The three demons left Necropolis Egypt for Salem. Once they arrived, they went directly to Nevoc to wait for Raina.
“Why would Pandora be here, at this strange place?” Naberious walked around Raina’s office.
“Well, this is Raina’s place. She is the witch that is with Pandora. If what you say is true, Pandora will follow her here? I am unsure of how long it will take. Pandora injured one of the other witches in the cemetery.” Astaroth said.
The door opened, and it was not Raina, it was Amelia and Brian. Amelia marched in and surveyed the room before she threw herself on Raina’s office couch. Brian stared at his new love.
“Amelia, I don’t understand what is going on. You show up at my place, saying Esmra is in the hospital and you have not hardly said a word or offered to explain what the hell is going on.”
She looked into his eyes, let out a sigh and said, “Yes, I know. This is so hard to explain. I am afraid if I tell you, that you will leave me. You already know Raina is intense, but there is so much more.”
Brian sat next to her and held her hands. “Amelia, please, tell me. Whatever it is, I will understand. Or try too. Just tell me so I can help you.”
“Well, Brian. Raina, she is into black magic. I knew she was into the darker side, but not like this. I cleaned out a closet for Esmra, and I found a box. I kept it in my closet. Raina found it and took it to Gabe. He knows a lot on history and symbols. The box had strange symbols engraved on it. This box wasn’t ordinary. It had a spell and substances for a potion. It calls the dead, or the ones cast out to the underworld.”
Amelia stopped and Brian stared at her with his mouth open and then said, “What in the world are you talking about? The dead? You mean like Raina is a necromancer?”
“No, Brian. Raina is a witch. She has called upon some necromancer fairy that was cast to the underworld a long time ago. She carries a curse, and she happens to be looking for an ancient demon named Naberious.”
“What the hell Amelia? You both are devil worshipers? Calling on the dead? And there is no such thing as fairies.” He stood up and walked away to look out of the window.
“Brian, if you don’t believe me, then let’s go to Gabe’s. He will tell you.”
Reluctantly, Brain left with Amelia for Gabe’s home and when they arrived, he stood in the doorway and appeared to be on his way out.
“Hey Amelia, what brings you by? And who is your friend?” Gabe extended his hand to Brian and they shook hands. “Hi I am Gabe.”
Brian forced a smile upon his face. “Yes, Gabe, how are you? I am Brian.”
Amelia watched the exchange and fidgeted with her purse. “Gabe, I am sorry to drop in on you like this, but I need your help. See Raina has really let the cat out of the bag with the box she found, and we are in trouble. Do you have a minute?”
Gabe gently pulled on his jacket, and he looked over his shoulder toward the door of the house. “Well, I was on my way to work. Raina has me working today. I guess I could let them know I will be late. Are you sure there isn’t another time?”
“Trust me Gabe, you will want to cancel your day, this is about Raina and I don’t think she will notice you are gone.”
They went inside Gabe’s house and Amelia explained what happened with Esmra and Raina. Brian watched Gabe’s reaction to hearing the news, still unsure.
“Well, Amelia, you know I warned her,” Gabe said.
“Whoa, whoa, you are saying you believe all of this? You mean, Amelia is telling me the truth, that Raina is into witchcraft, communing with the dead? Or fairy dead? Or whatever!?” Brian paced the room and sighed.
“Brian, please. I told you it would be hard to believe. I also said I was telling you the truth.” Amelia slumped over on the couch and buried her face into her hands.
Gabe said, “Brian I am sure this is hard for you to take in, but we live in witch city. You should know that many around here really get into this stuff.”
“Yeah, but I thought it was for fun, a joke. I never really came into town and participated in all the Halloween stuff. I didn’t think everyone really believed it. I can hardly believe any of this. It sounds crazy.”
“Yeah, well Brian. It is crazy, but it is real.” Gabe offered Brian a chair to sit in.
He motioned his hands to gesture no thank you and continued to pace. “So, if this is real, and we have to do something about this, then what is it we do?”
“Amelia, I can’t tell you all what to do. I warned all of you before. Raina is into some dark stuff and I don’t want to get involved.”
Meanwhile, while Raina remained with Pandora at Nevoc, the bar was open while they stayed in the back office.
“Raina, when do you expect Amelia?” Pandora said.
“Well I don’t know for sure, but now she is with Brian and pretty shook up. You hurt our friend, Esmra.”
“Raina, that is something you will have to accept. I will not allow anyone to stand in my way to get back to Naberious. He is my soul mate, my love. I need a young girl, and I need her youth quickly. It will give me the strength I need to face my mother.”
“Pandora, where is your mother?”
“She is in the fairy realm. A hidden place from humans. No one can get there except fairies, unless we give another being permission to enter. I was cast out and was supposed to remain in the underworld for the rest of eternity. It was there I was punished each passing hour, never let to have any rest. I cannot go back there; I would rather be destroyed.”
“I don’t understand. Why can’t you just go with Naberious?” Raina asked.
“Astaroth impersonated me, she stole my subconscious. She even managed to fool Lahash and that isn’t easy. When they found Naberious, he saw through her, and I am uncertain if I were to try to find him before I confront my mother, that he would reject me. I am not strong enough to portal to the fairy realm either.”
“Do you have to take Amelia? She is my best friend. I know of another woman you could have. She is the one in love with Derek, the one I need your power for. What if we seek her out for you and then you put the spell on Derek?”
“Raina, she would have to be in true love. How do you know it is true love?”
“I don’t, but she has to feel something, or she wouldn’t keep after him. I know where we can find her, and I think I have a way that I can lure her in. Please reconsider.”
“Alright Raina, but if you fail me, I will not help you with Derek.”
Pandora and Raina left just before Gabe showed up for his shift to work. No one spoke of anything, and to everyone else, things seemed like an everyday business of tending a bar.
“Pandora, I followed her one time, and I think this is the street she lives on. As they drove down the street in Raina’s old car, it appeared Raina was speaking to herself while Pandora remained invisible. “Here, I think it was this house.”
The house was all white and pristine amongst the late fall scenery. Her family kept a clean yard and impeccable gardening with fall flowers adorning the flower beds. It didn’t seem like anyone was home, until the front door opened, and it was Derek coming out of the house. He turned around and gave her a kiss goodbye.
“That hag! She is with Derek. Look at her, she is still wrapped up in a bed sheet. So now he is cheating?”
“Raina calm down, soon things will be different for you. But we must enter the house.”
Before they could get out of the car, Raina’s phone beeped with a text and it was from Derek. She looked at her phone and then to Derek as he entered his car. He sat in his car for a few seconds before he started it and drove away.
Raina read the message aloud. “Hey, we need to talk about what happened. I know you must be upset with me taking off, but I didn’t know what else to do. Can you meet me now?”
Pandora said, “Well, do you want to into her house or go see him?”
“What in the world would he want to see me now for? He just left her place and I know they have been together. He just wants to see me, so he can break it off. I am not an idiot.” Raina slammed her hands onto her steering wheel. “Besides, you won’t help me until I help you with Naberious and get the needed energy from her.”
“Raina, I met Naberious in this life within the graveyard, the same place I was actually released. I need to perform your favor in that very place. You will need to open the box once more and read from the script, while she is in the pentagram circle. Maybe it is best we forgo confronting her now, and work on a way to lure her to the graveyard. Is there any way we can do that?”
As Raina drove her car away she listened to Pandora who urged her to drive out of the quaint town and to the city, so they could find someone, a woman in true love, so she could have some strength to carry on.
“Pandora, if we find one woman for you, just the one, then that means you will not need Amelia? Right?” Raina fidgeted with the hem of her jacket as she waited the answer.
“Raina, no, I will continuously need the energy from those in love, as so long as I remain on Earth. I am not sure how long it will take to get my energy back, to go back home and find a way to go back to my old life.”
“You mean to tell me, Pandora, that this could go on and on? That you will need more than just one or two? I can’t! I can’t take you around forever to do this.”
Pandora exited Raina’s car. “We are here, and I see you have brought me to a place where couples have some sort of ceremony, this is a restaurant.”
“Yes, Pandora, those who are in love, they go on dates. This is the only place I could think of at this time of day at the last minute. How do you know that they are in love?”
Pandora pulled a satchel from within the inside of her dress and dangled it out for Raina to see. This powder that was in the box, I use it to know. I don’t expect you to understand.”
Pandora walked into the restaurant, and because she remained invisible it was only Raina that the patrons eating could see. Raina got a table and sat down to wait for Pandora to take her pick.
Pandora walked around the large restaurant, that was high end and genuinely catered to couples with the romantic setting of candles and dim lighting. As she walked around, she stopped at a table with a young man and woman. She had an engagement ring on her left hand and her arm was extended across the table to hold her finance’s hand.
As the couple’s evening was ending, the gentleman paid the bill and escorted his fiancé out to the car and Pandora motioned Raina out to follow her. After whispering into Raina’s ear, her face dropped and resembled a deep feeling of horror. Raina shook her head profusely. “NO! Pandora no! I can’t!”
Suddenly Raina dropped over in pain, grabbing herself falling in the doorway of the restaurant not too many steps behind the couple Pandora followed. The young woman left the car to assist Raina and it was then she met her fate.
Pandora lifted the young woman by her neck and held her in the air, just a few inches above eye level. She smiled at the woman as she watched her struggle for air, grabbing at the invisible force that was going to take her youth, love, and beauty. Pandora brought her lips to hers, nearly touching, and she opened her mouth as thunder became audible, and the winds picked up blowing passersby to struggle to walk forward.
Her fiancé ran to her rescue, grabbed, and pulled her with no luck in releasing the woman from her fate. As Pandora drew the woman’s youth and beauty from her soul, Pandora herself glowed, her skin and hair brightened.
Once she was satisfied, she threw the once young woman to the ground at her fiancé’s feet, leaving a dried up, old and haggard version of her youthful self. Her fiancé mortified, screamed through the dying winds prompting a mob of people over to help him.
Raina crawled away grabbing her throat as she could not talk or speak. Barely escaping the mob through the confusion, she found Pandora just a few feet away. “Thank you, Raina, now let’s go.”
Suddenly Raina and Pandora appeared in front of Nevoc. “What just happened?”
“Raina, I am more powerful now. She was surely in love.” Pandora laughed. “Look at my skin, my hair, aren’t I more beautiful than before?”
Raina walked back and ran into her old car parked by the curb. “Pandora, please tell me this is it?”
“I need you to find me my next woman. I want to make sure I am strong, so I can find my Naberious and go home.” She smiled, but it wasn’t a smile of happiness, it was though now with her strength she also grew darker.
Raina took off, hurriedly and walked toward town, with her mind running away with itself. Her breathing was raced, and her eyes fluttered as she looked for her next victim.
Raina left again, but this time, she went to the hospital to see Esmra and when she checked in at the front desk, the nurse at the station explained that she had been released. So, Raina jogged out, and went to Esmra’s house to find that the lights were off.
She went inside, to her and Amelia’s room to see that all of Amelia’s things were gone and her side of the room was bare, apart from the larger furniture. Then Esmra walked in.
“Raina, I am glad to see you back. We need to talk.” Esmra motioned her to follow downstairs into the kitchen where Esmra sat down. She moved slowly, and her arms were bruised from Pandora. She gasped when she stretched her arm across the table to get some honey for her tea.
“Would you like a cup, Raina?”
“No, Esmra, I am okay. Look now that the cat is out of the bag, please realize I never meant for you to be harmed in any of this. Amelia urged me to let you know what she found, but it is my fault for not listening. But I do believe that Pandora is a good being, with some unfortunate events. Can you help us?”
Esmra’s eyebrows flashed. “Us? Don’t you mean you want me to help you?”
“Well sorta, I mean, Pandora too. She was in love with a demon and her mother cast her away. She said if I help her that she will help me with Derek.”
“Raina, listen to me. Pandora is not who she was, and if you are helping her regain her strength, she won’t help you, she is only using you so she can get strong enough to face her mother and find that demon. She has to be returned to her box and put away. I have summoned the fairies and given word to her mother that she is out. Selena will come and Pandora will face her mother, but not for the reason you think.”
Raina hissed, “Yeah, that is right. Amelia has left, you favor her and now that I can have a man in my life that isn’t an abuser, you want to ruin that.”
“Raina, that is a different story. You did what you did to Derek and you need help. Someone to talk to about the right kind of love and what it means. It isn’t your fault that you haven’t had the right example. I have tried to help you the best I can, but it appears that I have failed you. I want you to return that box to me, and let Selena take care of her daughter and you stay out of it and you may return here, continue to purchase the bar, and we can forget this if you will agree to get some help.”
Raina stood up from the table and slammed the chair into it. “I will not return that box, and if it means I don’t get to come back, then fine. I will get my things and live at the bar. I know I owe you money and I will see to it that you are paid every penny with my work, but I won’t stay here anymore.”
Before Esmra could move her stove up body to try to convince Raina to reconsider, it was too late. Raina stormed out of the house and headed back to Nevoc.
Raina walked through town and found an old dated bar, that was known to attract a certain clientele. Ones that no one would miss. She waited outside the bar for it to shut down to take advantage of the next drunk woman to be taken advantage of.
As the door swung open, a lone woman stumbled out and through the parking lot and it was then that Raina hit her over the head and drug her back to Nevoc. When she arrived, she could not find Pandora, so she went back to the only place she thought she would be, at the graveyard.
It was dark, and Raina shuddered as she entered through the old and rusty gates. The screeching of the gate was audible, and Pandora appeared. “Pandora, I have another woman for you. I am unsure if she is in love, but that is all I could find at this late hour.”
“Raina, I can’t take anything unless she is in love. It would hurt me to do so.”
“How do you know if she is or if she isn’t? You are a fairy, a powerful one. Why can’t you tell either way?”
“It is a part of my curse Raina, that is why you as my summoner are so important. It is you I depend on. But if it pleases you, I can go to her.”
Raina pulled the drunken woman closer. Pandora said, “What is this? Is she dead?”
“No just drunk. How else am I to get one?”
Pandora studied the woman with suspicion. She was red headed and young, not to appear to be older than her mid-20s. “Raina, you have your ways, don’t you? Why do you need me there to find these women? I have other things I need to address. I have been ready the scroll from within the box. I bet my mother’s book has more information in it.”
“Yes, I know of the book. Your mother’s book. Astaroth spoke of it.”
Pandora glanced at Raina and then lifted the red headed woman into the air. “She needs to be awake.” Pandora opened her mouth and from within her mouth a white light emerged and shined in the woman’s face, bringing her out of her drunken stupor. When she opened her eyes, she was disoriented and began to scream.
Just as her mouth opened, Pandora was ready to absorb her youth and strength, a familiar voice interrupted.
“I think there is another way. Astaroth and I can help with that. I heard your conversation with Raina.”
Pandora’s eyes swirled in rage as she heard Astaroth’s name. “How dare you come here for that. I will not have Astaroth near me! She is an impersonator and tricked Raina. Naberious is not here, he would never come here.”
“I don’t care what she has done if we can use her help to get what you and I want. Your mother may even let you back into the fairy realm if we play our cards right.” Lahash said.
Raina said, “Pandora, who are you talking to? What is wrong?”
From the darkness another voice was audible. “Pandora, this is not you.”
Pandora stopped and investigated the direction of the voice. For a few moments it was quiet, the dusky hue sky only provided enough light for silhouettes. She squinted her eyes to see the two beings lurking across the cemetery. As she drew closer, the silhouettes emerged, and there Naberious stood with Astaroth.
Pandora gasped; her eyes filled with tears. She covered her mouth as if she were afraid to ask. “Naberious?” She whispered. “Naberious, is it really you?” Her arm extended from her body. No longer did she hold the screaming redhead.
The terrified woman quickly sobered from the fear that coursed through her body. She took off and ran from the cemetery.
Naberious emerged in front of the very gravestone where they exchanged their first words a hundred years prior. “Pandora, I thought I would never see you again.” He reached out his arms and embraced her, and they stood in silence holding one another for a long time.
Astaroth and Lahash kept their distance and patiently waited for the pair to have their alone time.
“Pandora, you can’t know how painful it has been, how I have dreamed of seeing you again and how I wished I could have done things differently. I know about the human necromancer who released you and about Astaroth. Do not hold anything against her, it was our dark lord who told her to impersonate you, to get me to return home. She meant no wrong to you.”
“I know, I know. I was cast away to the underworld. I was abused, beaten and psychologically tortured every hour, without rest. Now that I have escaped, I don’t ever want to return there; but I grow weak with every hour I stay on Earth, away from the fairy realm. I have been away so long, if I don’t go back, I will perish. But I would rather perish than go back and endure that pain again. Please, promise me I won’t go back, promise me you will stay with me.” She wrapped her arms around him and squinted her eyes shut as the tears streamed down her face, she whispered, “Promise me.”
Naberious ran his hands through her long black hair. “I promise I won’t leave you. But you must not take another for your gain. This is not you.”
Pandora’s evil like demeanor faded, and she buried her head into his chest and cried. “I didn’t know another way to find you and return home.”
“Why do you need to confront her? She will not change, look what she did to you. I know you are angry, so am I. But confronting her won’t change the past.”
“Naberious, maybe I can come home, and we be together. Right?”
He stared into her eyes and shook his head. “I don’t know if that can ever happen again. I know you can’t stay on Earth too long away from the realm, but I don’t know if confronting her with anger will help either.”
As the pair released their lengthy embrace, they barely separated to walk toward the awaiting demons and never stopped looking at one another.
“Naberious, how does it feel?” Astaroth asked.
“I feel completed, to have Pandora back in my arms once more. But even though she has temporarily restored herself, this won’t last. She must go to the fairy realm, but even then, I don’t know if she is strong enough to portal through. I do not believe Selena will ever allow Pandora to return indefinitely, she hates me too much. I do not know how we will keep her in existence, to survive.”
Lahash said, “What about the dark realm? The dark one wants you back so bad, what if you brought her there?”
“Lahash, she has to draw her power from the fairy realm. How would she even survive there?” Astaroth asked.
“Lahash, she is right. We have to perform the ritual, and it is worth a try.”
Lahash asked, “What happens if we perform the ritual, she goes back and Selena blocks her entry, then what she has to continue performing this ritual? To take the youth and energy of a human woman in love?”
Naberious nodded, “Yes, I am afraid so. There is no other way for her to exist. Can you imagine what it would have been if it were one of us who released her?”
“I can’t leave Raina. I promised her that I would help her with Derek. I need to return to her and perform the spell on the man of her choosing anyway, and there I could use the ex of his. This one that Raina says will not let go. I believe her to be in true love.”
“What happens if the person isn’t in true love? Will everything work?” Astaroth asked.
“My powder never wronged me in the past. Everything should work.”