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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7. In Dreams

I quickly sprung out of bed and followed the same corridor as before on barefoot.  More light spilled in from the now open windows as I made my way to the staircase I’d went up the night before.  At the top I arrived at the junction where the corridor split in two.  Again I saw my parents’ bodies lying on the ground and as I went to the corridor on the left the ground beneath my feet moved again.  I hit the ground hard at first but I quickly leapt up and ran to the Coma Ward where the ground stayed still.

 

The shadows that I saw on the ground below the night before were here and this time there were whispers.  I could barely make out what they said they were so quiet.  ‘Turn around’, ‘Go back’, ‘Leave’, ‘Hide!’ they all said to me.  My skin started to crawl, I didn’t know if they were trying to chase me or protect me but my legs had a mind of their own and they kept on moving.

 

I was so close to Ruby’s room, there were bodies of all the comatose patients still lying in their beds, I could see through the glass panels, just like I thought they’d be.  The light outside went away and all that was left was the shine of the moon and the odd flickering light.  I heard the cry of the wolf again followed by a bark that was so much closer than it sounded before.  I turned around and behind me was a large black wolf, it growled at the sound of laughter in Ruby’s corridor where I turned to see Desiree and Astrid Moon dressed in hospital gowns like myself.

“Someone’s been a very bad, bad girl.” Desiree sneered.

“Get out of my way.” I said calmly as I could while the wolf, now stood next to me, growled maliciously at them.

“No.” Astrid said.  “I get to play first, Desiree.  It was me she killed first after all.”

“As you wish.” Desiree said bowing to her sister.

 

Astrid leapt towards me, her fangs exposed, but then the wolf leapt for her.  While the wolf bit into the screaming Astrid’s throat, Desiree leapt forth instead.

“You’re dead, you can’t hurt me.” I said as she pinned me to the floor.

“Funny thing about evil, it never really goes away.  I can’t hurt your physical body but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy messing with your head.”

The light outside returned.  As she moved in for the kill I swung my arm out and Desiree flew out the glass window into rays of glorious sunshine where she burst into a ball of fire.  I turned to see the black wolf drag a limp Astrid by the throat to the broken window where she threw Astrid out to burn with her sister.

“Well, that was a little too easy.” I said to the lone black wolf.

 

Striding past the wolf I walked further down the corridor to Ruby’s room.  Looking through the glass panels I could see Ruby in her bed and her eyes were open.  Her eyes were open and they were looking straight at me.  I turned the handle on the door but it wouldn’t budge.  The wolf, now next to me, started barking and scratching the door.  The second time I tried the door I saw those wisps of black smoke next to Ruby’s bed and I knew the Reaper’s were here.  Ruby was on her side and couldn’t see the smoke behind her but all the same I could see tears of fear running down her ivory cheeks.  I threw my body against the door but it wouldn’t budge.  The wolf kept scratching the door, clawing the handle and barking and growling at the smoke creatures.  One more time I stepped back to throw myself at the door when it opened of its own accord.

 

Standing there was yet another Reaper with a noose in his hands.   It just stood there holding the noose as I stared back in fear.  He moved forward, the noose now dangling over my head when I heard a voice I hadn’t heard in over three years call out to me.

“Run, Billie!  Run!” Ruby yelled.

 

I ran back to the window I threw Desiree through and the wolf and Reaper followed me.  The sun was still shining as I jumped out the window with the wolf at my back and woke in my dorm room once more.

 

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

 

After my second nightmare Riley decided it would be best for us all if I stayed with Riona.  He didn’t want to be away from me but he was sure if anyone could help me it would be my powerful aunt.  She wasn’t thrilled with the idea but agreed to let me stay and help me learn the meanings behind my night terrors.

“What if these dreams are prophetic, Billie?” he said to me.

“What I’m dreaming that I’m going to die?  You think that?”

“No I don’t think it’s that at all.”

“Then which part of my dream is prophetic?”

“Ruby.”

“Huh?”

“It’s all about Ruby, isn’t it?  What if she’s waking up?”

 

After that I couldn’t argue that I needed my aunt’s help.   Riley helped me pack up my things and sent me over to my aunt’s house at three in the morning.  Breakfast the next morning was awkward, I had expected more of Rowanne but she wasn’t very welcoming either.

“Could you pass the butter, please?” I said to Rowanne who slid it across the table to me without a glance or a word.  “Thanks.”

 

Riona took one look at the front page of the newspaper and dropped it back on the table as if an electric spark had shocked her.

“Would anyone like the newspaper?  I’m done with it.”

Rowanne picked up the paper took one look at the front page and dropped it like her mother did before leaving to go to the bathroom.  Once I was alone in the kitchen I reached for the newspaper to see what was so upsetting.  A picture of a young girl was lying in a hospital bed covered in blood and scars with tears running down her face.  The article said that, Lydia Campbell, 6, the girl in question was unable to talk but police report that the attack is similar to one James Myers who was submitted to the hospital after a wolf attack.  Neighbors of the girl had witnessed a black wolf near her home on Turner Street earlier that night.

“Black wolf?” I read the paper aloud.

“What?” asked Riona entering the kitchen once more.

“It says here that the first attack was by a black wolf.  I just thought it was a bit coincidental.”

“What do you mean?”

“There was a black wolf in my dream last night but it wasn’t attacking me, I think it was helping me.”

“I can’t talk about it just now, Billie.  Can you come by the store at lunch?”

“Sure.”

“Thanks, sweetie.” she said waving as she went out the door.

“Hey, do you want me to teleport you to school?” I asked Rowanne as she came in to pick up an apple.

“No, Marylou is giving me a ride.” Rowanne said without looking at me.

“Ok, well, I’ll see you tonight.”

“Yup.” she said heading out again.

 

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

 

The rest of the morning was even more awkward than breakfast.  Rowanne either ignored or wouldn’t face me when she spoke to me.  I had no idea what I said or did to make her so upset with me, I couldn’t believe that me moving in for a little while could make her so uptight.  For years we’d loved each other as more than cousins, I thought we were so close that we could always confide in each other no matter what.  But of course ever since the accident we’ve grown up and grown apart, gradually.  I just assumed our bond was stronger than that, but then again I’ve been wrong before.

“Now’s not the time to doubt yourself, Bill.” Riley said to me when we met before class.  “She is still a teenager after all, may be she’s just going through a rebellious period.”

“Well, I hope it’s not permanent.” I sighed.

“C’mon, you’ve got your brother and Jo, you’ve also got me and my family.”

“I wouldn’t say I had Faith.” I laughed as we walked away from the dorms.

“I don’t think anyone but Leonard really has Faith.” he laughed.

“How are Willem and Faith?  Where are they now?”

“Willem should be here any day now, if he isn’t already, and last I heard from Faith she was helping Leonard try to track down Christian.”

“Where?”

“Canada.”

“But we know he’s here.  I saw him with my own two eyes.”

“He could’ve left to cover his tracks.”

“Well, then he’s getting pretty sloppy.  Why do you think he would show himself to me?”

“Why don’t we drop the whole Christian topic and worry about it if you see him again?”

“Okay.”

“Hey,” he said turning me to face him, “I love you.”

I laughed.  “I love you, too.”

“Gimme a kiss.” he said flirtatiously.

“Hmm, how can I resist?”

 

With one hand in my hair and the other on my back he pulled me close to him.  His warm lips met mine and they were locked together for only seconds when we were interrupted by a wolf whistle.

“Hey, Billie!” called Erin with Lee, Lexie and Drew at her tail.

“Hi, guys.” I said bashfully with Riley’s hand wrapped around my waist.  “This is my boyfriend, Riley.”

“Hi, nice to meet you.” he said politely.

“Hi, I’m Erin and this Lexie.”

“Hi.” Lexie said stonily, still playing her part.

“Hey, man, I’m Lee.”

“Hey, nice to meet you.”

“This is Drew.” I told Riley as Drew shook Riley’s hand.

“It’s nice to meet you.”

“Yeah, you too.” Drew said parting his handshake.

“So do you want to meet up for lunch?” Riley asked as the others waited in the distance.

“I can’t I promised Riona I’d swing by the store and give her full disclosure on my dream last night.”

“Well, how about dinner?  I’ll cook.”

“Mm, can’t wait.” I said with one last parting kiss.

 

After catching up with my college friends Erin hooked her arm through mine as we all walked to class together.

“He’s a real hottie, Bill.  Way to go!”

“Oh, here, before I forget.” Lee said pulling flyers out of his bag.  “My grandmother does this everywhere we go.  If you want your future read you should come by my house sometime this week.” he said handing us each a sheet.  “She does crystal ball gazing and tarot reading.”

“Thanks but no thanks, dude.” Drew said.  “That witchy stuff isn’t really my scene.”

“I figured but I thought the girls might be interested.  She’s really good.” he said to us.  “Very accurate readings every time she’s done my own.”

“Madame Lavinia?” Lexie said aloud reading from the poster.

“That name is familiar.” I said looking at the flyer Lee handed me.  “Is that her real name?”

“No.” He laughed.  “She calls herself that when she does her readings.  Her name is Liv Rockwell.”

“I don’t know about you girls but I think I’d like to do it.  I’ve never been to anything like this before.” said Erin.  “Are you guys up for it?”

“Sure, why not?” I said joining in her excited banter.

 

In my first class I sneakily sent a text to Riley to find out if he was familiar with the name ‘Madame Lavinia’.  I was positive I’d heard it before but I just couldn’t put it with the memory that was stirring in my mind.  The morning dragged as I waited for Riley’s response but I never received one so I sent another text to Leonard, Willem and my Nana.  Surely one of them would know it?

 

In my last period before lunch I was bored to the point of tears.  Almost.  The lecture our professor gave was similar to the one he’d given the day before which didn’t help me with my problem of heavy eyelids.  Constantly they drooped till one point I almost closed them but was saved when Lee spoke to me.

“Hey, can I borrow a pen?” he whispered in my ear.

“Sure.” I said before reaching into my bag to pull a pen from my pencil case.  I sat up straight and handed the pen to Lee.  When I looked again at his hand it was different.  The skin was white and the hand itself was shaking.  I looked up to look into his face to see my flame haired cousin Ruby shaking and crying in his seat.

“Save me, Billie!” she whispered.

I gasped loudly as I woke in class with Lee’s hand on my shoulder.

“Bill, are you okay?” he asked concerned.

“Sleeping in my classroom won’t be tolerated, Miss Black.”

“I’m sorry, Professor Robbins, I had a late night.” I apologised.

“Well, I’ll let it go if your lack of sleep was due to a late night of studying.”

“It was, sir.” I lied.

“Good.  Now, where were we?” he said aloud returning to the front of class.

 

I didn’t doze off during the rest of class but I was really freaked out about my dream of Ruby.  When class was out I headed out the classroom, Erin, Lee and Lexie quickly followed me out as Drew lazily walked behind them.

“You scared the hell out of us, what happened in there?” Lee asked after catching up with me.

“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to scare you.  I’ve had a couple of scary dreams about my cousin the last couple of nights.”

“And you had another one in class?” Erin asked.

“Yes.”

“Is this the cousin who goes to school here?” asked Lexie.

“Chloe?  No.  This was about my cousin Ruby.”

“Where does she go?” Lee asked.

“She doesn’t go anywhere.  She’s in a hospital in Penn Gate.”

“What for?” they all chimed.

“She’s in a coma.”

 

They all stood in silence not knowing what to say.

I sarcastically laughed.  “It’s okay, guys, she’s been that way for three years.”

“What happened?” Erin asked fearfully.

“She was in the car crash that killed my parents.”

“So they got killed but she survived?” Lee asked.

“Yeah.”

“Well, that’s kind of lucky, isn’t it?” Erin said lost for words.

“I don’t think Ruby would see it that way.  So far she’s lost three years of her life.”

“I’m sorry, Billie.  Me and my big mouth.”

“Don’t worry, Erin.  You’re not the one who put her in a coma.”

“Hello!  Can you help me?  I’m looking for a big college girl on campus, do you know where I could find one?” I heard a familiar mocking voice call from behind.

 

I turned to see Willem standing several feet behind in jeans and a yellow t-shirt.

“Oh my god!” I said aloud.

“Hmm, close but not quite.” he laughed.  “Well, come on, give me a hug!”

 

Throwing dignity out the window I ran to him before he caught me and twirled me around.

“I can’t believe you’re here.” I said happily.  “Riley, said you might come visit.”

“I couldn’t resist.” he said letting me down.

“These are my friends.” I said as they gathered around.

“This is Erin, Lexie, Lee and Drew.  Guys, this is Willem he’s Riley’s brother.”

“Hey, nice to meet you all.  Mind if I borrow Billie?  I swear I’ll bring her back after lunch.”

“Sure no problem.” Lexie spoke first.

“Yeah, it was nice meeting you.” Erin politely added before heading off for lunch.

 

After we were off college grounds Willem led the way to a rental car he’d parked close by.

“I’m sorry, Willem, but I’m supposed to go see my aunt at her shop about these really weird dreams I’ve been having.”

“That’s fine but I was just coming to answer that text you sent me.” he said.

“So you’re familiar with that name?” I asked pulling the flyer Lee had given me from my bag.

“Yeah, I don’t think you’re going to like it though.”

“Why not?”

“Remember before summer, before you found out who you were?”

“Yeah, how could I forget?”

“The day you invited Riley to your home?”

“Of course.”

“He… we were all lead to believe that you were going to be the big bad evil that had been foreseen.”

“By Josephine.”

“Yes, but we’d heard it before you said Josephine had seen it all those years ago.”

“What are you getting at, Willem?” I asked fearfully.

“Riley told you about the prophetess.”

“Madame Lavinia.” I said the bell finally ringing.

“Madame Lavinia.  She was the one whom foresaw evil in Penn Gate but she couldn’t tell who would cause it.”

“And that’s why you all thought of me, ‘because I was coming in to my powers.”

“Yes.”

“Is she a witch?” I asked handing him the flyer.

“Yes.”

“Then why does she use her gifts for prophet?”

“Hard times are falling upon us all.”

“We’re talking economics?” I said as we got into the rental car.

“I’m afraid so.”

“This is only going to draw the attention of the Preachers.” I said as Willem started up the car.

“She keeps moving around so she doesn’t get caught.”

“So once she’s done with Salem she’s going to move on and we’ll have to clean up her mess.”

“If the Preachers track her down here then yes, most likely.” he said driving onto Lafayette Street.  “So tell me about these dreams.”

“I’ve only had three so far.  One just in my last class, one last night and the other the night before.”

“What is it that you see in them?”

 

While Willem drove to Black’s Lair I filled him in on my recent night adventures.  He was worried about how freaked out I got when I had that dream in class and could see that they were taking their toll on me.

“So Riley sent you to stay with your aunt, how long do you think you’ll be there?”

“I don’t know.  Until we find out what’s behind my dreams or discover how to stop them.”

“Do you think Ruby’s really waking up?”

“Well, in the last two dreams she was already awake so I don’t know if that means she’s waking or not.”

“But…?” he said drawing the word out.

“I can’t help but feel she’s somehow in danger.  After all she did ask me to save her in the dream I had in class, so I’m not sure if I’m jumping to conclusions or if my subconscious is trying to tell me something.  Of course I could just be grasping at straws.”

“Stop doubting yourself.” he said wearily.  “If you feel it in your gut that she’s in danger then you can’t be wrong.”

“Of course I could be wrong.”

“No, Billie, you’re a witch and you are an incredibly powerful witch at that.  You need to believe in yourself.  Witches are very intuitive and when they use their intuition they can accomplish many amazing feats.”

“God!” I said frustrated.  “They should have a damn handbook.  You know more about Witches than I do.”

“Yes, but I’ve been around a lot longer than you have.” he smiled cockily as he parked next to Black’s Lair.  “I’ll go see Riley, maybe we can all have dinner.”

“Sounds good.” I said getting out of the car.  “I’ll see you later.”

 

As the car pulled out I waved him goodbye before entering my aunt’s shop.  Black’s Lair was quiet but the chatter eluding the Craft and Cauldron told me they’re tavern was full of hungry patrons.  Sadie was on front store duty again and almost asleep at her position behind the cashiers desk.  I walked on past her to the wooden door that separated the tacky tourist store to the shop in the back where Riona, Julianne and Chloe were at work.

“Oh, Billie, there you are come on through to the office.” Riona said leading the way with Julianne at our back.  “Now tell us all about your dream last night.” she said as soon as we were comfy in her tiny cube shaped office.

“Well, I pretty much did the same as the night before at the start only there was a lot of light this time because the windows were open.” I said stopping to eat some food.  “When I got to the upper wards I saw my parents on the floor again and the floor itself tried to take me to them but I got away.”

“What happened after that?” asked Riona.

“It got dark as I walked down the corridors to the coma ward and I saw the moon was out in the sky.  I heard a wolf howl and bark then I turned to see this big black wolf behind me.”

“What did it do?”

“It started to growl at the sound of laughter.”

“Who was laughing?” Julianne asked concerned.

“Desiree and Astrid Moon were behind me.  Astrid tried to attack me but the wolf went for her throat so Desiree took her place and she threw me on the floor.  The sun returned so I telekinetically threw her out the window where she burned before the wolf dragged Astrid out to burn alongside her.”

“You said this morning you thought the wolf was helping you.” Riona noted.

“Yes.  I went to Ruby’s room and the wolf followed me but I couldn’t get in to the room, the door was jammed shut and I could see through the glass panels that Ruby was awake.  The black smoke was near her bed.”

“The Reapers?” Riona asked almost skeptically.  “They do not harm the living, Billie.”

“I know, I know.  But maybe it represents something else.  I kept trying to get into her ‘because she was crying and the wolf was trying to get the door open too.  I threw myself at the door several times and it wouldn’t budge.  The last attempt I made I almost went through the door when another Reaper opened the door.”

“What did he say?” Riona asked.

“Nothing.  He stood with the noose in his hand like before and I was scared stiff.  Ruby shouted at me, told me to run and so I did.  Both the wolf and I ran back to the window where I threw Desiree through and we jumped into the sunlight.”

“What happened after that?” asked Julianne.

“I woke up.”

“And that’s when Riley sent you to me?” Riona asked.

“Yes, but that’s not all.  I dosed off in class just a few minutes ago and I dreamed of Ruby again.”

“In the hospital?”

“No.  She was sitting in my friends’ chair.  I went to get a pen out of my bag for him and when I turned back around there she was, sitting in his chair.”

“Did she say anything to you?” they asked in unison.

“She asked me to save her.” I said as tears stung my eyes.  “What do you think it means?”

They looked from one another back to me before Julianne said, “Could Ruby possibly be trying to make contact with us?”

“Can she do that?” I asked.

“I don’t know.” Riona answered.  “We’ve never met a witch who’s been comatose before.  Ruby will soon be turning eighteen so I imagine it’s a possibility for her to tap into her magic and speak to us in our sleep.”

“Do you really believe she can do that?”

“With magic anything is possible.” Julianne answered.

“So Ruby is waking up?” Riona asked aloud.

“No.” I said and they turned to face me again.  “I don’t know if she’s waking up or not but one thing I’m sure of she’s in danger.”

“How?” Julianne asked.

“I don’t know how.  Could it be possible that the Preachers have tracked her down?” I answered.

“We need to warn everyone if that’s the case.  There are more witches in Penn Gate than you realize.” Riona explained.  “We need a coven meeting.”

“No.  It would be more prudent if I teleported out and warned everyone myself.  If we have one big gathering it might be exactly what they’re looking for.” I explained.

“She’s right, Riona.  All the attacks they’ve made have mostly been when the witches have gathered in groups.” Julianne agreed.

“Then we’ll need to make you a list of who to contact, Billie.” Riona said.  “But first contact your grandmother and check on your cousin.”

“We may even have to warn the Pagans, Riona, just in case they attack innocent people.” Julianne warned.

“I agree.  I could speak to Dulcie’s aunt Laura and she could pass the warning on to the other Pagans.”

“Don’t forget about Matilda.” Riona warned.

“I won’t.  I’ll get started now but this will mean I’ll have to miss my afternoon classes.”

“I’ll take care of the college, don’t you worry.” Julianne said reassuringly.

“Okay, I’ll be back soon.” I hesitated before stepping out of the office.  “What if I’m wrong?  What if I’m warning all these witches about dangers I’ve seen in my dreams?”

“They all know the power of a dream, if you think Ruby is in danger we’ll take precautions.” Riona said.

“I might stop off at your house to collect The Black Craft.”

“Why?” Julianne asked.

“So I can take precautions.” I explained grimly.

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