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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8. Old Rose

Just like I’d told Riona and Julianne, I first teleported to Riona’s house to pick up the family legacy, our spell book The Black Craft.  The house was empty but it looked as if it had been robbed, everything was upturned, broken and disarrayed on the bottom floor.  I ran to the room my aunt was letting me stay in and found it the way I’d left it.  After gathering my book I checked out the bottom floor again before going upstairs.  The only thing missing that I could see was a picture from a broken photo frame lying on the floor.  I knew what should’ve been in this frame, the only picture I’d ever seen with Riona, Ulric and a younger Rowanne all smiling like the happy family they once were.  Inspecting the other rooms I found them like my own, untouched.  I couldn’t ask Midnight if he’d seen the intruder because I’d left him in the dorm room with Riley.  I returned to Black’s Lair to let Riona know what I found when I teleported to her home.

“Nothing was taken?” she asked upset.

“Nothing I could see except a picture from a photo frame.”

“Which picture?”

“The one with you, Ulric and Rowanne.” I answered.  “Do you think it could be the Preachers?”

“I don’t know.  I have a spell somewhere that can tell me who was in the house.  Don’t you worry about the house, Billie.” she said.  “Go do what you set out to do.  I’ll take care of the intruders.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure and here we’ve wrote down a list of names and addresses.” Riona said shoving a sheet of paper into my open hands.

“Okay, I’ll see you soon.”

 

The first Witch I teleported to was my Nana.  After she’d gathered Brian, Dulcie and Matilda into the living room I sat with them and told them about my dreams and how it seemed that Ruby was trying to warn me about something then explaining how Julianne and Riona had concluded it had something to do with the Preachers.

 

After I left them I went on to see Dulcie’s Aunt Laura at her art gallery in Manhattan to ask her to warn her Pagan coven after telling her about my dreams of Ruby.  I had teleported around half the country by nightfall after seeing most of the Witches and Pagans alike that was on the list Riona had compiled for me.  I was uncomfortable teleporting to places I didn’t know very well or had never even been too.  I went as far as North Dakota and got lost several times so I was grateful that I could just blink and find myself in my own home, should my nerves get the better of me.

 

Come eight o’clock I only had two more people on my list and they were two Witches I knew very well.  My second last trip was to Alexa Cain at her nursing job in Penn Gate Infirmary.  Alexa was with her sister, Marlowe, and her brother, Wynter.  I hadn’t seen any of them since I’d left for college, we’d all been Preacher hunting throughout the summer without any luck.

“Billie, what are you doing here?” Alexa asked.

“Is there somewhere private we can all go to talk?”

“Sure, this way.” she said leading us into a medicine store room.

“What’s the news, Bill?” asked Marlowe.

 

Marlowe was the Cain family coven leader like myself but she was older, ruthless and more experienced than I.  She was taller and thinner than Alexa with chiseled cheekbones, her eyes were sharp and only the large waving curls brought out any of her feminine features.

“I’ve been sent with a message from my cousin.” I said pointing to the floor above us.

“From Ruby?  But she’s in a coma.” Alexa said shocked.

“My aunts think she’s been tapping into her powers to communicate with me via my dreams.”

“Interesting.” Marlowe said brooding.

“What’s the message?” Wynter asked.

 

Wynter and his twin sister, AnnDee, were the youngest of the Cain siblings.  They both looked like younger versions of Alexa, soft and good looking.  Wynter was shorter than his older brother, Gracen, but he was muscular and he wore skin fitting clothes to show his muscles off.

“Danger is coming.  At least that’s what we believe the dreams mean.  I’ve been teleporting up and down the country all day letting as many Witches know as possible.”

“Do you think it’s the Preacher’s?” Alexa asked.

“I think so.  In almost every dream I’ve been faced with a noose and that’s the Preachers’ trademark isn’t it?”

“That’s what we’ve been led to believe so far but we’ve recently discovered a coven of pagans in Connecticut burned to the ground.” Marlowe answered.

“How do they manage to hide their trails?” I asked.

“I honestly don’t know.” Marlowe said.

 

After we all departed feeling more than a little defeated I headed upstairs to see my cousin.  I freaked out a little when I came to the split in the corridor that I arrived at in my dreams the last two nights.  There was no bodies lying on the floor of the right hand corridor and there was no ghostly black smoke creatures chasing me out with a noose but all the same I had shivers running down my spine.  No black wolf or dead vampires confronted me on my way to Ruby’s room and there were no Reaper’s there waiting for me.

 

Ruby’s hands were ice cold to touch when I placed my own hand in hers.  Her eyes stayed closed and her lips still immobile I was certain my cousin wouldn’t be awakening any time soon without a miracle.

“Can you hear me, Ruby?  It’s me, Billie.  Please, tell me what is going on.” I begged her as I sat by her side.  “You have to tell me what to do.  If you can hear me show me something.” I said before kissing her brow.

 

A flash!  Just for a second I saw my aunt Sophia and my cousin Vincent lying in beds just like Ruby.  Was she trying to tell me they were in comas also?  I bolted out the door and checked every single room in the coma ward foolishly letting myself believe that it might be possible to find my lost relatives here in Penn Gate Infirmary.  Of course they weren’t there, but Ruby knew and she couldn’t tell me whilst in a coma herself.

“If you can, show me where they are tonight.  If you can, show me how to wake you.” I whispered in her ear before leaving her with one last kiss goodbye.

 

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

 

After saying goodbye to Ruby and then again to Alexa, I made my way out of the hospital to go to the last Witch on the list by foot.  The last Witch was one of my Nana’s oldest and dearest friends Rosemary Nelson who lived on Oscar Street near Forrest Boulevard.  Whilst walking from the hospital, on Jackson Boulevard, I called Riona to give her an update to tell her about what I saw when I was with Ruby.

“You saw Sophia and Vincent?” she asked shocked.

“Yes.  It looked like they were in hospital beds like Ruby.”

“What else did you see?”

“Nothing.  It was only a brief glimpse at them both.  So what do we do with that?”

“We don’t do anything just now.  You go see old Rose Nelson then come back here.  If you have another Ruby dream tonight we’ll decide in the morning what actions need to be taken.”

“Okay, I’m almost there.”

“Good, I’ll see you soon.”

 

When I arrived at old Rose’s house I knew something was wrong the moment I set foot on Oscar Street, her home was near the end and the front door was ajar.  I had The Black Craft in my bag which contained numerous spells that I could use to protect myself should I need it but I didn’t want to draw attention to myself here in the middle of a suburban street, my reputation in Penn Gate was one that many had conspired over.  Tentatively I walked up the steps to Rose’s house and entered through the open door.

 

It looked like there’d been a fight in here and by the looks of several broken potions bottles old Rose had attempted to fight back.  “Rose?” I whispered and received no answer.  I walked down the hallway to her living room where there was more evidence of a fight.  Every step I took I was getting more and more afraid of what I’d find if I ventured further into the house so I went back outside and called for help.

“Leonard, I need your help.” I said after Leonard answered the phone.

“What’s the matter, Billie?” he asked.

“I’m at Rosemary Nelson’s house on Oscar Street and something bad has happened here.”

“Is Rose there?”

“No, I couldn’t go further than her living room.  I just got this horrible feeling, I had to come outside and call for help.”

“I’ll be there in a second.” he said before hanging up.

 

Literally he was there in a second and walked back into Rose’s house with me.  There was a door in the living room, which led to her tiny kitchen, which was hanging off its hinges but still mostly barred the view of the room behind it.  I grasped Leonard’s hand tightly as I knew what we would see once the door was pushed out of the way.  Still holding my hand Leonard used his other hand to push the door out of the way to reveal Rose hanging from a noose tied to the fan on her kitchen ceiling.

“She’s dead.” he said pointing to a stool up turned on the floor beneath her dangling feet.  “Broken neck.” he said disgustedly.

I started to cry.  “Oh, poor Rose.  How could anyone do something so evil to such a sweet old lady?”

“Come outside, Billie.” Leonard said leading me back out to the garden.  “Call the police I’ll clean up the magical mess within.” he said and I knew he meant the potions she’d obviously thrown at her killers.  “Will you be all right out here by yourself?  I’ll only be a few minutes.”

“I’ll be fine.” I said wiping my eyes and reaching for my cell phone.

 

While Leonard cleaned up inside I made several calls, first to the Penn Gate Police Department, then to Nana, Riley, Riona and Alexa.  Within minutes, Brian’s truck pulled onto Oscar Street and Nana came flying out of it her face wet with tears.  Brian joined us as the police pulled onto the street next to his truck and Brian put an arm round both mine and Nana’s shoulders.  I’d never seen my Nana so upset, not even when my parents died because she had to stay strong for my brother and me.  Her face was wet and her body shook with every last sob.

 

Leonard said he’d give the police a statement and would tell them he found her alone.  It wouldn’t make sense for me to be in Penn Gate so soon after leaving for college only a few days ago.  I was heartbroken at the thought of leaving Nana at a time like this but they all told me it was for the best and made me teleport out when nobody was looking our way.

 

I returned to my aunt’s house in Salem where she was waiting for me in the kitchen.

“I don’t want to talk about it, not tonight.  All I want right now is to sleep.”

“Okay, I understand.” she said.  “I’ll see you in the morning.”

In my room waiting for me was Riley, he opened up his arms and I ran into them before we collapsed onto the bed.

“Is there anything I can do?” he asked stroking my hair.

“No.  Just stay with me tonight, please.”

“Anything for you, Bill.”

 

At the sound of the purring engine that was my cat Midnight I thanked Riley for bringing me this extra comfort as Midnight leapt into my arms.  Licking my face in his affectionate way I could hear his thought quite clearly.

“Don’t come back to the dorms.  It’s safer for you here.” his little voice said through the bond.

“Why what’s wrong with the dorms?” I asked through the bond.

“The Hart boy has been watching for your return.”

“Has he tried to get in?”

“No, but I saw him talking to the blonde girl in your class.”

“Erin?” I asked worriedly.

“Yes.  Be cautious, I think he intends on seeing her again.”

“Over my dead body!”

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