Mat sighed as he watched his wife Ally snoozing on their sofa, all while their sweet as pie, golden haired, green-eyed monster-of-a-baby was passed out on top of her. Weren’t babies supposed to be fairly easy until the terrible twos? If that was the case, Bridget was making her own rules in the baby world.
Well, that’s not surprising I guess, Mat realized. Nothing was too surprising in a town like Salem – a town full of secrets, spells and tales. Oh yes, he knew all about the mischief that was currently happening within the village’s residents, and how Salem’s past had never really died. No, the past was always alive, always present and rarely ever changing its course. The past of Salem was a river that did not bend. At least, not until a peculiar chit with sapphire eyes and black raven waves for hair showed up in town. His dear friend Sarah, so much like a sister to him, was changing the tone of Salem’s tales with her nonjudgmental stance on all things magic – or magick, in some cases – and opening hearts all around town with her own open-mindedness. Mat admired it. Hell’s bells, he admired her. Never had he met anyone like her, not even in his ancestor’s memories.
Of course, Sarah had no clue whatsoever that Mat was aware of her special magickal skills, her gypsy lineage or her walking abilities when in a dream-like trance. Sometimes, Mat wished he was clueless as well, just like he used to be. Before his almost sister showed up in town, chasing her own fulfillment in life, Mat had been nearly, blissfully, unaware of the strange occurrences in town. Like most men, being oblivious to things around him was his own special talent that life had provided. Well, until his own giftarrived just a few days before Sarah. That particular gift came in two forms: a pregnancy announced by Ally and the memories of a Guardian.
A sigh escaped Mat’s lips as he quietly tiptoed out of his house, trying not creak any of the old floorboards, and began his morning routine of walking though the neighborhoods. A habit for the past two years, Mat took the longest route possible so he would glimpse the sea on his way to The Broom & Cup. The sun was barely peeking above the horizon as Mat took the time to sift through the memories of all the magical creatures in town that had appeared in his Guardian mind that morning.
A Guardian was the keeper of memories for all the souls, living or past, that were part of the Salem tales – and secrets – that kept the spells swirling in the breeze throughout the village’s history. The responsibility had been carried throughout his family’s line since one of his ancestors, a sea merchant, had fallen for a gypsy on a voyage across the chilly Atlantic as she fled for her life. With my heart already spoken for, she had said, I give you a gift to tie our minds together for eternity.
Whether it was a gift or a curse, Mat wasn’t certain, but alas, he settled into the family obligation and prepared for his role in aligning the stars. When Sarah arrived in Salem a few days later, and Harry spilled his coffee into her Audi R8, Mat had nudged the entire event along. Would Harry and Sarah have met eventually, yes, of course. They were bound to each other before ever being born. But only Mat knew of that knowledge from that first day, and since he knew Harry couldn’t resist a sports car, pointing out Sarah’s sparkling, shiny new ride being in town to Harry was all the enticement Mat needed to push that fateful day to ensure the couple met sooner than later. After all, Dooriya had foretold this history to his ancestor and it was a memory Mat could see as though he’d lived it himself. That’s the gift part, Mat thought as he turned onto the wharf and walked along the sea’s edge.
The curse was knowing more than his friends about the Trials, their heritage and keeping it all a secret. While Mat couldn’t predict the future, he knew all too well that history was very foretelling in its own right. Kirsten, believing that her witchy woos were a secret in Salem and Harry, believing nobody but his circle knew of his Putnam lineage, were just the wishful thoughts of his two friends. The whole ton of the town knew who – or what – they were. As for Sarah, most of the town suspected she was a witch. Very few others thought that, perhaps, she may be something more. Something special, Mat thought.
A breeze sifted through his dark gold hair that curled around his ears. It was longer than he normally kept it, but he just didn’t have the time these days to get it cut. His daughter was a witch and he was fairly certain there was no witch lineage in his or Ally’s bloodlines – as the Guardian, he would’ve seen it. Harry, his best friend, had decided it would be a good idea for Mat to have a satellite coffee shop in Sarah’s inn, Spellbound, so he’d been training Hawke on all thing’s barista-oriented after hours, so he could operate it. And, there was trouble in the future, Mat could practically smell it. How was he supposed to warn Kirsten and Sarah when he was supposed to be silent in his watch? How do you nudge magical beings without giving away who you are, he wondered?
Part of his job was to be the keeper of knowledge, but why have all this information and not be able to use it? His secret was safe from every creature with a gift in Salem – and there were plenty that were a shock to his system. As part of the family responsibilities, each carrier was protected with a shield that hid their aura from any one Seer that could then attempt to draw centuries of secrets out of the Guardian. Mat shuddered to think what someone would try to do to him if they knew he held answers to their puzzles.
But Dooriya had been very clear when his ancestor agreed to these terms. Both would be tied in unity of spirit, holding the memories and secrets of all those touched by Dooriya and her magick. The memories Mat carried started with Dooriya’s passage across the Atlantic – her passage to safety, she’d believed. The Trials were tied into the tales because, inadvertently and unknowingly, Dooriya had touched almost every life that was accused of witchcraft and executed. In an effortless show of kindness, Dooriya sweetly tried to help each innocent find peace before their final moments. The gypsy even gave Giles Corey a walk down his own memory lane during his final moments before he was pressed to death with crushing stones. Yes, she’d allowed him – through her gifts – a final stroll in the rye fields hand-in-hand with his wife. She’d made sure his final breath was actually a happy sigh. It was so very similar to Sarah’s heart of gold.
Mat knew Sarah was special because of Dooriya’s blood that ran through her veins, but he also knew she had something far greater in her own past that made her even more extraordinary. Though he wished he could tell her what he knew and what was coming, somehow, Mat was sure she’d figure it out.
But in the meantime, Sarah knew Bridget was a witch. Mat knew she’d had a vision. And it explained, as he approached The Broom & Cup, why she was waiting for him at the heavy, black, wooden front door, impatiently tapping her high-heeled ankle boots.
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