Sarah Harkin stood in the back corner of the classroom facing the row of pegs that, come winter, would be full of the children’s heavy coats. Now though, only the girls’ mobcaps and the boys’ felt hats hung there.
She would rather have been outside, but Mrs. Withers knew that, so there she stood staring at the teacher’s cap and shawl hanging in front of her. She shifted from foot to foot as she imagined what prank she could play on her strict teacher.
“Stop fidgeting, child!” Mrs. Withers snapped the willow switch against the top of her desk.
Sarah froze while some of the other children snickered under their breath. She didn’t want to feel that across her backside again. One thrashing didn’t deserve a note home to her parents, but two certainly would. And her father’s response to yet another report about her behavior would be far worse than three whacks with the willow branch.
Hold still. Hold still!
The tension built inside her, commanding her to move. She seemed to always be in motion.
Tonight. Tonight will be a good time to tell everyone the Widow Withers’s secret. You won’t be so high and mighty when everyone knows what I know about you.