One day more (the link takes you to the song from Les Miz, although I hope my outcome is a tad better than theirs)!
The following sequence picks up from yesterday’s scene in case you need to remember how yesterday ended it’s here.
It is still a draft! Which adds some fun to it all because I saw my typo from yesterday: food for foot…and now I worry about any Freudian slips ha!
Current Word Count: 46,194. Now, we must ask: can she do it? Can she come up with nearly 4000 more words? I see a few spates of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” in my future. 😉
Aurora huffed. “It is very doubtful that Serena is gallivanting around the world with a Ouija board tucked under her arm.”
Phoebe glanced thoughtfully at the other women before sipping her chardonnay and then setting the glass on the sparkly black granite counter. She ran her fingers around the base of the wine glass.
She couldn’t understand the intrigue of summoning spirits, especially for Serena. Had Serena been so hurt by her encounter with Kaden that she wanted to hurt him in return any way that she could? Knowing Kaden as she did, she couldn’t see him leading on anyone. He seemed to be pretty upfront about his needs. She could imagine a lot of women thinking that they might be able to change him, but she had never thought Serena would be in that camp. While Serena was definitely actively searching for love and marriage, she was usually intuitive enough to realize when a situation wasn’t working out. Maybe she had become dazed by his rock star status. Funny, Phoebe thought. How would she have reacted to him if he had been one of her favorite performers rather than just a really good looking guy who played really loud music?
“There must be other ways to summon spirits,” Phoebe said after a few moments. “Maybe we should just gather the stuff for an anti-possession spell like the one you did for me?”
Caroline glanced at the others before smoothing her blonde ponytail. “If it’s not possession are there any ill effects?”
No one answered. That wasn’t the kind of information contained in the grimoire because the rule of thumb was always to use a spell when you are certain what you are dealing with. Each of them had been cautioned time and time again not to use magick nonchalantly. It was not to be used for amusement. It was an earth power and could have devastating effects for all involved.
“This sounds like a disaster waiting to happen,” Chloe said.
“And a possessed Serena isn’t?” Philo asked.
“You’ve got a point,” Chloe conceded.
Realizing that they were drawing short on time, they hurriedly gather the ingredients they needed for several different spells.
Serena, wearing her usual black outfit, arrived a half hour later and if she thought it was strange that the female members of her family were all gathered in the kitchen and were staring at her perhaps a little more intently than usual she gave no indication. Chloe had found a spell to determine if someone was possessed. However, tossing a potion on someone was not exactly subtle so if it turned out that Serena was possessed, the anti-possession potion had to be immediately applied as well. Then came the tricky business of banishing the spirit, which had to be done before it could find a host body.
It was all a matter of timing and it wasn’t as if they could practice. They just had to rely on each other.
As Serena entered the kitchen, Chloe tossed the mélange of herbs at her, immediately her eyes turned black, the exact same way that Phoebe’s had been in California. Philo tossed the anti-possession potion. Just as had happened with Phoebe, a black entity like a swarm of tiny gnats rose up from Serena and hovered near the ceiling undulating as if determined an escape route. As they were about to perform the banishment spell, Caroline dropped the grimoire and the pages shifted. When she picked it up it was too late.
“It’s getting away,” Chloe yelled.
Chloe ran after it as quickly as she could, but it moved impossibly fast and dissipated in the cracks by the front door.
She turned and looked at her sisters. “What happens next? Is it gone?”
Philo opened the door but could see no trace of the entity in the falling dusk. There was, however, a scent of sulfur in the air.
As they filed back into the kitchen, Serena stared at them blinking her eyelids rapidly. “What the hell just happened?”
“You were possessed,” Chloe said.
“I don’t think so. That sounds like something I might be aware of.”
Phoebe stared at her cousin and noticed that the maniacal glaze that had occupied her icy blue eyes the day before was gone. “It could be the longer that it’s in your body the more of yourself you lose.”
“Actually my memory is spotty,” Serena said. “The last thing I remember clearly is being in Louisiana.”
Phoebe felt herself go cold. “Why were you there?”
Serena had the grace to look ashamed. “I put a spell on Kaden Roarke. You’ve never heard of him. He’s the lead singer and guitarist for Riot of Purple Profanity. Not your kind of music.”
Phoebe almost grinned. Serena was only partly right.
“So why were you in Louisiana?”
“I was upset. When I was with him, I felt something like, I don’t know, an old curse and it felt like it came from very ancient New Orleans power.” Serena frowned as if trying to reconstruct her memories. “I remember arriving in New Orleans, but I don’t remember anything after that. What’s today?”
Chloe rolled her eyes. “It’s Thanksgiving. Didn’t you notice the turkey on the door?”
Serena looked puzzled and then defeated.
“I’ve lost almost two months,” Serena said.
She stood up and paced, although she quickly grabbed the table as if overcome by dizziness. “How’s it possible?”
She slumped back into the chair and rested her elbows on her thighs and glanced around the room. Her eyes filled with tears and immediately Phoebe felt sorry for her. She couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to lose two days of memory much less two months. She crossed the room and hugged Serena, who oddly, let her and even hugged her back. Maybe there was something good to be said about being possessed or at least the outcome when it was all over. Maybe it made Serena appreciate everything she had. Time would tell.
Raymond came into the kitchen carrying empty beer bottles, which he rinsed and placed in the recycle bin. He didn’t seem to notice the tension in the room. “What’s going on in here? Have we given up on Thanksgiving dinner?”
“Very funny. Here take more beers for you and the boys,” Aurora said, extracting four bottles of beer from the fridge which she handed to him before shooing him from the kitchen.
He looked only too happy to accept the bottles of beer and exit the kitchen. But then he returned a moment later for the bottle opener.
“We’re macho, but we can’t take the tops off with our teeth,” he explained.
When he left, Aurora glanced from her daughter to her granddaughters. “Let’s finish getting the meal prepared. I don’t know that there’s anything else to be done.”
“I’d like to know what’s happened for the past two months of my life,” Serena said.
“Later,” Aurora said, her voice curt. “We’ll figure it all out later.
Phoebe placed the heirloom gold colored plates with red banding on the cream linen table cloth while Chloe aligned the generations old ornate silverware. In the center of the table was a woven cornucopia with nuts and fruit. Small vases held chrysanthemums in yellow and burgundy. Two silver candelabras stood at each end of the table, their bases wreathed with rosemary. The table was a study in their family’s traditional Thanksgiving through the ages, with each new generation adding a touch. For Phoebe, Chloe and the absent Deirdre it was the very simple rosemary wreaths for remembrance of all that had come before.
When Phoebe and Chloe finished setting the table for dinner, Phoebe went to the family room and noticed that Kaden wasn’t sitting on the couch watching the football game anymore. Without even glancing away from the action on the tv screen, Jared told her that Kaden had received a call and had gone outside. He needed to talk to their manager or family or someone, Jared said with a shrug. So much for specific information.
She peeked through the sliding glass door. He was standing next to the wide pond which was bordered on one side by the herb garden and on the other by a labyrinth of evergreens. When they were little, Phoebe and her sisters would spend hours playing make believe in the labyrinth.
The pond drew frogs, turtles and water snakes from spring to autumn, but with the recent cold snap they would probably have gone into hibernation.
Kaden didn’t seem to be talking any longer so she opened the door and walked toward him. She wasn’t exactly quiet with her boots crunching on the fallen leaves, but he never turned toward her. Whatever the phone had been about, it must have completely absorbed him.
“Hey, we’re about to have dinner,” she said. She wrapped her arms around herself as the chill seeped through her. Goosebumps rose on her arms.
When she was a foot away, he turned and grabbed her. She was expecting another one of those fantastic kisses and readied herself for it. A slight, startled laugh slipped through her lips.
“We don’t have time . . .” She began.
That’s when she saw his eyes. They were no longer brilliant blue, but were now like shiny ebony stones, glittering, but coldly, without emotion. She opened her mouth to scream. His palm closed roughly over her lips while his other hand swung her body around. He pushed her backward toward the pond and she felt herself falling. She tried to realign, but her foot was caught on a honeysuckle vine at the edge of the water.
She splashed into the pond. The icy liquid embraced her, shocked her. While the pond wasn’t too deep, only four feet at its deepest, it was wide and murky and the bottom was slippery with leaves and mud. Each time she tried to gain purchase, her boots slipped out from under her and she fell back again. Her dress was waterlogged and heavy with water and mud and weighed her down. She tried to push up, but now Kaden, or rather the entity inside of Kaden, was there holding her back down. His hand splayed across her face pushed her head back under the water.
She tried not to panic. She sputtered water and kicked out with her legs. She heard him grunt, but she hadn’t kicked him where she wanted. She kicked out again. This time he was ready and easily moved out of the way without releasing his grip on her face. With one last effort she heaved herself upward, it wasn’t much in the face of his strength, but it was enough for her head to rise above the water. She yelled words. More words that she didn’t know just as had happened in the car, words that she couldn’t even begin to guess where they came from, or what they meant, but some ancient instinct claimed them as hers.
The instant the words were out of her mouth, he relinquished his hold on her and flew backward about three feet and landed on the bank of the pond where he lay still.
Phoebe hoisted herself from the water. She hesitated as she stood over him. Her heart fell when she saw his lifeless body. Nausea rose inside of her. Could she have killed him? The fluttering of his eyelids answered that question. She ran shakily toward the house. This time she was screaming. Philo was the first at the door. Instantly she surmised the situation and yelled to Caroline and Chloe to retrieve the book and the potions.
Phoebe had almost reached the steps when she felt a hand grabbing the back of her dress and hurtling her backward through the air. She was spinning like a rag doll through the darkness. Her arms flailed around her as she stayed aloft. The impact knocked the air from her lungs and her head hit the stone walkway. The last thing she saw before she lost consciousness was Kaden and the cold ebony eyes of the entity possessing him.
end of Day 29