Sweet Dreams, Salem
Leo is coming over.
My mom is at work and Leo is coming. My nerves are torn, and my mind is a wreck. When I get home from my History of Magic class I jump in the shower, trying to calm down, and then get dressed in leggings and a loose—but low-cut—shirt. I throw the spaghetti bolognese my mom left for me back on the stove to reheat.
I have a bowl in my hand when there’s a knock on the door. I jump up, trying to contain my excitement as I go to let him in.
The door swings open and I find Professor Marcus standing there.
I frown, suddenly feeling anxious. What does he want from me? Why is he here?
“Salem.” He greets me.
“Professor Marcus?” I ask, feeling afraid. Somethings not right.
He takes a step towards me and I throw the door shut, his foot catching it and kicking it open. I scream and stumble backwards, power jumping to my fingertips, ready to rescue me. But I can’t.
“What’s going on here?” I hear Leo call, appearing behind him as he towers over me.
He frowns, turning to Leo as he brushes past him, pulling me close. I feel comforted, but I don’t feel very safe. This man is oozing animosity, black magic dripping from his soul, so tangible I can feel it calling to me, drawing out my sins, ready to start chaos. He’s magnetic. Enticing. Familiar.
“I need to speak with Salem,” Professor Marcus says, agitated.
“Speak,” Leo tells him, anger on his face.
“In private,” he sneers.
“Not going to happen.” Leo pushes me slightly behind him.
“I don’t think Salem would want that,” he tells him with humor in his voice.
“And why is that?” Leo demands.
“I know what you did,” he says to me, a sickening smile on his face making my stomach churn uneasily.
“What do you want?” I whisper.
I can feel Leo look over at me, incredulous. I ignore him, watching the sinister man in front of me carefully .
“You.” He laughs. “Your magic, to be more specific.”
“No,” Leo says quickly. “She isn’t going anywhere with you.”
“Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday soon your girlfriend will join me.” He looks over, false affection on his face. “Salem.” He purrs my name as if it’s a caress. “Your mother always loved that name. Did you know it means peace? And it also represents when the human imbeciles falsely accused many of their own kind on a mission to obliterate the witches, because they know that we are superior. That’s why your so strong. There’s so much about yourself that you’ve locked away. I can help you find the real you. Together we could be the most powerful beings on earth. You know where to find me.”
He turns without another word and walks back out the door.
I don’t realize that I’m shaking until Leo’s arms wind around me, holding me tight. His hands are in my hair, pulling my face against his chest. I’m trying to breathe, but I can’t. It’s as though I’ve forgotten how. Leo is saying something, but I can’t hear him. My chest aches, and I’m gasping for air. The edges of my vision are turning black.
“Salem,” Leo whispers into my ear. “Calm down, please. You’re okay.”
“No, I’m not!” I exclaim, my face red with hatred. “If that is who I think it is, my life is over! Everything is over.”
“I don’t understand, you’re going to have to explain this. Why was Professor Marcus here?”
My head is spinning. It can’t be. There’s no way.
Well… realistically, I guess there is a way. It just doesn’t make sense.
“What do you know about Professor Marcus?” I ask him, fear evident in my voice.
“Not much,” he says calmly, but there’s concern in his eyes. “I’ve only heard about him. He’s fairly new to teaching, but he’s powerful. Known for his Caution of the Dark Arts class, mostly.”
“What did he do before he started teaching that class?” I whisper, afraid of the answer.
He looks at me strangely, trying to figure me out. “I don’t know. No one really does, he just kind of popped up out of nowhere.”
“What if I told you that I don’t think he is who he says he is?” I ask sullenly.
“Who would he be then?”
“Vincent St. Clair.”
“Why on earth would you think that?!” He exclaims.
“Vincent St. Clair is my father.”
This whole time he’s had his arms around my waist, but now he pulls away, his eyes big, surprised—and honestly, a little afraid.
“Fuck,” he gasps, running a shaky hand through his hair. “Fuck,” he says again. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” He paces the floor for a second before his head snaps up, his eyes boring into mine. “It WAS you,” he says, his tone full of accusations.
We stare at each other for a long moment. There’s conflict etched on his face, an internal war raging.
“What was me?” I force myself to ask. I don’t really want to know the answer.
“Hollowbrook…” he whispers, and my heart breaks in two.
“You’re the one that destroyed the entire town.”
“Salem, tell me.”
I look away, taking a deep, shaky breath. I don’t like to even think about it. All of the people… my friends… their screams haunt me. My cold eyes, void of emotion, watching them without remorse. The inner demon rejoices, the looks on their faces turning my lips up in a smile.
I snap out of it.
“I can’t talk about this,” I gasp, forcing the magic away, the power tingling, my entire body in flames.
“Salem,” he scolds.
“I can’t talk about this.” The lights flicker and the kitchen cabinet doors open and slam shut, the TV flips on, loud static filling the room. Wind whips through my hair and I feel a familiar anger burning my throat.
And there it is.
I take a breath, trying to calm myself and step away from him, looking away.
“I can’t talk about it,” I tell him, forcing the anger down. “I can’t even think about it. I can’t control it.”
I can hear him pacing again. “This…” he starts, his voice breaking. “This is insane. I can’t… I’ve got to go… I need to think… I need air.”
I don’t look at him, but I can hear him as he walks to the front door, the click behind him the final blow. Tears pour from my eyes. I knew better than this. With a wave of my hand, all of the lights are off, and I run to my bed and hide, wallowing in my sorrows. It will always be this way. I will always be alone. Leo is scared of me, I let myself care about him, and we both got hurt. I cry, deep strangled breaths escaping my lips. I pull the covers over my head, trying once again to crawl as far as I can into desolation.
I will always be alone.
I hear the door hours later.
“Salem!” My mom calls, panic in her voice. “Salem!” She screams again, bursting into my room. She grabs me, pulling the covers down and seeing my tear stained face and swollen, puffy eyes. “What happened?” She demands. I stare at the wall, my ears ringing and my head pounding. “Talk to me, dammit! The front door has a fucking crack in it!”
“I think my Professor is Vincent St. Clair… and Leo knows about Hollowbrook… and he left,” I say, sniffling sadly.
“Your father is here? What the hell happened while I was at work?”
“Professor Marcus showed up, forced his way inside. Leo showed up and he wouldn’t talk with him there. But he said you always did love the name Salem.”
“We’ve got to go,” she says suddenly, jumping to her feet. “Pack your bags, we need to go. Now.”
“What?” I demand. “We’re just going to run?”
“You know who he is! We can’t just be sitting ducks!”
“He knows I exist,” I tell her. “He found me here, what makes you think he won’t find me somewhere else?”
“Why is he even looking for you?” She exclaims, mostly to herself. “What does he want?”
“He wants my magic.”
“Does he not have enough?!” She practically screams. “Pack your bags.”
“Do you really think he won’t find us?”
“What do you suggest we do, hm? Are you just supposed to go with him? Should we not at least try?”
“What for?” I scream, suddenly furious. “What is the point, mom?! Every day I live this life alone. I’m completely by myself. You try, but I know that you’re scared of me. I tried so hard to stay away from Leo, and now he hates me. I’m never going to be normal. I’m never going to be worthy of anyone’s love, not even my own, not after what happened. I don’t want to run. I want to go to sleep in this bed, and never wake up again.”
“Salem,” my mother gasps, her face contorted in pain. “It wasn’t your fault.”
“Stop saying that. It was. I did it, and because of that I never get to be me again. I don’t get to have friends, and go to parties. I don’t get to have Leo. Now, please leave me alone.”
She hears the authority in my voice, the magic I didn’t purposefully muster, and stiffly, she stands, and turns and walks from my room without another word.
I grab the sleeping pills from my nightstand and choke three down. I lay back down and wait for the darkness to pull me under. I don’t want to think about this day anymore. I want to be oblivious to the world—after all, it’s better off without me.