The Salem Mystique

High school is over and so is summer. It's
time for Billie and her friends to go to college.
As intended, Billie attends Salem Community
College with Riley and what secrets is Salem
hiding behind closed doors?
As Billie prepares for her first Samhain Ritual, she is
distracted by more than homework and family feuds. Two
mysterious German brothers show up in Salem, armed to the teeth.
Even with every faithful Witches eye upon them, she cannot rest
until she finds out their reason for being there.

A time for action is called as a small child is hurt and her
cousin, Rowanne, goes missing. Are the brothers to blame? And
why do these terrible things happen on and around the full moon?

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When Ralph and I dropped Dietrich off at the front of the police station, still roped up and gagged, we left a little note for them on a square piece of cardboard taped to his chest, ‘Take me to Phillip G. Shaw’.

“He’s the chief of police here in Salem.” Ralph explained as he handcuffed Dietrich to the metal railing outside the station.  Beneath that note I added ‘Your search is over!  When notifying the public that Dietrich Koehler has been captured please lead them to believe that you caught him yourselves.  We do not wish to be recognized.’

Ralph looked from me to the note until I explained, “We are supernatural beings.  If they learned how we captured him it would raise brows and also alert attention to the Preachers.  Besides, do you really find it hard to believe that they would take credit for his capture?”

“I guess not.” he answered.

 

Ulric and some of his pack stayed in Salem for a while as Ulric’s relationship with his daughter grew stronger by the day.  Even Riona couldn’t stay angry at him forever and it certainly seemed to the rest of us that the family were back together again.  Torsten kept on insisting on turning himself in and the few times he actually attempted to do so we had to hold him hostage till we talked him out of it.  But we weren’t always there to stop him.

 

One day as Rowanne, Riley and I walked home from the grocery store Midnight approached us on the street.

“Hey, what are you doing out of the house?” I asked angrily.

“I slipped out as Master Torsten made his escape.”

“His escape?” I asked aloud.

“I think he’s on his way to the police station to turn himself in.  There was nobody in the house to stop him.”

“Where is he?”

“I saw him last at the end of our street.  If you hurry up you might be able to catch him.”

 

I explained to Riley and Rowanne what Midnight had told me as my cat leapt into Riley’s arms while I spoke.  Riley told us to go ahead and stop before taking the bags from our clutches.  When we finally tracked Torsten down we saw he was indeed headed in the direction of the police station.

“Ready?” I asked taking Rowanne’s hand.

“Ready.” she answered before I teleported us to the police station.

 

We appeared at the front desk just as a large grey haired man turned to see us standing there.

“Ahh…  Where the hell did you two come from?” he bellowed.  “Almost gave me a heart attack.”

Rowanne put her hand on top of the mans’ own porky, hairy hand.  “Tell us who is in charge here?” she asked meeting his eyes.

“Philip G. Shaw.  Philip G. Shaw.” I whispered.

 

Rowanne hadn’t had to use her powers much before she was kidnapped and steadily she learned how to control them.

“I can work them ok if I make eye contact with someone but it’s more powerful if I’m physically touching whomever it is I wish to influence.” she told me.

“Yes, Mr. Shaw is our chief of police.  He’s got someone in with him just now but if you’d like to take a seat I’ll take you through when he’s free.”  The man said dreamily as his eyes clouded over.

“Thank you very much.” I said kindly.

 

We were nervous when we waited.  Nervous because we feared Torsten would get here before we got the chance to help him redeem himself.  The elderly man behind the front desk signaled us over to him.

“He’s free but you’ll need to sign in.” he said sliding a clipboard over to us with a long sheet and pen.

Before he could remove his hand Rowanne stuck hers upon his once more.  “No, we won’t.” she said calmly.  “It’s not necessary.”

“Oh, no, that’s not necessary.” he said taking the board back as if a memory had just come to him.

“In fact,” Rowanne carried on keeping eye contact, “you won’t remember us after we leave.  If anyone asks we were never here.”

“This way.” he said opening a small door at the end of the desk.  “Mr. Shaw is free now.”

 

We followed him through the grey and white corridors that all looked the same until he stopped in front of a beige door with the name Mr. Phillip G. Shaw written upon a small brass plaque on the door.  The front desk man wrapped his knuckles on the door three times before pushing it slightly ajar.

“Mr. Shaw, there are visitors here to see you.  Shall I send them in?”

“Have you signed them in, Peter?” asked a throaty voice from behind the door.

“Of course, sir.  Shall I send them in?”

“Yes, Peter.  Please let me know if the county jail calls.”

“Of course, sir.” Peter said hobbling out of the door frame to let us in.  “He’ll see you now.”  Peter said before making his way back to the front desk.

 

“Good afternoon, ladies.” Mr. Shaw said friendlily.  “Please, take a seat.  How may I be of service to you?”

“We won’t be long, Mr. Shaw.  We just wanted a quick word.”

“That’s fine as long as you let me get away for four o’clock.  I have a media interview this afternoon.”

“We promise not to take up too much of your time.  We understand you’re a busy man.  My cousin, myself and a few of our friends are responsible for the capture of Dietrich Koehler.” I calmly explained.

“You…?  What?”  He spluttered.  “It was you who captured Mr. Koehler?” he asked stunned.

“With the help of some of our friends.”

“Why come forth now?  From your note I gathered you didn’t want recognition.”

“We don’t and that’s not important at all.”

“It’s not?”

“No.” Rowanne said making eye contact while sliding her hand across the desk to touch his.  “See it’s not important because you’re not going to remember us telling you that.”

“I won’t?” he asked questioningly looking at her hand on his.

“No.  What’s important is this.” she said taking a firmer grip of his hand.  His eyes clouded over, just like Peter’s did, as if he had cataracts.  “Dietrich Kohler’s younger brother is on his way here.  He believes he too is responsible for the deaths caused by Dietrich.  He isn’t, he’s innocent.”

“He’ll be here soon.” I joined in holding Mr. Shaw’s other hand in hopes to add more power behind Rowanne’s own.  “When he arrives you’re going to let him go free.  You’ll tell him he is not a wanted man and that he is not responsible for his brothers’ actions.”

“Of course he isn’t.” Mr. Shaw said dreamily.  “There will be no arrest.”

“Good.” Rowanne said.  “You also won’t remember us.  You’ll remember that Torsten is innocent but you won’t remember seeing us today.”

“And remember,” I said catching Mr. Shaw’s attention, “it was your professional and efficient trained team of police officers whom caught the murderer Dietrich Kohler.”

“Of course they did.  They’re fine men and women.” he said proudly.

“Thank you, Mr. Shaw.”  Rowanne beamed.  “You’ve been most helpful.”

“You’re very welcome.” he genially added beaming right back.

“Keep up the good work.” I added as we closed the door behind us.

 

We breathed I sigh of relief as we joined hands to teleport out of the maze-like station.  At the side of the building we hid as we saw Torsten approach the front entrance.  Through the windows we saw Mr. Shaw approach the front desk where Peter sat working at a computer drinking coffee.  The closed windows blocked the sound of conversation between Torsten and the chief of police but we weren’t waiting long before Torsten turned, with a confused expression upon his handsome face, to see us gawking through the distant window.

 

Gasping we leapt down from our position as Torsten strolled out of the police station to find us cowering behind a hydrangea bush.

“What did you do?  They think I’m innocent.” he said neither angrily nor happily.

“Well, never look a gift horse in the mouth I say.” I said nervously.

When Torsten crossed his arms and continued to stare at us disbelievingly I explained, “Torsten, you don’t really want to go to prison do you?  It’ll ruin your life.”

“I deserved to be punished and locked up alongside my brother.”

“No you don’t.  Torsten, if it weren’t for your bravery I might have been killed.” Rowanne explained gratefully.

“Torsten, we are not about to sit back and watch you throw your life away.”

“Why would you do this for me?”  He asked, tears welling in his eyes.  “You don’t know me and the others would prefer it if I were in jail, too.”

“No, they don’t trust you, Torsten.  But work with us, gain their trust and prove to them that you are the good person that we both see.” Rowanne said placing a hand upon his shoulder.

He winced.  “No magic tricks.”

“No, I wasn’t going to make you choose against your will.” she said throwing her hands in the air.  “I only meant to comfort you.”

“Please stay, Torsten.  If you stay you could help us stop others like your brother.” I pleaded.  “It would give you an opportunity to redeem yourself if you feel you need to.  It would give your life meaning.  But mostly we just want you to stay.”

“What would Harman say if he could see you now?” Rowanne asked.

“He’d tell me to stop being so foolish and to grab this opportunity with both hands.” he laughed.  “Oh, Harman.  I never got to say goodbye to him.”

“Do you want go see him?” I asked apprehensively.

“Yes, but I have no money to take me home.”

“No need.” Rowanne brightened.  “We can fly ‘Air Billie’.”

“You can take me home?” he asked wiping the tears away.

“I can but we have to plan it carefully.” I said firmly to them both.  “We need to look at a map to find where the safest place is to teleport to.  I can’t blindly teleport across the world until I know where we’re going is somewhere we won’t be witnessed.”

“I can show you where to go on a map, if that helps.” Torsten offered.

“Yes, that would be great.” I said as we headed back to the house.

 

*************************************************

 

Riley sat with us as Torsten brought Frankfurt up on Google Maps.

“There is a side street quite close to the cemetery.” Riley pointed out.

“Yes, but it’s just off a busy street and we’d most likely be witnessed by people passing by.” Torsten added.

“If we have to wait a little longer till its dark it couldn’t hurt.” I commented.

“Yes, but by then the cemetery will be closed.” Torsten said.

“That’s ok I can teleport straight in from there.”

“Yeah, but you have to be careful not to outdo yourself, Billie love.  Remember what happened the last time.” Riley reminded me.

 

A chill ran down my spine as the memory of running from the demented Desiree sprang back to my mind.  The constant teleporting weakened me but I figured it was mostly the blow to my head was mostly responsible for that.

“Yeah, but I had also taken a pretty hard blow to the noggin.” I said tapping my forehead.

“Just don’t over exert yourself.” he said pulling me close to him.

“I promise.” the sound of gagging interrupted our drawn out kiss.  “Do you mind?” I asked turning to see Rowanne and Torsten sticking their fingers down their throats.

“We were just about to ask the same.” Rowanne added humorously.

“Have you found somewhere safe?” I asked Torsten.

“Yes, I believe I have.” he pointed to a small street on the map.  “It’s a bit out the way but you can still get to the cemetery easy enough without being spotted.”

“Good, let’s go then.” I said standing up.

“Would you mind if I went to the florists first?  So that I may put flowers down at his grave.”  As the words left Torsten’s lips a large bouquet of red and yellow tulips tied together with string was placed in front of Torsten, handed by Riona.

“I picked them myself.” she said before departing.

“That was very kind of her.” Torsten flushed.

“She’s either too proud or too embarrassed to apologies to you.” Rowanne explained.  “I’m afraid this is as close as it gets for now.”

“No, I appreciate the gesture very much.”

“Ok, if we’re all set we should be on our way.” I said checking my watch.

 

In the hallway Riley and I shared one last kiss as Rowanne hugged her parents before she and Torsten took my hands in theirs.

“We won’t be gone long.” I promised my worried boyfriend.  “We’ll be back before you know it.”

Blinking I found myself in an unfamiliar street in a foreign land.  Torsten walked out of the little lane onto a busy road where he joyfully smiled like I’d never seen before.  He grabbed our hands and pulled us along with him as we ran to the cemetery where his brother was buried in.  Passing many headstones Torsten ran in front to lead the way to Harman’s grave.  He apologised several times for leading us through a labyrinth of headstones as he struggled to remember the exact location of his brothers’ grave.

“It’s somewhere nearby, I know it is.  I remember seeing the tombstone of a child nearby the grave.” he said pointing to a headstone shaped like a teddy bear.  “Here.” he said running twenty yards down from the youngsters’ grave.

 

Torsten stopped in front of a short square shaped black marble headstone with his name, birthday and date of birth upon its face.  ‘Harman Kohler, 26th May 1968 - 27th October 2007’.  There was no ‘son of; or ‘brother of’, nothing personal.  Dropping to his knees Torsten placed the thick bouquet of tulips into a small glass vase tucked neatly into the earth at the base of Harman Kohlers’ headstone.  Torsten whispered in his native tongue as he spoke to his dead brother.

“Can we -?” Rowanne spluttered.

“What?” I asked.

“Do you think we could write him a spell so that he could actually talk to his brother?”

“Isn’t that dangerous?”

“We wouldn’t be raising the dead, Bill.  Just and echo of his brother, so Torsten can get some closure and move on with his life.”

“Ok, let’s think, with caution, of a spell to help Torsten move on.”  We spoke as Torsten wept at our feet. 

 

 

After almost an hour of contemplation I finally took my notebook out to write a spell I’d come up with in my head.  “I think I’ve got something but you’ll have to help me out.”

“I’ll do my best.” Rowanne said after reading the notes I’d taken.

“End his tears, end his fears, and bring Torsten’s brother Harman here.”

“No words of hate, no words of fate, only words of love and elate.” Rowanne added.

And together we concluded in unison, “His time to go, should bring no woe, give only chance to live and grow.”

 

Torsten’s weeping ended with a sharp intake of breath as the blurry vision of an older man who looked a lot like Torsten appeared before us.

“Harman?” Torsten cried.

“Hello, brother.” Harman’s voice faded in and out like a radio with bad reception.

“Is it really you?”

“It’s me, Torsten.  I haven’t got long before I have to go again.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s my time to go, Torsten.  To move on and you should move on too.”

“But you’re my brother.”

“Yes, I am and I love you very much, Torsten.  But you can’t keep living in the past.  It’s time for us both to move on from here.”

“What am I supposed to do without you?”

“Live.  Make a life for yourself and help your new friends.  There are other men in the world with just as much darkness in their hearts that Dietrich has.  With them you’ll find something worth living for again.”

“And you?” Torsten wept.

“It’s my time to go.  I wish it wasn’t, I wish I could be here with you but we all have a time, Torsten.  Remember me, brother.” Harman’s voice faded out as the vision of him blurred completely before vanishing altogether.

 

Torsten wept harder as the after image of his brother left him forever.  He placed his fingers to his mouth where his lips barely brushed them in a tender kiss before placing his hand on his brothers’ name.  Rowanne and I kneeled down beside him before we each put an arm around his shaking body.

“I’m sorry we couldn’t keep him around a little longer for you.” I apologised.

“No, that short visit from him was a blessing.  I am very grateful for that.”

“Tell us about him.” Rowanne said crossing her legs.  “What was Harman like in life?”

“In life?” Torsten said staring off into the distance.  “He was my role model.  A genuinely good person through and through.

“Did he ever marry?” I asked.

“He was married for almost ten years.  He and his wife Esther had a baby on the way when he died.”

“Oh, gosh, have you ever seen the child?”

“I met him once when he was born.  Esther named him after Harman.  She moved to Estonia several months ago for a job.  I try to send the boy letters every now and then.  To let him know his father’s family is thinking of him.”

“Would you like to go see him?”

“No, not just now.  I’ll help you do whatever it is you are faced with and if I survive then I shall go see him then.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Rowanne smiled.

 

Tremblingly his tall legs straightened him out as he lifted himself off of the ground.  Standing between Rowanne and me he let out a long sorrowful sigh.

“Are you ok?  Would you like to stay a while longer?” I asked sympathetically.

“No.” he said softly.  “That won’t be necessary.  I’ll miss this place but I don’t think I’d be able to move on with my life if I stuck around here any longer.”

“Are you sure?” Rowanne asked.

“Torsten, if you need some time we can give you some space and come back for you when you’re ready.” I offered.

“No, thank you.  I appreciate your understanding but I’d really just like to go back to America with you.”

“You’re one hundred percent certain?” asked Rowanne.

“Yes, I’m certain.  My brother would not want me to sit around here when I could be helping you.”

“You don’t even know what we’re up against.” I added.

“Then tell me.” he said leading us over to a small wooden bench.

 

Frustrated I sighed and turned to my cousin who shrugged her shoulders and said, “Don’t look at me, you’re the coven leader.  It’s up to you.”

“Did you really have to remind me?” I said irritably.

“Do you really need reminding?” she smirked.

“Ok.” I said sitting next to him.  “There are these men who are very… nasty.  For want of a better word.”

“We call them the Preachers.” Rowanne added.

“Why?” Torsten asked.

“From what we know of them they are very religious men who believe that Witches are servants of the devil.” I explained.  “And they want us all dead.  They’ve started a sort of vendetta with us.  They’ve killed dozens of innocent men, women and children already.”

“Some of us believe they won’t stop with Witches, which they’ll move on to people like me and my father.”

“You never told me that.” I said.

“Can you blame me for thinking that way?  Anything they see as different they see as evil.  They won’t just stop with Witches and Werewolves…” she began.

“No, if they go on to kill Werewolves also then they’ll carry on killing Vampires, Pagans and anyone in our company will be guilty with affiliation of us.”

“Exactly.” Rowanne agreed with me.  “Besides there are more than just Witches, Pagans, Werewolves and Vampires in the world.”

“There is?” I asked shocked.

Rowanne grinned halfheartedly.  “Billie be our leader but she is new to the magical world.” Rowanne explained to Torsten.  “There are also other magical beings such as Faeries, Trolls and Gnomes to name but a few.”

“Do you think they know about these other creatures?” Torsten asked.

“We can’t be sure but if they know of Witches then the rest won’t be far behind.”

“Not to mention the ‘Others’.” Rowanne added.

“The ‘Others’?” asked Torsten.

“Like Billie’s friend Dulcie.  She has Empathic powers but she is not a Witch or otherwise.”

“Then what is she?” he asked.

“Some people believe they are descendants of Witches where the magical line in their lineage has died out.” I explained.  “But a spark still survives in some of their descendants and is somehow brought to life.”

“And you want my help?”

“It would be much appreciated if you joined our cause.” I added.

“What exactly is your cause?”

“To stop them.” answered Rowanne.

“To kill them?” he asked shocked.

“No, we would never do that.” I jumped in.

“Unless in self-defense.” Rowanne added darkly.

“So how do you plan on stopping them?”

“We have to find them first.  Every time we find a new kill they move on without a trace.”

“Which leads us to believe they might have some other power of their own.” said Rowanne.

“Oh, you mean the power of money, don’t you?” he said rubbing his thumb and middle finger together.

“Exactly.” Rowanne nodded.

“How will you find them?”

“We can use various types of magic plus we have friends all over the country that’s keeping an eye out for them also.” Rowanne answered.

“Are all your friends Witches?” he asked.

“No, we have my father’s pack and Riley’s family and their friends.  Our friends have friends.  We’re all working together for the greater cause.”

“And they all stand with us.  So where do you stand?” I asked him.

“I stand with you.  No more deaths, I say!”

“Exactly.” I said.  “If we all work together there’ll be no stopping us.”

“So what do we do now?” he asked.

“Well, first of we have to celebrate Samhain.” Rowanne answered.

“Oh my god, I completely forgot about Samhain.” I said smacking a hand to my forehead.

“You FORGOT!?” Rowanne cried out.  “Billie, this is a very important celebration that you cannot forget.”

“I know and I did.  What am I going to do?” I said hopelessly.

“What is Samhain?”

“It’s a night where we cast a ritual and celebrate.  You’ll know it best as Halloween.”

“We’ve got to get back right away.” I said urgently.  “This is my first Samhain and I can’t let it fail.”

“You’ve only got two days to arrange it all, Billie.” Rowanne reminded me.

“Well, I’d better get a move on.” I said grabbing their hands to teleport back to Salem.

 

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