Winter embraced his hometown with a frigid kiss. The frosty flakes formed a blanket
of white glittery dust along the terrain, concealing the black ice that pierced Adrian’s soul. The signs on the buildings
were vague through the chalky wrath as he made his way down Wharf Street, but they’d not changed. He knew what they
said, what each disturbing sign represented. Salem’s Museum of Myths and Monsters. Did his own foolish tale rest
A bone chilling reluctance almost saw him turn the car around and head back to New
York, and not for the first time. His old neighborhood was perched along a lofty hillside a few blocks east of the Museum.
He didn’t want to see it…didn’t want to stir the frenzy of emotion that refused to lay dormant inside his
cursed soul. The infamous town was nothing more than a trivial homage to exploit its terror stricken victims. A city thriving
on treachery and deceit, luring tourist to partake, if only for a fleeting moment, of the wrongs inflicted by its horrific
Adrian’s therapist called his unyielding resentment by another name. But no
matter what labels were placed on his feelings regarding his hometown, his tainted memories of yesteryear, Adrian knew one
He loathed the town of Salem and everything it represented.
He rubbed his cursed eyes,
shook his head as if he might clear the hellish fog lingering therein. It didn’t change anything. The bothersome text
lay open on the table. “Impossible,” he breathed as a cold fist closed over his heart. He’d seen smoke rise
as the book melted to ash. Heard the crackling rage as the famine flames consumed each and every cursed page! The stench of
burning paper was still thick his nostrils.
Nevertheless, there it was. In one piece. On the table. Open as if she intended for him to read the specified
What the hell was going on? Curiosity lured him
Chapter five. The Salem Witch Trials.
A shiver skated down his spine. The last thing he wanted to do was read horror stories. His nightmares were bad enough
already without throwing witches and goblins into the mix. Closing the book, Adrian ground his molars and placed it back on
the shelf. He might have tossed it into the fire again, had he thought it would do any good.
He could be just as stubborn as she.
Standing before the frost-etched window, Adrian stretched his injured leg in front of him and examined it. It was feeling much better. The
snow had finally stopped falling. People would be getting out soon. Perhaps tomorrow he might feel well enough to make the
journey into town and see about fixing his car. There were enough canned goods to get him through another week or so. Heaven
forbid he should need to stay that long.
He wondered who owned the safe haven. A pang of guilt struck him. He’d taken advantage of the empty cabin and
its provisions. The stew hadn’t shelved itself, nor had the wood been stacked by…no, ghosts did not go
shopping or wield an ax for firewood. Still, he felt compelled to do something to compensate the mystery owner for the use
of his, or her, cabin.
Of course, money was always appreciated. He’d
leave a check to cover the expenses. As a matter of fact, he may as well write it out now so he wouldn’t forget.
Adrian’s mouth fell open when he turned away from the window. The damned book was back on the table! Every muscle
in his body constricted. His blood ran cold. He didn’t have to see the text to know it was opened to chapter five.
He swallowed. Horror swiftly transformed into anger. Jaw clenched, Adrian spoke in a low venomous tone that could
cower a heard of wild steeds, “Show yourself.”
His chest rose and fell in inner fury. “Come out, damn you! I said show yourself!”
The lights flickered. The pages of the book fanned angrily back and forth as a frigid gust shook the cabin walls. Adrian dared not permit the frightful
illusion to consume him, least he be lost forever.
The ridiculous battle of wills could go on for eternity. If he allowed it. For his own peace of mind, he couldn’t.
His chest heaved as he circled the room. “Alright! You win.” The lights stopped flickering, the pages stilled.
“I’ll look at the damned thing.” As if he had a choice. He added beneath a snarled lip, "