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.

Follow Liz Rau on social media!


Facebook – Liz Rau Official

Twitter – @LizRauOfficial

Instagram – @LizRauOfficial

Official Book Hashtag - #SpellboundSST

Subscribe to Liz Rau’s blog at www.lizrauofficial.com




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)


PREFACE


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






CHAPTER ONE



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?



CHAPTER TWO



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.”

Judgment.

“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.



CHAPTER THREE



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.

All the delectable goods were homemade and the seating was designed of mismatched couches and chairs that synchronized with mismatched cups and saucers. Every piece went together in the same way that Picasso paintings makes sense. As he stepped through the door of the tiny shop, he heard the familiar bell-chime welcoming him home.

“Hey man, didn’t know you were back yet.” Mat practically flew past him like a witch on her broomstick, muffins in hand.

Mat’s fly-by greeting clued him into the frantic business of the shop, so Harry stepped directly behind the bar and grabbed the pot of black coffee and the pot of hot water for tea. “Yeah, just got in this morning. Be right back.” He stepped back around the bar and danced his way through the tables, refilling teacups and mugs as he went. His darkened haze seemed to fade away as the patron’s smiles and thank you’s soothed his flaming ruffled feathers.

Mat chuckled, “thanks man. Good to see you’re still in one piece.”

Harry returned the empty pots and started a new brew for the coffee. “Just barely, The Craft really got knocked about last night, two masts are broken.”

“Just let me know when you need help and I’ll meet you on deck, cappy.”

Harry gave him a pointed look at the use of the disturbing nickname and surveyed the crowded coffee shop. “I think you have all you can handle here Mat. How’s Ally doing?”

“She’s four months pregnant and hormonal. Everything she bakes now tastes like poison. It’s me you need to be worried about mate.”

Harry raised an eyebrow.

“Blissfully, barely surviving. And slightly starving.”

Harry burst out laughing. “You know, I think you’re getting gray hair too.”

Mat lifted up a giant spoon to look at his reflection. “Really? I guess I should be glad I made it to thirty-two. At least I’m not balding.”

Harry shook his head; glad he wasn’t as into his own looks. He walked around and sat at a stool in front of Mat. “Sir, I’d like a triple latte.”

Mat put down the spoon and looked around him. “What? Couldn’t just make your own while you were behind the counter, which is against the rules of the sign,” he pointed up to an adjacent sign that stated just that, “As you re-filled and re-brewed the regular stuff? Not that I’m ungrateful,” he quickly added in what breath.

“I’m still a paying customer.”

“You’re a sarcastic ass is what you are.”

Harry knew that was true. He also knew that Mat would put up with his moods and mock humor, which is exactly why he did it. He glanced out the window took notice of a shiny black convertible, all but glinting in the sunlight, parked on the opposite side of the Commons. “Mat, do you know whose car that is?”

Mat shook his head and set down Harry’s coffee order. “Saw it for the first time in town last week.”

Harry set a bill down on the counter and stood up. “Thanks pal. See you tomorrow?”

“Sure thing.”

Harry stepped out of the shop and crossed the square. As he got closer, his suspicions were confirmed. The black car wasn’t just any car. No, it was an Audi R8 Spyder, convertible, fully loaded, and begging to be raced up the Massachusetts coastline. More interestingly to Harry, it had red interior. It was exactly like his cabin on The Craft. Two gold bangles wrapped around the gearshift to accent the interior. He was impressed; this car was slick.

“If you’re going to steal it, just get on with it already.”

Gob smacked, again for the second time that day, Harry’s mouth went dry when he looked up. It’s her. I didn’t imagine it. Now that Harry was much closer he got a good, appreciative, study of her. She was breathtaking with her azure-jewel colored eyes and raven hair that was wavy and rowdy, yet perfect. She was slim but curvy and maybe 5’5 or 5’6, but it was hard to tell with the tall boots she was wearing on her slim legs that were, again, perfection. He couldn’t really see anything else she was wearing because he was once more entranced by her face. Her delicate high cheekbones were blushed with a light pink rose color, her small button nose was almost aristocratic and her lips were as red as an apple. Was he dribbling drool?

“You just dropped your latte into my car.”

Trance broke.

“Shit!” Harry looked down, she was right. He had just potentially ruined her driver’s seat.

“No, latte.” She mockingly double-pointed into the car interior.

Sarcasm? “I am so sorry. Here-“ Harry removed his sweatshirt to dab the mess, “let me clean it up.”

She strolled up to the other side of the car with Kirsten in tow. Harry hadn’t even realized Kirsten was there until just now. That fact the both women became so visibly amused extremely irritated him, and mentally Harry kicked himself.

“Seriously, it’s okay. No, don’t bother; I’ll just have my car cleaned. It’s fine.” Maybe Harry was imagining it, but he thought she looked a bit flushed.

“At least let me pay for it.”

“That’s not necessary, I was going to have it cleaned at some point this week anyways.”

As she smiled Harry was acutely aware that his whole body went numb. How come I’m extremely embarrassed and she thinks it’s humorous? No chance of a date now, he thought. Date? Whoa. Who am I right now? He seemed to sober with realization of his thoughts and found that his blood was circulating again.

“Harry,” Kirsten said, “we were just about to go get a latte ourselves. Would you like for us to get another one for you?” She glanced down at the wet red interior of the Audi, “and we’ll just give this some time to dry.”

Both Harry and the beautiful blue-eyed stranger looked questioningly at her. Obviously they hadn’t been about to get coffee. Kirsten just gave him a slight nod of encouragement and his mind shifted into her view.

“I think I’ll just go with you, if you don’t mind Miss…?” He looked questionably at the woman who had distracted him so much he had dropped his java.

“Just call me Sarah.”

And then she smiled once more at Harry and he realized he was a bit of a goner - even if he didn’t want to be.


CHAPTER FOUR



Sarah had been nervous from the second she saw him through the Candlesticks storefront window. Suddenly it seemed time had stood still for a moment, maybe two, and then she felt flutters throughout her entire core being. This time, she hadn’t wanted to scamper away and even thought she had been funny when she accused him of wanting to steal her car.

Oddly, she couldn’t bring herself to look him in the eyes for longer than a few seconds. It was weird – there was in intense sensation of a strong mesmeric draw to this man - it almost hurt to shift her gaze anywhere but his stormy eyes. And she didn’t think he made the scene any more composed, seeing as how he just stood there gawking at her. The whole thing left her feeling utterly uncomfortable.

Harry dropping his coffee is what broke the ice, and the magnetic tether she was becoming consumed with. And then he had taken off his sweatshirt, revealing a black undershirt, a sun-kissed tan, and nicely chiseled arms that bode well to the story underneath the shirt. Sarah was glad he wasn’t gawking at her still because she had definitely been blushing throughout the interaction. And doing a little gawking myself, she realized. The man was downright hot at what had to be at least 6’2, broad shouldered, and even though he was a ginger by hair color, there wasn’t one freckle in sight. Sarah thought she detected a gentle giant under his rugged appearance too.

To admit she was more than just a bit startled when Kirsten suggested they were already on their way to get coffee was an understatement. It was an untruth and she didn’t think she covered her surprised reaction quickly enough. Sarah had never felt comfortable with fibs, yet, coffee with new friends seemed like a wise choice. Sarah would just have to wait until later to figure out what Kirsten had meant about not being new to Salem. The tarot card readings had been very impressive though. Nail on the head, she thought.

As Sarah entered The Broom & Cup with them she knew she was crushing on the nook the moment she stepped inside. Nothing matched but yet, it did. It was a little like eclectic orderly chaos. Like life, she thought. As the three of them walked straight to the bar, she found she was forcing herself to ignore the skin-tingling sensation caused by people staring at her. They, too, probably thought she was a witch. She assumed it was because of the black hair and in Salem; every other storefront pertained to a magical necessity of some type.

She was about to place an order for herself when Kirsten interjected and ordered for all three of them. She was accurate with her requests and even got the soymilk correct on her latte, which nearly shook Sarah’s calm resolve. How does she do that? Although supremely quirky, she liked Kirsten, and had a good feeling about her.

“Harry, where’d your shirt go?” The guy behind the bar placed their coffees on the bar and looked quizzically at Harry.

“I, er, spilled my coffee Mat. That’s why I’m here for another.”

“He’s such a klutz, that fool,” the jolly-faced man said to Sarah. “I’m Mat.”

“Sarah. It’s nice to meet you Mat.” She shook his hand. Mat was really very handsome too. His dark blond hair curled up, just at the ends, and he had a bit of scruff on his chin and neck that was a little red-tinted, and green eyes that were slightly lighter than an emerald. And he was tall, very tall, and looked to be about the same age as Harry. What’s in the water in Salem?

Mat leaned forward with a boyish grin on his face, completely relaxing Sarah, and she found herself smiling back at him. “So Harry spilled his coffee huh? Were you there? Was it really wicked embarrassing? Please say yes!” The humor in his eyes was contagious and it was obvious he was trying hard not to laugh.

Sarah could tell Harry’s mood was beginning to bristle though and thought better of joining Mat’s game, “I’ll tell you about it some other time,” she winked.

“Deal. Sit anywhere you like.” He gestured to his shop, which was when she realized how popular it must be – there were barely any open seats! Only one space was large enough to accommodate room for all three of them. Towards the front of the shop by a large storefront window sat a green and white polka dotted circular couch with a large brown trunk serving as a coffee table. The trio sat with Kirsten placing her small frame in between them.

“So,” Harry turned to her, “where are you from?”

“What makes you think I’m not from around here?

“Because I was born and raised in Salem. I know everybody.”

“Missouri.”

“What?”

“Missouri. I’m from Missouri.”

“You’re a long way from home, aren’t you?”

“No she’s not,” Kirsten interrupted their dull chatter. “She just moved here.”

“Why?” Harry took a sip of his latte.

“Why not?”

“People don’t really move to Salem. Unless, of course, it’s for yet another tourist shop, and you don’t strike me as that sort. Otherwise, people typically prefer Boston.”

Sarah looked at Kirsten. I don’t want to talk about it, willing her thoughts.

“She moved here to be best friends with me, of course.” Kirsten laughed and as though Sarah had just snapped her fingers and made a wish, Kirsten breezily changed the subject by asking Harry if he wanted to play chess.

She hadn’t even noticed the chessboard lying in front of them on the trunk, but yet, there it was. Where did that come from? She suspected it had something to do with Kirsten. Maybe she is more than a healer? Since she didn’t know the first thing about chess, Sarah leaned back into the comfortable green polka-dotted cushion and curled up her legs, quietly sipping her latte and listening to the conversation between Harry and Kirsten. She was vaguely aware of Harry continuously sneaking peaks at her, and to be honest, she felt flattered by it. It had been a long time since she had felt even the slightest hint of desire without some ulterior motive. It was nice.

Even though it was obvious they knew each other, Kirsten was asking him about everything, it seemed, and Sarah was thankful. She was able to learn all kinds of things about Harry and realized Kirsten was saving her the time of having to do a background check of him on the Internet later. Social media was a girl’s best friend – well, next to diamonds that is.

As it turned out, Harry was a very accomplished thirty-two-year-old. He had played hockey in high school and had been so good he’d gotten a college scholarship to Yale, where he studied business and eventually became an entrepreneur at the very young age of twenty-four years old. He’d started and owned the chain of upper east coast pubs called The Brew, including it’s flagship location just down the street, very close to The Broom & Cup. He only sailed as a means of pleasure and entered competitions here of there, mostly to keep “his crew entertained”, he stated. Sarah thought it more likely he wished for the entertainment. The Craft had been his father’s boat and after his father had passed from cancer, Harry had not been able to part with the schooner. That had stung her eyes a little, knowing what it was like to lose a parent.

As she watched Kirsten swiftly beat Harry in a game of chess, she felt shame wash over herself. She had gone to college with big dreams and accomplished nothing. Harry had lost a parent and hadn’t just run away. True, she had lost her whole family, but a loss was a loss right? She had only bought an expensive car because she didn’t know what else to do with so much money. Sure she’d given some to various charities but even that didn’t provide much relief or fulfillment. She had yet to accomplish anything.

And then what, on an impulse? She had just picked up and moved to Salem because a feeling had said to? Her feelings, guttural instincts her father had called them, were always right. She just wanted to know where they were leading her. Maybe my path is here. It does feel right. She knew she was soul searching. Trust yourself more, she thought.

Harry was impressive. He had accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. She wondered though, if maybe he wasn’t as solidly built, as he seemed. Maybe sailing was his version of running away?

Just as the game was over, Kirsten gloating and flaunting her nimble win with a happy dance, Sarah felt a chill and lifted her gaze to notice a woman watching her from the window. Her chill increased. The lady had dark, chocolate-kissed skin but definitely wasn’t from here. She thought maybe the woman was from somewhere in the Caribbean. But because of the way the woman was looking at her, Sarah could feel the goose flesh rippling all over her body. The woman looked at her like she was a ghost. It was frightening.

“Who is that lady outside? Staring at me?” Sarah asked Kirsten, trying to keep the alarm out of her voice.

“What lady?”

When Sarah looked again, the woman was gone.




CHAPTER FIVE



That morning in the coffee shop had freaked Sarah out. After she left Kirsten and Harry, she hopped in her Audi, towel under her bum, and drove towards the docks and then, on an instinct, turned left to go north and follow the Massachusetts coastline. The cobblestone bumped under her tires but Sarah barely noticed. Who was she? That question circled and encompassed her thoughts. Who was that woman? Who is Kirsten and how does she know so much? Who am I? Why do I feel connected to this place?

As the questions continued to churn in her mind over and over, she found they were all-consuming. Next thing she knew, the car was suddenly pulling over and she was parking her Audi on the side of the road. There, right in front of her bumper, was an old Inn. She took note of the ‘For Sale’ sign and her body practically jumped out of the car.

Strolling to the front door, she peered around. Nobody is here, she thought. The breeze blew up from the sea, twirling her long raven locks, and she could see Winter Island in the distance. The place felt mystical and romantic, and she again sensed a connection. She observed the bare garden, I can fix that, she thought. Turning, she knocked. No answer. She knocked again. Nothing. She placed her hand on the knob and with barely a touch, the door opened.

“Hello?”

Again, no answer.

It must be deserted already. With a deep, consoling breath, she stepped her tall laced-up brown boot through the entryway. The falling façade on the exterior had made her assume this charming storybook inn was in need of major repairs; but upon first glance of the glistening interior, she now doubted that. The dark mahogany hardwood floors creaked with every step, and she found the sound soothing. The dark blue walls and cream moldings were in fantastic shape, not even in need of painting, and the tin ceilings whispered of decadence. Nothing was out of place, broken or disheveled. It was as though the place had only been abandoned yesterday.

Turning into the first room, a parlor, she envisioned patrons sipping coffee and reading books from the nearby shelves that were stocked with all the classics. She could see children playing checkers in the corner and drawing outside the lines of coloring books. As she continued through a pocket doorway she found a dining hall and could see dinner parties and dancing, men with brandy and cigars, women with card games. She swore she could hear laughter. Smelling sage and thyme, she continued through another doorway and into a kitchen. It was small but functional, and there was something pulling at her thoughts more, something familiar, but she couldn’t quite place it.

She turned and screamed!

“What are you doing in here?” a sinister man growled at her. Unlike the daydream in her mind’s eye just then, this portly – tart - fellow was very real and anger flared across his chubby features.

Trying to steady her breath, she slapped a hand over her rapidly beating heart. “I’m so sorry. I knocked, several times! I saw the sale sign and I’m interested,” she waved her hand around herself to indicate she was meaning she was interested in the property. She wasn’t sure she had just spoken English though, since the words rushed out of her in such a flood of anxiety.

“Then call the realtor and see this place properly. Can’t you read?”

Sheesh! He was really grumpy. She thought it a bit uncalled for.

“I will! Again, so sorry,” she ambled backwards the way she came, “really sorry, very sorry.”

Sarah was out the door and dashing to her car, still trying to steady her hasty heartbeats. She had had more than enough excitement and all-out strangeness for the day. Talk about an adventure.


































CHAPTER SIX



Sarah was sitting on her balcony the next morning, all curled up in a blanket and thinking about the past day’s peculiar events when she heard a knock at her door. Surprise colored her expression as she discovered Kirsten standing there in her hallway holding a Candlesticks tote bag. But then again, whom else would she be expecting in a town where she only knew two people?

“Hey doll, you left your books at the shop. I thought I’d bring them by.” Her explanation was just so simply stated, so matter-of-fact.

Sarah stepped aside and motioned for Kirsten to come inside. “How’d you know where I live?”

“I saw your car outside. I know the building manager and asked which one was yours,” again, she phrased her sentence so matter-of-factly. “I love your place, but don’t you think you need some furniture?”

She fleetingly glanced around her living room and saw four bare walls staring back at them. Sarah laughed, “yes I do, I just don’t know what I want yet.”

“Well I say go with your gut, ya know? You don’t have to sit on every couch in the land to find the right one! Or maybe you do?” Kirsten joked with her eyebrows and then giggled herself into pirouetting around in the space in a delicate manner, letting her beaded skirt sparkle in the sunlight. “Or you could just have a wicked dance party in here every night. That could be fun too. In fact, I know where we could get an atrociously glittery disco ball.”

Just then Hanks shot across the floor and into the bedroom, letting out what sounded like a huff of a meow before he jumped up on her bed. “I guess he didn’t like that idea very much,” Sarah laughed. “Here let me take those books.” She took them out of the tote and placed them on her breakfast bar. There was a third book included in the bag, smaller, with a black cover and gold intricate writing, and not one that she had purchased. “What’s this?”

“Oh! Yeah, so I noticed you only purchased comprehensive histories of Salem, but everybody needs a book on just the witch trials. It’s like, Salem law, ya know?” Kirsten had an all-knowing twinkle in her eye, like she knew something Sarah didn’t. “It’s my gift to you. Don’t worry, it has lots of pictures.”

Had she mentioned her need for photos? “Well thanks, I love it! Are you in a hurry? I just made some coffee and was sitting outside for a bit. Would you like to join?”

“Sure, you bet. Plus it’s not like we could sit inside anyway,” Kirsten laughed and fanned her hands out beside her. The only chairs in Sarah’s condo were on the balcony.

As they sat and surveyed the bustling Salem Harbor, Kirsten pointed out specific boats that caught her eye. Her insight into the community really knew no bounds. She told Sarah how some ships were wannabe pirate-sailors who were searching for treasure ships that may have sunken in the bays around the area. Ironically a ship near those was an actual tourist-designed pirate ship with children playing and being entertained with tales from the sea. Other ships were in the trade business and unloading cargo; and those stories were far less amusing. One vessel not mentioned was The Craft and Kirsten seemed to skip over it intentionally, as though that tale wasn’t hers to tell.

Sarah was entranced by the stories that Salem seemed to hold. She longed to unlock its mysteries and the inn floated into her mind.

“Kirsten, what do you know about the inn for sale, about ten miles north of here and on the water’s edge?”

“That old place? It’s been abandoned for years, and though many have tried to open it up as a bed and breakfast location, the perpetually grumpy man who owns it seems to refuse to let it go. Why do you ask?”

“After coffee yesterday, I went for a drive and came across it. There was a for sale sign and no one answered…well the door was unlocked and I wandered in.”

“Isn’t that breaking and entering?”

“I think that is what the grumpy man thought too when he found me out in the kitchen.”

“Sarah! What’d you do?”

“I apologized, profusely, and left. He told me to contact a realtor if I wanted to see it. But I have to say…there was something almost intoxicating about the place. I think I might buy it.”

“And do what with it?”

“Open it as an inn of course.”

Kirsten looked a bit skeptical but shrugged her shoulders. “If grumpy ass does sell to you, I’d be happy to help you in the renovations. And also, we’ve got to get you some furniture. I know everybody in town and I’ll get you a deal,” she winked.

Sarah thought that Kirsten was a general wealth of information, which reminded her of something she hadn’t had a chance to inquire about yesterday.

“The other day, in the shop, you said I wasn’t new here. What did you mean?”

Kirsten froze for a moment - as if collecting her thoughts and sifting through the space in her mind - then set her half-drank coffee on the outdoor wicker coffee table and turned towards her. “Do you remember the cards you drew? Death and Judgment?”

“Yes.”

“To cut what could be a long reading short, you’re about to start a new life based on past events. The second card meant an awakening is coming. There’s a life path that has yet to be chosen.” She paused, and Sarah thought it was purely for dramatic affect. “I bought you the book on the witch trials because I want you to read it. I don’t know what you’ll find, but you’re in Salem for a reason. I truly believe that Sarah. The cards never lie.”

“Do you think I’m a reincarnated witch? Back for a purpose?” She shook her head, “I’m no witch Kirsten.”

“No, I don’t believe you are, though I do think there’s something mystical about you. You seem to have a certain instinct about yourself.”

Sarah couldn’t agree more. Hadn’t her father always told her to follow her gut?

Her new friend took a deep breath. “Where are your parents from?”

“From Georgia. They moved to Missouri for my father’s job when I was two.”

“And your grandparents?”

“Same – from Georgia. My whole family has lived there for several generations worth.” Sarah could see Kirsten’s clouded expression in her eyes, something wasn’t adding up in her mind. She thought it best not to mention her adoption as it was a subject she felt she should keep off the table.

“Harry’s family has lived in or around Salem his whole life.”

Sarah had no idea why she was bringing up Harry or why her own lineage was important, but she didn’t have the opportunity to ask because Kirsten rattled on quickly.

“I’m going to tell you something, Sarah. You won’t find it in any of the history books you’ll read on The Salem Witch Trials, but I sense eventually you’ll find it relevant, even if only for a moment.”

“Okay,” Sarah said warily. She sure knows how to set up a tale.

Kirsten took another deep breath and Sarah thought, just for a split second, her eyes cleared like clouds parting in the sky. “There were two main families that fought for power throughout most of the seventeenth century here in Salem. One family, the Porter family, was more into the business aspects of life. In today’s world they would be considered entrepreneurs. The other family, the Putnam’s, were farmers and owned the vast majority of the land.”

“Okay. So it was the Farmer and the Suit. I thought it was the Parris girls who cried out claims of bewitchment?” Sarah knew just a little about the Salem Witch Trials. After all, she had read and seen The Crucible once upon a time. Her high school literature class had required it.

“Yes it was. The Putnam’s brought in a Puritan Reverend and most people, at that time, took the Bible as part of the law. Well, actually, the Bible was the law. The only problem with that was that the Bible could, and still can, be interpreted thousands of ways.” She paused to take a large gulp of coffee. “Reverend Parris wanted money though, and he only intensified the bitter rivalry between the two families after the Porter’s managed to gain enough supporters to vote down a tax levy that would pay Parris’s salary needs. The Putnam power had not gained enough support, and Parris had been counting on that. ”

“So Parris wasn’t getting paid, and soon enough accusations of witchcraft started out of his own household,” Sarah deduced. “Well Hells Bells, I guess there’s nothing like telling the community that they need a man of God around more than playing into their fears of Devil worship. That would certainly demand a need for him within the community. But wasn’t his slave was named too?”

“Well, my theory is that his slave, Tituba, was named as a witch so nothing seemed suspicious. If the Reverend’s own home was being afflicted, he could not possibly be behind the public outcry that ensued.”

“Tituba?” The name had an odd familiarity about it.

“Yes. She was the first to confess and, for some reason, the townspeople let her go when nobody else was let off. She fled for her freedom, but in doing so, had to leave her home behind. History writes her as a fortuneteller.

“Okay… you lost me. Why do I need to know any of this?”

“Here’s the part that won’t be in those books.” Kirsten pointed in thumb towards the breakfast bar inside, “Tituba cursed the people she felt responsible for making her leave her home and give up her identity. She cursed the Putnam and Porter families for all eternity.”

“No,” she said in disbelief. “Eternity? So she really was a witch?”

“Yes, and a very powerful one at that. Rumor of the curse has always floated through Salem, to this day actually, and as the story goes, both lines of lineage are cursed to never know happiness; they are to always feel hollow and be burdened with ruin. It was man’s pig-headed stubbornness and refusal to lay aside their differences that caused the mark on our town history. Neither a Porter nor a Putnam has ever called a truce between the two families. No new bond was ever born between, therefore, the descendents are still cursed to this day.”

“Would these descendents even know if they were cursed? Would they even know a truce was needed?

“To be honest, I don’t know if they even knew back then. Why wouldn’t they have wanted to get rid of a curse? Especially during a time when witchcraft was so aptly forbidden? People thought the Devil was living upon those who were charged with what I would simply call a gift. They thought it was an affliction and practically treason.”

“Well, pride is a man’s number one fault. The Porter and the Putnam families must have really hated each other if they couldn’t settle a truce.”

“I still want you to read the book Sarah.”

“Why?”

“Do you know who the last known descendent of the Porter family is?” Kirsten fixed her gaze on The Craft, the very much broken and weather-beaten ship. “It’s Harry.”


CHAPTER SEVEN



Harry had been scouring out the damage on The Craft since sunrise and he was relieved when Callen showed up around ten o’clock that morning to help. Although, he’d been so preoccupied with his thoughts it was a wonder he’d even noticed the extra help.

“Been here long old man?”

“Old man? I wasn’t aware that thirty-two was so elderly mate.”

“Normally it’s not, but you aren’t looking too sea worthy at the moment, cappy,” Callen extravagantly annunciated the nickname.

“I gather you’ve been talking to Mat.” Harry couldn’t argue about his appearance though. He’d gotten no sleep the past couple of nights and he found he was incredibly sore still from their last battle on the waves of the Atlantic. His arms and legs were bruised being tossed out of a dead sleep when the storm came out of nowhere that night, and his back had rope burns from harnessing himself to the helm so he couldn’t be tossed out to sea when trying to navigate through the rough waters.

“I didn’t sleep much last night.”


Continue reading this ebook at Smashwords.
Download this book for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-40 show above.)