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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12. Torsten

I kept on walking out of Lee’s house never looking back as he and Lexie tried to find out what I’d been told in my session with Liv.  Out into the darkness I walked until Lee and Lexie could see me no more and when I felt sure I was safe I teleported back to Riona’s house.  On the TV the evening news was playing, when Riona noticed me standing in the doorway she said, “You need to see this.”

 

The little girl that was allegedly mauled by a black wolf was sitting upright in her bed with fewer scars than she had before.  “Willem snuck into heal her outside of visiting hours.  He healed her enough so she could talk but not too much so it would draw unwanted attention.”

“I guess you mean Preacher attention.”

“Exactly.” Riona said.  “Listen.” she said rewinding the news.

 

Riona turned the volume up higher as I strode over to join her on the caramel coloured couch.  “It was a man.”  The little girl’s father was saying.  “She said she did see a wolf that night but it was a man who did this to her.” he said through tears.

“Why would someone make it look like a wolf attack?” I asked Riona.

“Keep watching.” she said as the news returned to the studio where a balding man in a dark blue suit spoke to the camera.

“Earlier today Lydia Campbell reported that the man whom attacked her claimed that he did not wish to hurt her but it was necessary.” he paused for dramatic effect.  “Miss Campbell also said that his accent was unfamiliar and not American.  When the police were notified of this startling news they showed Miss Campbell this picture,” a mug shot of a haggard looking Dietrich Koehler appeared next to the news readers’ head, “and asked her if this was the man whom attacked her.  We can confirm that this in fact true, a charge has been made against Dietrich Koehler and a search is being made in the Winter Island area.  In other news today, since the first sighting of the black wolf there have been reports of almost a dozen different wolf sightings in Salem.  City officials are recommending that citizens of Salem don’t go out alone after dark until the situation is in hand.  Should the situation worsen then a wolf hunt will also commence.”

“Why would he do that?  Why would he attack that little girl?”

“To make it look like it was a wolf attack.”

“How do you make it look like a wolf attack though?  They have claws and huge sharp teeth.”

“I know... It makes me wonder exactly what kind of arsenal he has that could make you think those scars were caused by an animal.” Riona shuddered.

“Why would he want to make it look like an animal attack anyway?”

“He did it so that the police and any other city officials are left with no choice but to hunt them down.  That little girl was so badly injured that she couldn’t speak for pain.  Look you can still see the scars where he cut into her throat.” she said rewinding the news once more.

“If Willem hadn’t healed her so soon the wolves would be hunted down already, wouldn’t they?”

“I believe so.”

“We’ve got to stop those brothers before they hurt anyone else.” I said leaping off the couch.

“What are you doing?” she asked as I reached for my cell phone.

 

The phone rang several times before Ralph finally answered.

“Billie is that you?” he asked.

“Yes, it’s me.  Listen I know it’s not safe for you or your pack in town right now but we need to go to Winter Island.”

“Why?”

“I’ve just come from the psychic Liv Rockwell, she says there’ll be someone, wandering around the area Rowanne was taken, looking for us.  It’s not necessary for the whole pack to go, just yourself and a couple others.”

“We’re already on our way to Riona’s house and Ulric has been in Winter Island all day.”

“Great, I’ll see you soon.” I said ending the call.

 

Riona looked at me dumbstruck as I moved about the house gathering things I might need.  My broom, my cloak, the potions and my athame.  She could see that I was a woman on a mission and didn’t try to stop me as I let Ralph and his friends in her house twenty minutes later.  He’d brought the grey haired Aiden, the tall dark and muscular Liam, his wife Daryna as well as the red head Sara O’Dornan and Kyle Reid.

“The others are nearby.  If we need them we can give them a call and they’ll be here in less than an hours’ time if they run in wolf form.” Ralph informed us.

“That’s great but the less the better.  The news says that the police might start hunting for the wolves if there is another sighting.”

“Yes, we saw the news tonight.” Aiden said in his deep but smooth voice.  “We’re the wisest and fastest in the pack.  We can stay hidden if we need to.”

“What about you?” Sara asked in a thick Irish accent.  “What will you be doing?”

“I’ll be in the sky.”  I said lifting my broom for their attention.  “If they get past you without your noticing I’ll be able to stop them in their tracks from above.”  As we all piled back into the car Riona tried to join us.  “Riona you have got to stay here.” I argued.

“I’m coming with you.”

“No, you’re not.  It’s too dangerous.  Besides if there is someone out there looking for us then they might head here if we don’t find them.  We cannot lose this opportunity to save Rowanne.”

Reluctantly she sighed and nodded her head before returning to her couch.

“I’ll call you if we find anything.” I called to her from the car.

 

“So how do we travel with you?” Daryna asked hesitantly.

“You all need to hold on to me and keep your eyes closed tight.  If you’re nervous take some deep breaths, you may feel a little ill afterwards.”

“Ill?” asked Ralph.

“It only happens the first time you teleport, if I ever teleport you afterwards you’ll feel fine.  Just remember to keep a hold of me at all times.”  I warned them.

 

A few minutes later we arrived at the outskirts of Winter Island and we all poured out of the vehicle.

“Liam and I will stay here and keep an eye out on this area in human form.  The others will all circle Winter Island and report with us every thirty minutes if you think this will take all night.” Ralph added stripping down to his underwear.

“If you’re not going to change why did you strip?” I asked.

“I may need to change if there is trouble.” he added simply.

“Right, well if you need me just call me down.” I said grabbing my broom.

“I will and you’ll let us know if you see anyone beneath you.”  He called as I walked off into the trees...

“Yes, of course.” I called back.

 

The others changed into wolf forms immediately and sprang passed me into the darkness.  I saw Liam and Ralph hide in the trees so that they were not discovered on the roadside wearing nothing but their underwear.  I was just about to hop onto my broom when I saw a figure drifting between the trees ahead of me.  Running flat out I caught up to them.

“Stop!” I called.  Catching my breath in time I looked up to see Christian gazing at me.  “You?”

“Good evening, Miss Black.” Christian said bowing slightly in his crisp grey suit.

“What are you doing here?  Why aren’t you getting the help you need.  Leonard made special arrangements with three different Shaman for you.  Why aren’t you with them?”

“I had a change of heart.  All that work they made me do and… it didn’t make the slightest difference.  The darkness still follows me, Billie.”

“You’re still Hugo Moon?”

“No.” he said surprisingly pleasant.  “You’re spell worked.  You sent him away again.  But I was touched by such darkness.” he said almost rapturously.

“Then why are you here?”

“You killed them.  My only family.”

“They didn’t leave me with much choice.”

“You could’ve saved Astrid.” he said the first trace of anger finally showing.

“If I could’ve, Christian, I assure you I would have.  But Desiree had convinced her that I needed to die.  If anyone’s to blame here its Desiree.”

“No, you killed her.”

“Yes, I did.  But killing me won’t bring them back, Christian, and it won’t do you any good either.  Go back to the Shaman, let them help you.  You have so much potential to do a lot of good with your life.  Why throw it away?”

“Because… I’m… not… good.  I’m very not good.  Even when I had my soul I was shallow, shameful and cruel.”

“You don’t have to be, you know.”

“I do, but I choose to be that and so much more now.” he said approaching me.

“Stop!  Don’t do this, Christian.  I was probably wrong to save you after the ritual but I’d still like to try.”

“No.  No second chances for me.”

“No.” I said head held high.  “There isn’t.”

Christian revealed his fangs before making his move.  Throwing my right arm out he went flying into the dirt while I held him there against his will.

“Now you will listen to me.  I am giving you a choice, a choice I know I’m wrong in giving.” I said removing my hand.  He growled as he tried to get up.  “STAY STILL!” I said and he cowed at a sound in my voice.  No longer needing to hold him down with my powers he stayed in the dirt while I spoke.  “You have a choice of two roads.  One road leads you back to the Shaman where they can help you.” I said throwing my left arm out.  “Or this road,” I said throwing my right arm out, “keep going down the road you’re on.  Hurt me or any of those I hold dear and you won’t like what you find at the end of that road.”

“More empty threats, Billie?” he hissed.

“No, this is a guarantee, Christian.  If you stay, if you hurt anyone I guarantee you will meet the same fate as your dear sisters.”

He sprung forth and I leapt onto my broom.  Above him I gave my final warning.

“Do not mistake me for a hopeless maudlin fool, Christian.  It will be your end.”

With one last hungry glance in my direction he took off to the outskirts of Winter Island.

 

 

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

 

The hours passed tediously by as not a soul was seen wandering through the trees other than the campers of Winter Island.  Three in the morning Ralph called the other werewolves to take over from those tiring from constantly circling the dark trees.  Ulric and Kyle waited for the younger wolves to arrive as Ralph and Liam scoured the land to pass the time.

 

I didn’t tire as quickly as the wolves did, hovering on my broom in the indigo sky, but an hour after the cubs arrived I felt my eyes begin to droop and as my eyes dropped so did the broom.  The sudden drop shocked me into awareness and with that charge of adrenaline my broom shot back up again.  My feet almost caressed the treetops as I flew silently over them.  It wasn’t until an hour later did I see someone wandering towards that patch of trees all dressed in dark and camouflage style clothes.  Speedily, yet stealthily, I flew towards Noah and Logan who’d taken over from Ulric and Kyle at the patch of trees we arrived in hours previously.

“Boys, incoming from the east.” I said as quietly as I flew above their heads before flying high up once more.

 

Noah and Logan seemed to vanish behind the tree I’d seen them at as the wanderer strolled from the opposing trees.  The man put his hands high in the air as if someone had stepped up behind him and put a gun to his back.

“I know you’re here somewhere.” Torsten Kohler called.  “Please, I do not wish to harm you, only to talk.”

 

The wolves had heard him and through the darkness they came to circle round him.  Noah and Logan came forth from their hiding spot in wolf form also joining the circle of younger wolves.  The largest of the wolves was a fair coloured wolf and with every circle she drew closer and closer to Torsten.  He couldn’t see as well as the wolves but from my vantage point in the sky I could tell the fair furred one looked like she was ready to take a chomp out of him.  Landing hard I found myself face to face with the large threatening wolf and my back to the devious man who helped kidnap my cousin.

“You don’t get to toy with him.” I said looking the fair one squarely in the eye.  Gripping Torsten’s upper arm in my right hand I told the pack, “Call Ulric, tell him to meet me at Riona’s house.”

 

Torsten shuddered at the sound of my voice as I teleported us back to Riona’s home.

“Riona!” I called.  “You’d better get something to bind this bastard with.”

Pushing Torsten roughly into a dining chair Riona arrived with Riley, Willem, Leonard and Faith at her tail.

“What is he doing here?” Riona asked as we both telekinetically tied Torsten in the ropes Riona had brought with her.

“He’s the one that was looking for us.”

“Please, this is not necessary.” Torsten pleaded.  “I do not wish to harm any of you, I only wanted to talk to you.”

Riona slapped him hard across the face.  “What about my daughter!?” she yelled shaking him.  “You took her!  Where is she?  I want my daughter back!”

“Riona, control yourself.” Leonard said pulling her off Torsten.

“Get your hands off me!  Let me go.” she said trying to shrug of Leonard’s iron strong hold of her.

“Don’t make me tie you up.” he threatened her as he pulled her towards the kitchen.

“Let me go!” she continued to yell.  “I want my daughter -”, the rest of her yells were muffled as Leonard continued on through the kitchen.

“That’s much better.” Leonard said returning.

“What did you do with her?” I asked.

“Oh, not to worry, I’ve simply locked her in the basement.” he answered.

“You -?  Oh, never mind.” I said turning back to Torsten.  “Where is Rowanne?” I asked him.

“She is safe, unharmed, I promise.” he said.

“That is not the answer I was looking for.”

“I didn’t want to take her I swear.  My brother planned it all, not me.” he said as the front door swung open.

“Where is he?” Ulric growled.

“Ulric, keep a calm head.” I informed him.  “Leonard has already locked Riona in the basement.  Just stay calm.”

“Or I’ll put you in the basement too.” Leonard said smirking.

“I’d like to see you try, vampire.” Ulric said towering over Leonard.

“Ulric!” I shouted.  “Sit down.  I’m in charge here and you will do as I say.”

“Or what?” he said so close to my face I could smell his dirty breath.

 

With one hand I shoved Ulric into the wall much like I’d done hours before when Christian attempted an attack.  When Ulric was pinned against the distant hall wall he squealed, “Let me go!”

“Ok here’s what’s going to happen.  You are going to sit there quietly and listen to what he has to say.  You’re going to keep control of the animal within you as well as the rest of the pack.”  I said as Ulric’s followers burst through the front door.  “Is that clear?”  I asked turning back to him.

“Yes.” he said defeated.

“I’ll say the same to the rest of you.  Sit, listen and don’t bother attempting to chomp his arm off.” I said turning to the fair haired girl called Torrance.

 

Turning on my heel to return to Torsten I saw Leonard smirking cockily in the corner of my eye.

“You!” I shouted at Leonard.  “Wipe that smile of your face.  You’re only making matters worse.”

 

Leonard’s expression changed from mocking to flabbergasted and he ducked his head as though he was embarrassed by his behavior.  Stomping back towards the living room where Torsten still stood I pulled out chairs for the Smiths and the Howell’s and left the rest of the wolf pack standing.

“You, speak.  Tell us why you took Rowanne and tell us where you took her.” I said to the trembling stranger.

“When I was younger my oldest brother, Harman, would take Dietrich and I on camping trips.  We took at least one trip each year out to this forest in Belgium that our parents used to take us to when they were alive.”

“This sounds rehearsed.” Ulric muttered under his breath.

“Shut up.” I said digging into his ribs.  “Go on, Torsten.”

“Three years ago we went to the same forest in Belgium, on our second night there I was cooking our dinner and Dietrich was listening to the portable radio when I heard Harman scream.  Dietrich didn’t hear anything when I went to see why he yelled.”  He wiped a tear from his eyes.  “When I found him he was dead and there were wolf tracks leading away from our campsite.  I returned to get Dietrich, he brought weapons and we went after the wolf.  We searched for almost an hour when we found it licking the blood from his fur about eight miles away from where my brother lay dead.  Dietrich gave me a gun and loaded another for himself, he almost pulled the trigger when the wolf changed into a man.  You.” He said nodding at Ulric.  “My brother’s been killing any and all werewolves since we discovered what you were, all the while searching for you.  About a year ago he got lucky, found out who you were and so we come here.  I didn’t want to kill, I don’t want to hurt anyone.  But Dietrich was always angry, always hateful of anything different since he was a boy.  I tried to stop him from taking the girl, from hurting you.” He nodded to me.  “I just wanted to get on with my life and to mourn my brother.  Harman hasn’t even had a real funeral yet.  Since Dietrich started chasing you I had to follow him and try to stop him.”

“But now he’s here and he has my daughter.” Ulric said sadly.

“Do you remember attacking his brother?” I asked.

“It was an accident.” he addressed Torsten.  “Sometimes when we’re in wolf form we tend to think more like animals.  I was hunting some rabbits that were near your campsite, you’re brother snuck up on me from behind and frightened me.  Before I knew it he was lying dead on the ground in a pool of his own blood.” he sighed.  “I intended to try to revive him or call for help but then I heard footsteps and I had to run, he was dead and there was nothing I could do to help him.  I’m sorry.” Ulric said sincerely.

“Thank you.” Said Torsten weeping.

“What about Rowanne?  Is she safe?” I asked.

“She is safe and unharmed.”

“Where is she?” Ulric asked gently.

“She’s not in Winter Island we’ve gone over there with a fine tooth comb and have not found anyone there but the campers.” Ralph spoke up.

Torsten wiped more tears away.  “We’ve been squatting in an empty house on Pickman Street.  You’re girl she’s been using her witch powers to mess up our minds.  Dietrich wanted to take her out of town but whenever she touches him she influences his mind to do as she wishes.”

“Untie him.” I said to Ralph.

“How do we know we can trust him?” he asked.  “What if he’s lying?  What if she’s hurt?”

“She told me if you didn’t believe me I was to tell you.  ‘When shall we three meet again?  In thunder, lightning or in rain?’  She said you’d know what it meant.” Torsten addressed me.

“What the hell does that mean?” Faith asked,

“It’s from Macbeth.” Leonard added.

“And its Rowanne’s way of telling me I can trust Torsten.”  I said aloud to the room.  With one quick movement I slashed my hand through the air and felt my power untie Torsten’s restraints.  “You and I are going to retrieve my cousin.”

“What about the rest of us?” Ralph asked.

“You’ll all wait close by in case you are needed.” Ulric informed his pack.  “I will go with Billie and Mr. Kohler to save Rowanne.”

 

I ran to the kitchen excitedly to find Kyle Reid and the hunky dark skinned Liam holding the door in place each time Riona tried to unhinge it with her powers.

“She’s barking mad.” Liam said in a surprising Welsh accent.

“What has she done?” I asked looking at the splintered bits of wood hanging from the door frame.

“She’s gone off the deep end, love.” Kyle answered.  “She keeps trying to blow the door off to get out.”

“Riona, calm down!” I shouted as she pounded on the door.

“Listen, he’s told us where Rowanne is and we’re going to get her, Riona.  We’re going to bring Rowanne home.”

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