Beware the Overmind Part 7

Chapter 35 [Later that night]

On the outskirts of town, Alti waited for her partner to arrive. The night was dark; the moon shrouded by a few patches of clouds. The icy wind blew across the plains. She glanced at her watch. 10:00. Where is he?

As if reading her mind, a male voice assured her, "I am here." From out of the darkness, Hansei Arighatto stepped into view. "What's wrong, Alti? I'm busy."

She frowned, shooting him a venomous stare. "You might want to make time. Do you know where your goodie two shoes stepdaughter is tonight?"

"She's at home, I trust," he replied.

She smirked. "You are a fool. No, she's at the Kent Farm. Tonight, she met her long lost uncle."

He looked at her incredulously. "Her family's dead! I saw to that!"

"You missed this one. And trust me…." She let the words hang in the air to lead him on. "He's a handful."

"As if you would know," he sneered.

"I should. I made him what he is," she declared. "My demon child."

"Then control him!" he directed.

She shook her head and sighed impatiently. "You stupid fool! There is no controlling him. Only he doesn't exactly know who he is yet. Anyhow, I thought you'd like to know."

"I will stand watch. Meantime, thank you for the advice," he concluded before vanishing back into the darkness.

She shrugged. How he ever gave Xena a fight, I'll never know. With that, she got back in her car and drove away.


[Main Street]

Lana hung her head as she walked down Main Street. She hated the private school in Granville. Her relationship with Whitney rapidly proved to be less than what she had wanted. On that night, she had gone over to his house for a tutoring session in English. After twenty minutes, his mind wandered to other things. At that point, she left and wandered the dark streets alone.

Not that Momma Anne would care. She never does anyway. I bet my real parents would pay more attention to me. She hung her head as she walked onward.

Then a voice cracked, "Hey, Baby. What's a nice girl doing out alone on a night like this?"

She turned to see Lionel Luthor's hoodlums standing there grinning at her. "Hi. Umm, I was on my way home."

"We could take ya," Greasy suggested with an eager gleam in his eye.

And try something on the way home, I'm sure. "No thanks."

One of the others, an African-American lanky male with a tattoo on his hand, disagreed, "That ain't for you to say, Toots."

She shook her head before sprinting away.

"After her!" Greasy ordered.

The three men chased her down the street, never allowing her to lead by more than ten steps or so.

Finally she saw the Talon. My refuge! Ducking down the alley, she found the boarded up entrance. She tested the boards, knowing that there were some that were loose. She pulled three of them out, giving her just enough room to squeeze through.

She looked around the darkened old theater. Even in the darkness, she could make out the old painting Egyptian motifs and the remains of the concession counter. Even if she couldn't really see them, she knew they were there. This was her refuge—her sanctuary. The place she came to when she wanted to feel close to her parents. She sat down and fished around in her book bag. Eventually, she found her flashlight. Turning it on, she allowed the spotlight to shine on the old movie posters, the faded carpeting and ancient paint.

Then she felt a bit of breeze rustle her hair. While this would have scared most people out of their wits, she sat placidly on the stairs leading to the second floor. Looking at her hand, she saw a weird figure-8 symbol glowing. She knew that she had that mark since she was very young but didn't know how she got it or what it meant. She did know that it meant a certain someone was nearby. "Is that you?" She turned toward the balcony.

On the overhang, an image appeared. In the darkness, its crimson eyes and corona stood out. "Wha's up?" it asked.

"Nothing," she replied. Then her eyes watered, "Oh who am I kidding? Everything's wrong! I hate school! I hate my stepmother! I hate my life!"

"Ah know th' feelin'," the image rasped. "Don' git too down now, ya hear?"

"At least you care," she sniffed. It's pretty depressing when the only person who understands you is a ghost. For the past five years, she had come here, seeking a refuge. Every time, she ran into this specter. However, she never knew who or what it was. It acted like a kid—an extremely territorial and angry kid. "When are you going to tell me about yourself?"

"When Ah'm ready," it asserted. "'Lax, Ah'd never hurt ya'll." Then the eyes turned. "Dammit!"

"What?" she asked.

"Ah hate visitors!" it hissed.

"Who?" she wondered, looking around with her flashlight. Its beam finally rested on her pursuers' faces. "What are you doing here?"

"Now why did you have to run off like that? We're going to have to report you now," Greasy told her. "Unless of course, you make it worth our while to look the other way."

"I…I don't have any money," she gasped, backing up the stairs.

"That ain't what we had in mind," he sniggered.

"You'd better leave or it'll get angry," she advised.

"What? Oh you mean the so-called ghost?" Greasy chuckled. "Hey, boys, she believes in ghosts too!"

"Let's teach her," Tattoo suggested.

At that moment, an old chair flew across the room and splintered on the wall ten feet from them.

"Who did that?" Greasy asked. Grabbing her, he accused, "You did something!"

"I didn't. It did," she pointed out. "Look behind you."

"Yeah that's the oldest trick in the book," he scoffed.

Then they all heard a dark echoing laughter followed by a loud piercing scream.

The bullies turned to see the image floating there.

"Ya'll heard ‘er. Scram!" it snarled. Extending its hands—or what passed for them—he fired plumes of dark flame at the intruders, scalding their psyches. Then it made them float in the air before slamming them into the far wall.

"What are you?" Greasy inquired, feeling afraid.

"Ya're scared, ain't ya?" it rasped angrily. "Good. Listen up. Ah like ‘er. If ya'll come near ‘er ‘gain, Ah'll really whup ya! NOW GIT!" With that, it threw the trio out the now exposed doorway before telekinetically resealing it.

"Thank you," she expressed. "Sorry to bring trouble."

"Nah, ‘s okay," it assured her. "Ah won't see ya hurt."

She nodded. "You mind if I just stay here for a while?"

"Ah like that. Ya visit yer folks tonight?" it asked.

"No. I can't believe I forgot about that," she remembered. "I'd best go then. Thank you again. Umm, can you walk me to the cemetery?"

"Yeah," it agreed.


Chapter 36 [Smallville Cemetery]

Dave looked at his tombstone, not understanding how this could be. According to the obituary, I was buried here. Yet, I'm standing. How can that be? Then he heard a twig snap behind him. "Who's there?"

Alti approached him cautiously. "I might ask what you're doing here at this hour. A little late for graveside visits, isn't it?"

"I'd say the same for you," he retorted, eyeing her suspiciously. As he did so, he felt an odd sensation. "I know your face."

She shrugged. "I'm pretty well known around town."

"No. There's something else," he declared, feeling the memories again. In them, he saw her but from another place. She was laughing and inflicting pain on him. "You were doing something to me!"

She grinned savagely. "Oh you bet I did." She grabbed him around the neck and snickered. "Like this!"

He spasmed, feeling her power ripping through his mind. At that instant, he capsized, feeling painful memories and others linking the scattered insights from the previous week together. A new image appeared in which he was in Smallville but it wasn't Smallville. He faced a giant in silver armor who did something to him. He felt his head burn. Then he heard it again.

The Scream.

"Stay ‘way from me!" he hissed, breaking her grip and the bonding. "Ya're putrid!"

"Best watch your step, Dubois. Otherwise, I'll eat your lunch," she threatened, disappearing into the darkness.

For a long while thereafter, he sat, curled up against the cold granite. What was that? What did she do to me? Who is she?

She made you into who you are, Dave.

He turned to see Laura's ghost floating there. "Oh it's you. Why didn't you tell me about that harpy?"

You knew instinctively. So I didn't have to. The angel smiled. Not many resist Alti's charms. I'd say you're recovering.

"Recovering what?" he pressed.

Recovering yourself. In fact, look behind you. She motioned with her eyes.

Now what? He felt a strange chill and followed her lead. There in the darkness stood a young dark haired girl and a dark floating image. "Who are you?"

"My name's Lana and I'm here to visit my parents. Who are you?" she asked.

"He's me," the phantom declared.

"What?" Lana and Dave asked wide eyed.

"Ah'm ya'll," it revealed. "When ya died, Ah was stuck in the Picture Place."

"So it is true?" he inquired.

"Yup. Lissen, watch Lana, ‘kay?" it requested. Turning to the angel, he added, "Ah like ‘er company. Thanks fer sendin' her to us."

Thank you for protecting her.

The image vanished at that point.

"It's me?" he wondered incredulously, rubbing his head. "Oh, this is great. First, I hear I'm dead. Then I have a tombstone. And now, I have my very own ghost. Not to mention the fact that I'm hearing voices and seeing things. I must be going nuts."

"I can see her," Lana pointed out. "Mom, is he okay?"

He's been through a lot, Lana. He survived a test of wills tonight with your stepmother. The angel looked at her earnestly. We haven't abandoned you.

"Then why did you have to die?" Lana asked.

It was our time. Laura looked at her again. Be patient. You will be delivered from this soon. And, Dave?

"Yes?" he replied tersely.

Soon it will all be clear to you as well. I must go now. With that, the angel disappeared.

"You saw her too?" Lana asked him.

"I sure did. You're Lana Lang?" he inquired.

"That's me. And you're the new helper at the Kent Farm?" she wondered.

He nodded. "Dave Dubois at your service."

"You're the guy that Miranda and the others ran into last night at the Creamery," she supposed.

He shrugged. "Uh huh. Apparently, we have a connection. So how do you see her?"

"I don't know," she noted. "I've always been able to see things. Don't ask me how I do it. I just can."

"All right," he agreed. Then he looked around again, picking up on something in the darkness. "Hello?"

"Dave?" Clark inquired, stepping into view. "There you are!" Seeing Lana, he flushed and smiled. "Hi, Lana."

She blushed. Although her stepmother would never allow them to date or anything, she considered him to be her best friend. "Hi, Clark. It's okay. We ran into each other here and were catching up on things."

He arched his brow in disbelief. " ‘Catching up on things'? I hope you're okay."

"I'm fine, Clark. Dave isn't though. He apparently ran into my stepmother," she presumed.

"How do you know that?" Dave asked.

"You have that white drained look not to mention the nose bleed. Strange though, you're the first who's still standing," she reported. "Well, I'd best be getting home. It was nice meeting you, Dave. Take care and try to stay clear of her."

"Clark, why don't you see her home? I have some thinking to do," Dave requested.

He coughed, feeling weak again. "Me?"

"Unless there's someone else he's talking to?" she queried. "Come on; Clark, I don't bite."

He nodded. "Okay. Dave, my parents are looking for you too. That's why I'm here."

"I'll be on my way in a couple of minutes," he agreed, getting up. "I left Streaker by the tree over there."

Clark blinked incredulously. Streaker never lets anyone ride him. What gives? "All right. Come on, Lana."

She nodded, following him back to the gate.

Dave watched them until they disappeared from view. Then he got up and walked over to Streaker.

The horse whinnied.

"I appreciate this, you know," he told his companion. "For some reason, I know we should get along." Climbing up into the saddle, he gently urged the other back down the trail toward the farm.


Chapter 37 [Lana's house—Fifteen minutes later]

Clark parked the truck right down the street from Lana's house. For some reason, his nerves kept him quiet for the entire ride. Finally, he sputtered, "We're here."

"Yeah we are," she replied in a crestfallen tone.

"What's wrong? Dave didn't do anything, did he?" he asked, immediately jumping to conclusions.

"No! He didn't. He's trying to deal with things, Clark. My mother told him to calm down if anything," she explained.

"He can see her?" he inquired. "I didn't say anything to anyone about that."

She patted his hand. "I know, Clark. No he was already talking to her when I got there. I wish I knew how they met."

"Well Dave's been digging into his past all day. My parents mentioned that he met your folks just before he…well…died," he explained.

"He knew them? Of course! That would explain why Mom was talking to him!" she realized. Then she turned back to him. "Clark, I appreciate your concern. It has been a rough night. I was chased by the bullies."

He shook his head. "I wish I could do something." He started hacking away. "Sorry."

She smiled. "My knight in shining armor." She kissed him on the cheek. "You're always there for me. Thank you. Well, I got to get inside before she suspects. See you later."

"Yeah. See you later, Lana," he replied, as she got out of the truck.

She grinned at him, allowing her eyes to sparkle into his. When we're old enough, I'll tell Momma Anne to get lost. I love him and she can't take that away from me.

He smiled with satisfaction as he drove away. She kissed me. She likes me.


Despite their careful measures, Alti had observed them. Curse Dubois! Just his very presence is ruining everything! I don't need to see those two brats getting together!

Behind her, she heard a roar.

"Not yet, my Pet," she declared. "Soon, you can have your way with him again. I know you've waited so long for another shot at him. I promise it'll be worth it." She laughed triumphantly, anticipating that standoff.


Chapter 38 [Kent Farm]

Dave put Streaker back in his stall and wiped him down. "Thanks again."

The horse whinnied at him.

All right. Now for some shut eye. Dave climbed the stairs, expecting to flop himself on the couch. He definitely needed some time to put his jumbled thoughts in order. Instead he found a blonde teenager scanning through his things. "Excuse me? Can I help you?"

She looked up. "You're finally back!"

That remark made him do a double take. "Look, I'm having a really bad night. Can't this wait until the morning?"

"It is morning," she replied.

He put the pillow over his face, trying to shut her out. Finally, he stuck his left hand in there too and muttered, "It's bleeping 1:30 AM!"

"What was that?" she asked.

He tossed the pillow down, glaring at the annoying blonde. "It's 1:30 and I have a headache. Sorry, Miss…."

"Chloe Sullivan. I'm with the Torch," she introduced herself.

"The what? I've never heard of it," he told her.

"Given what you're going through, would you remember even if you had?" she supposed.

"You've got a point," he admitted. "All right, what can I do for you?"

"The town is talking about you. You're either the modern day Lazarus or the world's best con man. Which is it?"

"Miss Sullivan, I barely know who I am right now. These papers you've been peeking at—they're here so I can see who I was…am...whatever. Trust me; I'm no con man. What you see is what you get," he mentioned.

"Uh huh," she replied, scribbling some notes down on a pad. "So how do you account for your reappearance?"

"I don't know. I just fell out of the sky, I guess. Look. I admire your initiative, Miss Sullivan, but I'm just starting to put two and two together so that the answer doesn't come out as ten," he answered. Seeing her frown, he groaned, "Why's this so important to you?"

"I was hoping to get a scoop on you. I barely get any time at the school paper with Muffy Patterson as the editor," she admitted, looking at him with sad eyes.

He shrugged. "You'll get your break, I promise. Just not tonight."

"All right," she conceded, getting off of the couch and starting down the loft stairs.

"Miss Sullivan?" he called.

"Yes?" she asked, stopping for a minute.

"You will get your story. I'll do my best to help you when I have my ducks in a row, all right?" he promised again. He scribbled something on a piece of paper and handed it to her.

"What's this?" she asked.

"Your rain check. I will honor it," he concluded. "Good night, Miss Sullivan."

Yeah right. She stuffed it in her purse and trudged out of the barn. As she did, Clark pulled up in the truck. "Clark?"

The farm boy got out and stared at her. "Chloe, what are you doing here?"

"I was waiting for your mystery guest," she replied. "He just brushed me off."

"Chloe, he's had a really bad night, okay? Leave him alone," he directed.

"What happened to him anyway? He looks like someone worked him over with a cement mixer," she wondered.

Not now. "Bad night," he reiterated.

"And where were you, Farm Boy?" she asked.

"I was out looking for him," Clark explained.

"And Lana too, I suppose?" she queried.

Not this too. "No, Chloe, I wasn't looking for her," he fibbed, even though they both knew that wasn't true.

"Sure, Clark," she muttered, getting into her car. "I hope your friend is more forthcoming at some point. I think he's conning you all." Then she drove off.

Great. He walked into the barn and made his way up the stairs. "Dave?"

"Yeah? What's up, Clark?" he asked.

"What were you doing in the cemetery tonight?" Clark asked.

"Trying to put some pieces together," Dave replied, trying to ignore the jackhammer rattling around inside of his skull. "That woman's got the touch from Hell. You wouldn't happen to know if your Dad has any aspirin here?"

"Yeah sure," the teenager agreed, rushing back down the stairs and finding the bottle in Jonathan's cabinet before bringing back with him. "Here. What do you mean?"

Dave took two pills and chased them with the remains of his stale coffee from earlier that evening. "Thanks. She can make someone relive past things and pain. I don't know what she did to me but I know who I am now. I know I'm Dave Dubois and that I have a lot to do with this town. Beyond that, it's still fuzzy."

"That's better than where you were last night," Clark supposed. "Who is this woman you're talking about?"

"She didn't give her name but I know her face from somewhere. She's tall, has long brown hair, dark intense eyes and this low gravelly voice. Real intense attitude," Dave recalled.

"That sounds like Anne Lichtenfeld, Lana's stepmother," he noted, wincing at the thought of her.

And Laura did say something about the stepmother. I'd say he's onto something there. Then he saw Clark bending over and heaving. "What is it?"

Clark coughed several times, sitting down to collect himself. "She doesn't want me around Lana for some reason. Thinking about her triggers one of my spells."

"I can see why," the elder man agreed, rubbing his neck. "Did you get Lana home all right?"

"Yeah, I did. Sorry I accused you earlier," he apologized.

"It didn't look good, I have to admit," Dave admitted. "I'd never touch her, Clark. Well, I'm sure your parents are going to have a royal cow if you don't get in the house. I should be all right for tonight—well for the next three hours at least. If your folks are still up, let them know I'm out here. I didn't mean to worry you all. Good night." He rolled over and shut his eyes.

"You are a mystery," the teenager whispered to himself as he walked down the stairs and out of the barn toward the house.


Interlude  [Our Universe]

[Kent Condo, Tucson]

Lana woke up abruptly and sat up in bed. "Wow," she gasped.

Clark rolled over and squinted at her. "Mmm…Honey? What is it?"

"I felt him. I felt the Professor again," she insisted, getting out of bed and looking at the clock. Seeing that it was 6:30, she walked into the kitchen and started some coffee for herself.

As she did, she heard a knocking at the door.

Who would be there now? She looked through the peephole to see Martin and Kayla standing there. Sarah, Jasmine and Miranda were rushing up the walk behind them. "What's going on?" she asked while opening the door.

"Lana, sorry to disturb you so early. It's important!" Martin insisted.

"If it's something to do with Professor Dubois, I just had a major league hit off of him as well. Come in, Gang. I just put some coffee on," Lana invited.

"You felt it too, then?" Sarah wondered.

"Loud and clear. It's like…" she started before rubbing her temple.

Kayla inquired, "Lana? The back of your hand! What is it?"

They all saw the witch's symbol glowing there.

"Alti," Martin ascertained, taking a deep breath. "By the Great Spirit, it's her."

"I thought we banished her," Miranda supposed.

"She was. But Professor Dubois may have been thrown into the same place," Kayla theorized. "Oh man, what a headache."

"What's that about Alti?" Clark inquired, coming out in his robe.

"She's back," his wife informed him.

"Who?" Jasmine and Sarah wondered.

"Alti's a shamaness with incredible dark spiritual power," Martin explained. "She's fought Xena on several occasions."

"Her later manifestation, Anne Lichtenfeld, killed my parents and made the Professor what he is," Lana added, pouring coffee and making more.

"She made him into the jinn?" Jasmine queried.

"Yeah you can say that," Clark agreed, looking at the percolating pot.

"What do we do now? We need to get him back!" Miranda demanded.

"We have to get a definite fix on him first," Martin told her. "And we will."

"I think we need some help though," Lana indicated, picking up the phone and dialing it. "Mutant X went for a retreat of some kind. I'm hoping Emma stayed behind."


[New Sanctuary]

Emma breathed deeply as she meditated by the fountain in the middle of the complex. With the tension and remorse surrounding their friend's disappearance, Adam took the rest of the team on a retreat. She had stayed behind to watch the place. Besides she always turned inward when tragedy struck her. Given the vibes surrounding the event in question, solitude was the best thing for her.

Strange. It's got to be a phantom response. Dave's dead. She opened her eyes and looked around the area. "What is it?" Then she felt it again. "Argh! This can't be happening!"

Then she heard the beeping on the communications console. "What now?" She made her way over there and checked the source of the call. "Lana? Maybe she knows." She pressed a couple of keys and answered, "Lana, this is Emma. Go ahead."

"Emma! Thank goodness! You're not going believe this!" Lana started.

"If you mean that somehow Professor Dubois is giving off pain vibes, I just felt them too," the psionic stated, rubbing her brow.

"He's still alive," Lana insisted.

"I'd say so," Emma concurred. "Okay, give me a bit to drive down there, all right? Has anyone contacted Dr. Dubois?"

"Not yet. We wanted to touch base with you first," the former cheerleader replied.

"I'll get on that. I'll be there ASAP. Sanctuary, out," Emma concluded, terminating the connection. She walked across the living area, thinking, Dave's alive! While I shouldn't be surprised, I feel ecstatic! Still, with those vibes, it could only be one person. Alti. The thought of the shamaness made her wince. Oh great. Last thing I want to do is lead those kids into a trap with her and who knows what else waiting for us. If only the team had left their comlinks on. I'd best leave a message for them. Hurrying back over to the console, she accessed the record function and dictated, "Hi, Guys. I had to check on something concerning the students. Will check in when I can. Emma out." She took a deep breath. "There. Now to drive down there."

"Why drive when I can pop you in there?" Deirdre's voice asked from nowhere.

Emma turned to see the young priestess appear from the mists by the fountain. "Deirdre! So you know?"

"Oh yeah. Mama and Francesca are already in Tucson and doing their thing if you get my drift. Let's go," the priestess urged.

"Right behind you," Emma agreed, rushing into the portal.

Hang on, Papa, we're coming. With that, she stepped through and sealed the portal, leaving no trace of either woman.



[Kent Condo]

Angie paced around the room, trying to deal with the report she had just received. Could he be alive? Is it possible? Oh please! Upon hearing the news, she left the twins with her grandfather and came back there with Deirdre.

"We felt him, Dr. Dubois," Lana declared.

"You're sure?" Francesca asked, not wanting to have false hope.

"He's alive," Martin affirmed. "We need to track him down."

After she and Emma entered the room, Deirdre added, "Aunt Cybelle and the Empress are at work on that right now. As soon as they feel anything, we'll know. Until then, we wait."

"What are we waiting for?" Karen Alvarez wondered from where she sat with Mika.

"A sign from the Child," Deirdre noted. "Then we can move."


Chapter 39 [Parallel Universe—Kent Farm, Morning after Dave's encounter with Alti]

Dave stirred at first light and squinted into the morning outside. Short night's sleep. He forced himself out of bed and to his feet. "I hope Martha's got some good coffee." He shuffled down the stairs, out of the barn and over to the house.

As he walked in, Martha turned, "Dave! What happened last night?"

"You could have let us know where you went," Jonathan added from his place at the table.

"Sorry. I needed to do some thinking. I went to the cemetery," Dave recounted.

"Did you find out anything?" the farmer wondered.

"I know that I'm Dave Dubois without a doubt now," Dave declared. "Lot of stuff still fuzzy."

"That's progress though," she told him, glad that he was making headway.

"I met Anne Lichtenfeld last night. Talk about a first class witch," Dave groused, drinking from his coffee cup.

Jonathan looked at Martha nervously. They knew about Lichtenfeld from their few meetings in town. Of course, nobody saw her that much. While everyone praised her for taking care of Lana after her parents died, the townspeople thought her to be strange. "What happened?"

"She grabbed me and did something to my head," Dave complained. "I saw memories of her from somewhere else. I know her from somewhere! I wish I could remember where!"

"Calm down," she soothed. "You will remember when the time's right. Did anything else happen?"

"Yeah. I met my ghost," Dave informed them. "He appeared in the cemetery."

Another look between the farming couple before she inquired, "What did he say?"

"That he was me. And that when I was killed, he was stuck in some "picture place"," Dave recounted.

"Jonathan! That has to be the Talon! The Talon's the key!" she realized.

"It could be. We'll check it out when we go in to pick Clark up," Jonathan agreed. "School lets out at 10:00 for a teacher's convention. Let's get some haying done in the meantime."

Although he wanted to go right there and then, Dave concurred, "Okay. Let's go."

"What about your breakfast?" she asked, putting down some French toast in front of him. "Eat first. I won't have you working on an empty stomach."

"Yes ‘m," Dave concurred, eating as quickly as he could. For some reason, he had the feeling that he would need the energy soon enough.



[Smallville High: 9:55]

Clark stood in front of his locker, trying to determine the books he needed for his homework. Yeah, the blue one. I hope Dave's okay. He was out of it and that's before Chloe gave him the interview blitz. How he withstood that one, I'll never know.

"Clark!" Miranda called, rushing over to him. "Did Uncle Dave ever come back last night?"

"Yeah. He did," Chloe interjected sarcastically. "And officially blew me off after that."

"Come on, Chloe, it was 1:30 in the morning. He has amnesia and is dealing with it. Leave him alone," Clark pointed out.

"He did give me a rain check," the reporter told them. "I guess he's all right."

"Give him time, Chloe. Give him time," Miranda advised. "Meantime, I'm heading over there to see him."

"You can hitch a ride with my Dad and me," Clark offered. "He should be here in a few minutes."

"Sounds great for you guys. Hey, when he's ready to talk, let me know," Chloe concluded before heading off down the hall.


[Angie's office]

Angie took a deep breath after her latest exam. Mrs. Henderson was in good health and happy with the prognosis. Another satisfied patient.

At that moment, she heard the nurse exclaim, "Young lady, you can't just storm in here like that!"

Then Lana's voice answered it, "I need to talk with Dr. Blackwell. It's an emergency!"

Angie hustled out into the reception area and asked her nurse. "Do we have any appointments?"

"None before noon, Doctor. But she can't just come in like that!"

The doctor shrugged. "Thanks, Marie." She looked at Lana and saw fear in the girl's eyes. What happened? "Lana, why aren't you in school?"

"I didn't go! Dr. Blackwell, she's coming after them! She's coming after Dave and Clark!" Lana warned.

"She? Who?" Angie asked.

"My stepmother. She berated me for two hours and then left. I heard her say she was going to get help," the teenager continued, her eyes widening in terror. "Trust me; the police can't stop her! She's a witch and she has a pet demon!" Seeing the incredulous look in the doctor's eyes, she pressed, "I'm serious! Clark doesn't deserve to get hurt. Please."

"And neither does Dave," Angie asserted, dialing the phone. "Martha? It's Angela Blackwell. I need to speak to Dave."

"He and Jonathan left for town twenty minutes ago. Why?" Martha wondered.

"We may have a problem. If they get back there, have them give me a call immediately," Angie instructed before hanging up. "Come on, Lana!"

The two women ran out the front door, heading for the parking lot. However, as they did, they found the way blocked by Alti.

"Lana, you disappoint me," she hissed. "You never learn."

"I love Clark! You won't stop me from helping him!" the girl retorted.

"We'll see about that. Right now, a friend of mine is dealing with your precious boyfriend!" the shamaness declared. "And, Doctor, another companion awaits your new friend and the boy's father."

Hearing a roar, they looked up to see a dark shape against the sky.

"Lana, you were right," Angie said, dumbfounded at the sight.

Alti laughed, relishing the moment of triumph.


Onto Part 8

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