concept: the vvitch AU where credence is the virgin pilgrim and graves the satan goat
i had to laugh at how this was phrased but in all seriousness-
Imagine Mary Lou having disagreements with the rest of their Puritan group, wanting more rigid interpretations and staking wild claims that result in her and her three adopted children moving into a tiny rundown home in the middle of the woods. (maybe other orphans are there under her care as well.) They make do with what they can. They pray and make any sacrifices necessary; for surely this is God’s will.
Credence is the eldest. He takes the brunt of the work when it comes to caring for their home and the rest of the children with stride and bites his lips till they bleed when his mother beats him for even the slightest of slip ups. She tells him how he was born full of sin and wickedness and that such cruel acts against him were the only way to save his soul. Though times are hard, he will not break. Not when he goes days without supper, not when they whisper about leaving him behind and not even when one of the children go missing and never return.
After catching something for supper one evening he stumbles across Modesty, his youngest sibling, talking animately to a goat. It is a tall and graceful creature with horns that stretch outward from the crown of his head dangerously. His eyes and fur darker than the sky at night. Credence is not sure he remembers the goat having been with them when they moved but he does not question it. He does, however, take a moment to chastise his sister. For surely she knows the creature cannot talk back and making such claims implies nothing short of witchcraft.
Her chatting does not stop, however, and Credence grows in both annoyance (for he was only trying to protect her from their mother’s wrath) and curiosity (perhaps what she said held some truth). Modesty tells Credence that the goat is interested in talking to him and Credence refuses vehemently, using the excuse of sin and childishness, even though somewhere in his heart he yearns to try. It grows worse, however, as she sings songs of the goat and his wicked ways. She begins to explain how the goat is telling her Credence is dabbling in witchcraft - that he has unexplored potential and because he cannot control it, he is to blame for the one child’s disappearance.
It grows into an ugly weight within Credence until he cannot help but laugh bitterly to her face. “You’re right Modesty. I surely am a witch- pact with the devil and all! I let that orphan die in the woods and if you tell such a thing to Mother you will suffer the same fate.” It is a lie. All of it. And Credence knows how lying is a sin. And yet he cannot help but commit it if it will keep her mouth from spewing such declarations.
And it works. She does not spill her rumors any longer. That is until his other sister, Chastity, goes missing. It is only for one night and yet everyone is required to go to bed without supper. Someone in the family must have committed an act against God for such a thing to occur.
The following morning Credence finds Chastity at the edge of the woods - sickly and dying. She only lasts till the time they can place her in a bed. She dies proclaiming her love for God. Mary Lou wonders aloud at the cause for such tragedy, for surely they have all been people of the Lord? To which Modesty responds, with fear in her voice, that Credence had indulged in wickedness. She uses his lie as a confession. The claim erupts both fear and anger within Credence to the point where he can no longer think straight and yells back of how Modesty is surely conversing with the devil through their goat. They had sealed their fate together.
Enraged, Mary Lou places the blame on the both of them. Spewing hate over their wicked ways and giving them a beating before forcing them outside to sleep in the stables. The stable where the black goat stands proudly.
Credence speaks with him that night - unsure as to if it is a dream or reality. The goat asks to be called by his own title. Mr. Graves is what Credence uses now. The goat speaks of an alliance with the devil but says not to be afraid, all will be well if Credence only does what is asked of him.
Mr. Graves whispers to him the deepest of his own gluttonous, visceral, carnal desires. States that it can all be his if only he signs over his soul in exchange. Credence thinks of the countless beatings, of the family who does not care for him, and of the wickedness his mother claimed him to have been born with. He has nothing to lose. He is too far gone to ever dream of returning whole. He signs without looking back.
“Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?”