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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2. Birthday Celebrations

Unpacking all our things in our dorm room in Bowditch Hall, the next day, lasted longer than I had expected considering how little we had actually packed to take on the flight with us.  A few teleports to my home in Penn Gate and I had all my magical supplies and my black cat, Midnight, unloaded in our dorm, too.

 

On my second day I got lost trying to find my way to the library I had to stop and ask the first person I saw for directions.  The girl who crossed my path was miniscule.  She had long blonde hair full of tight little ringlets, pink freckled cheeks, crystal blue eyes and the look of a cherub about her.  She was innocence embodied in a scarlet pout, high heels and a mini skirt.

“Excuse me!” I called.  “Sorry to bug you but do you know how to get to the library?”

“Sure, follow me it’s on my way.” she said in a childlike voice.

“Thanks, you’re a lifesaver.”

“No problem, this place is real easy to get lost in.  I’m Chloe by the way, Chloe Foster.”

“Really?!” I asked surprised and Chloe looked at me suspiciously.  I pulled the left sleeve of my lilac shirt down to reveal my Witches Mark.  “I’m Billie Black.  My aunt Riona told me you’re going to be working at Black’s Lair for her.”

“Ohmygod!” She gushed.  “You’re Billie?  I’ve heard so much about you!  It’s real nice to finally meet you.”

“Thanks but what exactly have you heard?”

“Oh, everyone’s talking about you.  The new Black coven leader.  Not to mention how you stopped those Moon sisters from resurrecting the first vampire.”

“Wow!  Word spreads fast here.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be such a busy body.  I’ll be eighteen in a few weeks so I’m just all excited about getting my powers.” she said ecstatically.

“Yeah, I understand.  Will you be going to Rowanne’s party on Sunday?”

“Yeah, but we’re going out for a pre-celebratory dinner tonight.  You should come, too!  Marylou will be there with her boyfriend and Sadie is going to tag along if she can get a babysitter.”

“I think my boyfriend is actually planning a romantic night in for just the two of us.  May be another time?” I said as she pointed out the library on the path ahead.

“No problem but if you change your mind we’ll be at the Craft and Cauldron from eight, alright?”

 

I said goodbye to Chloe and made my way through the library doors.  I pulled out the books I required and studied for an hour before taking them to the librarians and handing over my library card.  When I finally turned off at Rainbow Terrace into Bowditch Hall, I discovered a message on the door to my room.  ‘Give me five minutes, R.’

 

I stood outside the dorm impatiently for five minutes until he opened the door and removed the post-it note he’d left there earlier.

“Sorry, you almost beat me here.  I didn’t give myself much time to surprise you.”

“Surprise me?”

“I wanted our first romantic night together to be really romantic so I went to Riona’s store to buy candles, then I went to the florists but by the time I had gotten everything I needed I was too late to do anything about food so…”

 

When he let me step through the door I saw he had candles burning all around the room and roses everywhere including some petals sprinkled on the bed.  On our floor was something like a picnic, a blanket spread out covering most of the carpet and on it were buckets of KFC and a bottle of champagne.

“I did want to get you something nicer…” I silenced him with a finger.

“It’s perfect, thank you.”

“Are you sure…?”

“I am positive.” I said pulling him in to kiss.  “Let’s eat.”

 

We sat on the blanket and filled ourselves with the delicious chicken and some champagne.  The fragrance of the candles and roses were intoxicating as we happily, and a little drunkenly, began to make out on the blanket.  Riley helped me out of my shirt and pants before carrying me to the petal strewn bed.  He quickly shucked his clothes before returning to shower me with kisses once more.  Just as things started to become more interesting Riley’s cell blared out from his pants pocket lying on the floor.  He quickly ducked down to check his caller display and said dejectedly, “It’s Leonard.  I should probably take this.” he said flipping the phone open.  “Hello?”

Before he got to speak back to Leonard on the other end I grabbed the cell out of his hands and said, “Beat it, buzz kill.”  I switched the cell off then threw it to the furthest corner of the room.

Riley laughed.  “What -?”

I pulled him back to me and said, “There will be no interruptions tonight.”

 

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

 

On the morning of Rowanne’s birthday I had to get up sharp and teleport back to Penn Gate to collect Nana, Brian, Dulcie and Matilda.  I appeared on the inside of our front door at around ten in the morning to find the house in darkness.  They were supposed to be up and ready to be teleported to Salem with me.  I ran upstairs and entered my Nana’s room first.

“Nan?  It’s ten o’clock you’re supposed to be up by now.” I whispered urgently as I bent over her.

“It’s what -?” she said blearily.

“It’s ten o’clock.”

 

Nana sat bolt upright and asked me to go wake the others whilst she got herself ready.  I left to wake up Brian next and found him half on his bed, half off with his arms and legs splayed everywhere.

“Brian, you’ve got to get up you’ve slept in.” I said nudging him.

“In a minute, mommy.”

“Brian, get up!” I said sternly.

He grunted.  “What?”

“It’s Rowanne’s birthday today and you’ve all slept in.”

Next minute he was up and shot through to the shower.  When I came out after him I found Dulcie standing in the frame of her door.

“We sleep in?” she asked.

“Yeah, you all did.”

“There must have been a power cut last night ‘because I had my alarm set to wake me at seven.”

“Well, there’s not much we can do about it now.  Go get ready and I’ll wake Matilda.”

 

Matilda had moved in here shortly before I moved out.  She had gotten accepted into various schools around the country but she chose to go to PGU so she could learn all about the Pagan craft from Dulcie’s aunt Laura.  Matilda’s parents had given her two choices when it came to her living arrangements; one was to live on her school campus and the other was to live in her parents’ basement and pay them rent.  Matilda liked neither of those options so Nana offered her the attic room as long as she got a part time job to help pay for her own share of the groceries.  Matilda was thrilled at the opportunity and didn’t waste any time in moving in.  When I entered the converted attic I found her in her bed wearing a very classy white satin chemise with a soothing gel eye mask and a white hair band to keep her hair out of her face with dozens of curlers in her hair.  When I tried to wake her I didn’t get much response so I kept on prodding and nudging her when she moved over and unintentionally slapped my face.

“Yow!” I yelled and Matilda jumped out of her bed.

Blindly moving about the room with her eye mask on she said, “Who’s that?  Who’s there?”

“It’s me Billie.  You all slept in.” I said.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, Billie!  Did I hurt you?” she said removing the mask.

“I’ll live.” I said.  “Get ready, I’ll wait down stairs.”

“I don’t understand, I set my alarm last night.”

“Yeah, so did Dulcie.  Must have been a power cut.”

 

I marched down to the kitchen and poured myself a coffee where I called Riley.

“Hey, don’t rush.  The sleeping beauties slept in this morning.”

“You’re kidding.” he said in between brushing his teeth.

“Wish I was.  They’re up now so hopefully they won’t be too long.  I’ll see you in a while, okay.”

“Okay, let me know if it’s going to be a long wait.”

“Will do.”

“Love you.” he said.

“I love you, too.” we both laughed and hung up.

“Oh my effing gosh, did you just say ‘I love you, too’?” Matilda said first to enter the kitchen.

 

She was wearing a black dress with killer high heels and gold star shaped studs in her ears.  With the curlers and hair band removed her hair was now full of volume and curls.

“Um, yeah, I did.” I said bashfully.

“Oh, don’t be embarrassed, Bill.  I’m real happy for you.” she said hugging me.

“Thanks, you’re a sweetie.”

“Wait till you see Brian!” she gushed.  “Me and Dulcie took him shopping the other day for his party outfit and damn that boy looks good!”

“Hey, that’s my kid brother you’re talking about.”

“Sorry, you have to admire the eye candy when it comes along.”

“Ooh, talking about Brian?” Dulcie asked excitedly as she entered the kitchen wearing a tan coloured tank top, periwinkle skirt and tan knee high boots.

“Yeah, I was just telling Billie about our little shopping trip the other day.”

“Talking about me?” Brian asked next to enter wearing a white short sleeved shirt, sapphire coloured tie, skinny black pants and Chuck Taylor’s the same colour of his tie.  “I hate this tie.” he said fidgeting with it.

“You look good.” Matilda said slapping his hand away from the tie.

“Yes you girls did a good job on him.” Nanna said last to enter.  “You look lovely to Billie.” she said admiring my purple tank top and long cotton grey skirt.

“Thanks.  You look nice too, Nan.” I said as she spun around in her scarlet satin blouse and black suit.  “Have you all got your gifts?” I asked.

“Yes.” They chimed.

“Good, so are we set to go?”

“Yeah, let’s go.” Said Dulcie.

 

Matilda and Dulcie took my left arm while Nana and Brian took my right as I turned with them and appeared in my dorm room.

“Nice place.  Didn’t take you long to get settled did it?” Matilda said admiringly.

“Well, we’re trying our best to make it homely.”

“Hello, Midnight, I’ve missed you, you pretty little kitty.” said Dulcie doing her baby voice.

‘Uh, baby talk.’ Midnight said through the bond.  ‘How original’.

“DC, I don’t think he appreciates the baby talk.”

“Tough luck, my precious baby boy!” she said lifting him up and squeezing the cuddles out of him until Midnight yowled loudly then shot out of Dulcie’s arms.

“I just need to grab Rowanne’s present and then find Riley.”

“He’s just coming down the hall.” Dulcie said proudly before Riley himself stepped into the dorm.

“Hey, you guys made it.”

“Yeah, eventually.” Matilda said meekly.

“Sorry for the hold up.” Said Brian.

“Nah, it’s alright.  How do I look?” he asked me.

 

He wore grey pants, a lavender shirt and a white tie with silver threading.

“You look great.” I said admiring the view.

“Hey you guys almost match!” Matilda noted while I stood next to Riley with my purple tank top and grey skirt.

“Yeah, we almost do.”  I checked my watch and saw just how late we were running.  “Come on its time to go.  Riley grab my broom will you?” I asked as I reached for our gift.

 

When we were all set I put my hands on Riley’s shoulders as the others took up the same formation as before.  Instead of turning I blinked, my preferred way of teleportation, and found us all in my aunt Riona’s extended conservatory.

“Sorry we’re late.” I said to Riona, I looked at my watch and saw it was way past eleven.

“Don’t worry.  Rowanne’s still sleeping anyway.  If you could go and wake her, let her know I’ve made her blueberry pancakes.”

“Will do.” I said as Dulcie, Matilda and I ran up to Rowanne’s room.

Her door was locked from the inside so I flicked my fingers and the latch unlocked itself, then the door swung inwards.  I swung my arms out wide and the curtains on her windows flew open letting the morning sunlight pore in.

“Wakey wakey!” The three of us called as we pulled the covers off her.

“No mama, five more minutes.” she said blearily.

“Row, it’s your birthday.” I said as the three of us laughed.

 

Her eyes flew open and then she began to hop up and down on her bed.

“Oh my god, I’m eighteen today!” she cheered.

“Come on, your mom’s made blueberry pancakes and you’ve got some gifts to open before all your other guests arrive.”

“I’ll be down in a few.  Give me a chance to wash up.” she said darting to her bathroom.

 

We didn’t have to wait long before Rowanne came jogging downstairs to wolf down her breakfast, then start tearing into her presents where we were all gathered in the living room.  The first gift she reached for was from Brian.  It was a wooden box to store all her magical supplies and carved onto the box was a woodland scene with a mother dear and her doe.

“I love it.  Thank you so much.” she said hugging Brian.

“It’s not much, I didn’t have a lot of money so I made it in wood shop class.” He said modestly.

 

She carried on ripping into presents; smudging supplies, a cauldron and potion supplies from her mother; a Boline from Nana; pestle and mortar from Dulcie; a silver Chalice with the Witches Mark on it from Matilda and Weeping Rose candles and a Tarot deck from me and Riley.  She had lots of gifts from her friends magical and otherwise but at the bottom of the last pile was the gift she never thought she’d get.  The parcel was roughly wrapped in a glittering silver paper, a tag taped to one corner with rushed scratch hand writing.

 

‘Dearest Rowanne,

I’m sorry I cannot be with you today.

I wish I could’ve done better for you but I haven’t.

There are a lot of things I wish for but wishing is pointless.

I did something I’ll never be able to take back and I’ll have to live with it for the rest of my life.

 

Know that I love you and that there hasn’t been a moment, since the day you were born, that I haven’t thought of you.  Love always, Dad xx’

 

Rowanne tore the sheet of paper off and cast the tag aside before examining her gift from her long estranged father.  Underneath the wrappings were two wooden boxes, one round and one rectangular.  The round one was barely larger than her palm and when she removed the lid she found a scrying mirror inside the wooden casing.  The mirror itself was set in a wooden frame and all the way around it were carvings of wolves leaping, running and playing.  In the rectangular box were several small stones shaped almost like talons, gleaming like moonlight and resting on a bed of purple velvet.  I had never seen stones like them before, the gleaming iridescence gave the stones their ethereal beauty but the talon like shape left a chilling impression.  Rowanne gathered up her father’s gifts and bolted upstairs with them before slamming her door shut behind her.

“Oh, dear.” Riona said miserably her head in her hands.

I patted her shoulder and grabbed The Black Craft before heading up to Rowanne’s room.

“Row?” I said knocking on the door.  “Can I come in?”

“No.” she sniffed.

“Please?”

“Go away!” she shouted.

“Rowanne, please let me in.”

 

When I received no answer I pushed the door open to find her sitting on the floor next to her bed with her father’s presents in front of her and a box of tissues at her left knee.

“He’s so stupid.” She said breaking the silence.  “There’s nothing he could do to me that I wouldn’t immediately forgive him for.  I wish he would just come home.”

“Why did he leave?” I asked sitting next to her.

“I don’t want to talk about it.  No offence, Billie, I love you like a sister but I’m not ready to talk about it.  Not yet.”

“That’s okay, as long as you know I’m here for you if you do want to talk.”

“Thanks.” She said gratefully.

“Now, I know you miss your dad and your upset but today you should be celebrating.  You don’t want to be the pooper at your own party, do you?”

“No, of course not.” She smiled.

“It’s your turn.” I said showing her The Black Craft.  “Time to claim your magic, don’t you think?”

“Yeah.” She said eagerly.  “Give me five minutes to clean up this mess.” she said pointing to her wet cheeks.  “I’ll be right down.”

 

When I came downstairs again I found new faces awaiting me.

“Is she alright?” asked Riona.

“She’ll be down in a few minutes.  Just give her time to make herself decent.”

Riona nodded.  “Come with me.  There are some people I’d like you to meet.”

 

There were four women and two men, right off I recognised Chloe Foster, the girl who helped me find my way around campus two days previous, amongst the newcomers.  Another girl my age had long, straight blonde hair and a turquoise dye from the parting in her bangs all the way along the tips of each strand of hair and a sheet of turquoise hair underneath.  She had a stud piercing above her top lip and the Witches Mark on her right shoulder.  Next to her stood a woman near Riona’s age who looked very similar to Riona but with a tint of redness in her hair and an olive complexion.  Next to them stood a skeletally tall thin man with peppered gray hair and tiny green eyes.  His skin looked like it was stretched tightly across his muscles and bones, none of this made him a very convivial man until he smiled.  When he smiled down at me his features seemed to transform into a much more pleasant and approachable person.  To his left was Chloe, her spiraling hair was piled high upon her head and she wore a red mini skirt with a floral print tank top and flip flops.  Next to Chloe stood a woman, not much older than myself, with sun kissed locks of long glossy hair in similar attire to Chloe but with a baby girl in her arms sleeping.  The last person I saw was a young muscular gorgeous man clad in jeans and short sleeved pale blue shirt.  He had slightly tanned skin, a beautiful pearly white smile and eyes the colour of the evening sky.  Riona started the introductions with the gorgeous stranger.

“Billie, this is Samuel Black.  He is my youngest cousin.” she said.

“It’s nice to meet you.” I said.

“The pleasures all mine.” Samuel said before kissing my hand.  Riley rolled his eyes behind Samuel’s back.  “Please, call me Sam.”

“And this is Sadie Blair and her girl Stephanie.” Riona said moving me along with her.

“How ya doin’?” she asked with a southern twang in her accent.

“Good, thanks.”

“We met on campus the other day.” Chloe said chiming in before Riona could introduce us.  “Nice seeing you again, Billie.”

“Yeah, nice seeing you too.”

“And this is Julianne, Marylou and Marcus.” Riona said pulling me along with her again.

“Hey, Bill, long time no see.” Said Marylou.

“Yeah.  Love the hair by the way.” I said pointing at her turquoise dipped blonde locks.

“Thanks.” she said as her parents behind her groaned.  “They hate it.” she said thumbing at the thin man and the woman whom looked a lot like my aunt.

“It’s a parental thing.” Said Riona.

 

Rowanne eventually joined the forming crowd as more and more of her guests arrived.  When she thought nobody was paying her any attention she let her guard down to show how upset she really was.  Near the end of the day she wandered into her back yard and sat on the grass looking up at the moon.  When I approached her I saw she had kicked off her shoes and was weaving the green blades of grass between her bare toes.

“Row, it’s almost time.  You should come inside.”

“Damn, Billie, you scared the crap out of me.” she said jumping.

“Sorry, come on.  Everyone’s waiting.”

“I need to get my broom out of the shed.”

“I’ll get it, you go inside.”

 

She reluctantly pushed her feet back in her shoes before heading back inside, leaving me to retrieve her broomstick from the garden shed.  When I unlocked the latch on the wooden door I saw a shadow pass over the side of the garden shed.  Looking around to see its source I saw a haggard looking man ambling down the slope towards the beach.

“Uncle Ulric?” I called.  The haggard man turned to face me and I recognised my cousins long lost father.  He quickly turned and sprinted away in the opposite direction.  “Ulric, wait!”

 

 

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