Sneak a peek at The Trials! The Secrets, Spells and Tales series starts here and boy do the threads weave a wicked story! Fall in love with Salem, history and many characters... #31DaysOfOctober!
Chapter One of The Trials
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?