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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1. Welcome to Salem

The plane touched down with ease at Logan International Airport in Boston, MA.  Riley and I stood near the cockpit so we were one of the first to exit the air craft before heading towards the carousels to collect our luggage.  It was barely noon and the sun was high in the sky surrounded by a few white fluffy clouds as we entered the airport.  I’d finally given into Riley’s offer of bribing the registration staff at Salem State College so that we could stay in the same dorm together which we’d be moving into the next day.  But tonight we’re bunking in my aunt Riona’s spare room at her house in Salem on Beach Avenue.

 

Riley grabbed our suitcases as they darted out of the black plastic screen on the carousel before heaving them onto a trolley and pushing it in the direction of the arrivals lounge where Riona and Rowanne would be waiting to pick us up.

“Are you looking forward to tomorrow?” he asks.

“Yeah, I am.” I said hooking my arm through his.  “Are you?”

“I think that’s an understatement.” We laughed.  He kisses me quick before pushing through the doors to the arrivals lounge.

“Oh, look!  There’s Rowanne.”  I said pointing to my cousin bobbing up and down several yards away behind the crowding people in the lounge.

“Hey, Mom’s at the car.  She’s double parked so we have to move.” Rowanne said when we’d made our way over to her.

“Nice to see you too, Rowanne.” I said sarcastically.

“Yeah, yeah, I know I’m being rude.  We’ll get the hellos done in a minute.” she said leading us out of the airport to where Riona’s Chevy was double parked.

“Billie, sweetheart!  It’s so good to see you!” Riona gushed as we came to a stop next to her car.

“Hey, Riona.  You remember Riley?” I said turning to face my vampire boyfriend.

“Yes, it’s nice to see you again, Mrs. Black.”

“Please, call me Riona.” she said.  “Rowanne, be a dear and return the trolley.  We’ll load the cases into the car.”

 

We rushed to load the car with our luggage and climbed into the crammed car before leaving the airport car park.  Our trip from Boston airport to Salem lasted little over half an hour and we spent it happily contemplating Rowanne’s eighteenth birthday on Sunday 5th of September.  Eighteen is the age we come of age but for Witches it is the age that we come into our powers, another reason why Rowanne was so excited about her birthday.  I came into my own before the summer, before my Graduation and my entire way of life was changed forever.  Unlike Rowanne and my other relatives I was raised not knowing who I truly was until the night before my birthday when Riley tore down a wall in my house to reveal a hidden door with a secret room behind it.  A room filled with potions, charms, cauldrons, books and something very important.  My legacy, The Black Craft.  Upon touching this book on my eighteenth birthday I was endowed with magic, with a spark that stayed close to my heart.

 

I couldn’t bring any of this with me on the flight so I would have to return to collect them by using one of my powers, teleportation.  I’d need to return anyway for The Black Craft because we would need it for Rowanne’s birthday so she, too, could be endowed with her magic.  Although I had suggested that I just teleport myself and Riley to Salem but he thought it wouldn’t be keeping with his summer theme.  He did his best to do things with me that normal boyfriends and girlfriends do when on a date but he couldn’t keep in mind that we aren’t normal.  I am a reincarnated coven leading Witch and he is a one hundred and forty four year old Sun-Walker, half human half Vampire with the power to control shadows and darkness.  Each time I insisted that we just teleport to Salem, Riley said he wanted to do it all the normal, mortal, way.

 

When we pulled up outside Riona’s cottage on Beach Avenue we unloaded the car and dragged our stuff inside.  She had a beautiful white 19th century cottage that looked out onto the ocean from her back yard which had been in our family for generations.  The guest room that we’d be staying in was on the second floor that looked out onto the front yard and was furnished with two single beds.

“What you don’t trust us?” I asked turning to my aunt when she led us to this room.

 

I knew she had another guest room with a double bed in it because that was the room my mother and father stayed when they brought my brother and me to visit.  The room with the single beds was the room my brother and I always stayed in.

“You may be moving into your own dorm tomorrow but under my roof you stay in single beds.” She said sternly.

“You’re actually in luck.” Rowanne said.  “Mom almost made you stay in separate rooms until I talked her down.”

“Thanks.” I said gratefully.

“Don’t make me regret it.” Riona said turning her back on us.

“Make yourselves comfortable and then we can have lunch.” Rowanne said following her retreating mother.

“What do they think we’re going to do?” I asked Riley when we were alone.

“Oh, I don’t know…” Riley said pulling me close to him before kissing me.  “Something normal girlfriends and boyfriends do.”

“We’re not normal though, Riley.” I said after receiving another kiss.

“Isn’t this what you want?”

“I want you, Riley.  I don’t need normal, I don’t need mortal.  It’s not who we are.  I want you to be you.”

“Honestly?” he asked surprised.

“Honestly.” I said crossing my heart.  “We can still be in a relationship and be who we really are.”

“So what do couples like us do?”

“Mmm, something like this…” I said pushing him onto the single bed before leaning over to kiss him.

“The door is still open.” he said laughing.

 

I forced my spark within to close the door as I swung my hand out in a swiping motion and flicked my fingers to turn the lock.  Riley pulled me onto the bed beside him so we were lying on our sides facing each other when his lips returned to mine.  The kiss got heated as his hands ran through my hair and my fingertips rested on the buckle of his belt.

“All in good time, my love.” he said catching my fingers and kissing them.

I sighed before meeting his gaze.  “Do you love me?” I asked surprising myself.

“Yes.” he replied instantly.

“You’re so sure.”

“I am, aren’t I?”

“How can you love me when we’ve only been together for such a short time?”

His grey eyes bore into my own when he replied, “How could I not love you?”

 

I brought my mouth back to his as my heart beat out a samba and I laced my fingers through his black gelled hair.  My breath caught in my mouth as his hands ran down to the small of my back and brought them up under my shirt.

“All in good time, my love.” he repeated with a soft chuckle in his voice.

“Say it.” I said.

“Say what?” he asked coyly.

“Tell me you love me.”

“I love you.” he said truthfully meeting my eyes.

“I love you, too.”

He smiled, pushing my hair aside then kissing my forehead.  “I know.”

 

We almost jumped out of our skins when there was a knock at the door.

“What are you two doing?” Came Rowanne’s voice.

“Just getting changed.” I said shooting off the bed.

“Yeah, likely story.” Rowanne laughed before we heard her footsteps retreating down the hall.

“We’d better change if we want her to believe it.” Riley laughed and grabbed a bag.

 

I pulled the curtains on the windows closed as we began to change.  I picked out a small blue skirt, white vest and white sandals while Riley opted for long khaki shorts, a black t-shirt and sneakers.  We kept sneaking playful glances at each other when we began to shed our clothes and before we knew it, when we were fully dressed, we were making out again.

“You can’t seem to keep your hands off me, Mr. Smith.” I teased.

“Well, it would be easier if you weren’t so beautiful, Miss Black.” he laughed.

 

The ‘in case of emergency’ small vial of human blood that dangled from the chain around his neck tickled my throat when he kissed me.  I pulled away from him and tugged at the vial.

“How are you set for blood, Riley?” I asked concerned.

“Don’t you worry about that?  I’ve got my other diet all arranged out here.”

“Are you sure?  You could take some from me… if you really needed.” I offered.

“That’s very… generous of you, Billie, but that won’t be necessary.” he turned away from me.

“I didn’t mean to offend…”

“No you didn’t.” he turned back and kissed me again.  “No, it’s just… it could be dangerous for you if we did that.”

“Dangerous how?”

“Well, if I took too much I could end up turning you.” he explained.

“Oh, we wouldn’t want that.  I’d become an Eve-Walker, right?”

“Right.  Come on, let’s not make them wait any longer.” he said pulling me up off the bed.

 

Riona and Rowanne were out in the garden with a spread of sandwiches, cake and a jug of peach iced tea when Riley and I joined them.  We sat out in the garden and enjoyed the glorious sunlight as the waves of the rolling ocean lapped against each other before the sky turned indigo and speckled with glinting starlight.  We spoke about the guests coming to Rowanne’s eighteenth birthday party this coming Sunday and what to expect.  Distantly related witches had been invited and other members of our coven, people that I would soon be leading when I was ready to take over from Riona.  She had gotten some of them involved in the search for the Preachers, at my request, supposedly religious men who feared and hated Witches.  Men who were responsible for many Witch deaths and sometimes disappearances including the deaths of my parents.  As promised Nanna and Riona allowed me to help search for them in the summertime, which bore no fruits, but I would continue to search for them with Riona when I had time from my studies.  We had also gained the help of the Cain coven Witches, one of their Witches, Alexa Cain, had been the one to tell me about the Preachers and how my parents were murdered.  She too had lost loved ones more recently than myself and her entire sister coven were also murdered.  Her coven leader was her oldest sister, Marlowe, and she wasn’t as susceptible to the situation at hand as Alexa was.  May be the loss of too many loved ones had effected Marlowe differently but she was an arduous and sometimes hard headed woman.  I had met her once over the summer and she had been very kind in giving me tips on how to handle my first coven meeting as leader when it was time for me to take my seat at the table.

“Did you bring Josephine’s Diary?” Riona asked breaking through my inner reverie.

“Yes.  I’ll dig it out before I turn in for bed.”

“Thank you.  If you ever want to peruse through it again I keep it on display in my shop.” she informed.

 

Riona’s shop on Lafayette Street was a New Age store, for tourists visiting the ‘Witch City’ but she had another store in the back for witches, like me, looking for all our magical supplies.  The store was called ‘Black’s Lair’, she also had a medieval themed bar which was connected to the shop, next door called ‘The Craft & Cauldron Inn’ where she served meals and fancy imported beverages.

“If I’m not around just show one of the girls your Mark and they’ll show you through.” she said.

“Are they all Witches?”

“Yes.  Julianne Black is my cousin and my business partner.  Marylou, Julianne’s daughter, works weekends, she’s just turned eighteen and she’ll be joining you at Salem State College.”

“Is it just the three of you?” I asked.

“No we recently employed two new girls.  Sadie Blair has just moved here from South Carolina, her husband was killed in an accident at work so she’ll have her baby girl, Stephanie, with her most of the time.  And Chloe Foster, from our sister coven, she’ll work part time while she studies at Salem State, too.”

“What about the bar staff?  Are they witches also?”

“No, they’re mortals but they are prohibited from entering the back of Black’s Lair.” Riona said.

“But they have their own staff room so they really shouldn’t have to go back there at all.” Rowanne explained.

“So what do you sell in the front?” Riley asks curiously.

“Just the usual tourist paraphernalia.  Gimmicky spell books, magic tricks and cards.  We also sell things such as Tarot cards, crystal balls and smudge sticks.  Close enough to the real deal without drawing too much attention to the fact that Witches do exist.” Riona explained.

“Do you work there?” Riley asked Rowanne.

“I work on Thursday evenings, six till eight thirty.” Said Rowanne.

“We’re open Monday to Thursday at nine in the morning till eight thirty at night and Friday to Saturday from nine till six thirty.” said Riona.

“Closed on Sundays?” I asked.

“Closed to the mortals but the back entrance is open for us Witches.”

“How long for?”

“From ten till three.  Julianne and I work alternate Sundays but Marylou and Chloe will be there every Sunday.”

“What days do you work?”

“I work Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and my Sunday.  Julianne works Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and her Sundays.”

“What about Sadie and the other girls?”

“Sadie will work all day Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays then work Friday and Saturday mornings.  Marylou and Chloe will work a couple evenings a week and the weekends.”

“You’ll get to meet them all this weekend at my party.” Rowanne said.

“I think I’ve met Julianne and Marylou before, one time my parents and I visited when I was younger.”

“Yes I think you’ve met Marylou on more than one visit.  You, Rowanne, Ruby and Vincent used to play with Marylou on the beach when you all came to visit.”

“Not Brian?”

“I doubt Brian would remember her, he was too young.”

“I guess you’re right.” I said before stretching and yawning.

“Bed.” Riona said sternly.  “You’ve got a big day ahead of you so you should both get some rest.”

“Yes, ma’am.” I said sarcastically as Riley and I stood to retreat to our room.  “Night, Riona.  Night, Rowanne.” I said.

“Good night, all.” said Riley.

“Good night.” they called as they locked the door behind us.

 

Riley held me upright as I stumbled sleepily to the guest room before letting me collapse on my bed.

“Are you sure you’re ready for tomorrow?” he asked pulling my shoes off.

“Mm hmm.” I mumbled sleepily.

“’Cause you know you could share with your cousin if you preferred.” he offered.

“But I want to live with you.” I said grabbing him as he tried to walk over to his bed.

“You’re absolutely certain?”

“Absolutely.”

“Okay then.  Get undressed, you’re not sleeping in those clothes.” he laughed.

“Mm, help me.”

He laughed.  “Don’t tempt me.”

 

I blearily reached over to my night bag and dug out my night dress before I haphazardly changed out of my clothes.  When I was safely in bed again Riley switched off the lights after kissing me good night and wishing me sweet dreams.  I watched his grey eyes shine at me from the reflecting moonlight, pouring in through the window over my shoulder, as I drowsily blinked my way into a stupor.

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