Excerpt for The Trials: Secrets, Spells and Tales by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Trials
Secrets, Spells and Tales

By: Liz Rau

Though the Salem Witch Trials were a very real historical event, this book is a work of fiction. Any references to this period of time are purely used for creative purposes. Any events, names, characters, things, situations or places are one of two things: created from pure imagination or used fictitiously; and any parallels otherwise are coincidental and unintended. And as far the author is aware, there are no mentions of gypsies included in any reference on any history book page in relation to events included in this book.

All rights reserved by author.
©Liz Rau

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or presented to a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form without written consent of owner.

Printed by CreateSpace, An Amazon.com Company

Available on Kindle and other online stores

CreateSpace ISBN-13: 978-1535330664
CreateSpace ISBN-10: 153533066X

Edited by: Liz Rau & Katie Rau

Cover Design: Mathew Jennings

Information: LizRauInfo@gmail.com

I dedicate this book to the dreamers of the world.

Never give up.

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Other Liz Rau Books!

Pieces of Accordance (December 2016)

Spellbound: Secrets, Spells & Tales (Coming 2017)

"There are some things I know for certain: always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can."

(From the film Practical Magic)


Salem, Massachusetts is known for witchcraft and sorcery, and quite a storied past, but I only know it for the town that stole my heart. It’s not that I, Sarah Elizabelle Felix, disbelieved in witchcraft, I had just never experienced it for myself and I’ve always found it hard to deny something I’ve never tried or seen firsthand. It’s like people who do not believe in God, but yet they’ve never tried praying.

Perhaps I’m more open-minded to the idea of a mystical world because I’m from a town only known for being small and with no distractions to entertain me, I never denied my imagination to create or a good daydream to consume me. Life before Salem was not much lived and unequivocally dull. Salem brought excitement into my days. Where else on Earth was there a place with such a heavy magical past, and so rich in culture, history and art?

Yet, I do identify with always being different and never fitting into the scene of the narrative. Something… has always felt a bit out of reach from my well-manicured grasp.

After Fate threw me some devastating curveballs at the tender age of twenty, I wandered through life searching for my soul, my place, my meaning to this life.

At the less-tender age of twenty-five, a journey to Boston turned into an afternoon of driving north on a whim - a hunch - a magnetic pull - until I saw signs for Salem Commons and turned towards the tiny town with a huge history. A history, it seems, many still whisper about.

The town looks like the back lot of a studio in Burbank, California. Seriously, this is what Salem actually looks like. It’s stunningly picturesque. The morning mist off the sea brings the most mystical pink light into the harbor that enchants me.

It’s hard to explain, but as I toured around the Salem Commons that afternoon in early September, I felt at home. It was as if something just clicked into my heart and my soul started to breathe for the very first time.

Are you aware that witches sometimes have an animal, also known as a familiar? Most would say the animal chooses the person, but well, I would have to say Salem is my familiar and it chose me. It was just a mere two weeks later that I was living here, in my two-bedroom condo, sitting on the balcony with my black fur-ball-of-a-cat Hanks, sipping on my homemade soy latte and watching the boats leave the harbor that day. With so many different sized vessels and ships, only one had ever captured my attention. And on this particular morning, that ship, a three-masted black schooner with a gold trim, was limping back into port.

I only bring any of these things up because it was this day, sitting on my balcony sipping a latte that my story really began. All I ask, as you read these pages, is that you allow yourself to breathe and believe, and above all, just let life be.

That’s when the magic happens.

Sarah Elizabelle Felix


Harry stood at the bow of The Craft and let out a deep sigh of despair as he watched the Salem coastline grow closer that morning. His first mate Callen shot him a sideways glance, the sigh taunting him to make a jab at Harry’s expense. Harry chose to ignore the sarcastic look and kept his gaze straight. He knew what it was about. Harry hated going home - if he could even call it that. The Craft was his home and she wouldn’t be sailing again anytime soon. Cold weather was about to set in and she was not a ship for winter floats in the chilly Atlantic. She’d barely come through that storm last night in one piece and it was going to take Harry the rest of the fall season before the repairs were done.

Callen had called Harry’s callous and gruff mood days ago, telling the whole crew not to piss him off the day they docked, unless of course, they didn’t want their jobs again come spring. “That ol’ Irish temper ya know,” he had said. “It can be a fiercer lashing than a fist.”

Irish temper. Ha, what a laugh, Harry thought. Harry Ellison was a direct descendent of a Puritan Englishman named John Porter, Jr. The Porter family was notoriously associated to Salem from the fact they were directly linked to the infamous blemish on the town’s history. A blemish that marked the Porter family heritage as well.

Now, over three hundred years later, Harry still felt the curse that had befallen the Porter family from those dangerous times where malicious gossip, a struggle for power, and a deep-rooted fear in the Devil himself eventually destroyed one of the first major ports for the East Indian Trade.

The reasons for The Trials have become misconstrued and ill-famed over the centuries with many forgetting what ignited the witch hunt. It all originally began with two households: the Putnam and the Porter families. The men of these families were sworn enemies with a long-standing rivalry, and it was a hateful battle for dominant control of the land and political leadership. It was a battle for power, Man’s greatest weakness.

Ultimately, this struggle for power is what fueled The Trials, though that knowledge seemed all but forgotten these days. The brutality came to a head when the Porter men sabotaged fields harvested by the Putnam family, depleting the ability to maintain their crops that season. After that, the vicious war placed many in the village at odds, forcing them to choose a side.

The Putnam family, on the front of bringing morale to the community, brought the good and honorable Reverend Samuel Parris to the community. As a man of God and peace, surely calmness would blanket the village with his presence. Hope didn’t remain long, however, as it was in the Reverend’s home where the accusations of witchcraft and the accompanying afflictions first came to light. And though most people know the story of The Trials from there, very few have ever known of the black curse that was laid at the door of the Porter and Putnam families.

The Parris household had been home to a slave named Tituba and it was one of the Parris daughters who’d accused her of black arts and sorcery. Harry always assumed growing up and hearing these stories that Tituba was probably innocent and simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’d assumed she’d been an easy target. Harry’s assumption couldn’t have been further from the truth.

See, though Tituba was known to be a bit of a fortune-teller for the villagers in those days, it was later discovered that she was indeed the only real witch ever accused. She had even admitted those truths to the law during The Trials and claimed she only used occult knowledge to ward away evil. Somehow, Tituba was the only witch not executed during those times and the witch was banished back to her homeland.

Before Tituba left, however, she darkly cursed those who paved the path of her destruction. She hexed the families who lit the match that burned the fueled accusations. For eternity, the two instigating families would not know a home until their burden was buried and a bond was born. She was ruthless in the spell and every generation ultimately paid their dues.

The problem now was that Harry is the last known descendent of either family. Both of the families lost their respective prosperity and wealth, and neither had ever gained it back. Harry had somehow managed to accrue his own small fortune after years of hard work, but only time would tell if his luck would remain.

Strange accidents and deaths occurred on both sides of the ancestral trees throughout the many years and Harry knew those events had indeed been due to the curse, whether it was real or not. All a person had to do was believe and the destruction would be set in motion. As a child, Harry hadn’t believed in these fairytales his grandfather would repeatedly refer to as sound reasoning, but as an adult, he now knew better.

Harry was acutely aware that after three hundred and twenty-four years, nothing had really changed. Hearsay and gossip still ruled the community, verily so. All one had to do was look at a news broadcast to see that all types of societies still appeared violently skeptical of any person whose beliefs and values differed from that of their own. He often wondered when history would begin to teach the present generations a new path of resolutions.

The whispers and judgment was why Harry’s great-grandfather decided to change the family’s last name to Ellison years ago. Hardly anybody in Salem could recall that Harry – Harold Tucker Ellison – was in fact, a Porter descendent.

The squawk of a seagull landing on the railing jarred Harry back to reality, causing him to recall Callen’s Irish temper comment and he rolled his eyes again. It was the hair color that had people assuming he was of Irish descent. His scalp was thickly covered with flame colored ginger bristles, as was his five o’clock shadow of whiskers that were beginning to form a beard. He was grateful though, that people mistook him for Irish because he did indeed have a temper each time he made port in Salem’s harbor. And as Callen liked to point out, it showed up just like clockwork.

Harry was unsure of how long he had actually been standing there, with his white-knuckle grasp on the railing, stewing about the fact he wouldn’t be able to leave Salem again for a while, but his trance broke when he heard Callen’s sharp intake of breath. He quizzically peered at him and then followed Callen’s gaze to the shore, and his heart almost stopped when he found the subject of fascination, and his ocean-blue eyes widened in awe.

There on a balcony of a nearby residence, in the light of the pink-toned sunrise, stood a beautiful woman with wildly long raven hair. Harry was fairly sure there was no breeze, the surrounding trees weren’t moving at all, yet her hair was blowing around her as if she was the one standing at the bow of a ship making port. And she was looking at them. The second that their eyes met Harry felt a connection. His arms quickly flushed with goose flesh and his mouth went dry, as though he had attempted to flirt and failed miserably – not that Harry experienced that scenario very often. And within him, somewhere deep and untouched, he felt a humming. Why do I feel like I know her?

He blinked and in a moment’s time, the balcony was empty. Had she even been there? Harry wasn’t entirely sure she was real to begin with. But then again, it wasn’t likely possible for him and Callen to have the same hallucination, even in a town full of witches. Was it?


Sarah sat in the Salem Commons with her trusty sketchpad drawing the schooner she had been studying from her balcony earlier that morning. For a week now her psyche had been dreaming of such a ship and she had been repeatedly depicting its shapes, its sails and its fluidity. This morning had presented her something else to portray with her pencil outlines. Besides two of the three masts being split and some chunks missing from the port side, there had been a man at the bow. Technically there had been two men, but only the one had resonated with her.

As she closed her eyes she could still see his tall strong figure gripping the railing, his blazing hair outlined by the misty pink sunrise and she had sworn, even though she hadn’t been close enough to tell, that his eyes were the same color as the sea. She wondered if they perhaps changed with the color of the current.

When a small black bird landed on her black laced-up boot, her eyes popped up, and she was shocked to see the mysterious stranger strolling into view. Without hesitation, she hopped off the bench, with her sketchpad and purse in tow, ducked around a tree and into a bookshop named Candlesticks. What was that? She curiously wondered at her actions. Why the sudden fear that he may see her? Or was it that her art project would be discovered? Or discover my admiration of his stormy eyes.

Sure he hadn’t seen her, she stuffed the sketches into her bag and moved away from the window. She’d wanted to pick up a book on the history of Salem anyway, so how coincidental this shop had been right there. Now seems to be as good as a time as any, she thought.

The shop was cute and had a comfort-factor about it, as though one was more than welcome to curl up with a coffee and dream for a while. It made Sarah smile as she went in search of historical knowledge, witchy or not. Most of what she came across in the ‘About the Town’ section seemed to be based on The Trials. There were only four books that appeared to be comprehensive histories of Salem and she automatically put two back since they didn’t have any pictures. She had to see images; she had always been a very visual person. It was the only way she seemed to retain information – when she could carry the picture in her mind.

In fact, that’s how Sarah had known she was adopted. When she was a mere seven-years-old, sitting in her mom’s lap, perusing through family photo albums when she stopped to tell her mother that she knew she wasn’t her daughter by blood, but that was the way it was supposed to be. Then Sarah simply returned her focus to the photos, as if no major emotional bomb was dropped with her statement, and her adoption just a simply matter-of-fact detail, like her height or hair color. Now, most kids at age seven are only interested in knowing what types of cartoons they could watch or how many cookies they could have before bedtime. Sarah hadn’t been concerned with those things. She was a very intellectual child and could never lie, not even one little fib. And she always had this guttural instinct about her. For as long as Sarah could remember, she seemed to somehow always know an answer before a question was asked. Except when the question was her own, of course. Sarah’s path had never been clear in her mind.

When her mother had asked how she knew about the adoption, Sarah first stated she ‘just did’. When her mom gaped back at her, she continued to tell her that it was simply scientific reasoning; she had to be adopted. Not one other person in her family had black wavy hair and big blue eyes. In fact, both her parents and her grandparents had stick straight blonde hair and small green eyes. To an overly curious and inquisitive child like Sarah the facts had merely been obvious. Even more, though, Sarah had just been able to see the truth. It was as though she had a mind’s eye, and it saw what Sarah felt she knew within... somehow. But I always recognized their love for me, Sarah thought. That had never been a question.

Kids she went to school with hadn’t much cared for her though, and they never hid their distaste either. Because of her long, and often unruly black mane, and pale porcelain skin, the other children had called her a witch. She now thought that was pretty ironic since she was living in what was basically deemed Witchville, USA. The nickname lasted all the way through elementary school and but by the time she had made it to junior high, it had seemingly been forgotten. Sarah never forgot it though. It had clung to her like a coat of armor.

In fact, Sarah actually became quite popular by the time high school arrived. She joined nearly every club or group possible, and even won prom princess during her junior year. She knew that, even then, her popularity was solely based on the same thing that had haunted her youth, the very same reason kids had termed her a witch for years: her looks. Black hair and sapphire-hued eyes made for quite the exotic outer shell.

After she left high school, she attended a college out-of-state and retained none of her relationships from her childhood. After all, why would she? They hadn’t ever really known her, so why bother keeping those people around as friends? Sarah certainly hadn’t expected them to stay in touch and those expectations had not let her down. In so many ways, high school had never seemed real to her - because she never really belonged.

Her sophomore year of college was when her life took a downward spiral. Both of Sarah’s parents and her only living grandparents died in plane crash. The guilt was a hump she never managed to climb over. Her family had been on their way to see her, and by some freak accident with the landing gear, the plane crashed on the runway and killed her four only remaining relatives. Nobody else on the plane died on that horrific day – just her family. The memory of telling her family about the weariness of them flying that particular morning still overwhelmed her. She’d had a terrible pit in her gut and warned her family not to fly. Saying how much they wanted to see her, they boarded the Charleston-bound flight anyways. Her heart still felt stained.

In spite of Sarah’s grief she finished college - because her parents would’ve wanted her to - and moved back home to her parent’s house in Missouri. She got a job, because that’s what you were supposed to do after college, but she hadn’t much cared for her career. It’d never felt satisfying or challenging. The motions she put herself through everyday left her feeling numb. Always numb.

Her world was rocked once again when she turned twenty-five and discovered she was to inherit all of her grandparents estate, which made her rich enough to buy all of Salem if she felt ever-so inclined. After laying black magic roses on their tombs, she said goodbye to her beloved family and left Missouri altogether in search of fulfillment. Something had been missing in her life and she was determined to discover what it was.

Sarah traveled in a spirit of wanderlust, alone except for her cat Hanks. The precocious black cat was her only friend and had been with her since college. She soon discovered that nowhere in the world were people compliant to seeing a cat on a leash, but Hanks wasn’t the typical cat she supposed. Hanks often voiced his opinions and Sarah would swear to it that he answered her questions. He also seemed to be in agreement with Sarah’s search for wander and was quite the comfortable companion.

And for the first time in her life, Sarah Elizabelle Felix realized there wasn’t any reason not to find out where she had come from. What was her history? Her story?

After finding her adoption papers, she went to Boston as the papers indicated the agency her parents used was there. A quick Google search gave her the current address. The only problem was, when she found the place, it had burnt down - walls and all - two days earlier. All the records, the files, the answers, had gone up in smoke and flames with it. Who still keeps the dinosaur-old paper filing systems anyway? Talk about ancient, she thought. For the second time in five years, she felt cursed.

Then a breeze swirled around her, dandelions dancing in the air, and she looked up to see a sign for Salem Tours – A Bewitching Hour. That was the day she’d spontaneously drove to Salem and started her life over.

Sarah sighed as she picked herself up off the floor, unsure of the moment she’d even made herself so comfortable. Having completely zoned out and not bothering to look at either book, she groaned. Oh well, I’ll just buy both. It’s not like I can’t afford it now. She took them up to the owner who doubled as a cashier and smiled.

“Both please,” she said as she set them on the counter.

“Sure thing sweetie.” The owner, with her blonde bouncy curls, was dressed in black, head-to-toe, except for her fingernails. They were indigo blue. “Are you a tourist?”

“No… I just moved into town actually.”

The voluminous curly-haired blonde raised an eyebrow. “Are you a witch?”

Having already gotten this question several times, Sarah just laughed. “No, not that I know of. Are you?”

The petite owner broke into a smile. “Well duh,” she smiled prettily. “I’m a white witch.”

Somehow her answer didn’t faze Sarah. “And that means?”

“It means I harm none, even though they deserve it sometimes, and I am considered a healer. Also I see truth in people or their actions. I’m not Wiccan, however, I don’t belong to a coven.” She smiled again and Sarah realized how young she must be, probably the same age as herself. “My name is Kirsten.” She seemed friendly enough as her hand shot out between them.

Sarah took her hand to shake it but Kirsten gasped, pulling away.

“You aren’t new here.” Her voice had lowered in curiosity.

“Yes, yes I am. I just moved here from Missouri.”

“That’s not what I meant. Here, hold on a sec.” Kirsten left and Sarah could hear her open a drawer. “Okay,” she said, returning and clutching a deck of cards in her hand, “pick one”.

Sarah was interested enough to stay and find out what Kirsten meant, so she chose the second card and turned it over. Oh, Tarot Cards. She drew Death. Holy crap.

As if she read her mind, Kirsten reassured her. “No, it doesn’t mean you are going to die. Death represents the beginning of a new life and that your old one has served it’s purpose. You are about to go through major changes, some abrupt and some due to past events.”

“Oh, well, I did come here to start over.”

“Draw one more.”


“It means awakening or rebirth.”

“Of what?”

“I feel you’ll figure it out. Hey, is that your car outside?”

“Yeah it is.” Sarah didn’t bother to look up; she was still looking at Death and Judgment.

“And is Harry a friend of yours or is he playing Peeping Tom to your Audi?”

“Who?” That jarred her and she looked up to see a familiar ginger-headed daydream drooling over her car. Damn, he’s almost too good looking up close.

“Yes, yes he is,” Kirsten winked. “You should see his butt.”

Sarah really had to find a way to keep her thoughts to herself.


Harry had never been so sore from a sail before but he refused to go home. He just couldn’t, not yet. His mood had lifted, though somewhat unexpectedly, after seeing her on the balcony. He couldn’t figure it out. Why had he noticed her? Tons of people had been on the docks that morning, even though it had been early, and not one of them had his caught his attention, not one other person at all. Harry really wanted to blame his distraction on Callen but honestly, he was glad he saw the mysterious stranger, and he wanted to see the raven haired beauty again. It was the strangest sensation, but Harry almost felt like they had to meet.

Did he feel that? What the Hell is wrong with me? Ugh I just need some caffeine. He had stupidly decided to walk in from the docks to the Commons and only just realized what an unmitigated ass he had been when turning down a perfectly good ride from a member of his crew. He was now going to be even sorer, and in a much more blackened mood by the time he did decide to make his way home. Maybe I should just go to The Brew and get a stiff scotch instead.

He started to change his course when he saw a flash of raven hair go behind the tree. He moved so he could see who it was but she was gone. Did he really see her? Or is he just wanting to? Was he losing his mind? Nope, I should definitely stick to coffee.

The Broom & Cup was maybe his favorite little coffee shop in all of Massachusetts. Sure, during October it wasn’t so great because of the tourist surge throughout the town, but his friend Mathew owned it and it was like another home-away-from-home. Harry needed as many of those as feasibly possible. And every once in awhile he even helped his buddy out of an overflow jam. Harry thought he had pretty great barista and cheesecake-serving skills, and was fairly confident though skills were earning rave reviews online.

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