith. As for whether or not William was ‘a man’ or not, that’s debatable. He was doing what his father told him, last time I checked most teenagers are subordinate to their parents,” Chase spat back.

Faith turned in her chair to face Chase, “I’m not saying her actions should be excused, I’m just saying that she was just trying to be happy. And fine, William was just being a good son, but what about his happiness? Didn’t that count for anything?”

“Not if lives were at stake,” Chase said curtly.
“Whatever, Chase. Like you know best…” Faith turned back around in her chair with a huff.
“And you do?”
“That’s enough, Chase,” Mr. Kovacs said stepping in between the two feuding friends. “As you can see, they had two very different points of view on the same theory.” Mr. Kovacs slowly stepped back, determined that Faith and Chase were going to behave themselves, and returned to the front of the room.

“Well, that completes our section on the Salem Witch Trials. If you have questions regarding the grades you received on your papers, please see me after class. As of tomorrow we will be starting on the French and Indian War. Please read the first two sections of Chapter Four and complete questions 1, 2, 4, and 6 for homework.”

The bell rang signaling the end of class. Faith gathered her books, shoved past Chase and exited the room without a backward glance.

“Chase,” Alex placed his hand on his friend’s shoulder, “now isn’t the time to create dissention among the troops. We all have to be able to work together.”
“Yeah, well, maybe you should tell her that. I’m going to class.” Chase shrugged Alex’s hand off of his shoulder and stalked off to his last class of the day. Alex could hear him grumbling something about what a “great birthday” it’s been so far.

“Happy Birthday!” Alex called sarcastically after Chase. Then, turning to look at Nick he added, “Why do I have the feeling that their little tiff had nothing to do with their papers?”
Nick gave Alex a sympathetic slap on the back, “Let’s get to class, man. Maybe you’ll have better luck with Faith.”

Alex slid into the desk next to his cousin. Faith looked over at him and saw how bewildered and tired he looked. He held his head in his hands with his elbows propped on the desk top and his long legs were sprawled off to either side of this desk because they couldn’t fit underneath. Feeling sorry for her cousin, Faith poked him in the arm. Alex turned his head in her direction and gave a lop-sided smile.
“What’s the matter, Alex?”
“I’m just worried.”
“The fight with the Dark Power?”
“That, and some other things… I just want us to be prepared. We have to be ready. We have to be able to work together.”
“Don’t worry about Chase and me. If he wants to be an idiot, I’m fully prepared to humor him. I’m not going to jeopardize our lives simply because I don’t get along with him.”
“That’s comforting.”
“You can count on me Alex. I have an idea about what to go over during our last magic session tonight.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“Just something that might give our spell-casting a little boost.”
“Alright. We’ll start right after school.”
The bell rang.

So this is it, Alex thought to himself, this could be my last class. He opened his notebook and feigned interest in the class for the next 50 minutes.

No comments:

Post a Comment