The Sanderson Sisters had grown old. The time had come to draw another child in to restore their youth and beauty. The fourth witch, the youngest, looked guilt ridden. For years, she went along with their magic...not knowing how truly evil these three sisters were. They exploited magic for their own selfish purposes. Cailin didn't like it the first time they had done it. This time, she vowed silently that she would NEVER do this again.
Sarah had spirited a little girl to their cottage with her siren-like voice. Cailin watched in remorse while preparing the deadly brew as they were to go through this again. she felt sorry for the last child they had done it to. She was young and naive then.
Many times she had nightmares of the siren's voice, being unable to resist. Seated in a chair near something hot. An acid green drink. Then nothing after that.
The next thing she knew, she was living with the three Sanderson sisters, claiming they were her estranged aunts. They wouldn't allow her to leave for quite some time. They were kind to her. They taught her magic. Cailin was more into magic that connected her with the spirits and the elements of nature. Feeling the energies that surrounded her.
Her aunts found her odd in that way, but nonetheless, she made their coven much powerful since there were four. They were into the dark arts and communing with evil spirits. Cailin would not partake in most of them. She argued with them that magic should be used carefully. That any curses or hexes would result in consequences.
Yet she found out the truth about her "aunts" after overhearing a conversation. How they had stolen her away from her family. How they tried to steal her life force-only to find she had the gift and they spared her.
Tonight she would leave. She had already told her family to flee from Salem to the Isle of Emerald Green across the great sea. She was sure they would be safe there. Her daughter had the gift. She told her dear husband she would meet them once she was free. If she didn't make it, she was dead. To warn their daughter of the dangers of magic. To never use it. To never tell anyone about her shameful past-how she partook in the evils of the Sanderson Sisters. She regretted all of it. She wished she had never done anything.
"Come, Cailin!" said the oldest, Winifred. "I hope you prepared the brew with Mary."
Cailin stood by the iron cauldron. No! This was not how her ancestors had taught her magic. They taught her about using magic for good purposes, but to beware of the consequences. It was to be respected, not feared nor used for exploitation. What Winnie had done with the magic was spoiled it. She was greedy and wanted more. She wielded magic through an evil spirit. Cailin should've known better than to trust the Sanderson Sisters.
With a defiant look, she dropped the spoon and stepped away from the cauldron.
"No," she said quietly.
The redhead raised her eyebrows as if she didn't hear her correctly.
"Sorry, what?" Winifred said.
"No!" Cailin said bravely. "I will not do this again! 'Tis...wrong. Killing innocent children for the price of eternal youth and beauty!"
"Come now!" said Mary, the middle aunt. "Didn't we raise thee? Take care of thee? Shelter thee?"
The fourth frowned, looking away. Though there was truth to these statements, it didn't justify what they had done. To her. To the children of the village.
"Yes," she said painfully. "And I'm grateful...but this...this is sinful. But I won't do it again! I'm finished."
"Don't tell me thou are going back to the holy world," Mary said.
"No," she said. "I'm done with walking down this wicked path and my soul cannot bear it no more. I will not murder again."
Cailin went to leave, only for the door to shut with a wave of Winnie's hand. Her wrath overflowed as she looked at Cailin, unable to believe her betrayal.
"Of ALL that I've DONE for thee!" she shrieked. "After thy miserable family passed away en route from across the sea, I took thee in! And THIS is how thou repay me with thy treachery?!"
"And it's all lies, Winifred. Thou told me falsehoods about my past. I heard thee. How thou stole me away from my family."
"Didn't all three of thee raise me?" Cailin replied, arching an eyebrow. "Thou seem to care more about thyself than thy sisters, Winnie."
The two younger sisters glared suspiciously at the oldest. Cailin often spoke true to some statements, but Winifred was going to make sure that Sarah and Mary would turn against their adopted sister. She had betrayed them.
"What I mean," Winnie corrected them. "Didn't the three of us care enough for thee?"
"And thou complete our coven," said Mary frowning.
"Forgive me, dear sisters," Cailin responded. "But I won't walk down thy path of wickedness no more."
The Sanderson Sisters glared at the traitorous deserter. She should be punished for her defiance. With a wave of the eldest's hand, she summoned her grimoire.
"Thou shall pay for thy betrayal, little sister!" Winnie replied scornfully. "BOOK!"
The human skin book floated towards Winifred, obeying its mistress's command. It opened the page that Winifred grinned to see. Punishment of a Traitor.
"For thy betrayal, a curse upon thee," she said. "Around thee, suffering shall fall like rain, may thou know nothing but pain. Four times comes the blow 'til thy head downhill roll."
The young woman groaned as she fell to the floor, struck by the electrical bolts of lightning from Winifred's fingers. She grinned sadistically as she watched Cailin writhe like a worm on a hook. She groaned and looked up defiantly. She conjured an orange light, making the sisters recoil at the sight of it.
"Heed my warning I speaketh to thee, Winifred," said Cailin. "May thou evil return to the source tenfold upon thee. Misfortune shall fall upon thee for thy wicked deeds. On Hallow's Eve, the sun shall rise and to dust shall become of thee."
Winifred arched an eyebrow at the stupidity of this spell. Naturally, Cailin was always a stupid girl with her spells that healed and brought fortune upon those who were misfortunate.
"Thou art stupider than an ass," she said. "BEGONE! I CAST THEE OUT!"
With a powerful telekinetic force, the youngest witch was pushed out of the cottage. Cailin watched as the door was shut, knowing the fate of the little girl. The Sanderson Sisters would suffer their fate for using evil magic.
300 Years Later
Jack Frost stood sulking, quite bored out of his mind with today's field trip with Jacob Bailey High School. He rolled his blue eyes. For Halloween in his new town, they had this stupid tradition of visiting the Sanderson museum-the supposedly legendary cottage where the witches lived and hanged.
He hated living here in Salem. It was stupid and boring and his old friends were now far away. He missed them. He resented his mother for moving here. His sister, Emma, didn't seem to mind. She thought it looked like their old home Burgess, Pennsylvania.
Hiccup, Merida, and Rapunzel were a group of friends that befriended Jack, though they only knew him for just a few days. They did the best to welcome him even though he was a bit surly and bitter about living here.
"The night of Hallow's Eve, all four witches were hung on this very tree," the teacher said, pointing to the dead oak in front of the cottage. "Winifred, the oldest, cast a curse that they should return should the black flame candle be lit by a virgin on that night. The witches were hung on this tree, which died along with them."
The teacher showed the group inside the museum. One of the girls in the group looked very uncomfortable. While she had been a long term resident of Salem, she still could sense bad auras when she went near this place. She never liked it visiting the Sanderson museum.
The tour guide unlocked the cottage, showing the class inside the museum. Once inside, there were many things the witches had: dusty glass vials and containers with herbs and ingredients made for making brews. Brooms displayed on the upper beams. A giant black iron cauldron that stood in the center of the room. An eerie spell book made of what looked like skin was inside a glass case. Velvet ropes and metal poles served as barriers for those who visited the museum.
"Here," said the guide, showing them to a rather ugly looking candle. "This is the infamous black flame candle. Supposedly made from the fat of a hanged man. Legend has it that if a virgin lights it on Hallow's Eve, the witches will return."
Another groan of exasperation and boredom came from Jack as he had to listen to this stupid story. It was all bunch of baloney.
"Now," the teacher said. "When the witches were hung, all three of them died...except the Fourth."
Some students glanced back at the blonde, especially Merida. They apparently knew about her. Her family history. She wanted to shrink or maybe be swallowed by the ground.
"The Fourth Witch would not die," the teacher continued. "It took four tries to execute her-until they cut off her head. It rolled down the hill and was lost forever."
Colleen O'Shea hated this story. It was all about her family history. It was just irritating to hear over and over again about the Fourth Witch. The town blamed her family for the misfortunes that fell upon Salem for years. They still blamed her family to this day. She never spoke of it to anyone. Every local spoke about this stupid legend. She just wanted to have a normal life. It didn't help that some students either ostracized her or teased her for her family history. Her Gram warned her of the dangers of magic. To never use it.
But she would sometimes and it was mainly for amusement. It was just a couple of harmless parlor tricks. Tarot cards and palm readings. Sometimes she'd use a playful trick or two-a door slamming, a bully's shoelace would tie to another person's shoe, clothes caught on a sag. Just silly pranks.
Jack grinned as he looked at the supposed witch girl. He thought about amusing himself with some pranks for the misfit. Merida would warn him to not to do so with Colleen due to her family history. Rapunzel felt sorry for her because she was teased or ostracized because of her family history. Hiccup was on the fence about Colleen, but was skeptical about the stories behind her family history. He didn't really believe there was magic or that the bad stuff that fell on Salem was just a series of unfortunate events.
"I'm going to ask her out," said Jack, smirking, gesturing to Colleen.
"Don't bother asking out the witch," said Merida.
"She's not a witch, Merry," Hiccup said, rolling his eyes.
"Last person who asked her out tricked her. And the next day, they ended up with boils."
"That was just a rumor," Hiccup argued. "And it was a sty."
"C'mon, Jack," said Rapunzel. "Hasn't the poor girl had enough? Be nice to her. She's not a bad person."
When the group went to take a lunch break, Jack strode over towards the supposed witch girl, watching her eat her lunch.
"Hey there, Colleen," said Jack.
The blonde gazed with green eyes suspiciously at the trickster. Though she was wary of newcomers, she found Jackson Frost as an annoying as a bug. She had seen a few of his pranks even though he had been here a few days: most of the time, causing mild to moderate embarrassment.
"Are you planning on pulling a prank on the Witch Bitch of Salem?" Colleen replied arching an eyebrow.
"Not yet," he said slyly.
"Well don't bother. I may put a hex on you." Colleen answered sarcastically.
"What you are doing for Halloween this year?"
The blonde rolled her green eyes. "The same thing I do every year, Frostbite," she said. "Sending hexes to my fellow students who were mean to me during the year."
Jack couldn't help but laugh. "Magic's just a bunch of hocus pocus," he said. "You don't honestly believe what people say, do you?"
"It's not even remotely close to the truth, Frostbite."
"Well why all the rumors? Why does everyone seem to have a grudge against you? You're not REALLY a witch, are you?"
"Let's JUST say that an ancestor of mine was hanged during the Salem witch trials," she said. "They had nothing to do with the Sanderson Sisters. They just make up these bull crap rumors."
"And the whole...witch thing?"
She scoffed. "Merida's VERY superstitious because she had a run-in with a supposed "witch". I mean, I DO a magic show one time at the talent show and she thinks it's real. Besides most of the magic I do is a bunch of parlor tricks: sleight of hand, illusions, read Tarot cards and palms."
"You do magic? Wow! What a nerd you are, O'Shea. That I'd like to see this."
"What do you want me to do: read your palm or use the cards?"
"Alright. I'll do a card reading. But it'll cost you."
"Name your price."
Colleen made a dead-pan face. "Your soul," she drawled.
Jack rolled his eyes. "Yea, right."
This made him more uncomfortable. Seeing the class clown's smirk wipe off his face so fast made Colleen laugh. She smiled and laugh, after seeing his look of discomfort.
"I'm just messing with you, Frostbite. You don't have to give me anything."
Jack heaved a sigh of relief and an uncomfortable laugh. "Then how about this: you tell me my future, you have to agree to a date."
Colleen scoffed. "Go out with you, the skeptical class clown with me, the supposed Witch of Salem?" she joked. "That'll be the talk of the school."
"Let 'em talk."
"Fine. But do stop by my house and get a poisoned apple."
"Seriously?" Jack said, arching an eyebrow.
"They're not REALLY poison. My Gram's known to make the best black toffee apples in Salem and they go quite fast. And EVERY year she dresses like the Evil Queen from Snow White and ends up scaring people off. I think she just loves living up to the rumors that she's the REAL witch of Salem."
"This I gotta see," he said with a laugh. "I'll be sure to stop by with my sister. She loves candy apples."
Jack sat down next to Colleen, laying out his lunch. She reached into her backpack, pulling out a deck of Tarot cards. She shuffled them with ease as her Gram had taught her a few parlor tricks. Jack watched, quite amazed with the supposed 'witch's' sleight of hand, watching the pictures on the deck shuffle in a flash. She held out the cards in a fan when she finished.
"Pick three cards," she instructed. "Each card represents your past, present and future. Don't look at them-just give them back to me."
Jack shrugged, picking three from the deck. He gave the chosen cards back, studying her. Her face was dotted with freckles. Her eyes were a dark emerald color, sparkling with a spellbinding aura. Her hair was the color of ash blond. She wore what looked like a knotted charm with green stones decorating it.
"Remember," said Colleen. "What I'm about to say are just educated guesses. They're not one-hundred percent accurate."
"Sure," Jack said with a derisive snort.
Colleen flipped the first card over, showing the card the Three of Wands. Colleen studied Jack with curious eyes.
"OK, this means that you are from a family of three," she said. "There's strength among you. The man holding the wand signifies you are the man of the house, keeping your family stable. The burden is placed on you because...I'm guessing your father...is absent."
Jack's blue eyes widened. Butterflies fluttered in his stomach, making him feel very uncomfortable at this accurate "guess".
"Yea..." he said a bit uncomfortable. "It's just me, my mom and my little sister."
"The man holding the wand up is looking out to the sea," she said. "It could mean...a longing for no responsibility and freedom."
Jack could only nod lightly. It was hard with a single mom who worked a lot and having to care for a younger sister. It wasn't fair that he had to care for his family since his father had left. Then they had to move to Salem because his mother found another job that paid better than at Burgess. Feeling uncomfortable, he rubbed his neck.
"Let's...move on to the next one," he said.
Colleen flipped the second card, showing the Fool. She could only smirk with amusement. Naturally he was.
"Really?" Jack said with a frown.
The blonde just shrugged. "The cards speak for themselves," she said. "While you are innocent, you like to make people laugh with pranks for your amusement and others, mainly children. As you can see, the blindfolded Fool is heading towards a cliff while his dog is trying to pull him back-this means you don't seem aware of the consequences of your actions."
A scoff came from the Frost teen. This was so stupid. Colleen could sense he was getting a bit uncomfortable, but he wasn't buying it.
"Next," he said. "Tell me my future, All Seeing One."
Colleen flipped the next card, showing a Knight of Swords.
"This means bravery," she said. "This could mean that an impulsive action will bring out the hero in you from an upcoming danger. You have a duty to protect someone close to you as well as others."
Jack arched his eyebrow with skepticism. True, he was protective of his younger sister, but he seriously doubted that he was a hero to anyone.
"Right," he said condescending. "I'm no hero, Colleen. I'm all about fun times."
"Like I said, Frostbite," Colleen said. "I was just guessing. And you don't have to rely on some cards to determine your future. YOU choose the path you make."
"Right. I'll be sure to remember that. Now, as part of our agreement?"
"You know I always hold up my end of the deal. See you at my house." She handed Jack a piece of paper with her address on it. "Trick-or-treat."