Disclaimers:  see part 1


Swirls in Time

By Janine Hilltop




The car pulled out of the garage and headed east.  Callisto stretched her arms overhead and stood up, not seeing the two people in the car.  Sitting on the park bench all night wasn’t the most comfortable night she had spent but the fruits of her observations far out weighed the momentary discomforts.  The psych tech had been so very helpful in finding Allison’s home address for her.  Especially after she had dislocated two fingers and threatened him with castration.  The silly man had actually believed she would let him go after he had driven her to Allison’s apartment building.  Or should she call the woman Gabrielle?  Did she remember anything yet?  It would be so much more delicious to bring back Gabrielle’s memories as she was killing her.  She walked over to the building and entered the lobby. 

“How convenient,” Callisto murmured as she looked at the mailboxes and found the doctor’s apartment number. 

“226, here we are.  Let’s see what we have inside,” Callisto mumbled to herself as she forced the lock open with her dagger.  Striding into the apartment, she drew a deep breath. 

“Oh how lucky for you my sweet, you found your girlfriend.  The stench of your pleasure reeks in here.  It will be the last happy time you’ve had in this place.” Callisto said with a snarl, running the tip of the dagger against her cheek. 

She started with the living room and destroyed everything she could.  Slitting the cushions she threw the stuffing about.  She pulled pictures off the walls and broke the glass.  In the kitchen, drawers were pulled out and thrown on the floor; baking supplies were dumped into the sink.  The largest carving knife went through the wall by the door.  In the bedroom, sheets were shredded, the mattress up ended, and dresser drawers ripped from the dresser and split apart.  In the bathroom Callisto wrote a note to Gabrielle on the mirror with toothpaste and then broke it.  She ripped the shower curtain off and stuffed it down the toilet.  Finally she ran out of things to destroy and decided to wait outside on the balcony.  She figured that they would be back soon enough after finding out she was not at the hospital.  The balcony had a corner she could watch from and not be seen.  Giggling like a little child, she headed out to wait, flipping her dagger around her fingers. 


Gabrielle came back to the car at a run and flung herself into the driver’s seat. 

“She kidnapped a tech last night and got away.  The police have a description of the guy’s car and have been looking,” she explained to Xena. 

“Damn, that tech is probably dead by now.  Did the police check out his residence?”

“Yeah and called his family.  No one’s seen nor heard from him.  Xena, he knew where I lived.  I had a party and he was there,” Gabrielle said quietly.


“Ok, she knows where you live.  We can use that to trap her.  You know that’s what she will do.  You ready for this?”  A hand gently pried the claw clenching the steering wheel loose.

“He died because he knew where I lived, another innocent life she’s taken trying to get to us,” Gabrielle moaned and covered her face.  Xena clenched her teeth and tried to comfort her bard as best she could.  She brushed away the tears with a gentle caress.

“Let’s get back to the apartment.  We’ll figure something out.”

Gabrielle nodded, took the hand from her face and kissed the finger tips.  Xena smiled and pulled Gabrielle into a long lingering passionate kiss.


By the time they got back to the apartment, a plan of action was decided upon.  They would definitely have to get close to Callisto without her suspecting anything.  Gabrielle’s ring was the real reason they were going back to the apartment.  Gabrielle knew of some areas not far from town that would work to their advantage in trapping Callisto.  The farther they were from town, the less innocent people Callisto could involve.

Outside the door of the apartment, Xena put her hand up to stop Gabrielle.

“Something’s not right, I feel something.  Can you?”

Gabrielle’s eyes scanned the hallway, nothing was out of order.  She glanced back at Xena and noticed her necklace was blazing.

“She’s near, your necklace is blazing.  It hasn’t been that bright since the last time we were all in the same vicinity.”

“Ok, let’s get in and out quickly.  Don’t touch anything, no telling if she has set any snares.”

Gabrielle pressed herself to one side of the door frame with Xena on the other.  She unlocked the door and turned the door knob.  Xena gently swung the door open to its fullest.  Hearing nothing, she crouched down and looked around the edge.  A gasp and growl from above told Xena Gabrielle’s reaction to the carnage.  She slowly swept her gaze across the unstuffed cushions, broken pictures and over turned furniture.  Gabrielle started into the room but Xena held her back.

“Be careful.  Remember she might have left surprises for us.”

“I have some surprises for her, look what she did!  It’s like she had a temper tantrum!”

“Just go get your ring and let’s get going.  It’s not like we plan on coming back is it?” Xena said with a crooked grin.  Gabrielle growled and headed to the bedroom.  She opened the safe hidden in the closet and pulled out her jewelry box.  She separated the lining in the top and dislodged a tissue covered bundle.  As she unwrapped the ring, more visions exploded in her mind.

A temple on Mount Olympus, Zeus talking to Xena and her, a light green gem set into a ring forged from an argent metal, another green gem set into a necklace of the same metal, Zeus explaining the complexities of the shattered stone and the unstable forces.  A swirl of colors and they were separated for the first time.  The struggles they had gone through to find each other and Callisto. 

Xena stood at the doorway watching Gabrielle.  She was concerned.   The apartment was a mess and there was no telling where Callisto was.

“Hey Red, you ok?”

“Red.  I haven’t heard that in so long.  Yeah, I guess the final pop was holding the ring with you near and judging by how bright the stones are, Callisto should be very close also.  Let’s get this over with,” Gabrielle said putting the jewelry box back together.

“Well you may not have remembered much but you sure had that ring hidden.”

“I just thought it was a very valuable family heirloom, along with this,” Gabrielle ducked back into the closet.  She turned around and held out a sheathed sword.  Xena couldn’t believe her eyes, it was her last great sword.  Reverently she slid the blade half way out. 

“You kept it,” Xena whispered.

“For some reason, the sword and the ring were the only things I remembered.  I would look at it sometimes and could feel something just out of reach, but the memories wouldn’t surface.  Until you came into the hospital, that’s when the memories started bubbling up.  Ok just a few things from the bathroom,” Gabrielle said and turned around.

Xena was still standing there watching the light reflect off the blade when Gabrielle called out.

“Oh that bitch!  I’ll take her head off myself!”

Xena entered the bathroom to find more damage.  Gabrielle was staring at the shower curtain that had been flushed half way down the toilet.  She hadn’t seen the message on the mirror yet.  Xena tried to break the mirror more before Gabrielle turned around but didn’t make it. 

“Who dies quicker, Xena or Perdicus?”

“She’ll never let us catch her, she’s enjoying this too much,” Gabrielle said in a dull voice looking at the message.  Xena reached out and pulled the bard to her.  They stood like that for a few minutes, drawing strength from each other.  Gabrielle finally eased out the embrace and turned to leave the apartment.

“The place I know of is a few hours drive…” was the last thing Callisto heard before the door shut.  The brat and Xena had been in the back room almost long enough that Callisto was calculating how to kill them right then.  Maybe they were rolling around on the bed like crazed weasels and she could get them while they were distracted.  She had even started to ease the balcony door open but the two came out and made her back away into the corner again.  She saw the sword in Xena’s hand and knew now was not the time to confront them.

“I’ll just have to follow you and let you set up your little traps and since little Brad was so nice to tell me about your little place you have I know exactly where you’re headed.”

Callisto watched the door close and entered the apartment.  Listening at the door she heard the stairwell door close.  After pulling the door open slightly and listening for noises, she stepped out and headed to the main lobby.  Quickly running across the street she jumped in the psych tech’s car and slouched down.  As Gabrielle’s car pulled out of the parking garage, Callisto followed.  She pulled out the tech’s cell phone, looked at the contacts list and cackled.


The drive out to Gabrielle’s time share cabin was going quietly.  Since it was the middle of the week traffic was light.  The ring of the cell phone startled both women out of their private thoughts.



“Allison?  It’s Lisa.  The police were just here at the hospital asking questions about Brad and that escaped mental patient, they found Brad’s body in the park across from your apartment building.  Where are you?”

Xena watched the color drain from Gabrielle’s face.  She took the phone from her slack grip and answered the phone.

“Uh, Ga.., Allison is driving and we’re in heavy traffic.  Can I help you?  I’m a friend of hers.”

“Oh, uh, would you let her know the police would like to talk to her?  Thanks.”

The phone disconnected and Xena closed it up. 

“What was that about?  Whoa!” The car cut sharply over to the shoulder, Gabrielle jumped out and threw up breakfast in the ditch.  Xena followed and stood next to the bard gently rubbing her back.

“The police found the psych tech’s body, it was in the park across the street from my building.  She was in my place and tore it up, she was probably watching us go in and leave.  That car across the street looked familiar but I just didn’t think.”

“Which one?”

“The gold sedan.  It has a funky bumper sticker on it.”

“Well I’ve seen lots of gold sedans on the road; it would be easy for her to be following us.”

Just then the cell phone rang again; Xena looked at the caller id.

“What did you say the tech’s name was?”

“Brad…Oh no, she has his phone now also.  My number must be in it.”

Xena flipped the phone open and just listened.  When nothing but breathing could be heard, she closed it and disconnected. 

“Let’s get this over with.  I’m tired of the games.  It’s time for the hunter to become the hunted,” Xena murmured as she pulled up Brad’s number and hit dial.  It rang and was finally answered. 

“Callisto, come and get me.  Unless you’re scared of losing again,” Xena taunted into the phone.  Silence answered the warrior.  Just as she was ready to break the connection a quiet whisper answered.

“Scared?  Oh Xena how I’ve missed you.  I think it’s time for all of us to get together and play again.”

“Name the time and place.”

“Oh I will find you and that annoying brat, but for now enjoy the quiet.  That is unless you’ve managed to restore those last precious moments together.  Soon I’ll have her screaming your name again.  Ta ta my sweet,” the phone disconnected and Xena tapped the phone with a fingertip.  Xena looked at Gabrielle and gathered her into her arms.  They stood like that for a few minutes until a few trucks started blew their horns at them as they passed.  Gabrielle pulled back looked at Xena and smiled.  They climbed into the car and pulled back into traffic. 


Xena kept an eye out on every gold sedan around them.  She never really thought about how common that car color and style was.  Every time she saw a car nearby, it turned out to be someone totally different.  She growled her frustration as the 1000th gold sedan was dismissed.  Gabrielle’s phone rang making her jump.  Xena looked at the caller id and handed it over.

“It says Lisa.”

With a sigh of relief, Gabrielle answered the phone.

“Hey Lisa, any news?”

“Uh yeah as a matter of fact, that was why I was calling.  It’s all over the news now, Brad’s body being found in the park and now the police say his car was found outside of town torched.”

Gabrielle cursed and hung up the phone.  “Stop looking for a gold sedan, the police just found Brad’s car outside of town torched.  Now we don’t know what she’s driving.”

“Good, if I had to look at another one, I was about ready to torch it myself.”

“But that means she has to find some other way to get to us, another innocent person.”

“It’ll buy us some time if she isn’t mobile yet and then she still has to trace us down.  If we don’t hear anything from her in a couple of days, we’ll call her and invite her for a visit on our terms and time table.”


The time share cabin was in a wooded area near a cliff with a lake that wasn’t very big, more like a large farm pond, but it had a dock and a small row boat tied up.  Xena whistled as they drove up to the cabin.

“You sure know where to get the nice spots, this is beautiful.”

“I actually won this share in a poker game, I’ve been up here only once before.”

“Won it in a poker game?  That’s some high stakes!”

“Yeah and I was bluffing with two pairs.”

Xena burst out laughing and they climbed up to the porch and looked out over the cliff. 

“We should be able to hear a car approaching, the road winds back and forth enough coming up the hill,” Xena said checking the view over the cliff.

“I was told the pond was stocked with fish yearly, want to try your luck?”

“Maybe I’ll just do that,” Xena said as she headed down to the lake. 

“Hey, use the boat.  There’s a rod and tackle in the shed on the side of the cabin,” Gabrielle said and tossed a set of keys to her.

“Spoil sport,” Xena caught the keys and wondered why someone would lock up fishing tackle.  Inside the shed Xena found an assortment of hunting gear, a compound bow and arrows with a wicked broad head tip, camouflage clothes and tree stands, a cross bow with bolts that looked heavy enough to take down a wild boar and in the back a gun safe that opened with a key.  Inside was the biggest surprise, a 12 gauge shotgun, a 30-06 hunting rifle with scope and a Glock 10 mm semi-automatic and all the necessary ammunition was stored below the weapons. 

Xena whistled again and shut the door.  She stopped, shrugged her shoulders and reopened the gun safe.  After careful consideration she pulled the pistol out, slid the slide back and sniffed the barrel.  With a grunt of satisfaction she popped out the ammo clip and loaded it up.  She put the rest of the box under her arm and closed up the safe.  The pistol went into a shoulder holster that she slung over her shoulder.  Xena then looked around for the fishing tackle which was hung on the wall and pulled down what she needed.  In short order, fish for dinner was caught, cleaned and in the frying pan.  Gabrielle had found the pantry well stocked and they set down to dinner. 

“Were you told any thing about this cabin?  I found some interesting hardware in the shed.”

“No, just it was used mostly in the fall.”

“That would explain the weapons I found, definitely a hunting cabin.  All the better for us, a few helping hands is always nice.  I pulled out the pistol for you.”

“Pistol?  What did you find in there?”

“A wicked compound bow, a crossbow, and some firearms.”

“Great, just what we need, an armory accessible to a psycho,” Gabrielle groaned and hid her face in her hands. 

“Nah, we’ll end this before it gets that far.  Right now I want to take a shower and spend some quality time with a certain bard I know,” Xena said as she stood up and pulled Gabrielle with her. 

“That sounds like a plan, quality time with my warrior,” Gabrielle replied and pulled Xena’s face down for a kiss.  Gentle kisses quickly became longer and more intense, hands found skin under shirts and moans soon were echoing within the cabin.


Xena woke with a tint of light on the horizon.  ‘I need a run plus I can check out the terrain,’ she thought sliding out from under Gabrielle.  Gabrielle mumbled and rolled over clutching the pillow.  Xena chuckled and pulled open drawers looking for clothes.  Soon she was dressed in some comfortable running tights and a cammo t-shirt. 

‘By the type of clothes in the dresser, these hunters were also fitness buffs’ she mused. 

Xena headed down to the kitchen and grabbed a glass of juice.  Checking out the other rooms, she found an exercise room and sauna. 

‘And they like their luxuries,’ she thought to herself.  Stepping out into the morning air, she looked and listened while she tied her hair back.  The birds were making their usual morning racket and there were several ducks floating in the pond.  She slipped the shoulder holster on, tightened it down and started jogging.  Heading up to the top of the ridge, she ran parallel to the top.  She noted some possible ambush spots, spotted trees that were too close to the cabin for her comfort and settled in her mind the surrounding terrain.  Over all she was pleased with the defensible space cleared around the cabin.  As she ran deeper into the woods, she began to see animal tracks, deer mainly.  Taking a small game trail, she ran back up to the cabin until some tracks that crossed the trail made her stop.  Crouching down Xena examined the tracks and listened.  The large cat’s prints were fairly recent, but by the bird and insect sounds the cat was long gone. 

‘Great just what we need, a mountain lion,’ Xena stood up and headed back to the cabin.  Gabrielle was up with a cup of coffee in hand when Xena walked in the door.  Xena pulled the shoulder harness off and wrapped the straps up.

“Here’s your pistol,” she said handing it to Gabrielle who took it with a grunt.  “It’s just a precaution.”

“I know, I just hate these things.  There wasn’t a staff or katana in there by chance was there?” Gabrielle asked with a look of hope, gingerly turning the rig over and pulling the pistol out.  Xena laughed, shook her head and sat down. 

“It’s not fair that I had yours in hand when we last jumped, I really liked mine,” Gabrielle said with a pout.  Chuckling, Xena picked up the cup of coffee waiting for her and started drawing out the terrain for Gabrielle. 


Callisto drove past the turn off into the small town at the base of the mountain.  She needed to find a place to stay while she scouted the terrain.  She knew from the psych tech that the doctor’s cabin was nearby.  He had been very forthcoming with all of the doctor’s hang outs before he died.  She also needed to ditch the car she had appropriated since it would soon be a hot commodity considering how the she left the owners. 

‘Oh well, no rest for the wicked,’ Callisto thought, pulling into a motel at the edge of town.

The room had the basics that a cheap non-descript motel would have, a bed, bathroom and sink.  Callisto pulled the curtains closed and started assembling her arsenal.  Her dagger, that held her shard of Kronos stone at the base of the blade, a custom made .22 caliber pistol and silencer, several clips loaded with fragmenting bullets, a wire garrote, an evil thin blade the length of her forearm complete with sheath and her clothes.  Everything she had was the tools of her trade, a professional assassin.  Through all the different lifetimes Callisto had been through, there was one thing that stayed the same, her fascination with death.  Or rather the joy she felt with a killing.  She was good at it and had found there were people that would pay her to kill.  It helped pass the time until Gabrielle and Xena showed up, it even gave her the chance to practice what she thought of as her art. 

As each jump had put the three in different times, Callisto found quite un-expectantly a bonus.  She kept stumbling across descendants of Xena and Gabrielle.  At first, she didn’t realize the lineage; she just found it fun to kill Xena or Gabrielle look-a-likes.  Until the WWII encounter, now that was extremely interesting.  The British agent that had tracked her to South America was a spitting image of a male Xena.  After she had quite easily slit his throat from behind, she had ripped open the shirt collar expecting to see the blazing stone appear.  What she found was the muscular chest of a man.  Confused, she left the body in the alley and wandered the darkness of Buenos Aires.  With a snarl she headed back to the body only to find the policia and medical personnel swarming the area.  A blonde head separated from the crowd and peered into the depths around her.  Callisto locked eyes with Gabrielle.  The heat from her dagger’s shard warned her Xena was also near.  She ducked back into the depths of the night cursing the turn of events.

Back at the German Embassy she was able to piece together the British Agent’s background.  The man had been born in Greece, in an area once known as Macedonia to a very old family line.  A family line that traced only the matriarchal lineage, a family line that ran back to Julius Caesar’s time, a family line known for defending the innocent. 

‘No wonder the man looked familiar, too much of a coincidence.  That had to be a descendant of Xena and was that a descendant of Gabrielle or really her?  Hmm, this could be entertaining.  I wonder if there are more to be found.’  And so began Callisto’s diversions with each swirl of time. 


Callisto dressed for the night, dark jeans and long sleeve black shirt.  She strapped the forearm sheath on, tucked the pistol into the holder at the small of her back, slid her dagger into the ankle sheath and slipped the garrote through the belt loops of her jeans.  She pulled on the mid length overcoat to cover her weapons and headed out to find her prey.  She pulled out the cell phone and flipped it open.

“Time to scare out the rabbits,” she muttered as she dialed Gabrielle’s phone.  After the phone went to voicemail, Callisto snarled and hung up. 

“Probably rolling around like crazed weasels.  That makes me sick.”  Callisto continued up the main street looking for the local rental agent.  Spying one that advertised local time shares, she walked in.

“Hello, can I help you?” the real estate agent politely inquired from behind her desk.

Callisto looked around and saw only the agent.  A broad smile crossed her face as she walked to the desk.

“As a matter of fact, yes you can,” she purred.  “I’m looking for a small remote cabin for a retreat.  On the way into town I was taken by the beauty and felt drawn to the area.”

“Well you’ve come to the right place, I can show you several that are available now.  The local hunting season won’t start for several months so we have quite a few open places.  Would you like to take a tour?”

“How accommodating of you,” Callisto trilled as the agent escorted her out to a car.


To be continued   

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