“Bring Ms. Fonte in,” said the Inquisitor.
A slight girl formerly from Bavaria, Mia Fonte was hauled in.
Her red hair was matted, teeth yellow and sharpened to a point. Her dull green eyes were ringed liked tea stains. She clutched a battered violin in her dirty hands.
A guard handed him paperwork as he dipped his quill, ready to sign off.
He glanced at it. “The church versus the Witch of Sacavem” The Inquisitor adjusted his bifocals.
He’d heard about her. A seemingly innocent youth, she was prone to fits of whimsy. She took up the violin and play it in the streets.
When she became of age, Giuseppe Lupe, the Cardinal’s son, began to court the Hag. Though no one knew why such a handsome man would touch her, for she was quite plain. Then he proposed.
Lupe had a theory: witchcraft.
The Inquisitor nodded at the younger man. “Recommended for the stake?”
Lupe paused. “I have a demand first. ”
The woman snarled at him. The Inquisitor took off her bifocals, cleaned them.
“Is this about your son?”
Lupe fell silent.
He fixed the Cardinal with a glare. “Is it?”
“It’s that violin. She plays the devil’s music,” said Cardinal Lupe to the Inquisitor.
The Cardinal put his foot down and refused to acknowledge the couple. He confronted the Harlot and told her to leave.
Giuseppe disappeared that afternoon.
The Inquisitor sighed and read the docket to the prisoner. “Mia Fonte you are accused of the crime of witchcraft. This heresy carries with it the possible sentence of death. How do you respond ?”
“I would never hurt him!”
“Witch!” Cardinal Lupe spat at her.
“I never hurt him!” A guard slapped Mia.
The Inquisitor stood. “ENOUGH! Play this instrument for us.” He glared at the Cardinal. “Perhaps it will soothe nerves.”
“You will see!” she said, clapping her hands. Mia fixed Lupe with a look, then lifted the violin to her shoulder.
“Are you ready?” she said to her instrument and then seemed to listen.
The Inquisitor and guards leaned forward as she began to play.
Mia closed her eyes and hummed to herself. “Sing for me.”
A familiar baritone filled the room. Lupe began to turn red and sputter, but just as quickly as he began the room seemed to shift in front of their eyes. The stone walls seemed to disappear, to be replaced by wood. And the prisoner was gone.
Everything was spinning! The Inquisitor, Lupe, and the guards found themselves in a small room with no windows. Gone were the windows, the only light came from the ceiling, the bright beam cut through the darkness creating a 3 by 6 foot f on the floor.
The walls and floor seemed to rock and vibrate with sound, the sweet violin music wrapping around them like a warm blanket. And the voice seemed to be coming from the the corner.
Lupe squinted in the dark, “Giuseppe?” The singing stopped.
“Papa?” A young man rushed forward, followed by several other people.
Everyone began to talk at once.
“HA!” Came a deep female voice. The walls rattled and vibrated. A bright blue eye appeared through the F shape cut in the ceiling.
“I told you. I never hurt him.”
The Inquisitor staggered. “MIA?”
She began to laugh, and the whole room rocked back and forth.
“Where are we?” Lupe asked.
“Signore, we are in- inside the violin,” said one of the older ladies.
Everyone fell silent and the room pitched to the side. True to her word, the witch did not harm them. She even fed and watered them.
However, they would often lay in darkness for hours, days at a time until she called for them.
“Sing for me!” and they did, for she would draw the bow across the string just to make it screech so their ears would be bleed.
“Sing for me!” and they did.
Over time, their numbers grew until the whole town seemed to fill the violin. She left the now deserted town and journeyed to a new country.
“What a lovely tone it has!” said the townspeople.
“Old violins sound better,” she said to them.
Mia whispered to the violin, “sing for me.”