The Changes by Peter Dickinson Part Six
Nicky has been found guilty by the local villagers of being witch and is sentenced to death by stoning. Nicky is taken up to the attic in the village schoolhall to be stored there until the morning. Jonathon and Margaret decide they must rescue her. Nicky meanwhile is in her cell and realises that there is no escape. Back at the farm house, Mr. Gordon turns up and says that Jonathon must cast the first stone in the morning as he seemed to be most reluctant to find Nicky guilty. Margaret is furious but does not really let it show, but she accidentally scolds Mr. Gordon with a hot iron. He reacts badly and attacks her. Anne, Margaret's mum instantly goes to her help just as Peter walks in. Mr. Gordon is not badly hurt but Peter reminds him never to attack his family again without his leave.
Jonathon is busy fixing walls when he decides to call it a day and head over to see Margaret. Jonathon has a plan for the night in order to rescue Nicky. That night Jonathon goes out and is able to start a tractor (he does not appear to be affected by the unseen force). He drives the tractor near where Mr. Gordon is guarding Nicky. Mr. Gordon and his aid hear the tractor and believe wickedness is approaching in the heart of Shipton village. Jonathon is able to draw Mr. Gordon and his men off whilst he then continues with the rescue.
Once Nicky is out and clear of the school, Jonathon sets fire to the building in order to throw Mr. Gordon and his men off their tracks. Jonathon shows her to a safe place and Margaret and Jonathon make sure she is okay. Jonathon then lets Nicky know of his plans, he intends to get her out via a boat he has been preparing.
The next morning, Margaret pretends that she has been up all night with Jonathon trying to catch cattle stealers. She tells her father and Mr. Gordon that Jonathon is off pursuing them, hence his absence at breakfast. Once the fire has been put out, the village men search through the school house but can find no body. They do find the smell of petrol and one vital piece of incriminating evidence, Jonathon's pocket knife. His father Peter instantly recognises it.
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