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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11. Madame Lavinia

Ulric carried Riona back to her bed before returning to the living room where Riley, Willem, Ralph, Daryna and I waited for him.

“Billie, right?” he asked.  “You’re your father’s double, I’m guessing you’re coven leader now that you’re eighteen.”

“That’s right.  Where have you been?” I asked angrily.  “Do you have any idea what you put your wife and your daughter through?”

“I had to leave, especially after what I did to Rowanne.” he said apologetically.

“Leaving wasn’t the answer.  I don’t know much about being a werewolf but I’m sure Rowanne could have used her father when she turned.”

“She wasn’t alone.” Ralph said.

“Ulric sent us to her when she was ready to turn.” Daryna explained.

“It’s not the same.” I argued.

“No, you’re quite right.  I was a coward, I still am.  But I’m here now and I won’t go until my daughter is safe once more.”

“Your daughter?  You have no right to call her your daughter.  Fifteen years you’ve been gone, you are no father to her.”

“I understand your frustrations with me, Billie, I take full responsibility for my actions.  My choice to leave wasn’t easy.  I thought I was doing right by Rowanne.”

“I think what we need to focus on right now is finding Rowanne.” Ralph interrupted.  “You saw the dream tonight.”

“I was in a forest with Rowanne and your pack.” I answered.

“They came here to help Ulric find Rowanne.  Would you mind if they came in out of the cold?” Ralph asked indicating the back door.

“Well, it’s not my house but I can’t see Riona having a problem with it.  Sure they can come in.”

 

Daryna walked to the door her high heels clicking off the kitchen tiles as she crossed the floor.  When she opened the door there was a small crowd of people in Riona’s back garden waiting for permission to enter.

“She says you can come in.” Daryna said to the werewolves.

One by one they crossed the threshold and as each werewolf neared me Riley took another step forth till he was by my side.

“Uh uh, not him.” Riley said as Kyle Reid came in last behind the young blonde with shaggy hair.

“He tried to poison our family a few months ago.” Willem explained.

“Oh, so you’re the vampires.” Ulric noted.  “Can’t say I care for your taste in men, Billie.”

Daryna laughed.  “You have no right to question my judgement.” I said hotly and received several angry growls from the werewolves.

“You’re insulting their leader.” Ralph explained tersely.

“I don’t care who he is.  He does not come in this house after fifteen years and pass judgement upon those that I love.  You are all here as guests,” I addressed the room, “you all care about Rowanne but let me make one thing clear.  I am the leader of my coven, I am more powerful than all of you combined.  If you give my boyfriend or his family trouble, I will make you regret it.”  I said as Riley and Willem smiled on proudly, if not a little cockily.

“There won’t be any trouble here.” Ulric said aloud.  “We have no problem with the vampires, we’re here to save our own.”

“Your own?” Riona asked entering the kitchen.  “Being one of your own means you must belong.  If anyone here decides where Rowanne belongs it’ll be myself or her coven leader.” Riona nodded to me.

“Yes, I understand that, Riona, but our daughter is not just a witch.  Our daughter is special.”

“Yes and she has you to thank for that, Ulric.  But instead of staying to help her control the inner animal you decided to run.”

“I never meant to hurt her.” he said hotly.  “You know that well enough.”

“It’s not for any of us to decide whether he’s guilty or not, Riona.” I stepped in before the argument got any more heated.  “It’s up to Rowanne.  So let’s remember why we’re all here.”

“Perhaps we should start with introductions.” Ralph suggested.

“Yes, would you do the honors, brother?” Ulric asked.

“Of course.  Everyone this is Billie and Riona Black and Riley and Willem Smith.  This here is Aiden Young.” Ralph said introducing the silver haired man.  “Sara O’Dornan.” The redhead.  “Liam Dovey and Torrance Giffard.” he said pointing to a large muscular dark skinned man and a short blonde woman.  “The youngest of our pack, Logan Lipman, Noah Harling and one Miss Peyton Newman.”

“There are more on their way.  If we require the help of other packs there are those that owe us favors.” Ulric explained.

“They only asked for you.” I said.  “‘The father for the daughter’.  Why would they want you?  Do you know them?”

“Not to my recollections.” he answered.

“Now is not the time to sit around and ponder what their connection to you is.” Riley spoke up.  “We need to take action if we are to stop them hurting anyone else.”

“I agree with Riley.” I said to the room.  “If you’d like I can take you out to where Rowanne was taken.”

“That won’t be necessary.  Ralph knows the way he can show us.  We don’t want you getting hurt in the crossfires.” Ulric explained.

“I am more than capable to take care of myself.”

“I’m sure you are a capable witch, Billie, but you’ve never had to deal with an out of control werewolf before.  Rowanne has been effected from the drastic changes since coming into her powers.  She’s gone wild.” said Ulric in his gruff disconcerting voice.

“If you don’t mind we’d prefer it if Logan, Noah and Peyton stayed with you while we’re in Winter Island searching for Rowanne.” suggested Ralph.

“You don’t think they’ve left Winter Island?” I asked.

“No, we believe they are fooling us by hiding in plain sight.” Daryna added.

“Wait you really think they’d keep an out of control wild werewolf on a camp site where there are families on holiday there?”

“It’s the perfect cover and if anyone else gets hurt do you really think they’d care?” she asked.

“No, I suppose you’re right.”

“So it’s settled the kids will stay with you while we search for Rowanne.” Ralph said.

“Come on, Ralph, we want to help Rowanne too.” said Logan, the boy with the military style haircut.

“Yeah, isn’t there something we can do?” Noah asked.

“Yes, you can stay out of trouble.” Ulric menaced.

“There’s another bed upstairs in the room Willem is staying in and you can sleep on the couch or the inflatable bed.” Riona said as the adults headed out the back door.  “You should go back to bed, Billie.  You’ve got school in the morning.”

“You can’t be serious, not after everything that’s been happening.” I argued.

“I am deadly serious.  I may not be your coven leader but I am your legal guardian while you’re under my roof.  You’re going to attend class just like any other day.”

“Come on,” Riley said as he led me to bed, “Willem will let us know if the wolves find anything.”

 

In high dudgeon I let Riley escort me to our room where he shut the door tight closed as Riona organized the cubs’ sleeping arrangements.  Riley flopped down on bed beside me and held me close to him.

“You have had one hell of a night.  You need rest.” he said gazing into my eyes.

“I’ve had a hell of a week Riley, besides if I go to sleep I’m just going to have another one of those dreams.  I don’t think I can handle them anymore.”

“Then what do you want to do?” he whispered in my ear.

“Hold me tighter.” I whispered back and he chuckled softly.

“Anything for you my love.”

 

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

 

Erin was full of excitement the next day when she informed me that Lee’s grandmother was going to be reading our future that day.  Although Lexie and I were feeling indifferent about getting together with an unfamiliar witch we couldn’t bring Erin down from her high excitement.

“I’m a small town girl, I’ve never had a Tarot reading before.  I wanna go!” she said happily.

“She’s probably just a con artist, Erin.” Lexie said contemptuously.  “Why would you want to throw your money away on someone whom fakes being Psychic?”

“Hey, my grandmother is good at what she does.” Lee said upset.  “Listen, it may not be conventional but it makes her happy and it pays the bills so do us all a favor, Lexie, and get off your whiny judgmental high horse.”

“May be she can tell me how my date on Friday will go.” Erin said excitedly.

“You have a date?” I asked interestedly.

“Yeah, with Drew’s roommate.  He’s super-hot.”

“The roommate whose name you can’t remember.” Lexie noted.

“Oh, his name is Christian.” Drew said indifferently.

I stopped in my tracks remembering what Midnight said about ‘the Hart boy’ intending to see Erin again. “Christian?  Christian who?”

“Uh, I think the dude said it was Harold or Harris or…”

“Or Hart?” I asked interrupting Drew.

“Yeah, that’s it.  Christian Hart.”

“Do you know him, Billie?” Lee asked as I caught up.

“Yeah, he came to my school in senior year.  Erin, as your friend I beg you not to go out with him.”

“Why what’s wrong with him?  He seems like such a sweetheart.”

“He’s not.  Trust me, he’s the worst kind of bad there is.”

“Jeez, what did he do?” she asked worried.

“You don’t want to know.  Promise me you won’t go out with him.”

“Is he dangerous?” Lee asked.

“Very.”

She sighed.  “Okay, I promise I won’t go out with him.”

“Thank you.” I said stiffly.

“You will still come with me to see Madame Lavinia, won’t you?” she pleaded.

“Sure, we both will.” I said looking Lexie square in the eye.

 

I wasn’t focused during classes, I was worried that Erin might just break her promise about not seeing Christian.  I was worried about Christian’s plans and what Desiree had said in my dream.  Could it be just coincidence that she said he’d start by killing my friends and now here Erin had made plans to go out with him?  Or could he still be the innocent I was sure he was before the summer?  I couldn’t stand the not knowing, whether he was good or evil I could handle it but this not knowing was insufferable.  On top of my fears for Rowanne’s safety and this new found hope for Ruby I was now scared stiff that Erin would defy me.

 

Later in the day Lexie caught me on my own to find out how the search for Rowanne was going and what made Christian so bad that I begged Erin not to date him.

“You remember those vampire sisters I told you about?” I asked her.

“One of them was dating your brother and you had to kill them both.” she answered.

“Yeah, Christian is their brother.  They tried to resurrect the first vampire to take over Christian’s body.  He was touched by a seriously scary evil and we’re just not sure if he’s back to his usual obnoxious charming self or…”

“Or if he’s possibly turning into an Eve-Walker.”

“Right.”

“Oh, drama, drama, drama.”

“I think we should keep a close eye on Erin.  In my dream last night Christian’s sister said he would kill my friends and family before coming after me.  But I’m not sure if that was just my fears manifesting in my dreams or if I was actually foreseeing future events.”

“I’m afraid I can’t help you out in the dream department.  I’ve never had prophetic dreams that I know of.  But I agree with you, we should look out for Erin at least until we can determine whether or not Christian has become an Eve-Walker.”

“Good, we should take turns or maybe I can find a spell to protect her.”

“Yeah,” she agreed, “I mean as much as I love her we still have to study and look out for ourselves.”

“We’ll work it out, start simple like make sure she isn’t out of her dorm room alone after dark.”

“Maybe we can talk Lee into helping.  I doubt Drew would, he doesn’t care about anyone but himself.”

“So is it just the three of us going to see Madame Lavinia?” I asked sarcastically.

“No, Lee says he’ll take part too and he’s managed to drag Drew along also.”

“This should be interesting.”

 

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

 

When we arrived at Lee’s house, on Looney Avenue near Gallows Hill Park, there was as many cars parked in the drive as was physically possible.  Mrs. Rockwell had transformed one of the bedrooms on the lower flower into a sort of fortune telling studio and had also arranged the hallway outside into a sort of waiting room/parlor by adding in chairs, some small coffee tables and a music system.  There were a few people already waiting for their turn when we arrived and they were mostly women.  Lee served us iced teas and sodas as we waited for ‘Madame Lavinia’ to call our names from behind the curtained door.  The house was small but not filled with a lot of personal items which made me wonder if Mrs. Rockwell was ready to move away again at any given moment.  The red curtain on the door to the room where ‘Madame Lavinia’ performed eerily reminded me of the cloak Desiree wore to the ritual when she tried to raise the first vampire from the damned.  The memories of that day came flooding back to me and cold sweat drowned me as the fear settled in.  What if Christian was an Eve-Walker?  What if I hadn’t really saved Christian from the ritual?  What if Hugo Moon still possessed his body?  What if I’m just going crazy and these dreams I’ve been having were just dreams?  I had a lot of ‘what if’s?’ to answer but only in time would I learn them.

 

Steadily I began to chew on my nails and tapped my heel off the floor constantly in a rhythmic pattern so much so it annoyed Lexie to the point of her slapping my leg and holding it in place to stop it bouncing up and down.

“Are you alright, Billie?” Erin asked.

“Yeah, you seem a bit tense.” Lexie added.

“Oh, uh, nerves getting the better of me.  Sorry.”

“What have you got to worry about?” Drew asked.  “These things are not real you know.” he said once Erin vanished behind the red curtain.  “Sure they give good show but that’s all it is, a show.”

“What do you know about it, Drew?” Lexie asked abruptly.

“It’s all smoke and mirrors, cold reading.” he explained.

“That’s my grandmother you’re talking about, dude.” Lee said crossly.

“No offence meant, Lee.  I just don’t believe in this stuff, it’s not for me.  Half the time they’re just guessing or trying to read your reaction to their predictions, that’s what cold reading is.”  After I gave one long exaggerated yawn Drew asked, “Am I boring you?”

“Oh, no, Drew.  Keep talking.  I always yawn when I’m interested.” I said much to Lexie and Lee’s amusement.

“Fine, I’m just trying to spare you some disappointment.” Drew said caustically.

“I’m sure you are, Drew, but do us all a favor and just keep your opinions to yourself.”

“Or what?” he asked angrily.

“Or I’m sure your face will meet with Lee’s fist if you keep insulting his grandmother.”

“Please.  Bros before hos, man.”

“Oh my god.” I said implausibly.  “I swear if you were twice as smart you’d still be stupid.”

 

Lexie and Lee’s burst of laughter was caught short by Erin’s reappearance.

“Well, that sucked.” she said heatedly.

“My point exactly.” said Drew proudly.

“Erin, what happened?” asked Lexie.

“Don’t worry, Bill.” she turned to me angrily.  “I’ll do as you say and be a nice little girl.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked upset.

“Miss Black.” the voice behind the curtain called before I could get an answer from Erin.

 

The room beyond the curtain was dark and filled with the heady scent of lavender candles.  ‘Madame Lavinia’ was sat in a small wooden chair behind a small circular table stirring her tea with a silver spoon.  Her hair was short and severely curly, she wore a black dress with scarlet sequins and beads, her lips and nails were black and around her neck, wrists, ankles and fingers she wore a lot of brash gold jewelry.

“Take a seat.” she said soullessly.  When I was sat in the chair opposite her she said, “I’ve been watching you for some time, Miss Black.”

“It’s Billie.” I said politely.

“No you’re not.” she said still stirring her tea.

“Yes, it is.”

“Does Josephine see it that way?”

“Look, you may be all seeing, but you are not all knowing especially when it comes to my ancestor and myself.  I was her and now I am me, so don’t act like you know better.”

“You haven’t heard from Josephine for a while have you?  You worry that you’re losing her.”

“Look, I only came here for my friends’ sake not to hear what my future holds.  Only I have that power because I will be the one whom makes it.”

“You wouldn’t have had a future had I not warned the Smiths about the Moons.” she said proudly.

“Except you didn’t.  You didn’t see who the evil was, you just gave them enough information for them to believe it was me.  If I hadn’t discovered my powers in time Riley might have killed me.”

“But it all worked out and now Riley and you are lovers, are you not?”

“Listen unless you have anything useful to tell me…” I said getting up and heading to the curtain.

“How are the dreams, Billie?”

“How do you know about them?”

“I told you, I’ve been watching you for a while now.”

“What do you know about them?”

“Not much, but I do know that you are beginning to doubt yourself, even questioning your sanity.”

“Can you blame me?”

“Don’t doubt yourself, your instincts have never let you down before, have they?”

“So, you’re saying everything I’ve been seeing in my sleep lately is real?  Ruby’s coma is fake and Christian is evil?”

“Do you believe it?  Does it feel right to you?”

“I don’t want Christian to be evil, I’d hate to think I saved him for nothing.”

“Listen to your heart, Billie.  What does it tell you about Christian?  What does it tell you about Ruby?”

“Well, if I’m going by my instincts their telling me I was wrong to save him.  But I’m just not sure about Ruby.  It’s been three years since the crash and if her coma has been medically induced then how come we’re just finding out now?  Why would anyone do that to her?”

“You’ll need to find DK and ask them why, my dear.  I’m afraid, as much as I can see, I don’t have all the answers.”

“Can you tell me how to stop the dreams?  How to save my cousins and how to stop Christian?”

“Take the wolves out to Winter Island tonight.  To the place you lost your cousin, you’re going to find someone out there looking for you.”

“Who?”

“I can’t see that far ahead I’m afraid, I just see a person wandering around Winter Island waiting to be found.”

“What about the other two?”

“Like I said, I don’t have all the answers but I assure you your young friend out there won’t be seeing anymore of Christian.”

“What did you tell her?”

“I told her that he was responsible for your friends’ death.”

“Eve?” I asked and she nodded.  “But that’s not true and it still doesn’t explain why she got upset with me out there.”

“I told her to heed your warnings, that you only have her best interests at heart.  She did get rather upset but I think her heart was really set on this date because she was very attracted to him so I told her not to be so shallow in future.”

“Yeah, well, that explains everything.”

“Was there anything else you wanted to ask me?” she asked as I stood unmoved.

“Yes, why doesn’t Lee know about his lineage?  He’s eighteen now, even if you raised him the same way I was he ought to have come into his powers by now.”

“I bound his powers when he was young, he won’t come into them unless I undo the spell.  I can I assure you I won’t, the only way he will come into his powers is when I’m on my deathbed.”

“That’s not very fare.  You can’t do that to him, that’s just cruel.”

“Cruel?  How is it cruel?” she asked unperturbed.

“You won’t tell him who he really is so instead you’ll let him find out on his own whilst still grieving you after your death.  Where is the reason behind it?”

“It’s for his own safety.  I’ve seen what he will do if he has his powers.  He will join forces with the likes of you to stop the Preachers.”

“And that’s bad?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because he’ll get himself killed.” she said heatedly.

“Either way, he deserves the truth.  If you don’t tell him I will.”

“You’ve done this before.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You made Leonard Smith tell his children the truth about his relations to them.”

“That’s different.  They deserved the truth.  They didn’t love him any less.”

“But can Leonard say the same of you?”

“Leonard is my friend.”

“And so is Lee.  Do you think he’d thank you if you told him the truth?”

“It’s not about me.  They deserve the truth.”

“Why?”

“Because I was raised with a lie also.” I shouted.  “It’s not fair, it’s not right to lie to the ones you love.”

“I thought you said this wasn’t about you.”

“What would you know?” I asked through gritted teeth.  “You’ve never had the luxury of ignorance because you could always see the truth before you even heard it.”

“If you really knew me then you would know that’s not the truth.” Liv called out as I stormed out the room.

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