Abigail failed to notice the local police captain opening the gate a mile from the house. How did I miss that? Her mind, in defensive mode, worked on where she could safely send Sarah and Dorcas–she had less than a couple of minutes to decide. The question, where to put them. Professor Mather–that might just work.
“Sarah look, why don’t you and Dorcas visit with the professor for an hour or so. It will be a change for you and frankly safer than your exploits with magic.”
Dorcas gazed up at Abby realizing that she wanted them out of the way–why. Professor Mather was a nice old man and he had wonderful stories to tell, not that she knew first hand but Balty had told her it could be fun.
“I want to go Mamma, please can we?” The child was next to her jumping up and down like a jack in a box.
Sarah, annoyed by the proposal, stared at Abigail. All she felt like doing was making hot tea. “Tomorrow Dor, mamma doesn’t feel like it at the moment. Why don’t I make you a lovely gingerbread man while you play in the yard with Balty and Tekchuba?
“No Mamma, I want to go now like Abby said.”
Running over the words, like Abby said, Sarah wondered whose child Dorcas was.
“It was just a thought. You said you needed a bit of peace. Where better than with the professor–he doesn’t look like the excitable type to me.”
Flashing eyes turned to the witch as Sarah screwed up her face in anger. “Yeah, I’ll have Dor….” As soon as the words floated in the room, Sarah realized how that sounded. She closed her eyes briefly before turning to her daughter with an apologetic expression.
Tears dripped from the enormous saucer blue eyes of her child as the cruelty of her words hit home. “Dor I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.”
“Really, by all means do what you want. I’ll take care of Dorcas.” Abigail knew she was laying it on thick but her senses told her that trouble was on its way and there wasn’t much time to get them to safety.
“It’s ok Mamma I understand. I’ll go play outside like you said.” The child hung her head dejectedly.
“No Dor…there’s no time like the present to see the professor and anyway, you never leave the farm so it’s a wonderful opportunity.”
“But Mamma I…”
“That’s right Dorcas your mother’s right it will be a good experience for you.” Her eyes caught the child’s in a silent message.
“Yes Dor?” Sarah looked at the child and then she heard the rumble of tires on the dirt track toward the farm. “We have visitor’s it will have to…”
“What the…” Sarah and Dorcas found themselves on the front porch of the professor’s house before she could finish her sentence. Was that the reason Abigail wanted them out of the way? When they got home, she would have words with the white witch and her underhand tactics.
“Abby is good with magic isn’t she Mamma?”
“I guess. Let’s see if the professor is home shall we.” Knocking on the oak door, which had a rather nice brass lion doorknocker, they waited for an answer.
+ + +
Captain Hal Razor was trying to make sense of the fact that he’d lost ten minutes opening a fence. He tried to rationalize it but didn’t understand how that could happen. His radio was buzzing too, which indicated calls was inundated the station –he wasn’t the only one. He would call on the women at the Bishop farm and see if they had any strange experiences and then head back to town. It wasn’t enough that he’d spent an hour being bored to death by the old crone Esme Lasky and her stupid story of a goblin that she saw at the farm entrance. I wonder what they do to keep her reporting strange occurrences.
It was another hot day and getting hotter by the minute as he opened the vehicle’s door and wiped his brow. Hopefully this wouldn’t take long. The master will be proud of me when the day was done. He creased his brow. “Maybe he had something to do with the loss of time.”
Venturing onto the porch, he was surprised when the door opened before he had a chance to knock. The tall owner of the pharmacy and the co-owner of this property stood staring at him. When he looked up the details about the place, he thought the setup was odd. Now a day anything goes. I wonder if they are hiding from someone or something. He’d find out in the end–he always did.
“Ma’am, how are you today?” He took off his hat, wiped the sweat from his brow, and gave the woman a friendly smile.
Abigail scrutinized the man with her gaze. “I’m very well Captain. What brings you here today?” Abigail felt something evil about the man–a stigma attached to him shouted danger at the highest pitch. He wasn’t a warlock of the Black Order–they would have informed her. Since her senses were rarely wrong, she decided on a cautious approach.
“I was talking to one of your neighbors. Esme Lasky. She thought she saw something suspicious at your gate yesterday. I wondered if you had experienced any problems with travelers or suspicious characters.” Hal didn’t like the calm that rose from this woman. Neither his badge nor the news that there was a potential danger to the property seemed to intimidate her. Doesn’t a child live here too?
“No, nothing exciting happening here I’m afraid. We’ve had a few visitors but all from the town. You don’t suppose she saw Professor DeVille from the university. He does wear a cloak that makes him look somewhat sinister in the wrong light. I keep meaning to mention that to him.”
“No, it wasn’t a man, it was… Never mind she was obviously imbibing the cider again. She tends to have a fanciful mind when that happens. I wondered though, did you experienced anything today? In the last half hour to be precise.”
Abigail weighed the situation, as she knew it. The man was aware of the anomaly of time. It couldn’t have been the reason he was at her door for he had already arrived at the front of the property when it happened. Their neighbor must have seen Zeb arrive and that would explain the call to the police. What to do? “Actually, a strange thing happened – I seem to have lost ten minutes of my day. I guess I took a nap and didn’t realize that it happened. I’ll have to make myself a pick up tonic when I get back to work.”
Rubbing his chin in consternation, the man shook his head. There was nothing for him there. The woman experienced what he did and there was no way had a goblin come to the house. Not unless she is a witch. As he thought, he gave her a long look taking in her beauty. No way. Not the type. Not the type at all. “Sorry to have bothered you…what about Mrs.…Bad…no Mrs. Good? Any chance of speaking with her? She may have seen something. You in town and she stays on the farm all the time…doesn’t she?”
There was a silence for a short time before Abigail smiled slightly. “Yes, my friend Mrs. Good is on the property much of the time. Alas, she’s visiting a friend now. She never mentioned anything amiss and I’m sure she would have. Perhaps you might want to visit again another time and ask her yourself?”
“That’s ok, I’m sure she would have mentioned it to you. If you do see anything suspicious on your travels, please let me know. I like to keep a happy and safe town.”
As the police captain turned to leave Abigail felt the presence of evil all around him. It was so acute she cried out at the unspeakable image it brought to her.
Hal Razor turned and gave the woman a puzzled gaze. “You ok?”
Collecting her wits quickly Abigail answered with a thin smile. “Yes, yes I‘m fine. I stepped back and stubbed my toe,” she said with a grimace. “No harm done.”
“Good to hear. I’ll be seeing you again.” With those words, he stepped down from the porch and walked back to his vehicle with a quick wave.
+ + +
Abigail closed her eyes briefly to ward off the overpowering images flashing in her mind. Fire, screams, and hatred swirled in her sensitive brain. She wanted to cry out at the painful scenarios that invaded and pillaged her psyche.
Her brain was screaming for her to banish the projections, what was the most horrendous, was it involved them all, all of them. Sarah, Dorcas, Guy, Professor Mather, and those two young students, not to mention others she had never met before. At first, she had taken it as pictures and memories from her first experience as a normal almost four hundred years ago. However, she knew it couldn’t be. Some of the others–the new people they had met were part of her visions. She considered that her memory creating familiar scenes and transplanting the new faces to reflect what could or would happen to them.
Stumbling back into the house and closing the door, she bolted it–that wouldn’t prevent evil from trying to invade the house–they had protection inside the building. If only she had helped Sarah with the incantations to secure the whole building including the porch. Then she wouldn’t have experienced the raw power that had threatened to engulf and potentially exterminate her soul.
Sitting down heavily in the armchair beside the open fire, she felt cold, terribly cold and yet it was over ninety degrees. This had never happened to her before–never. What should I do now? Is it safe to bring Sarah and Dorcas back to the property? No way did she want anything to happen to them or anything else that belonged to the household.
As she sat there deep in scrambled thoughts, Jules entered by the trap door originally made for Tekchuba. The cat refused to stoop so low and used her own brand of magic to open doors.
The dragon wasn’t expecting to see the white witch and the sight of her startled Jules. It fluttered around the room before finally landing at the woman’s feet with a quizzical expression on its green face. “Do we have a problem?”
Pulling out of her ravaging thoughts, she looked at the small dragon. She felt as if she had been mentally tortured–a warning of things to come. “Jules, I didn’t realize you were here, I thought I’d sent everyone with Sarah?”
“Not me, no one ever thinks of me,” the small dragon commented.
“I’m sorry. You’re right of course. We had an unexpected visitor.”
“I saw an official type person. Is my mistress in trouble for the last spell?”
“No, no Jules, Sarah is quite safe for the moment. Did you get within sensing distance Jules?” The small dragon was sensitive to people in ways that the other creatures were not. She hoped the dragon might ease her current feelings–maybe she was overreacting and needed a rest.
“He works for the Evil One Abigail.”
An uneasy silence spread across the room.
“I know. I thought we had been given incorrect information about the return of the Evil, but it isn’t so is it Jules?”
“No mistress Parris, the Evil has returned. With power greater than I think both orders anticipated. What will we do?” The dragon saw the miserable expression on the white witch’s face–she never looked defeated. They relied on her to be the one who had all the answers. Though her mistress would never voice such an idea, it was true. What would they do if the white witch were unable to counter the evil when it came? As ridiculous as it looked too many in both orders, they were the last stand. Beldevrie and Glastonbury had voiced this and who would question their wisdom.
With her head clearing, Abigail tried to formulate a plan of action even if it was just to get out of chair. Her legs felt shaky after the onslaught with the evil. What made the whole situation worse–Razor didn’t know the affect he had on her. What could have happened to her if he had known made her shiver. Shaking her head at the thought, she pushed it away not willing to go there. Defeat isn’t in my vocabulary and I won’t allow it to enter now.
“For the moment, Sarah, Dorcas, and the others are safe. You and I will be the only ones who know the full impact of the Evil One’s power. Do you understand why Jules?”
The dragon stood upright and puffed out its chest at actually assuming responsibility for the very first time. “You want me to keep secrets from my mistress?”
“Not exactly Jules. I’ll advise Sarah that the Evil One is present. What I want from you is a little time. To formulate a plan before we tell everyone about the true force we will have to deal with. Are you happy with that Jules? If not, I will understand.”
“I will do as you ask Mistress Parris. We do not want to panic them for they are not ready. Especially Dorcas–she’s only a child.”
That isn’t the half of it. I’m not ready either and I doubt I ever will be even if I live for another four hundred years. “Actually, it’s your mistress I’m worried about.” Abigail paused for a moment as she digested her words. “However, I might be able to help in that area.”
The words, whispered so softly, made Jules wondered if Abigail wanted her to hear them. “What do you want me to do Mistress Parris?”
Scanning the room, she realized that her first task was to make the building safe. Her quarters, the stables, were ok but the house needed help. Without a doubt there are cracks open where evil can seep in. “I’m going to cast a spell on all the buildings on the farm. That should prevent the evil from attacking anyone inside. Unfortunately, it does have a drawback.”
Perplexed, the dragon asked, “Drawback?”
“Yes, we can’t use our magic on the evil from inside the security blanket I will set up. If anyone is trapped outside, we can’t use our sorcery to help them–it will only keep those inside safe.” If only I had perfected my skills in that area before we came to live here.
Unsure, the dragon said, “I’m sure everything will work out,” as it clawed through the tuft on her head.
Abigail stood up and rocked a little as the sharp pain of a migraine creased her temple. She was going to have to rest soon or she would be of no use to anyone if the evil had detected their existence.
Chanting softly and increasing the crescendo as the spell took hold, a blanket of darkness covered every building on the property.
Come shield cover us whole
Don’t let evil take your place
Your work is to keep them out
Safety inside for all who abide
Come shield cover us whole
Take the burden from me now
Come shield cover us whole
Don’t let evil take your place
Your work is to keep them out
Safety inside for all who abide
Come shield cover us whole
Take the burden from me now
Just as the darkness descended, so did it depart, and Abigail sighed in relief. At least there, they would be safe.
“It’s done Jules. Will you find Balthazar? He’s needed now?”
The dragon saw the shallow complexion of the witch. “Mistress, perhaps you should rest and I will bring Balthazar to you when he returns with the Mistress’s Good.”
Closing her eyes briefly, Abigail knew the creature was right. However, before she dare close her eyes, she wanted to make sure that Sarah and Dorcas were in the safety net she had placed around the farm.
“I will rest when they are here Jules.”
+ + +
Abigail contemplated the best way to bring Sarah and Dorcas back and decided on the same way she dispatched them to the professor’s house. Sarah would be angry with her for the unceremonious way she shipped her out of the farm. Why not take her anger all at the same time.
Seconds later, Sarah and Dorcas were dumped unceremoniously on the floor of the room with a crash. Dorcas, who was in a crouched position, fell over. Opps.
“What the…Oh no you again. What is with it with you Abigail? You weren’t content with shipping us out without explanation so you decided to deposit us back here on our behinds without a care. I’ve a good mind to….”
“Yes?” Abigail stood transfixed to the spot. The reappearance had been rather hilarious, and under other circumstances she would have been laughing–the look on Sarah’s face stopped her.
“You’re too much White Witch. Don’t do that to us again. Is that clear?” Sarah was fuming with anger so much that she failed to see that something wasn’t quite right with Abigail.
Abigail heard the frustration in the Black Witch’s voice. She knew Sarah wasn’t capable of retaliating with magic, though she certainly could make her life miserable in other ways–food, cleaning and that type of thing. Fortunately, Sarah wasn’t the malicious type at least not to her. That did surprise her since she thought the Black Order was all that way. “Crystal clear.”
“I’ll make us something to eat,” Sarah muttered, as she started to get up off the floor.
Abigail’s offer surprised Sarah and she returned to the floor. She peered up into the amber eyes with the cascading red hair flowing freely around the shoulders. The vision made Sarah catch her breath in the back of her throat. If only I was as beautiful as she is. The words simply stunning came to her mind as she felt pangs of jealousy. She ignored Abigail’s outstretched hand and lifted her larger frame off the floor then headed out of the room.
Abigail watched the witch leave the room and sighed. Later she would explain a little more to Sarah. For now, all that mattered was that the Good women were safe inside the house, which meant she could take a nap. She needed to get rid her headache that threatened to consume her and knock her to the floor, much as her spell had done to the Good women when she brought them back.
“You don’t look very well Abby?”
Staring at the chubby six-year old who was still on the polished wooden floor, Abigail softly said, “I’m fine Dor. How about you go help your mother and I’ll see you both later.”
“Can I come with you on another adventure?”
Shaking her head, Abigail wished she hadn’t when pain shot through her temple making her wince. She noted that Dorcas didn’t miss her facial expression but chose to say nothing. “Sorry Dorcas. Later I’ll show you my spell book again soon. How would that be?”
“Yippee Abby, I love you.” She ran toward the tall woman and hugged her knees before running off toward the kitchen and her mother.
“I love you too Dor,” Abigail whispered as the door swung shut. She turned to make her weary way toward the stables and her bed. It was too much of an effort so she sank into the depths of an armchair in the parlor and pulled a blanket over her before falling into a deep troubled sleep.
+ + +
“Now where is she?” Sarah growled. She was fuming that Abigail hadn’t come to eat after she sent Jules to let her know. Why should I care if the food is cold? The other witch apparently didn’t think she needed to arrive when the meal was ready.
“Mamma Abby didn’t look well,” Dorcas finally blurted when she saw Jules arriving alone.
“That would be a first,” Sarah said with a frown.
Jules sheepishly came back into the kitchen after she finally found Abigail slumped in the leather chair in the parlor. She was where they left her–tossing fitfully even though she was fast asleep. “I found her.”
Sarah stood with hands on her ample hips a look of disgust on her face. “What’s the excuse for her tardiness?”
The dragon preened back the tuft on its head and quietly said, “Mistress Parris is sleeping.”
“What? That can’t be. It’s only early afternoon.”
“She is Mistress. Do you want me to find Balthazar so he can wake her?” No one but Balthazar dare wake the witch–she didn’t like being disturbed in a vulnerable position by anyone but the dog.”
“No! I’ll wake her.” Sarah was angry and felt that it could be her chance to even the score by embarrassing the woman who slept at such a strange time in the day. It was certainly out of character. Well, if she is ill it will serve her right.
Heading for the porch and toward Abigail’s quarters, Jules tugged on the hem of the woman’s dress. “No Mistress, the parlor.”
“The parlor? She never left the house?”
“No mistress. She is very restless perhaps Balthazar…”
“Leave it with me.” Heading toward the door, she turned to face Dorcas who was about to follow. “Stay here Dor and feed Jules.”
“No buts Dor. Do as you’re told. Jules is hungry, right Jules?”
Nodding her head, the small dragon moved closer to the child. Oh no, this isn’t going to be fun. She would end up with porridge or some such food all over her head and need cleaning. If this were what her mistress wanted, then she would do as told.
Striding toward the room, Sarah heard moaning and as she tentatively opened the door, she saw the writhing of the white witch in the chair. The blanket thrown over her body appeared to be fighting with her. This was some dream–more likely a nightmare. She had never seen Abigail asleep before and wondered if that was her normal sleep pattern. She took a few steps closer, and pulled tentatively at the blanket only to feel it tugged back strongly by the other woman. Sarah was close enough to hear woman’s muttering. What is she saying?
“It’s coming…burning everything burning…no hope they haven’t got a hope...I won’t let it happen not to them I can’t I can’t…don’t let them die please. Let me go first…evil is coming it is coming…can’t say anymore can’t won’t…Sarah can’t know it isn’t fair it isn’t fair….”
For once Sarah felt sorry for the witch. It was clear by Abigail’s ramblings that the dream was indeed a nightmare. Taking courage, she placed a gentle, but insistent hand on Abigail’s shoulder and shook it. She made sure she was out of range of the flailing arms that leapt up at the touch.
“Abigail it’s time to wake up. Your meal is ready.” Shaking the shoulder again, Sarah was surprised when the weight of a much stronger hand crushed hers under its weight.
“Abigail, please let me go.” Sarah’s voice had the tone she used for Dorcas when the child was being particularly awkward and she needed to control her. Not expecting it to work on the witch, she was pleasantly surprised when the hand gentled and she saw the eyelids blink open and the amber eyes stare up at her.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, your meal is getting cold,” Sarah moved away not wanting to embarrass the woman. At times, she might not like her much, but even she liked personal space when she was waking up.
“Meal? I’m sorry…a meal. What is it?”
“Meatballs and fresh bread.”
“My favorite.” Abigail sighed heavily as she reached up and fingered her temple. There was a dull ache, but nothing like she had experienced before she fell asleep. A suitable tonic will fix that.
Chuckling, Sarah gazed at her. “Every meal is your favorite.”
Standing cautiously, Abigail stood next to the smaller woman and placed a hand on her shoulder. “That’s because you’re a good cook. I’m sorry I‘m late for the meal.”
Sarah flushed at the compliment–they were rare. She looked away when she felt her face began to flush. “I’ll go warm it up for you while you wash up. You look like you’ve been in a struggle.”
“Thanks.” Abigail looked at herself in the mirror then went toward the door that led to the bathroom. She did look worse for wear – like a scarecrow with dark circles under its eyes. Wow, I do need a tonic.
When Sarah returned to the kitchen, Jules looked as if a bowl of porridge had taken refuge on her head. The dragon stared at her mistress who looked like she was deep in thought.
“Is she ok Mamma?” Dorcas asked with a toothy grin.
“Yes Dor, she’s fine,” Sarah absently said. She was preoccupied with what Abigail said while she was dreaming. She said my name. Should I ask her about it? Do I dare?
+ + +
It was a cold and cloudy day and Sarah was beside herself with worry over the impending doom that Zeb predicted. On top of that, Abigail was driving her mad with her refusal to tell her what was going on–the woman was so tightly wound that the smallest things set her off. She might be deficient in spells but she knew when Abigail was keeping something from her. Dorcas was sailing around the house chanting in a nonsensical manner as Jules, Tekchuba and Baltazar were hiding in various spots avoiding the troublesome six year old.
“I need some peace and quiet,” muttered Sarah as she took her spell book out. Flipping through the pages, she sighed–she found nothing. “Wait one minute…here it is the perfect spell for calming everything down.” She began to chant…
Make all quiet
Make all calm
Make all around
Make all still
Till I’ve had my fill
She quietly repeated the spell and on the tenth time, she raised her arms and exclaimed, “Make this be.”
Dorcas breezed into the kitchen to find her mother a frozen statue with her arms above her head. “Oh no, what has she done now?” Looking at the book on the table, she creased her forehead and narrowed her eyes. “I can’t read that! Better find Abigail to help me.”
Walking toward the barn, Dorcas found Abigail stopped in mid stride in the barnyard. “Oh no…now what! Think Dor think…you can solve this…yes you can. What was it that Abby told me about that one special spell that can be used only once?” She put her hand to her head and closed her eyes in deep concentration. “That’s it! I’ve got it!”
Standing in front of the frigid Abigail, she gently touched her hand as she quietly chanted words as old as time.
Wake her up
Give her life
Wake her up
Hecuba, help me now
She felt rather than saw Abby begin to thaw out. Soon she collapsed to the ground in a heap. Bending down Dorcas touched her head and said, “Abigail can you hear me? Are you ok? Please speak to me.”
Slowly the head came up to look at the young child standing before her. “Dorcas what happened?”
“Well…someone was trying out a new spell.”
“Sarah!” she shouted. I’m going to get you for this!” she cried as she got up shakily and headed for the house.
“Can’t do that Abigail.”
“Just watch me!” She shouted as she entered the door. “Sarah where are you?” It was uncharacteristic for a white witch to be so angry but it was the last straw.
Stopping in her tracks, Abigail began to bellow in laughter. “She froze herself too. Oh, this is too rich. Dorcas, what spell did she use?”
“I don’t know I can’t read the book.”
“You know, if I just leave her like this I could be free from her annoyance.” Abigail winked at Dorcas.
“Don’t worry darling, I won’t do that…but isn’t it a delicious thought?”
“Don’t you trust me Dorcas?”
“Abigail everything is frozen! Look at the birds in the trees!”
“Dear me what has she done! This can’t be, can it?” Shaking her head, she looked directly at the frozen Sarah. “You have exceeded even yourself Sarah. How on earth did you do this? Dorcas come here…we are going for a ride.” Taking Dorcas in her arms Abigail whispered a few words and off they went sailing over the rooftop.
They flew over trees and housetops seeing birds frozen in flight, cars stopped on the streets and people in mid motion frozen. Abigail was softly chuckling to herself amazed at the fallout of Sarah’s spell. “You certainly have outdone yourself old girl.”
Dorcas’ eyes opened wide. Not only was she flying but nothing below was moving either. “Abby, what’s going on here? I can’t believe this was all my mother’s doing.”
“Hold on Dorc we are going down.” As they gently landed, the sight of Mr. Brown holding a hose of frozen squirting water, greeted them. His dog Max was frozen in air as he jumped for the now solid water. “Amazing,” Abigail murmured.
“What are we going to do about this Abigail? Everything is so still…we can’t leave them like this.” The child, jumped up and down as she tried to get Abby to come out of her daze long enough to do something.
“Don’t worry we will take care of it…the problem is how.” Her eyes scanned and saw nothing moving. “Maybe we should go over to the university and see if our friend Guy DeVille is frozen too. Scooping up Dorcas, she chanted again as they lifted off for the school.
Higher education was not immune from the spells of Sarah. Dorcas and Abigail ducked under the outstretched arm of a man holding open the door and entered Presser Hall. Walking down the corridors, Dorcas began giggling.
“Something amusing about all of this little one?” Abigail asked. She found nothing funny about the situation.
“Well yes, Abigail. Look at all these kids and the funny positions they are in.” She pointed to a particularly funny looking girl who was standing on one foot in what appeared to be a ballerina toe move. “Hey, you know what would be funny?”
Abigail shook her head. “I can’t wait to hear this Dorc…it makes me shudder to even imagine what you are thinking.”
“We could move all the people around and put them in different poses so when they get unfrozen they would all look about and wonder what happened.” She was laughing aloud as they walked past all the statues in the hallway.
Finally, they arrived in front of Guy’s classroom and peered in to find him standing in front of his class with his mouth wide open, a pointer in one hand and a book in the other. “Looks like this even affected Guy,” Abby said as her brow creased. “We’d better get back to the farm and see if we can straighten this one out.”
Dorcas was again jumping up and down. “Abigail this is our big chance–we can get back at Guy.” She was hopping so fast and so high, that Abigail thought she would hit the ceiling.
Abigail, clearly annoyed, said, “No! No way Dorcas, absolutely not! We don’t have time for this kind of nonsense.”
“But, listen we can put one of the frozen birds in his mouth and then…” She had to stop for Abigail was dragging her out of the building, “Wait it’s a great idea.”
“No it isn’t! Let’s go now!” With that, she took the girl by the hand and they began to fly.
Back at the farm, Abigail leafed through the book of spells. “Somewhere in here must be a counter spell. Do you know which page she was on Dorc?” she asked as she leafed through the book once again. “Eureka, I found it!” She exclaimed in a high pitch tone. “Stand back Dorcas!”
She muttered, she murmured, she chanted and whispered with her eyes clenched and her face scrunched up. Finally raising her arms, she exclaimed, “Make it so!”
“What, what happened?” Sarah exclaimed as she gently lowered her arms that for some reason were very stiff.
Across from her, she saw a glaring Abigail. “YOU have outdone yourself this time Sarah! Do you have any idea what you have done to this town and its people?”
“I…I was just trying to get some peace and quiet. I’m sorry.” Sarah hung her head and began to cry. “I just can’t seem to get anything right.” Dejected she walked away and sat down in the corner.
A confused Dorcas asked, “What are you doing?”
An equally confused Abigail asked, “Yes, what are you doing Sarah?”
“Well,” she began “When Dorcas is bad she has to sit in time out…just thought I would beat you to it.”
Abigail couldn’t help herself, as she looked at the dejected and amazingly inept Sarah before she laughed “Sarah, you are one of a kind…I wouldn’t change you for anything…just don’t do that again.” Then she took the book of spells and placed it up high on a shelf so Sarah would have to ask if she wanted it.
+ + +
“Sarah, I said you can’t have the book until you prove to me you can use it responsibly.”
“But Abigail, I won’t do anything wrong again, I promise.”
Laughing heartily, Abigail shook her head. “Sarah, you can’t help yourself!”
“I don’t mean to mess the spells up…it just sort of happens. I am sorry.” Her head bent as she felt tears well.
“Sarah, if we’re going to be ready when the forces of evil come we can’t have you freezing the whole town again. We haven’t much time–if you learn from me and prove that you can do it then I will give your book back to you.” She looked at the sobbing woman. “Does that sound like a deal to you Sarah? I’ll be your teacher.”
A bright smile filled Sarah’s face. “You’ll teach me? Really? Oh, yes, that sounds like a wonderful deal. Thank you Abigail…I won’t disappoint you.” Sarah was so happy that she wanted to hug the woman but she knew better than that. YIKES
“Ok. Now what do you say we start with levitating this cup?”
“That would be wonderful just wonderful Abigail I know how to do that…see.” With that, she raised her arms and the cup went flying through the air hitting the ceiling before crashing to the floor.
“Sarah! NOOOOO!” Abigail grabbed the woman’s hands and shook them. “Now listen to me and listen good,” she said as she let go of the hands and looked directly into the trembling woman’s eyes. “We are going to take this slow and you will do everything I say. Under no circumstances will you try anything on your own. Do you understand Sarah?”
Sarah could only shake her head–the words were lost to her.
“As I said, we will start with levitating this cup. First you place your hands over the cup like this.” Abigail put her thumbs together along with her forefingers forming a diamond. “Then you flutter the rest of your fingers like this while raising your hands upwards. Do you understand that Sarah?”
Again, Sarah shook her head and fixed her hands exactly as Abigail had hers.
“Now, once you have the cup in the air you can use one finger to direct the cup like this.” Using one finger, Abigail made the cup tilt sideways then around in a circle. “Do you think you can do that Sarah?” Her condescending voice was necessary–evil was at hand–there was no time to waste.
“Yes…yes I can Abigail. May I try?”
Placing her hands precisely as Abigail did, she slowly lifted the cup off the table.
“Good going Sarah, now try to use one finger.”
Sarah pointed at the cup and it began to tip.
“Hi, look what I found in the basement,” Dorcas said. She was standing in the doorway holding an old broom with straw tied to it with a string.
As Sarah looked up, her mouth opened wide and her finger pointed at Dorcas. That sent the cup flying into Abigail’s chest. “Sarah,” Abigail shouted as she turned to look in Dorcas’ direction. Disbelief crossed her face, and Abigail said, “Dorcas where did you get that?”
“I told you in the basement. I wonder what would happen if I sat on it?” With that, she started to straddle the broom handle.
Simultaneously both women shouted. “DORCAS NO!”
It was too late. The child had already straddling the broom and took off up the staircase with both women chasing behind her.
“Dorcas stop now,” Abigail screamed.
Dorcas was having the time of her life as she flew up the stairs then turned sharply and went back down. Once she made the outside door open, she was off high in the sky.
“DORCAS!” they both screamed as they turned around and headed back down the stairs and out the door.
Both their heads turned upwards as they heard a laugh of pure joy. There up above the trees was the young child spiraling upwards.
“DORCAS COME DOWN HERE NOW!” Sarah shouted before she began running backwards in an attempt to keep her daughter in sight.
Abigail, looking at the child buzzing the treetops and scaring all the birds followed close behind. She thought she heard Dorcas exclaim Look birdies I am flying too!
Suddenly, Sarah tripped over something and crashed to the ground. Abigail, trailing too close, landed on top of the woman. For a moment, their eyes locked until they heard the squeals of delight from Dorcas as she buzzed them before soaring upward again.
Sarah saw her daughter doing loop-de-loops in the sky above. She couldn’t help the smile that crossed her face–her child was having a blast.
Abigail, lifting her head, looked in horror at the road in front of their home. “Sarah, look,” she whispered. “This is too much…what will happen next? We can’t let this type of thing happen…especially now.”
Lined along either side of the road, were dozens of cars. All the occupants were standing in the road looking up and pointing at Dorcas who was flying around on the broom.
Abigail heard them say…
“Is that a broom she is flying on?’
“Mommy is that a witch?’
“Amazing, how does she stay on there like that?’
“Bet she has a big wedgie riding that thing.”
“Whoa dude do you see that?”
“DORCAS!” Abigail bellowed in such a fierce tone that even the child stopped and landed on the roof.
Scrambling to her feet, Abigail held out a hand for Sarah. Once they were both standing, they glared at the child standing on the rooftop and grinning from ear to ear.
Sarah wanted to laugh at her daughter’s antics, but one look at Abigail’s scowl, told her that would be one big mistake. Still, she couldn’t help but smile fondly knowing her daughter was delighting in life.
“Someone needs to take charge here,” Abby said in annoyance. “First I need to deal with our unwelcome visitors.” Turning back to the street, she noticed the local television station had a truck in position and was starting to raise a microwave dish. “Oh great, that’s all we need! Dorcas I will deal with you shortly.” Walking toward the road, she raised her hands and began to chant. “Make it so!”
All the people standing with their mouths open, arms raised and fingers pointing froze in place. The reporter, stood with the microphone held to her mouth while the camera operator readied the video equipment was also frozen. “That, Sarah, is the correct way to freeze a small amount of people.”
Sarah shook her head in amazement as she marveled at how easily Abigail cast the spell. “How did you do that? Will you teach me please?”
“In time Sarah…right now we have something more important to deal with.” Her eyes trailed to the small child standing still on the rooftop. “DORCAS, COME DOWN HERE AT ONCE.” There was no doubt that Abby meant business as the girl slowly made her way to the ground.
“I can’t believe how much fun that was! I never knew the broom thing was true. WOW!”
Dorcas’ face turned ashen as she finally realized that she was in trouble–big trouble. “Abigail I’m…” The child stopped when she found herself pierced by the older woman’s amber eyes.
Abigail pointed toward the front door. “Young lady, go into the house right now! Sarah, come with me. We need to straighten this mess out.”
The two women walked out to the road.
“New lesson Sarah…how do you think we should reverse all the damage your daughter has caused?”
“Abigail, she was just being a child. Don’t you think it was rather funny?”
“FUNNY? You think all these people standing frozen on the road in front of our property are funny?”
“Well…yes I do.” Abigail just looked at her. “Their faces are full of amazement as they watched Dorcas. They all look like goofs.” A small giggle came from Sarah as she noticed one child held motionless in midair.
Looking at the people, Abigail had to stop herself from smiling–they did look ridiculous. It wasn’t the time for laughter.
“Not now Sarah. We need to correct the damage before something else happened or someone else came down the road. Do you remember the spell for making these people forget what they saw?” The confused look on Sarah’s face gave her the answer. “Fine, I’ll take care of it all. Why don’t you go back in the house with Dorcas?” Turning her back on the woman, she began mumbling another chant.
Sarah was stricken. She wanted to help, she wanted to learn, and Abby sent her away. Walking back to the house, she tried unsuccessfully to hold back the tears. I am such a loser. Why can’t I get anything right? Now, it looks like my child is taking after me. What will I ever do? Reaching the house, she entered to find her daughter sitting quietly in a chair with her hands folded in her lap.
“What do you have to say for yourself Dorcas?” she said trying to be stern.
“Did you see me flying with the birds Mom? It was sooooooooo much fun.” For Sarah, it was hard to divorce herself from her child’s enthusiasm.
“Yes, I did Dorcas. That isn’t the point. How did you learn to do those loops? Will you teach me?” A bright smile crossed her face as her daughter came over and hugged her.
“Mamma, you would love it. Want to go out and try it now?” Both, giddy with the thought of soaring high above the clouds together, they began to laugh.
“NO YOU WON’T” Dorcas and Sarah stopped laughing and began to tremble at the sight of a glaring Abigail standing in the doorway. “Both of you sit down and listen to me very carefully.”
Dutifully, they both sat on the couch and huddled close–Abigail was angry–very angry.
Abigail, with her hands on her hips continued to glare at them. “Have you both lost your minds? Did you both forget why we are here?”
Sarah said, “Abigail, can’t we have fun too? You have to admit it was funny.” The look on Abby’s face told her the answer. “Or, not,” she whispered as she tried to blend into the couch.
“You two don’t seem to understand what’s at stake here. The forces of evil are upon us and we cannot fight them if you two are out flying through the skies on a broom!” A flashback of the small child soaring through the sky laughing heartily came to her mind and for the first time she smiled–it was very funny.
Dorcas got up off the couch, went over to Abigail, and wrapped her arms around the woman. “I’m sorry Abigail. I promise to be good from now on.”
Abigail crouched down and took the child in her arms. “Dorcas, I want to keep you safe. You are the hope for our future. Besides, I don’t know what your mom and I would do if anything ever happened to you.” Her heart melted as she hugged the small precocious girl.
“I am sorry too Abigail. If I weren’t such a mess-up things would be so much easier for the both of you. Maybe I should ask to be replaced.”
Abigail, with Dorcas in her arms, stood up, walked over to the couch, and sat down next to the forlorn woman. “Sarah, we are a family. And, as a family, we are in this together no matter what. Just as I don’t know what we would do without Dorcas I don’t know what I would do without you.”
Dorcas turned in Abigail’s arms and hugged both women long and hard. “Can we go flying now?”
“NO!” Both women exclaimed. They all laughed knowing that the time would soon be at hand when laughter would be no more.
+ + +
The woman on the bed tossed and turned, her nightshirt stuck to her sweat-soaked skin
“Mmmm…ahhhh…” she moaned repeatedly.
Four bonfires strategically placed around the perimeter burned as did the one central fire with a cauldron hanging over. The blazes brightly lit the glade.
There were people all clad in black that wandered around or gathered in small groups talking. The females, different ages, shapes, and sizes, wore floor-length, low cut, long-sleeved, body-fitting dresses. The foot covering dress made them seem to float.
The males, all ages, shapes, and sizes as well, wore pants, shirts, vests, coats, or capes. Some were wearing hats, some not, but everyone was dressed in black.
It was All Hallows Eve, and they were celebrating the solemn occasion while waiting for the witching hour. It was the hour where their powers would be at their highest and long lost friends would be able to join them.
Slowly passing by each group, the aura of energized anticipation was palpable. It sent spine-tingling chills, making one feel giddy, each sensation wanting to be foremost.
Getting closer to the third bonfire, slow, sultry music reached the ears of all in attendance. People began to sway to the enchanting beat. It was a nice, soothing yet somehow erotic sound. It compelled the listener to dance…swaying side to side, to and fro, all around.
Just beyond the fire was a vision of beauty. Hands held high in the air, the svelte, tantalizing body swayed in time to the rhythm. Hip length red hair followed its owner's movements. The only color that could be seen was the ruby red lips. The woman's movements were so erotic it made breathing difficult.
Eyes trailed each and every movement–the hands, the arms, the nicely shaped full bosom, the narrow waist, the flaring swinging hips, and down the very long legs. Then they finally came to rest on the face.
Gasp. How can I be having such thoughts? We don't even like each other. Groan. At this moment, what wouldn't I give to be able to get close and wrap myself around her body. To be able to feel that perfection, that power my eyes have witnessed. To taste the sweetness I know those lips hold.
Gazes slithered from the tempting lips to closed, long-lash eyes.
Amber eyes were suddenly peering at the silent watcher. Lust and love reflected out of them. The woman, who hadn’t stopped dancing, begun to close the distance between she and her admirer. Dancing around the now very close body, the body lured the watcher to accommodate the swaying woman. She began to sway with the delightfully warm body.
They danced front to back, the watcher's hands resting upon firm yet soft thighs, head lying on a nearby shoulder. The woman's hands were gently lying upon hips, smoothly guiding them.
The sensations emanating through both bodies was electrifying. Tingles ran across every spot that was touched and was being touched. Low, soft moans filled the air.
The woman turned the watcher and they were be face to face. Slowly, her head lowered until soft, warm lips were met.
“NO!” gasped Sarah, trying to catch her breath.
The wonderful feelings she had been experiencing in her dream had followed her to wakefulness. Concentrating with all her might, she was finally able to subdue them.
Lying back down on the bed, she examined her dream–the glade, the people, and the event. She jerked back to a sitting position. “Abigail?” she whispered, wide-eyed. “Oh, my…”
+ + +
The Evil One manifested itself as a woman and knocked on the door of the residence of the one who had defied his call. No human was capable of such a thing and to prove the point unequivocally, the calling would be quick and decisive.
The door to the house cracked open enough for Gloria to ask who was calling.
“Oh, am I glad someone is home,” the woman said as gave Gloria a distressed look.
“Yes, I’m home. What’s the problem?”
“I’ve broken down at the end of the street and need to call a tow truck to get me home. Would you be kind enough to call this number for me?” The stranger thrust a note with a scribbled number written on it toward the partially open doorway.
Gloria looked at the woman. She was obviously in distress and didn’t look threatening at all. Where is the harm in helping her out? Cautiously opening the door, she looked around the street. No one else was in the vicinity but that was quite normal for that time of day.
“Ok, I’ll only be a minute.” Gloria took the note from the woman who smiled at her in thanks. When Gloria felt a shiver go down her spine, she frowned for it was an odd feeling. She glanced at the stranger and saw deep brown eyes staring hypnotically at her at her–she felt herself fall deeper and deeper into to a dark abyss. With all the strength she could muster, she attempted to avert her eyes–she couldn’t.
From a distance, Gloria thought she heard the woman whisper, “Thank you, a minute is all I need.”
+ + +
Gloria felt as if she was floating, how could that be? The last thing she remembered was talking with someone at the door to the house. Was she ill? Had died and gone to heaven? If she had, was this going to be what it felt like for the rest of eternity?
A voice called to her, it was a very persuasive voice, lingering like the notes of a tune that you couldn’t remember the title. Vague but familiar, constantly nagging away at her resolve to know what was happening. This wasn’t reality; she knew that it couldn’t be. She had to fight the insidious feeling of giving in, which was what the voice wanted her to do.
“Come with me, you belong with me, come now do not fear.”
Although she tried to speak, she knew no sound came from her lips. Yet, she answered, “Where should I go and why?”
“Where? Oh Gloria, wherever in the world you want as long as you come with me. Why, because you belong with me, always have, and always will.”
Nope, that wasn’t enough. It didn’t make sense. She didn’t belong to anyone but herself and that was how it should always be for everyone. “Who are you?”
A silence that felt like hours, but was probably only seconds, stretched out endlessly. Gloria felt a growing impatience. Her heartbeat increased rapidly as fear took hold, this wasn’t right she knew it.
“I am the one you will obey, come with me now!”
Ah, the voice was angry at her question. But why? “No way,” she screamed as she frantically, she tried to think of anything else but the voice that screamed at her and fought her mind's feeble defenses. How do I defend myself from such an onslaught?
“Do not try to break free of me Gloria. You will be mine and it is far less painful to submit willingly than for me to break you down. I would hate to see that, really I would. After all, you and I have spent many centuries together and will do so again. I cannot allow you to perish with the rest of humanity.”
My God, what am I listening to here? It was like a horrible nightmare that she would wake up from soon. As she inwardly sighed with relief at the thought, her mind threw another spanner in the works reminding her that she hadn’t been asleep. God what is happening?
“I’d rather perish with humanity than to have your claws in me!” Her bravado brought about a deep echoing laugh that reminded Gloria of being in an empty room.
“You will not perish Gloria, oh no, you are too valuable to go the way of the witches and the humans. How could I let that happen after all we’ve meant to each other? You fit me like a second skin and when you return to me, you will understand it all. I will help you remember.”
A part of Gloria was entranced and fascinated by the words while another part of her was abhorrent that she could have ever conspired with such an entity–especially one that wanted to destroy humanity. “Are you the Devil?”
Another bellowed of laughter echoed around her and the voice was chuckling as it answered. “The Devil? No! I leave that pitiful role for other’s to manage. I have far greater power, as you once did Gloria, as you will again. You must come to me willingly.”
“And if I don’t?”
“If you don’t, I will take you and you will be a follower that I can and will use to further my goals. Wouldn’t you rather stand by my side as an equal?”
For a split second, she wavered in her stance and the Evil One saw it. The voice preached at her louder and louder stealing into her mind and heart, she was powerless to overcome it.
+ + +
Blinking rapidly, Gloria couldn’t understand it. She was now at the door of her home, her hand on the doorknob and no one else in sight. “What the hell is going on?”
Quickly closing the door, she leaned back on it and wondered if she was going mad. This was the second time she’d experienced a subconscious attack. What did it mean? Maybe she needed a vacation, or, perhaps she needed to see a doctor or a shrink?
Her heart was pounding and her legs felt like jelly. What should I do now? The phone rang and she summoned her last remaining energy to answer the call, ‘Hello?”
“Hi Gloria, it’s me Lisa. I’m in Japan and delayed–possibly for another two weeks. I had promised to take Anne away to Florida next week. Will you help me out, call her, and explain. Once I get better situated I’ll send her an email and do my groveling bit and arrange a time to speak with her directly.”
“Yes, yes of course. Do you want me to cancel any tickets for the trip?”
There was a thirty-second delay and then the woman at the other end answered. “Too short of a notice to get a refund…hey, why don’t you go instead? Take a friend or if you can put up with Anne, take her.”
Who said there wasn’t someone out there listening to my prayers? Smiling she thought, not for the first time, what a wonderful boss she had in Lisa Putnam.
“I’ll arrange something with Anne. Call me when you know when you will be home?”
“Sure thing, I’ll have my secretary change the name on the ticket. Got to go Gloria, take care now.”
“I will…the same to you.” The line ended abruptly.
The tickets might be for next week but she was going to leave now and see Anne in person. Perhaps the younger woman might help her understand what was going on. Even as a child, she was level headed. She wouldn’t laugh either at her ramblings, now that was a blessing in disguise.
Dialing a cab company, she arranged to have one at the house in an hour. She rushed around closing the place up and collecting her clothes.
+ + +
Wiping the sweat from his brow, Hal Razor fielded as many questions by the town's people as he could over the ten minute loss of time that the whole town appeared to have experienced. What he needed to know was, had it been the Evil One’s doing, or, someone else a witch perhaps.
“Randy, I’m taking a break. I’ll be back in fifteen minutes.” The police captain walked toward the storage room and heard his sergeant mutter something under his breath.
“Want to run that one by me again Cambridge,” the captain asked.
Randy Cambridge scowled and shook his head. For the last year, the captain hadn’t been his usual self. He wouldn’t even go for a beer with the rest of the crew after hours on Friday as they used to do.
“Good, now stop muttering and deal with the calls.” Razor opened the door to the storage area and locked it behind him then peered half reluctantly around the room. When he called the Evil One, the place would turn dramatically into what he called a dark pit–totally unfriendly–seeping with evil.
He snaked a hand through his hair summoning, as always, the courage to call the Evil One to his presence. Unless there was an emergency, he was never to summon the Evil One. It is an emergency. Surely, an answer to my question is warranted. After all, they wanted to take over the town piece by piece without suspicion. He didn’t think this fitted the bill well at all.
When the Evil One had first contacted him, his first reaction had been bemusement at everything offered–eternal life within the evil realm–unimaginable power. Once they created a rift in the gateway to the witch's orders, the Evil One would bring them down and destroy all the good on Earth. Then he would receive his payment.
After going through a messy divorce, he began drinking heavily and succumbed to the persuasive talk of untold wealth that would be his. His first thought back then–prevent his wife bleeding him dry. One day he was going to teach her a lesson. A year later, he was the number one in the town where the Evil One had started his campaign. Initially, he had learned the ropes from Doctor Callan who was introducing a substance into the water system that would enable the minds of those that drank it to be pliable to the evil way. However, the scheme was thwarted when some of the people got sick.
Instead of using the local doctor, he went to the pharmacist. She had called in an environmental specialist and they had diffused the water system. Admittedly, no one ever disclosed the doctor as the perpetrator. However, the Evil One had taught him a lesson and destroyed him in the storage where Hal now stood. He had covered by blaming the doctor for several things along the way. In the end, it was easy to convince the townsfolk that the doctor had skipped town.
Earlier in the day, he’d thought his failure of the night before had been his downfall, but for some reason he was still alive. The price for eternal life and its trappings was as high as the reward for failure to deliver–death. If he could make the next victim follow the path of darkness, he would surely deserve the payoff. The Evil One had said the person was already powerful. In what?
Taking in a deep breath, he spoke the words that would summon the Evil One.
I call you possessor of evil I call you creator of darkness in the soul
I call you oh Great One where evil takes abode.
I call you to me as a faithful follower of thee.
Come to me now!
I call you possessor of evil I call you creator of darkness in the soul
I call you oh Great One where evil takes abode.
I call you to me as a faithful follower of thee.
Come to me now!
As the light steeped into the room from a small window, it suddenly dimmed and a total blackness hit the room. As usual, Hal felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise as total evil swept into the room covering it with a blanket of hate and malevolence.
+ + +
“Why did you summon me?” the voice boomed out. Hal’s summons severed the link with the human woman abruptly. She had allowed him inside and he had been so close to taking her over to his side.
“I…I…,” Hal said swallowing hard as evil swirled around him. He felt that the pent up anger was close to boiling over and it would take him with it.
“I is not a reason. This had better be good or you will no longer see the light of day.”
“Oh Evil One, there has been an incident in town and I need to know if it was of your making and how to handle it?”
“Incident? Describe the incident.” Now the Evil One calmed a little, waiting to hear what had been so important that he lost his link with the human woman. Fortunately, his old friend did not realize how powerful she still was–time was on his side. She would never find out that she had been his partner in evil until she had fallen under the influence of Glastonbury. That was when she turned away from evil practices and her punishment–living out a petty existence as a human. She would return to him, he knew it and when she did, there would be no stopping them this time. He would exact a heady revenge on the leader of the White Cauldron Order–one that no white witch had ever endured.
Hal Razor described the event and how the town’s people, who were panicking about the situation, had corroborated it. Also, the media were asking questions and a TV crew was moving around the area in search of a story. “How should I handle it?”
“You lost ten minutes? Time stood still and you felt nothing or could see nothing for the whole time?”
“Yes, I found myself opening the gate to a homestead I was checking out and my back was aching. When I went back to the car, the radio was buzzing, and I checked out my watch, definitely ten minutes had been lost.”
“The Bishop place…it’s run by two women. At least one of them, the other is the pharmacist in town.”
There was a lengthy silence and Hal wondered if the evil had left. The room still cloaked in darkness meant the Evil One was still there. “Have there been other incidents?”
“No, I would have told you…except...”
“Except? If you have been withholding information Razor, you will never draw another breath!”
“No! Esme Lasky has the property close to the Bishop place and is always calling in with strange sightings. The woman is at least eighty and drinks, what more can I say.”
“For weeks now she’s been seeing a dragon. Before that, a talking dog a few months ago and yesterday she said she saw a Goblin. I think she’s a little too partial to her drink to believe anything she says. Anyway, I checked it out, nothing was amiss there.”
“You never thought to advise me of these sightings?”
There was pressure building in his windpipe and Hal felt a strangled-hold around his neck. “No one else saw them. I didn’t think they were important. They were too far-fetched.”
“The women who run the farm, you say one is the pharmacist. Is it the same one who found out about our tampering with the water supply for the town?”
“Yes, I saw her today. She told me she experienced the loss of time too.”
“Forget all other things Razor and find out whatever you can about these women. What are their names?”
Thinking he’d been lucky again to be alive, Razor quickly supplied the names.
“Of course, Parrish and Good, they are so predictable. Haven’t they learned anything over the centuries?” The Evil One laughed. “Apparently not…how wonderful for me.”
“You know them?” Hal asked surprised at the delight in the Evil One’s tone.
“I know them. Do they still have that irritating, whining child Dorcas with them?”
“There is a child, yeah and I think she’s called…”
“Trust me, she’s called Dorcas. Why Razor, I do believe you have found our path to the gateway. Now this is going to be so easy, like taking candy from a baby as you humans would say.”
A hideous laugh permeated the room, as well as inside Razor’s body. He had never experienced evil in such a pure form before and it was both exhilarating and frightening.
“Are they witches?”
“Yes, Razor. Now we go a-hunting and what a hunt that will be.”
The Evil One left as quickly as it came and the light from the window appeared again, making Hal squint at the brightness.
Walking over to the door and unlocking it, he still didn’t know what to say to the townsfolk. It was clear that his master hadn’t brought about the loss of time. To Hal, the person behind that feat must have awesome powers. He wasn’t so sure that it would be as easy as the Evil One said to vanquish the witches.
Randy Cambridge saw his boss come back and said, “Thank God you have come back Hal. There’s been another incident.”
“Reports of a child on a broomstick…”
“Don’t tell me, let me guess, the Bishop Farm?”
“Yeah, how did you know?” Cambridge was astounded but this time it had been a sighting by more than Esme Lasky!
“Educated guess. I’ll go back over there later and check out the reports. Let’s clear up the other incident first. Who wants a call back next?”
+ + +
While things were happening at the farm, Professor Increase Mather was himself simultaneously experiencing some kind of a burning sensation running through his body. Scared, he closed his eyes and felt an immediate physical jolt. He was afraid to open his eyes for fear of seeing something that he was not quite prepared to see. An inner strength overtook his fear as his hand felt the talisman within his pocket. Slowly opening his eyes, he saw blurred images before his eyes. His concentration was broke when, through his peripheral vision, he saw Gloria approaching his house.
“Now, what could she be wanting from me?” he quietly asked himself. Walking toward the door, he waited for Gloria to get closer before he opened it.
“Evening, Professor My name is Gloria, and I am the hou…”
“Um…yes, I do remember you, Gloria. What brings you here? Is Anne all right? Is there anything I can do for you?” Professor Mather found himself quickly responding to Gloria. “Forgive my blabbering, but it is not often that I receive visitors…come in…come in.”
Gloria grinned slightly at Increase's apparent perplexity. “Well…uh…Professor, you see, Anne has gone out and will not be back until late tonight. I have something that is troubling me. I am afraid that I’m not able to wait for her, and I thought that you, being a professor and all, might be able to help clear something for me,” Gloria said without pause.
“Tell me,” the professor encouraged, “and I will see if I can answer your questions.”
“You see, Professor, I had a dream, a bad one. In that dream, an undistinguishable voice beckoned to me. It demanded…not asked…demanded, that I go with it. Little by little, a shape of a man started to take form. The face, however, was in shadows. When I asked him why I should go with him, he replied that I belonged with him. I kept asking why, but he just repeated that I go with him. Suddenly, I felt so much evil surrounding me that I trembled in terror. I forced myself to wake up. The scary thing about the entire thing was that as I opened my eyes, I could swear that he was real. I felt I had been in his presence…that it was an out of body experience and not just a dream.” Stopping to give herself a breather, Gloria looked at Increase and gave him an apologetic smile.
“I do not know what to say, but then maybe, just maybe, we might be able to find an answer or an interpretation to that dream.” Extending his hand to Gloria, he added, “Come with me.”
+ + +
Dale Roundtree was still fuming when he left the police station. Captain Hal Razor just did not have any right to keep him longer than was necessary in the awful cell. For his own good, he said. All he had done was to follow his orders.
Unable to disobey the order given to him by Capt. Razor, he crossed over the main road that led to Professor Mather's house. He suddenly stopped when he saw Gloria at the door talking to Professor Mather.
When the two disappeared inside, Dale quietly tiptoed to the side of the house. A side window was open and he listened to what Gloria and the professor were discussing. That’s when he heard something about a dream. Wanting to get a better angle so he wouldn't miss any of what they were saying, he looked around him. Spying a cinder block under the window, Dale figured he could hang onto the sill and step on the cinder block. He rubbed his hands together and grabbed for the sill. It was not to be Dale’s lucky day. Just as he was making his move, he heard a very vicious growl. Slowly turning, he noticed the old, lazy dog that was always hanging around town.
Eh, it's just that stupid dog…not a problem ran through Dale's mind just as Baltazar growled again. Baltazar's mouth opened to reveal two sharp looking fangs that were about ready to devour him. Dale emitted a high-pitched sob before he collapsed to the ground.
Hearing the loud noise, Professor Mather and Gloria ran to the window to find out what was going on. What they saw surprised them at first, but then sent them into a fit of giggles that quickly turned to laughing guffaws.
When Dale Roundtree fainted after seeing the large fangs, he fell right onto the recently watered flowerbed face down. Baltazar was lying fully on top of him taking a nap.
Once their laughing settled down, they called Captain Razor to come and arrest Dale for being a peeping-tom.
+ + +
Laughing, the professor, and Gloria withdrew their heads from the window, closing it and the drapes. Once settled down from the commotion, the professor went back to begin his search for a solution to the problem at hand. Unfortunately, the books held no clue as to what would be the cause for the housekeeper’s dreams. At a loss as to where else they could look, Professor Mather’s mind turned to a possible source.
He knew it was a risk. Do we have a choice? He considered what was discussed and what they saw along with the possible outcome. It’s our only choice. There was the possibility of a connection between the dreams and the current events. What better way to eliminate that possibility than to ask for help from someone who might have a way of finding out? Total ignorance or being denied help to what I say will close that avenue, thought the professor.
“I might know someone who might be able to help, Gloria,” the professor began, “will you be amenable to my passing on the information to them?”
“Professor, I will agree to anything that will help in stopping whatever is happening to me.”
“Let’s go then.”
Leaving the house, they headed toward the middle of town. A few of the students, seeing the professor, stopped him to ask questions, but the two finally made it to their destination. Walking into the pharmacy, the professor led the way to the back counter where he knew Abigail Parris would be now.
+ + +
Having heard the over-the-door bell jingle announcing the arrival of customers, Abigail turned in their direction. With a lifted eyebrow, she watched as Professor Mather and a woman…I know that face but from where? …walk up to the counter.
“Professor, how may I help you?”
“Miss Parris, this is Gloria, Anne, and Lisa Putnam’s housekeeper. Gloria, Miss Abigail Parris, owner of this establishment.”
The women acknowledged each other with a nod of their heads then turned their attention back to the professor.
Taking a deep breath, the professor began his explanation. “Miss Parris, Gloria came to me for help regarding some dreams and a possible event that happened to her. I did some searching, but came up empty. However, considering some of the discussions we’ve had,” he said while his hand motioned between him and Abigail, “I have a feeling that these episodes might have some semblance to our discussions. I was hoping you might have some way of finding out if these feelings of mine have some merit or not.”
Abigail, eyebrows dangerously close to the top of her head from her surprise, looked intently at the professor. Yes, he does have some power, doesn’t he? She then turned her attention to the woman next to him. I know I know this face, but not from a recent meeting, either.
“I was getting ready to close the store since it is already closing time. Would you both like to join me for dinner at our house? You can tell me what’s going on. Who knows, together we might be able to find a solution.”
“Thank you, thank you. I would do anything to help rid myself of whatever is plaguing me,” intoned a relieved Gloria, while the professor beamed at their good luck.
+ + +
Although very surprised with the unexpected dinner guests, Sarah had had enough food for everyone. The dinner conversation had revolved around getting to know one another. It was as if by mutual consent that they did not discuss the reason for the unforeseen reunion. Once dinner was finished, Abigail suggested they get comfortable in the parlor.
“Ok, Gloria, why don’t you tell us what your problem is then we can see if we can help,” instructed Abigail.
“Well, it first started a few weeks ago with a dream.”
A thick, dense fog lay heavy in the air obscuring everything. From out of the mist, a voice called to the woman standing in the fog...
Once Gloria finished relating the dream she said, “I kept having the dream at least three times a week then it suddenly stopped. However, there is just no way to explain what happened to me the other day…”
Someone came to the house and I cracked open enough for me to ask who it was. It was a woman who said her car broke down and asked if she could use the phone. She seemed ok so I let her in. She gave me a number to call and I said that I’d just be a minute and then I looked into her eyes–they were brown–and I’m sure I heard her say she only needed a minute. The next thing I remembered was standing on the front porch.
Gloria looked at the other three and shrugged. “I feel I’m going crazy and that my brain is about to explode at any moment. I don’t know or understand why all this is happening to me, and I really would like to find a way to make it stop!” exclaimed the almost hysterical woman.
Abigail’s face filled with concern after Gloria told her story. There was no doubting that the Evil One’s assault was close at hand. In a voice unlike her own, the white witch said, “Once the sun rises one more day we will meet around a Circle of Truth and all will be known.