Part Two
By: Kate MacDonald-Dunbar

But why did you not contact me before this? Why did you make me think you were dead all these years?"

At that point, my mum began to cry. I felt terrible that I'd hurt her, but I had missed so much, thinking they were dead all these years. I needed to know why.

"We were always going to come back for you, darling. but we had to make it look real. Once we had you hidden in full sight, looking, and acting like any normal girl of fourteen, we disappeared. We felt you were too young to understand all that had happened to you. We thought we could explain it all when we had you somewhere safe.

We hid for months, then one day the wait became unbearable. We started to produce some wards around us so that we could come to get you. Unfortunately, Vizorian was well organized and had his people on alert for any use of magic. When he knew where we were, he sent some very nasty entities after us.

There was a car chase, and we were driven off the road near a forest. Luckily for us, he had used minor demon foot soldiers-big but stupid. We distracted them by conjuring a deer and sending it careering through the trees. They lumbered off after it, and we ran. Finally, we managed to flag down a car and escape from the area. It all took longer because we dare get use magic.

The foot soldiers didn't want to admit we had gotten away, so they said we had perished in the car crash. Vizorian was so sure of his power over his minions, that he did not think for one second to question what he was told. He also assumed you would have been with us in the car."

Mum had been getting more and more upset as the story unfolded. At this point, she was crying so hard that my dad took over.

"Once again, we could not reach out to you. We were heartbroken, but to keep you safe and under Vizorian's radar, we simply had to do nothing. Time in our realm moves at the same pace as in the Vizorians'. We watched you grow into the lovely woman you have become, and it was the hardest thing we ever had to endure. When your aunt passed away, we thought of trying again.

I opened a tiny window between our realms, but within seconds, those same foot soldiers swarmed. They must have been terrified that we would show up again and that Vizorian would find out they had lied. All we could do was send Carol to watch over you. She was to alert us if anything changed. She knew nothing about the attack. She felt dreadful that she hadn't protected you. It looks as though when you were knocked unconscious, your mind did what was almost an update, then a reboot. That was when Vizorian became aware of you.

When you were taken to the hospital, she sent a message to us. We set up the wards and spells around your house and the shop."

"Hark at my dad, the PC vundernerd. Although there is no reason why you wouldn't have learned about technology."

Mum had managed to stop crying. Looking more in control, I heard her say,

"If you feel able and strong enough, now seems like the right time to give you access to those other memories. I will release what's left of the protection spell so that you can remember what happened when that filthy beast had you trapped. You will need all your past abilities if we are to beat that monster.

You will remember it very quickly, but you should be lying down when I lift it. You will feel dizzy as all the false memories are filed away, leaving your mind open to the truth as it floods in. We will be with you through it all. We will never leave you again."

I took her hand, laid down on the couch, closed my eyes, and I was off on the craziest, wildest journey of my life. From what felt like a very far away, I heard mum muttering incantations in a language I felt I should understand. As promised, it didn't take long, but I felt as though another me was now inhabiting my mind. I would need time to accept this altered persona.

When I opened my eyes again, So much has changed. I felt stronger, fitter and so damn angry. I recalled those years when Vizorian had used my powers to make himself Lord Vizorian. I remembered so much. I believed him when he said he had killed my parents and had taken me. He then used me to eliminate his opponents, one by one.

I had used my time and space travel ability to transport them with me and drop them off in various locations throughout the Universe. I could only go to places with breathable air, so that narrowed it down somewhat. Well, it was normally Earth by default. I usually took them back to a primitive time, which was a simpler place with no electricity or other modern conveniences.

I had wards around me that catapulted me back to his side the moment I dropped off my cargo. Normally, he easily holds me with these wards and spells. Then, one night, there was a huge celebration, and I planned my escape. I had just left a demon who had been his second in command in the Wieliczka salt mine in Poland during the 13th century. This punishment was meted out simply because the demon had said in passing that he thought his master's new cologne needed to be stronger. If you remember, I did mention the awful odor that emanated from what was otherwise a good-looking facade. For the first time, Vizorian, perhaps trying to drown out feelings of guilt, drank a lot of the local tipple. This was an awful concoction. The party got louder, people became friskier, and Vizorian became careless. Just for one second, but that was all I needed. I hit him very hard with the business end of the axe he always carried, then I twisted away and I was gone.

I chose Earth to start my new life. I looked about fourteen when I escaped, though my real age was closer to one hundred and fourteen. I was very small and frail-looking, which meant people tended to think I needed to be looked after. That was the point where past memories ended and Vizorian vanished to be replaced by Aunt Mary, school, and a more or less normal life. That had all changed now. I knew about other realms in their own Time and Space bubbles. I was very aware of the years of worry and pain this demon had inflicted on my mum and dad. He was going to pay and pay dearly. All we needed was a foolproof plan. Coming right up! I decided to forget all about demons for the rest of the evening. My parents "popped" off and so to bed I went.

The next morning, I was a little closer to a plan of action. Vizorian was a very old demon. Powerful, right, but he had a weakness. He believed he was irresistible to women. He thought he had charm. Delusional much? This was what I had to work on. But how? Then came the lightbulb moment.

I'd be putting myself in great jeopardy and I'd have to perform my socks off. I didn't have a choice, though. If I wanted any kind of life, I had to try. I was so very grateful for the Internet. Also, for the friends I'd made over the years, a handful of people who I trusted. I would need both to vanquish Vizorian. After collecting a few things, I called a cab to take me to the store.

Having found the very old book of spells and recipes I knew I had, I started to compile a shopping list. This had to be odorless, colorless, and the most powerful knockout potion ever made. Some of the ingredients would be easy to find; others, not so much. Right, Wolf's Milk (Euphorbia), tick. Witches' bells (foxgloves), tick. Harder to get would be Flesh & Blood (Tormentil), Honey Lotus (Melilot), and Unicorn Horn (Helonias Dioica).

My friend, The Village Witch, just happened to have an online shop and I knew she'd get these things to me in a timely manner. I got in touch via the internet with her and some other friends who would be vital to my plans. I explained what had been going on. When they agreed without hesitation, I almost wept. Again, I played it safe and stayed in the shop for the night.

It had been a long, busy night, but I forced myself off the couch at the back of the shop the next morning, knowing the end was in sight. I opened up, very glad that the wards around me would keep me safe from anything that Vizorian might send my way. All was quiet though. A couple of hours later, a huge bunch of red roses was delivered with a note. "I have missed you, Panora. Can we meet and talk?" I had not heard the name he had given me since I had escaped his realm, and it made me shudder. But this was good; let operation "Get The Git" begin. I handed the minion the note I had written the night before.

I know, Dear Reader, that you will be anxious to know what was in that note. Please don't be too harsh in your judgment. There is a method to my madness, believe me. I set the tone at the start with, "My Dear Vizorian, I was more pleased than I can express to get your note and the beautiful roses. How sweet that you remembered that they were my favorite flowers. I would be very pleased to talk with you. I hope you will understand if I request a public meeting place. There is a French restaurant near my shop. I have booked a table for eight o’clock tonight. There will be a bottle of champagne put on ice for us. I hope to see you then. I have changed a lot in the time since I left, and so have my feelings. But we can talk about all that tonight. Till then, your Panora."

I was as sure as I could be, knowing the fiend as I did, that he would fall for this drivel. It may seem as though I was being OTT, but you must remember this stupid demon's middle name was Vanity. Too much was never too much.

Of course, I took a lot of time getting ready for my "date." I primed, powdered, and slapped on some dark red lipstick. I combined this with a slinky, strappy little black dress and killer heels. I added a lot of perfume (remember that odor?) and I was ready. I received a text message to say my taxi was waiting. I was not about to take any chances and walk to the restaurant-a rookie mistake my friend! I stepped out of the shop door and straight into the arms of Dr. MacDougal. Drat it, why now? He looked me up and down with what I was pleased to see was appreciation. Then, he frowned and said, "Sorry, is this a bad time?" Damn and drat it, this was the worst possible time.

I had to be quick, so I mumbled something about a Hen Do. I asked if he was free later on, and he said yes, he was. I gave him my card and suggested he be at my house around nine, then tottered to the taxi. It was not the best start to what was going to be a nerve-racking evening, but the show must go on. When I got to the restaurant, Vizorian was already sitting smugly at the table. I took a deep breath and smiled. It was showtime! The bottle of champagne was chilling, as I had requested. I said, "hello," and sat down at the table. Before he could start to talk, I beckoned the waiter over and asked him to open the bottle.

As I had expected, Vizorian picked it up first and examined it closely. "Yes, all seems in order," he said. "Go ahead and open it."

The waiter expertly released the cork with a practiced "pop," poured a glass for each of us and stood back. With a raised eyebrow, Vizorian gestured for me to drink first, right on cue. I took a hearty gulp and raised my glass in salute. The demon smiled at me, picked up his glass, and drank deeply. As I looked at him I allowed my hatred to show in my eyes. I could see the second that realization dawned on him. As he started to snarl and tried to stand, it was as if the lights had gone out and he slumped into his chair. The waiter said loudly, "Oh dear ma'am, it looks as though your friend has become unwell. Let me help you to a cab."

Between us, we got him out of the door, into the waiting cab, and I wasted no time. I grabbed the arm of the fiend who had made me believe he had killed my parents. The evil entity who had imprisoned me for years, and made me hurt countless people and demons, and I twisted, taking him with me. I left him in the vast snow-covered wilderness of Oymyakon, in a time before time. With an extremely cold subarctic climate, it is known as the coldest place in the world. I knew I would feel guilt about what I had done, but it was the only way.

Due to the extreme cold, I twisted again as quickly as possible, and I was back home. I opened the door to be met by my wonderful parents, Dr. MacDougal, the waiter, the cab driver, and The Village Witch. They were all speaking at once, obviously relieved to see me safe. I was shaking and near to tears, but I had to smile when Jacob, the waiter, produced the bottle of champagne from the restaurant and proceeded to pour us all a glass. "Don't drink it," I hear you scream. No need to worry; we were quite safe. I knew the demon would not only check the seal on the bottle but also wait for me to take a drink first. Therefore, the potion I had concocted had been put into Vizorian's glass just before Jacob poured the champagne into it.

The idea came to me when I was thinking of a way to get the demon to drink what I had distilled. Suddenly, I remembered something that would solve the problem. In a drawer at the back of the shop, there was a replica poison ring. These were reputed to have been used by the Italian Renaissance femme fatale, Lucrezia Borgia, to great effect. It would be perfect. Vizorian held himself in such high esteem that he would not even see the waiter. There was no way he would consider that Jacob might be a friend of mine either. So, no threat. All Jacob had to do was wear the ring with the plain band showing; the business end would be underneath. He could then pick up the glass that had been on the table in front of Vizorian since he sat down. The last step was to flick open the tiny compartment with his thumb and drop the liquid into the glass.

I raised my glass to the six people sitting in front of me who had helped me with my plan for tonight. I would always be grateful to them. Nearly all of them knew about me and accepted my differences. Now all I had to do was try to explain to Dr. MacSmoochy what had happened and who I was. I would not enter into a possible relationship with this lovely but confused man until he knew all about me. Maybe I would stick with the adage that a lady doesn't divulge her age, though.


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