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?


5. Potions & Prophecies

“I’m so sorry, Lexie.” Nana said consolingly holding her free hand.  “I want you to know I am very grateful to you for telling us this and you have been very brave.” Lexie nodded.

“Do you want me to take you back?” I asked with a hand on her shoulder.

She nodded.  “Yes, please.” she said standing up.

“I’ll speak to you all later.” I said taking Lexie’s hand.  “Close your eyes, Lexie.”


She took in one last haggard breath before we teleported out of my home in Penn Gate.   When I opened my eyes I found us under the same tree we were sat at a few minutes ago.

“Is there any place you’d like me to take you?”

“No, I just need to walk a little while.  Will you come with me?”

“Of course.”

“So I guess it’s easy to say your other power is teleportation, huh?”

“Yeah.  What’s yours?”


Without a word she pulled a lighter from her pocket and clicked it three times.  Each flame that flickered sat hovering in the air one after another before Lexie motioned with her hands to make them larger and rounder.  Lexie then moved her hands to make it look like she was juggling them.

“Fire manipulation.” she said snuffing the flames out with her fingers.  “I can’t create the flame, I can only manipulate it.”

“You’re still incredibly powerful, though.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

“So who was your predecessor?” I asked.

“My uncle Hunter.  But I’ve been prepared for this for a long time.  I’ve been ready all my life for this.”

“I only found out I was a witch a few months ago.”

“Huh!?” she said her head whipping around to face me.

“Honestly, my parents raised me and my brother as ordinary kids.”


“They wanted us to have an ordinary childhood.  Which is dumb ‘because I’m not going to have an ordinary adulthood, right?”

“Does your brother know that he’s a witch?”

“He found out some time after I did.  My aunt and grandmother didn’t want him to know till he was eighteen but, since I vanquished his vampire girlfriend in front of him, he found out a little early.”

“You killed his girlfriend?” Lexie said slowly to herself.

“She was turning into an Eve-Walker, it was totally unavoidable.”

“Damn, for a girl who just found out she was a witch you’ve sure been busy.”

“Oh, you have no idea, trust me.”

“So where do we go from here?  I don’t think it’s wise for you to stay in my company too long.”

“Why not?”

“Because, if the Preacher’s look for me here and discover you they could trace you back to your family and come after all the Blacks.  Do you want that?”

“No of course not!  Okay, we just have to avoid being alone together and looking all conspicuous.”

“You mean like how we’re acting now?” Lexie pointed out.

“Good point.  Well, I’m going this way.” I said pointing out of college grounds.  “I’ve got to pay my aunt a visit and then my boyfriend is taking me to dinner at the Craft and Cauldron.”

“The Craft and Cauldron?  Seriously?  What a way to draw attention to yourself.”

“Oh, please, it’s a tourist-y place and it’s my aunts.  She owns Black’s Lair next door also.”

“So how do we act around the others?” Asked Lexie.


“Lee, Erin and Drew.”

“Oh, we’ll just act like we don’t like each other.  I mean the way you acted this morning it isn’t going to be a huge leap for them.”

“Yeah, that’s a good idea but I don’t want to act like a supreme bitch.”

“Neither do I but if the safety of our friends and families matter at all to us then we will just have to suck it up.”

“Agreed.  I guess I’ll see you later?”

“Yeah, probably when we’re hating each other.”

“Mm, yeah, unfortunately.”  She said heading off in the direction of the dorms.

“Hey, are you going to be okay?”

“I can‘t say for sure.  Will you let me know if you hear anything else about the Preachers?”

“Of course.  Will you do the same?”

“Count on it.” she said departing.


When Lexie was out of sight I checked the area out to be sure that I’d be teleporting without witnesses.  As soon as I felt sure that it was safe to do so, I felt the spark kindle slightly as I teleported into my aunt Riona’s home.

“Riona?” I called down the hall.

“In the kitchen.” she called back.

“What are you doing?” I asked as I stepped in the kitchen to find Riona pouring contents from jars and bottles into a small cauldron atop of the cooker.

“Young Samuel told me all about the foreign strangers so I just thought I’d brew a few batches of emergency potions.”

“What do they do?” I asked picking up a bottle from one of her previous batches on the kitchen table.

“Oh, well, the blackish potion temporarily paralyses, the sort of tangerine one brings on forgetfulness and the violet one knocks ‘em unconscious.”

“What about this one?” I pointed to the clear potion bubbling in the cauldron.

“This one is a little hard to describe.  Your Nanna came across this in the early sixties when she was still quite new to the craft.  One day she was experimenting with potions when one of them backfired on her.”

“What did it do?”

“She called it the ‘Freak Out’ potion.”

“The what!?” I laughed.

“Think of the thing you find most scary and then imagine facing it for hours.  Let’s say you were terrified of bats if you got hit with this potion you’d believe you were being attacked by them.  That’s what this potion does.”

“So all these potions are to incapacitate them?”


“Why would we want to do that?”

“They’ve been in the paper this morning, they’re drawing attention to themselves.”

“Have you still got it?”

“Yeah, it’s on the coffee table through there.” She said pointing in the direction of the living room.


On the coffee table was the folded up copy of The Salem Evening News, the article Riona had spoken about had only taken up a part of the front page which bore a picture of the older foreign man in handcuffs being put into a police car with a police officer either side of him.  The title above the picture simply read ‘Attack on Animals’ with a small article below it.  It read:


Residents near Winter Island last night reported to police a disturbance that sounded terribly like gunfire.  Police located said disturbance around midnight where they found a lone drunken man shooting at smaller animals.  When police questioned said shooter, Dietrich Kohler, 35, of Frankfurt Germany, said that he was scaring off a wolf that had been in the tent he and his brother, Torsten Kohler, 26, of Frankfurt Germany, had been camping in Winter Island.


There was nothing more to the article other than one more sentence that said, ‘Mr. Kohler’s younger brother bailed him out of jail early the following morning’.

“So German guy gets drunk and starts shooting at animals.  So what?  I mean, it’s not good that he’s shooting at animals or shooting at all, but why are you going to these lengths?” I asked pointing out the potions she had brewed after re-entering the kitchen.  “Isn’t it just a little extreme?”

“No.  He also said a wolf had been in his tent and that he was just trying to chase it off.”


“I don’t think the wolf had been in his tent, I think he was hunting it.”

“Again I say, and?”

“Billie, I’m not going to pussyfoot around.  I know you know what your uncle is.  He and his pack were in town last night.”

“You think that the Germans are hunting wolves.”

“No, I think they’re hunting werewolves.”

“Do you think they know that the wolves they’re hunting are werewolves?”

“I’d like to say no and, I hope I’m wrong but, I have the most horrifying feeling in my bones that makes me think they’re tracking actual werewolves.”

“Why would they be hunting them?”

“Fear, hate, revenge.”

“Revenge!?” I said appalled.  “Why revenge?”

“Accidents happen, Billie.  Werewolves can control themselves but sometimes, especially amongst the young and during the full moon, the animal in them takes over.”

“That must be horrible for them when they turn back to man.”

“Mmm, it must be.” she said under her breath.

“But isn’t it kind of exciting?” I said happily.  “There are werewolves in Salem, Riona!”

She laughed.  “Is it wrong to feel that way?” I asked.

“No, Billie, I felt that way once, too.”

“Do you need a hand to make more potions?” I asked.

“No, thank you.” she said pouring the clear liquid into vials.  “I had a call from your grandmother.”

“Oh, yeah, what did she say?”

“She told me all about Lexie Woods and her family.”

“Horrible isn’t it?”

“Yes, by the looks of things the Preacher’s seem to find us when we are all grouped together, you know?”

“It can’t be coincidental.  Don’t you think they’re just waiting until the whole coven is gathered together in one place?”

“It would make sense in their eyes, I suppose.  You know you never told me why you came here.” she said.

“Oh, I had a nightmare last night and Riley was worried about me so he asked me to come speak to you about it.”

“Really?  Why would he suggest that?”

“He says sometimes a Witches dreams can be prophetic.”

“Very true.  Okay, why don’t you set a tray and we’ll have tea?” she asked.

“Sounds good.” I said as I set about filling a tray with biscuits and cake as Riona brewed an herbal tea.


“Okay, begin.” she said when were settled down at the kitchen table.”

“Well, at first, in the dream, I thought I was waking up and I found myself in the hospital room I was in at Penn Gate Infirmary before the summer.”

“Go on.” she said after I took a sip of tea.

“The place was deserted and a wreck.  I walked along the empty corridor for a while before I took the stairs up to the coma ward.”

“Why did you go there?”

“I thought if anyone should be in the hospital it would be the coma patients.  I thought I ought to head to Ruby’s room.”

“And what did you do after you got up there?” Riona asked once I’d taken another sip.

“I was going to go straight to Ruby but I saw two bodies lying on the floor of the corridor in the right.”

“And who were they?” Riona asked after I’d taken yet another sip.

“And why do you keep asking questions after I’ve sipped my tea?” I asked just as quickly.

“The tea you’re drinking is actually a potion.” she answered apathetically.

“A potion?  Why would you slip me a potion?”

“Every time you take a sip you are compelled to answer truthfully to any questions I might ask you.”

“Why would you slip me this kind of potion?”

“In case there’s anything you might try to hide from me, I can make you tell me everything you saw in your dream.”

“I was going to tell you anyway.”

“Yes, but there might be some minor details you’d be afraid of telling me.”

“Afraid of telling you what?”

“Like who were the two bodies on the floor?  You notice you continued to tell me everything about the dream but when it came to the bodies you stopped and questioned me to distract me.” she said staring me down.  “Who were the people lying on the ground, Billie?”

“My parents.” I said shocking Riona.  “They were dead.  I tried to walk away to head back in the direction of Ruby’s room but the floor came to life then it dragged me down to where they lay.”

“What happened?”

“I saw them change.”


“Decay!  Their bodies decayed and when I tried to run more dead things came out of the ground and pulled me down.” I gulped down tears of fear.  “Something came out of the shadows, it was like a person but it looked like it was made from wisps of smoke.  It laughed at me, held a noose above my head and it said… it said it was my turn.”

“Your turn?  What did it mean by your turn?”

“I think it meant it was my time to… die.”



“I can understand now why Riley would want you to see me.  Tell me more about this black creature.” She said as she got up and studied her bookshelf.

“Well, I woke up right after so I can’t remember everything.”

“Just tell me what comes to mind.”

“It floated down from one end of the corridor to me.  When I saw it up close it looked more real and less smoke-like.  The blackness seemed to form into a hooded robe.  I didn’t see a face.”

“Anything else?”

“It didn’t turn up till the dead things had a hold of me.”

“What were the dead things?”

“They were just hands.”

“And you say it had a noose?”


“Aha!  I think I have it!” She said removing a book from the shelf.


My aunt threw everything off the coffee table to make room for the mammoth old book she placed upon it.  The book was thick and dusty and several pages slipped from its bindings as Riona flicked through the pages until she came to a stop.


“Is this what you saw?” she asked as I kneeled beside her.


On the open yellowing page was a painted portrait of the black robed figure with several others that all looked the same.  The creatures painted further off in the distance looked like figures of smoke.

“They’re called Reapers.” Riona said.

“Reapers?  You mean like the Grim -?”

“The Grim Reaper is fictional.” Riona interrupted.  “There are multiple Reapers in the world.  They all perform a duty.  When a life comes to an end they collect the soul to prepare it for the afterlife, or so we believe.”

“They don’t seem as scary.” I pointed out.  “In my dream the thing that confronted me I found terrifying but these…”

“You find them familiar?” Riona asked.

“How could you possibly know that?”

“You’ve met them before.”

“I have?  When?”

“When do you think?” Riona asked cocking an eyebrow at me.

“When I was Josephine.” I sighed.

“Right.  When you died all those years ago you’d have met one of them.”

“I don’t remember.”

“I know but there are always traces.”

“Did you ever have a past life?”


“Who were you?”

“I believe I was some high priestess.”

“Like some sort of super Witch?”


“That doesn’t surprise me.” I snickered.  “So what else do we know about them?”

“Not much.  We only meet them when we die, I don’t know if it’s possible to see them whilst we live.  I think they may be live on some higher or astral plane and only certain people or creatures can see them.”

“And they’re not scary?  Not like the one in my dream?”

“No, you were already afraid in your dream and your imagination ran away with you which made them so terrifying to you.”

“But they do take our lives.”

“No!  They do not kill, they are neutral.”

“How do you mean ‘neutral’?”

“They are neither evil nor good.  They perform a duty and that is all.”

“How did they come to be?  How are they born?”

“Born?  Billie, we don’t even know if they are actually alive.

“Okay, well, then how is it that they exist?”

“How did we come to exist?  Through a miracle?”

“Through God?”

“So some believe.”

“And what do you believe?” I asked.

“I don’t know what to believe when it comes to the Reapers.  Many stories have been told but the one I’ve heard most still stays with me.”

“What story?”

“According to a Shaman, the Reapers were made from higher beings.”

“Higher beings?”

“The Otherworldlies.”

“And what are they?”

“What do you think they are?”


“No, Billie.” Riona laughed.  “I don’t mean little green men.  Stay close to magic and myth when you think of them.”


“Angels and Demons.”

“You’re saying the Reaper’s are made from Angels and Demons?”

“Or something like them.”

“This is all very confusing.” I said rubbing my forehead.

“It’s just like what mortals think of us.  You know what I mean?”

“What witches flying on broomsticks with black cats, oh, they’ve got it all wrong haven’t they?” I said sarcastically.

“You know what I mean.  Stereotypes!  There are similarities but in the end we’re different to how they perceive us.” she argued.

“We’re quickly switching to random topics here so can we please stay on the conversation we started out on ‘cause I’m getting a headache.”

“Right, of course.  Why don’t we end it here and if you have any other dreams like the one you had tell me everything you see.”

“Sounds good enough to me.  I’d better be going.  I’m meeting Riley at your tavern.”

“Have you decided what you’d like to do for the Samhain ritual, yet?”

“Excuse me?” I asked shocked.  “Samhain ritual?  What is that?”

“You don’t know?”

“I’ve only known about magic for a few months, Riona!  I don’t know everything there is to know about it yet.”

“Here.” she said passing me another book as she placed the old one back on the shelf.  “This ought to help you.  Samhain is a ritual performed on All Hallows Eve.  Have a look at it tonight.”

“I will.  Is this something only the coven leader performs?”

“Yes, the leader hosts the festival and performs the ritual.”

“In a nutshell what is it?”

“It marks the end of the summer and the beginning of winter.  It is the time of year when the veil between the dead and living is thinnest.  There is a record of all rituals prior to this year which will be helpful to you.”

“What happens?”

“You’ll plan the festival and make your own ritual, choose what you want to put on your alter and decorations.  The list is endless.  Once you’ve written your ritual, you’ll invoke it almost like you would a spell.  You’ll call upon spirits of the dead, but only certain spirits.”

“And afterwards?”

“Afterwards you’ll celebrate with the guests you’ve invited.  We dance, eat, cast spells and tell each other’s fortune.  You’ll enjoy it, I promise.  If there’s anything you need my store will have it.”

“Okay, I’d better go.” I said glancing at my watch.  “I don’t want to leave Riley waiting.”

“Right, well call me if you need any help with your plans.”

“I will, thanks.”

“Isn’t it exciting?” she asked after hugging me.


“Your first ritual!  If your father could only see you.”

“Well, if the veil between the worlds of the living and dead are thin then maybe he will.”

“You don’t want to call upon their spirits?” Riona asked a little disappointed.

“No it’s too soon.  May be in a year or two when I’m more confident.”

“Do you have anyone in mind?”

“How about further down the line?  Like an ancestor?”

“That sounds good.”

“Do you have a copy of our family tree?”

“Yes, I do, right here.” she said pulling a sheet from another book on her shelf.  “Let me know who you choose.”

“Actually, I think I’ll make it a surprise.”

“Okay.  Before you go take some of those potions with you.  Just in case you run into those foreigners.”


After I’d put the copy of the family tree and the book on Samhain in my book back I headed back through to the kitchen to grab the potions Riona had brewed.

“Okay, correct me if I’m wrong.” I said before pointing at the vials.  “Black to paralyze, tangerine to forget, purple to knock unconscious and clear to scare ‘em.  Right?”

“Absolutely correct.  If there’s anything I haven’t covered you can get the ingredients from the store and brew the potions yourself.”

“Not a problem.”

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