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July 21, 1694, Reuters staff writer

SALEM, Mass — Over 60 Puritans have been killed today as the death toll rises on both sides of the conflict in Essex County. The Naumkeag people have also suffered, having lost 14 warriors and two other members of their tribe since the fighting began a month ago.

“We were here first,” said a Naumkeag warrior who spoke with us on the condition of anonymity. “The Puritans are terrorists who oppress and kill us as well as their own kind. Their women are tortured and hanged and made to wear funny bonnets. Their morality is positively medieval.”

According to a treaty created by the sovereign state of England, the Naumkeags are entitled to most of Essex County. The Puritans are allowed to remain within Salem city limits, but in practice have been regulated to Gallows Hill as the Naumkeags have moved in on the other neighborhoods after carpet-bombing them with pig’s bladder balloons full of poison gas, as well as long-distance trebuchet shrapnel bombs. Pickering Wharf is now blockaded by the Naumkeags.

“They were asking for it,” the same warrior said. “They elected a mayor who is known to be hostile to our kind, and they refused to come to the peace talks in England. It all started because a white person killed three of our teenagers, so it’s really their fault. All we want is peace. We tell them we’re going to bomb them, and they still don’t leave their homes. They keep shooting muskets in the air instead. One of the bullets actually hit someone. They will not rest until we are all dead.”

“We could not make it to the peace talks,” Puritan mother Chastity Brown explained from her kitchen near Gallows Hill. “They blockaded the port and took our boats. They bombed our gardens. We have no food now. Over a hundred of our children have been killed by the airstrikes. They tell us to surrender, but if we surrender we don’t know what they will do to us. They have already taken so much of our land and killed so many of our people. They tell us it’s their land, but I was born here too. My father was born here.” Brown stops and begins to sob. “They shot my son as he was playing kickball in a field.”

Over 500 Puritans have died since the conflict in Essex County started. A Naumkeag chief recently called for “the killing of all mothers who breed little Puritan snakes,” and about 50 Naumkeags have recently taken to a hilltop to watch the long-distance bombings with a spyglass and cheer when something or someone gets hit. “#bloodforblood,” one Naumkeag elder wrote in the sky via smoke signal.

The English government has provided the pig’s-bladder balloon bombs and trebuchets, and several English banks have made agreements to invest in experimental weapons and land-clearing devices, since the Naumkeags are excellent innovators.

A faction of high-ranking Anglican dispensationalists believe that the Bible foretells the second coming of Christ to Salem, but that this will only happen if Salem is not populated by the Puritans, who are their enemies.

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