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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6. The Wolf Book

After teleporting out of Riona’s house and appearing down a side road behind Riona’s store I walked out to meet Riley in the tavern.

“Hey, I’m not late am I?” I said to Riley as he read his newspaper.

“No, I was early.” he said as I sidled into the booth.  “Did you hear about those Germans?”

“Yeah, Riona’s brewed up a small arsenal of potions, just in case.” I whispered as some tourists passed our table.

“What does she think?” he asked.

“She thinks they’re here to hunt actual werewolves.”

“Is Ulric’s pack still in town?”

“I wouldn’t think so.  He wouldn’t want to risk Rowanne running into him.  Why do you ask?”

“I think they had a little accident last night.”

“What kind of accident?”

“A man was admitted into the hospital late last night after a vicious animal attack.” Riley said turning the paper around for me to see the grizzly picture of a man lying in a hospital bed with several bloody scars on his face.

“That’s horrible.  What did he say attacked him?”

“A black wolf.”

“Ready to order?” said an older woman dressed in costume surprising us.

“We’ll have two cokes, the Cormarye and the Stewed Capon.” Riley said deciphering the medieval themed menu.

“I’ll be right back with your drinks.” Our server said before departing.

“Thank you.” I said.

“You’re welcome.”

“I’m going to go next door for a minute.  I need to get a book.  Call me if the meal comes?”

“Sure.”

 

Before a quick departing kiss I walked towards the dividing doors separating the tavern from Black’s Lair.  Sadie stood behind the cashier ready to serve the customers in the store. 

“Hi, how are you?” I asked.

“I’m good thank you.”

“How’s your little girl?”

“She’s teething but it’ll pass.” Sadie shrugged.

“I never really got a chance to talk to you at Rowanne’s party.  I heard about your husband’s death, I’m really sorry.  If you need anything just let me know.” I said placing a comforting hand on her arm.

“I appreciate it, thank you.  Everyone has been so nice to me and my little girl although we’re still practically strangers.”

“Do you mind my asking, how did it happen?”

“It was an accident at his work.  He works with a lot of machinery and these things happen apparently.” she said sadistically.

“Where did he work?”

“In an Acula factory.” she answered.

“Acula?  What is Acula?”

“Here.” she said bending down to reach into her purse under the counter.  When she stood up she had a leaflet in her hand.  “Dev Ryker Acula.  Acula Industries.  They do all sorts of stuff from searching for oils to making nappies.  This guy is rolling in the dole, he tried to buy me off.”

“He what!?” I said staring at the picture of a somewhat handsome, if not a little pasty, man.

“He tried to bribe me so I wouldn’t go public with my husband’s death at work.  He didn’t want to get a bad rep.”

“That’s disgusting.”

“Preaching to the choir.”

 

Through the dividing doors next to the cashier was the secret store room for real witches and real magic.  Here Marylou was working her hair up into a bun with more turquoise hair on display than blonde whilst she wore a teal leaf patterned maxi dress.

“Hey, good to see you!” She called to me.

“Hi, nice to see you too.”

“Is there anything I can help you with?”

“Where are your books?”

“There are a few shelves over behind the racks of altar cloths.”

“Thanks.” I said before heading over to the other side of the store.

 

The bookshelves were mostly made up of ritual books, spell books, potion books and very few mythical creature books.  I looked in one or two of the mythical creatures’ books for the topic of werewolves but all that was said in them was the basic description of your average werewolf.  When I reached for one thin book on werewolves at the top of the last shelf a thicker black book fell on my head as I attempted to pull the thinner one out.  Falling hard on my butt I made a fool out of myself in front of my fellow Witches.

“Are you all right?” Marylou asked as she rushed over.

“Yeah, I will be in a second.” I said trying to get up.  Lifting the large book off the floor I saw the shining silver title on its spine.  “Versipilles?  What does that mean?”

“I think it’s Latin.” Marylou informed.  “Let me check the dictionary.” she said heading to the cashier desk.  “Yes, here it is.” Marylou said after returning with the open book.  “Versipilles, it means werewolf.”

 

I opened the book to read a list of topics within the book.

 

1.             A History of the Werewolf

2.             Birth of a Werewolf

3.             Transformation

4.             How to Recognize a Werewolf

5.             Properties of Moon Stones

6.             Full Moon Calendar

 

“I’ve heard about this one, it’s supposed to be a really good book.” Marylou informed me.  “It covers everything from how they are created, to the transformation and even shows you how to identify one.”

“What is this?” I asked pointing to the ‘Properties of Moon Stones’ on the menu page.

“Oh, well, there are more than one kind.  I’m sure you’re familiar with the gemstone called Moon Stone but the werewolves have been keeping these secret from the mortals for over three millennia.”

“What do they do?”

“Well, it depends.  They come in all shapes and sizes and each of them work differently than the others.”

“How?”

“Magic.  But they only work their magic for werewolves.”

“Do they have to be in their animal state to use ‘em?”

“I don’t know.  You’ll just have to read it to find out.”

“How much?”

After inspecting the book herself she answered, “$11.50 please.  Is there anything else you need?” she asked after taking my cash.

“I’m hosting the Samhain festival this year.”

“Oh, of course, you’re the coven leader after all.”

“Yeah, I’m a little lost on what I need.  Riona gave me this book so I could learn all about it but I’m still unsure as to what I’d need for the actual ritual.”

“Well, let’s have a look at the book.” she said guiding me to an empty table to sit at.  “Here’s a notepad for you to take notes of anything we find in here that you’ll be needing.”

“Thanks for the help.”

“No problem.  Okay first of you’ll need to set your altar, where are you thinking of having it?”

“Um, I was thinking of doing it outdoors with a big bonfire.”

“So just something small and temporary?”

“Yes.”

“Well, first off you’ll need an altar cloth, candles and a chalice.”

“Why will I need a chalice?”

“As part of your offerings to the spirits.  In the chalice you’ll offer up something like mulled wine or cider.”

“Any other offerings?”

“Well, yes you’ll decorate your altar with seasonal root vegetables such as squash, corn, beets and carrots.”  She said rhyming them off.

“What about this?” I said pointing out a page to her.

“Carve four pumpkins and place one facing north, another facing south and the other two facing east and west.  If you carve scary faces into them it’ll keep the bad spirits away.”

“So what do I need to do now?”

“Right now you should read the book until your satisfied that you understand what you’re going to do.”

“Riona gave me a copy of the family tree so I could decide whose spirits to invoke.”

“Yes, that’s definitely the most important part.”

“Who do you think I should call upon?”

“It’s not up to me.  You’re coven leader, it’s your choice.”

“Kind of unfair though, isn’t it?”

“What’s unfair?”

“It’s not the first time I’ve been coven leader.” I said tapping Josephine’s printed name on the family tree.

“You were the first born, Bill, it’s your birthright.”

“Have you ever been to one of these?”

“Hell, yeah, I’ve been to everyone since I was born.”

“How is it?”

“It’s a blast, really it is.  Every year Riona would invoke the ritual and call upon the spirits then afterwards it’s just like a huge magical party.  There’s food, dancing, spells and tarot readings!”

“But it won’t be Riona hosting it this year.  It’ll be different this year.”

“Different doesn’t always mean bad.  You’ll do great.” She said clapping my shoulder before leaving me at the table.

 

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

 

Late the same night when I should’ve been studying about the ritual I’d be performing in a month’s time I stayed up and read ‘Versipilles’.  Riley stayed up and listened as I narrated the book out loud to him about the secret powers of the magical moon stones.

“Didn’t you tell me about these before?” I asked from the desk as Riley lay in bed.

“Yeah, I think you were in the hospital at the time.”

“You said they had the power to heal.”

“I said some had the power to heal but they’re all very rare.”

“There’s so much more.  Just like Marylou said depending up on shape and size they can all do different things.”

“Like what?”

“Like this one.” I said getting into bed beside him, showing him the portraits.  “This one is apparently the size of the average hub cap and can stop the person from changing, or this one is shaped like talons, it gives the werewolf the ability to change into any animal.  Not just the wolf.”

“What else?” he asked intrigued.

“These ones the size of pebbles,” I pointed out, “can make them grow really tall.  Or there are others that are almost heart shaped can make them run incredibly fast.  There are so many, the ability to shrink, there’s even one to make them fertile to make werecubs.”

“Is there anything else?”

“Well, the healing stones you told me about are here,” I said flicking the pages, “they’re sort of square shaped.  I wonder where they all are.”

“Your guess is as good as mine.”

“They’re really quite beautiful, too.  I’ve never seen stones like these before.  It’s like white with a silver sheen.”

“Nah, I’ve seen better.” he said taking the book from me.  “What’s this?” he asked as the Acula Industries leaflet slid out.

“Oh this is where Sadie’s husband worked.”

“How did he die?”

“Accident at work.  Apparently this schmooze-bag tried to buy her off to save his rep.  Can you believe that?”

“Some people are real jerks.” he said flicking through the leaflet.  “Wow this guy’s paler than Leonard and that’s saying something.  Leonard is over four hundred years old.”

“Well, maybe he’s a vampire.” I joked flashing him a toothy grin.

“Don’t kid.” he tickled me.

“No seriously look.” I said taking the leaflet back.  I took two fingers and placed it over most of the owners’ name so it looked like D R Acula.  “What does that look like to you?”

He laughed.  “You can’t be serious?”

“Oh but I am.  Watch.” I said taking a pen from the night stand.  “Stick his initials alongside his surname and what does it look like?”

“I’m not playing along here.”

“Oh, come on, indulge me.  What does it look like?”

“It looks like Dracula.”

“Is it possible?  Is he real?”

“There are rumors.”

“Oh my god.  What if Sadie’s husband’s death wasn’t an accident?  What if it was murder?”

“Okay,” he said taking the leaflet from me, “Bill, it’s almost eleven we need to get some sleep.”

“Do you think it’s even the slightest bit possible?” I said snuggling under the covers.

“I wouldn’t think so.  Like I said rumors, not facts.”

“Do you think Ulric and his pack are still in town?”

“Nope.  Especially after that poor guy got attacked.  They’d probably want to get out of dodge.”

“Would those foreign brothers follow them if they left?”

“Unless they managed to slip away unnoticed.” Riley said thoughtfully.

 

As Riley wrapped his arms around me the world around me disappeared and the weight of my eyelids pulled me into a slumber as I heard one long piercing cry far in the distance that could only be from a wolf.  The sound stirred in me and my eyes quickly snapped back open where I found myself in the hospital room again.

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