Updated: Jun 1, 2020
Did you like yesterday's sneak peek? Check out chapter two of The Trials: Secrets, Spells and Tales.... #31DaysOfOctober
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.”
“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.