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A WITCH LIKE NO OTHER

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Summary

When the powerful witch Dreamer Black was killed, nothing was the same. Pandora and Marlon Black, her teenage children, and her husband Ted Stone seemed fine on the outside, but were grieving inside for more than two years since her death. Pandora, knowing her mother was a witch, has reason to doubt her mother remained dead, and had the feeling she was alive… and she was! Dreamer the magical wonder was spotted on the television with her mother, broadcasted all over the world, to Ted’s fury: and she returns to her family the same night. It is then the adventure unfolds, the chief of police growing obsessed with Dreamer’s beauty, a prisoner obsessed with Dreamer also convinced she is alive, Dreamer discovering she has a third child, her father Paul Black the powerful sorcerer also returning, and much more. Not only focusing on Dreamer, this story has much to do with love, hurt, friendship, and of course magic. Another fantasy/romance novel full of fun from Makala Thomas.

Status:
Complete
Chapters:
7
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

A Sad Start...

A Witch Like No Other

“I don’t want to go college again.”

“’Dora, you’re eighteen years old. You need to go to college.”

“I don’t care,” said Pandora stubbornly, not even looking at him. “Every time I go they think I’m weird from the very first day.”

“That’s because you refuse to communicate with anybody.”

“Well I don’t want to socialise, Dad. It gets on my nerves.”

“You’ve been like this since you was fifteen, Pandora.”

Pandora glared at him. “What does that mean?”

“Nothing,” her father Ted said wearily. “Nothing at all.”

“You think I’m weird too, don’t you Dad?”

“I just think… if you had at least one friend-”

“I don’t want any friends!”

“All right, keep your hair on.”

Ted reached out to touch Pandora’s curly hair, but she withdrew quickly.

“Don’t touch me.”

Ted scowled at her. “I’m not allowed to touch you now?”

Pandora chose not to answer that, continuing her talk about college.

“They call me a cool know it all because I don’t do work in class but I always hand my essays in on time-”

“Well, you’re a very intelligent girl.”

Her elder brother Marlon pretended to choke on his toast at that; Pandora kicked him under the table.

“I hate people who come up to me, wanting to be my friend.”

“Pandora, listen to yourself. You can’t not have friends, it isn’t-”

“It’s just how I want it,” Pandora said flatly. “Because soon after a while they just… leave me. They decide I’m too much for them or they turn on me because I got better results than them, or for no reason at all.”

“I know you’re thinking about Janice, but-”

“Don’t say that name!” Pandora burst out, making Ted jump. Marlon was glaring at him as well, swallowing his food before saying “She’s a flipping barracuda, Dad. She turned on ’Dora and broke my heart.”

“She was my best friend,” said Pandora bitterly, Marlon just as bitter.

“She was my girlfriend and then she- she-”

“Ok, how about we change the subject,” said Ted gently, hating to see his children looking like their world had been torn apart. Well, Pandora had changed ever since their mother died, but Marlon was the same.

“I remember how popular you was, Pandora.” He sighed heavily, remembering. “You had more friends than Marlon.”

Pandora smiled at the memories. For one tiny moment she missed her friends more than anything in the whole wide world… then she snapped out of it. She didn’t need friends, or socialisation. But she couldn’t help saying “If we didn’t move so far away maybe I’d still have them.”

“Don’t try that,” said Marlon, grinning at his sister. “My friends from Westport come here everyday, so that’s not an excuse.”

“Shut up, camel mouth. Where was I?”

“College,” Ted said, picking up his cup of coffee. Pandora nodded.

“They’ll find out I see a shrink three times a week because- because-”

Pandora swallowed hard. Images of her screaming, her mother and plenty of blood flashed across her eyes. Stile’s evil face-

“Don’t think about it,” Ted said gently. “’Dora?”

Marlon was staring at her. Pandora realised she was shaking, making her mug rattle on the table. Gripping the mug and taking a sip of smooth hot chocolate seemed to calm her down. Ted smiled, relieved as she said “Then they find out that I’m taking medication for depression-”

“You don’t need them,” Marlon said grumpily. “I don’t know why you take them anyway, you’re fine just how you are.”

Pandora raised an eyebrow and he smiled. She didn’t smile back, wondering why Marlon was being nice to her. It was common knowledge they hadn’t got along since Pandora hit sixteen, Marlon seventeen. She could cause an argument if she wanted, but decided against it.

“Maybe I do need them, Marlon. I mean I- I can’t sleep without them, and I don’t think about our mother when I take them, I forget about Stile-”

Ted gripped his cup of coffee as hot, bubbling rage swept over him. Damon Stile, his former neighbour, the man Pandora feared more than anything in this whole world- the only person she feared, he thought bitterly. If only he knew what was going on beforehand-

“I need them,” Pandora said flatly. She needed to write something- write what she was thinking down- write anything.

Marlon swallowed the rest of his tea in one gulp, then he said to Ted “Father Teddy Bear, did you know Pandora’s got a box?”

Ted’s eyes nearly left his head. “A box?”

“I’ve got loads of boxes,” Pandora said through gritted teeth. “Dad-”

“If you’re doing some sort of witchcraft like your mother did Pandora-”

“I’m not!” lied Pandora. “I’m not, I swear it Dad!”

Her mother Dreamer had taught her a lot of things. If you have bad thoughts it was best to write them down and then burn the paper. That way you wouldn’t get stressed over the thought, because it’d be gone.

Ted looked like he took his daughter’s word.

His late wife Dreamer was a beautiful witch, and didn’t hesitate to perform a trick if people asked her to. He loved Dreamer, but he hated anything out of the ordinary- magic first. Ted scowled at the memories as Pandora smiled at him. She was thinking the same thing.

He remembered the night he had come home from work with a splitting headache. Pandora was nine years old, Marlon ten. They were curled around Dreamer on the carpet, fast asleep as she read aloud from a book.

She shushed Ted gently as he opened his mouth, indicating to sit on the sofa. Ted obeyed, head pounding. Dreamer stood slowly and walked over to him- Pandora whimpered immediately, wanting her mother. She opened her eyes, Dreamer smiling at her as she said “Sleep, Pandora.”

“I’m not tired anymore, Mummy. Can I watch?”

“If you want to that badly.”

“My head,” said Ted, in terrible pain. “I need an aspirin- I need-”

Dreamer placed her hands on his head, asking “How was work?”

“Work? Work was- was…” Ted stopped abruptly as swirling white mist circled his head. “Dreamer, what are you-”

“I asked you a question, Teddy Bear.”

Marlon giggled, sitting up at that. “Teddy Bear, Mummy?”

“That’s what I call your Daddy, sweetie pie. Ted?”

“Work was stressful. My client just won’t accept the fact that he’s going to be charged no matter what I do for him. I can help convince the judge to give him a short sentence, but we’re looking at six months minimum-”

Pandora’s mouth was hanging open, but Ted couldn’t see why.

“What did he do, Ted?”

“Drug smuggling,” mumbled Ted, as Dreamer massaged his head. “Wow, Dreamer. You could be a therapist if you-”

Ted stopped as he caught sight of them in the mirror across the room. No wonder Pandora was sitting like she was in a trance- Dreamer’s hands were aglow! Ted leapt up immediately:

“Dreamer!”

“I wasn’t doing anything wrong!” said Dreamer as she pouted at him.

“I don’t want you doing any magic at all, do I make myself-”

Ted stopped as he lifted a hand to his head. “My headache’s gone!”

“I can give it back if you detest magic that much,” said Dreamer coldly, and Ted opened his mouth to tell her to do it, then he stopped. He hated making his wife angry or upset.

“No- don’t. I… thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” she said icily, then she smiled at Pandora. Marlon seemed unfazed by the fact his mother could do magic, but Pandora was the opposite. She loved it. She wanted to be just like her mother.

“Bedtime, Marlon and ’Dora,” said Ted, knowing that a million thoughts must be zooming around his little girl’s brain. He was glad that Marlon didn’t care for magic, but he was concerned for his daughter. Pandora pouted as Marlon did, making their parents smile. They looked like twins. Pandora ran and kissed their mother goodnight as Marlon hugged Ted happily, then they switched places for Pandora to hug Ted and Marlon to kiss Dreamer, then they both ran upstairs to bed, Pandora tripping Marlon up mischievously so she could reach her room first.

Ted turned to Dreamer, worried.

“Did you see Pandora’s face when you- you know.”

Dreamer shrugged a shoulder. “She’s fascinated by it.”

“Exactly, and I really don’t want her to be.”

“Why, Ted?” said Dreamer sadly. “Are you ashamed of me?”

“What? No,” said Ted, as she turned away from him. “Dreamer?”

“I’m going for a walk,” she said, sighing. “Just a small one.”

“I’ll wait up for you.”

“No- you need to get some sleep. I don’t want you-”

“I’ll wait up for you,” Ted repeated firmly, kissing her hand. Dreamer smiled as she pulled on her coat, then she walked to the front door.

“I won’t be long.”

As soon as the door closed behind her Ted walked to the window and looked out. What he saw made his stomach drop three inches. Dreamer had entered his friend Damon Stile’s house- the front door closed.

He had a mind to dash across the road and demand what was going on. But then he knew that Dreamer would never betray him, ever. She and Damon got on brilliantly, everyone knew that. In fact, Damon knew Dreamer first, and Dreamer’s frightening mother Agnes had predicted her only daughter and Ted were meant for one another. It was also Agnes who had turned Damon into a toad, Ted thought ruefully, the minute he offered to baby-sit Pandora.

“I should have known,” Ted muttered, and Marlon looked at him.

“Dad?”

Pandora was busy reading the newspaper. It didn’t look like she heard him. Ted sighed as he looked at his daughter, not answering Marlon. Stile changed her forever. It was all his fault. Dreamer’s murder, Pandora hating anyone who wasn’t a relative, her refusal to socialise- it was all his fault. If only he could turn back time.

Ted shook his head as if trying to get rid of his thoughts. He couldn’t think of that now. He needed to focus on his kids.

“What was I saying to you two?”

“Not me,” said Marlon indignantly. “Pandora.”

“The conversation ended,” said Pandora coldly, looking at her brother. “Yes I do have a box, I’ve got plenty. I just use them to store things.”

“Get you,” said Marlon, grinning. “She couldn’t stick to the legend, could she Dad? It’s not Pandora’s Box, it’s Pandora’s Boxes!”

Pandora rolled her eyes and went back to reading the paper. Ted smiled as he collected everyone’s plates and cups, putting them in the sink.

“So what’s on the agenda for today, kids?”

“I’m going out with the guys,” Marlon said. “Er… can I, Dad?”

“Sure you can, son.” Ted smiled at him. Even though he was nineteen, Marlon still had complete respect for his father. “Pandora?”

“I’m going to my room to pretend I don’t exist,” Pandora said without looking up. “Maybe if I wish it enough times it’ll finally come true.”

Marlon and Ted exchanged concerned looks at that, Marlon saying “Pandora, you know I can drop the guys; we can go out if you-”

“Go where, big brother?”

“Anywhere you want.”

Ted nodded his approval: at least Marlon was trying.

Pandora closed the newspaper, looking thoughtful for a minute. Then she shook her head, saying “It’s ok. I’d rather stay in my room.”

Marlon looked at Ted, who smiled and shook his head. The smile meant You tried, son. Dont try and force her.

“Besides, I have to go see Shrinkabell,” Pandora said, looking at Ted, who burst out laughing with Marlon. “It’s Thursday, right?”

Ted nodded. “I won’t be long at work, ’Dora, so-”

“You don’t have to come, Dad. I’ll be fine.”


“Pandora darling, how are you?”

“Fine, Miss Hughes. Just fine.”

Miriam frowned, concerned with how down Pandora sounded. She started counselling Pandora three years ago, and had come to love her like a daughter even though the first rule of her profession was never get attached to the client. Miriam found she didn’t care. She was close friends with Dreamer at school, but had moved abroad in their last year. When she finally moved back home she found that Dreamer had a beautiful baby boy- in the blink of an eye. Miriam thought then that if she stayed Dreamer wouldn’t have gone off track with this mystery boy. Her life was ruined- or so she thought. Dreamer wasn’t letting a baby stop her from doing what she wanted: she returned to college, had fun with her friends and was still very popular. If Dreamer didn’t care about the baby, then neither did they. So nobody really felt anything changed when the baby girl was born- but Miriam did. She hated whoever the father to these children was, for taking Dreamer away from her.

Bitter inside, Miriam told Dreamer she was leaving and never coming back. Her parents were moving abroad, for good this time. Miriam had a choice whether to stay with her aunt or go- angry, she chose to go.

Dreamer didn’t care, she carried right on with her life, Miriam thought with a small smile. That was so typical of Dreamer. But then again, Dreamer must have missed her, because her mother called.

“Stop this nonsense, Miriam. You’ve no need to be jealous of Ted.”

“That’s his name?” Miriam said disgustedly. “Ted?”

“He’s a lovely boy. His parents want him to wed Dreamer.”

Over my dead body, Miriam thought furiously.

“She’d never marry him.”

“Dreamer is in love,” Agnes replied. “And she’s not even eighteen.”

“So?”

“So she may marry Ted. I leave the choice up to her.”

Miriam demanded to speak to her.

“Dreamer, you won’t marry him. Will you?”

“Now you want to talk?” Dreamer answered coldly. “What’s the point?”

“Dreamer, I’m sorry for what I did- I can come back if you want-”

“But I don’t want, so stay in America.”

“Please don’t marry him, Dreamer!”

“Why not?”

“You just can’t! You’ll forget all about me!”

Dreamer softened for a minute. “No I wouldn’t, I promise.”

“Just don’t marry him,” begged Miriam. “Please?”

“Why?”

“Because I…”

The remaining two words lingered on her lips, Miriam crying now.

“Oh boy,” said Dreamer, amazed. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“We’ve been friends since forever,” wept Miriam, ignoring the question. “And now this- this Ted guy, and his stupid kids-”

“My stupid kids,” Dreamer interrupted, though she wasn’t really angry. “We’ll live happily ever after, exactly. I knew you’d understand!”

“That wasn’t what I was going to say, and you know it!”

“Give me your address,” Dreamer instructed. “That way we can write to each other or something. I’ll send you a picture of my er… what was it again? Oh yeah, stupid kids.”

“I didn’t mean that, I just-”

“Forget it,” Dreamer said firmly. “They’re not the point right now.”

Wiping her eyes, Miriam asked “What’s the point, then?”

“Ted Stone is. I’m marrying him whether you love me or not.”

“Fine!” shouted Miriam. “Fine, marry him! See if I care!”

“I won’t bother seeing, because I know that you do.”

Miriam slammed the phone down and ran to her room, throwing herself on her bed. She cried every night for a whole month. Two months afterwards Dreamer’s mother Agnes called, telling her Dreamer did marry Ted, but refused to give up her last name. Miriam laughed: good. Dreamer Black sounded so cool. She couldn’t imagine a Dreamer Stone.

Miriam begged Agnes for Dreamer’s address, Agnes giving it without hesitating. Miriam wrote Dreamer a long letter of apology, though she wasn’t exactly sure if Dreamer would reply. She wrote almost five pages, weeping as she did. She promised Dreamer she’d be there for her from now on, and wouldn’t do anything to upset her. Miriam missed Dreamer so much it was starting to hurt. She wouldn’t eat. She could just about sleep. She was always cold. Dreamer’s absence had a tremendous effect on Miriam, and her parents were starting to worry. Miriam couldn’t tell them the reason she was so depressed was because she missed her best friend, instead making up a feeble lie about a boy back in England.

Her father sympathized, her mother scolded.

Dreamer didn’t reply to the letter, but Miriam knew she received it. She wrote another, asking Dreamer for a recent picture of her. Dreamer didn’t reply until Agnes found the letters and forced her, Miriam thought as she smiled a little. Dreamer simply sent the picture as requested, with a picture of Ted Stone, and her two children.

When Miriam saw the photos she fell in love with Baby Pandora at once, her green eyes startling against her brown skin- she was the spitting image of Dreamer. Baby Marlon had brown eyes like his father, just as gorgeous as his sister. How could she have called them stupid?

Miriam called Agnes, asking her to give Dreamer her number. Dreamer took the number, but she didn’t use it. So Miriam called Agnes again, frightening the woman as she demanded for Dreamer’s contact details. Agnes knew how much Miriam loved her child, praying she loved Dreamer as a sister and nothing more as she gave the numbers.

Dreamer simply listened to Miriam speak, not saying a word.

“I’ll come back, Dreamer- I promise. I won’t leave again.”

“You say it like I begged you not to go,” Dreamer replied icily. “Did I?”

“No no, you didn’t. But you had to have minded a little bit-”

“To be honest, Miriam, I did miss you a little. But I don’t anymore.”

“What?”

“I’ve moved on,” Dreamer said coolly. “You’re in my past, ok? Don’t bother coming back here to mess up my present.”

“But- but we’re best friends!”

“I’m your best friend, but you’re not mine.”

“You- you liar!” said Miriam, voice cracking. “Don’t lie, Dreamer!”

“I’ve got to go,” Dreamer replied flatly. “Nice talking to you.”

Miriam couldn’t stop crying after that. Tears were a part of her now. Her parents consulted a doctor and her tutor at her college, both who came to see her. The doctor prescribed some depression tablets while her tutor helped Miriam get back on her feet.

“Why don’t you try mentoring, Miriam? It does help.”

“I’m not talking to a shrink!” sobbed Miriam. “I want my friend, Miss!”

“Where are they?”

“She’s in England- and she hates me!”

“I’m sure she doesn’t,” her tutor said warmly. “And I meant studying the profession of mentoring, not going to see a counsellor. It does help you control your emotions- and you’re very good at talking to people.”

“Can I change my course? Will you be tutoring me?”

“No, but you can come to see me anytime you like.”

After that Miriam knew what she wanted to do. She’d practice mentoring with her family, and then try the real thing when she got back to England. The only snag was her aunt lived far out in the country: it felt like Dreamer was on the other side of Earth.

Still, they had things to sort out. Agnes called Miriam over, much to Dreamer’s surprise.

“When did you get back in the country?”

“About two weeks ago,” Miriam said, gazing at her. “How are you?”

“Don’t give me that,” Dreamer said coldly. “Why are you back here?”

“Because I miss you,” Miriam said slowly, carefully. “That’s why.”

Dreamer’s mouth twitched as if she wanted to smile, and Miriam saw.

“Can we be friends again, Dreamer?”

Silence. Dreamer frowned as she thought, obviously wondering if having Miriam back in her life would benefit her in any way. Miriam waited anxiously, but Dreamer took her time.

Agnes handed Miriam a cup of tea, watching her daughter.

“Ok,” Dreamer said almost five minutes later. “All right then. But I don’t want you in my face all the time like before. I’d rather see you once every three months or something, because I have a new life and I have a husband and I go to college and I have new friends, and-”

“Dreamer!” barked Agnes, making her jump. “Don’t be so immature.”

“I’m not, Mama. I’m telling her how it is,” Dreamer answered, then she looked Miriam straight in the eye. “Take it or leave it.”

“Fine,” Miriam said stoutly. “I’ve got studying to do anyway, so I wouldn’t be able to see you much either. Actually, I just came to clear the air because I was a wreck in America, I missed you loads. And now I’ve seen you, so I’m fine now. That’s all I wanted. Now I can move on with my life and leave you behind. Bye Agnes, I’ll be going now. I won’t bother calling to say I got home, it’s not like she cares anyway.”

Dreamer was impressed, as Miriam knew she would be.

“Well… it’s going to take hours for you to get back to that place.”

Miriam shrugged, feigning nonchalance. “So?”

“So stay here with me tonight. Mama, can Miriam stay?”

Miriam smiled broadly as Agnes nodded; Dreamer smiled back. Then they gave each other a massive hug and ran upstairs, talking and laughing as if they’d just got home after school like the good old days.

Dreamer wasn’t joking about having a long distance friendship, but Miriam didn’t care. They were friends again. At least she could pick up the phone and call Dreamer whenever she wanted, and Dreamer could call her. Miriam still resented Ted Stone for changing everything.

But there was something about Pandora that made Miriam determined to know her. She telephoned Dreamer in the middle of the night asking about her, and expected Dreamer to hang up and go back to sleep. But Dreamer did something very strange. She made Miriam promise- yes, promise- that if anything happened to her or Ted she would look after Pandora and Marlon. And Miriam promised. She didn’t care if she was only eighteen and up to her knees in coursework.

Dreamer visited when Pandora turned one just a few days before.

“I want you to be Pandora’s godmother, Miriam.”

Miriam was overjoyed: Dreamer must have known what she thought of the beautiful little girl. Reverend John was more than happy to give a private ceremony just between Dreamer, Miriam and grandmother Agnes. Miriam knew from that day on she would play some sort of role in Pandora’s life, but then Ted and Dreamer had moved away to start their lives properly, now young adults. They’d done it on the sly, telling nobody, simply packing and leaving in the middle of the night. Nobody knew their address, not even Agnes, though Dreamer and the children visited every week and weekend.

Miriam remembered Pandora’s fifteenth birthday. She was in America at the time, and she didn’t know Dreamer’s new address (they’d moved twice again in the years.) Still, she called. Dreamer let Pandora speak, though Pandora didn’t remember Miriam.

“Hello?”

“Happy Birthday Pandora!”

“Thank you!” she said brightly, then she paused. “Um… who is this?”

Before Miriam could answer Dreamer took the phone.

“Go and look after your party guests, Pandora.”

“Who was that, Mum? Do I know them?”

“Yes, but you can’t remember them. Go on now.”

“Why did you do that?” demanded Miriam, a little hurt.

“Because now isn’t the time for you to meet. It will be later this year.”

“Dreamer, I… you mean I get to see her in the flesh?”

“Yes, Miriam.”

“Thank you, Dreamer! It’s about time! Have you settled down, then?”

“Westport’s lovely,” Dreamer said nonchalantly. “Very nice.”

Miriam could tell something was wrong.

“Dreamer, is everything all right?”

“No,” Dreamer said, voice cracking. “I’ve done something very wrong!”

Startled as Dreamer cried, Miriam tried to soothe her while firmly reminding her that it was Pandora’s birthday party, and it wouldn’t do for her mother to be crying at the event. Dreamer didn’t care.

“I betrayed Ted,” she wept. “God knows I didn’t mean to, but I did!”

Miriam opened her mouth furiously, then remembered her years of training and her brilliancy at her job. A mentor never loses their temper.

“Do you want to tall about it, Dreamer? Tell me what happened.”

“His- his friend Damon Stile-”

“Ted’s best friend? Wait- Dopey Damon from high school??”

“Yes, him! We were… talking, and-”

“Mum, Janice and Marlon!” said Pandora, sounding near tears. “They’re kissing in the back yard, Mum! She’s my best friend, how could he-”

“I’m coming, ’Dora. Miriam, can you call me back on my cell phone?”

“Of course,” said Miriam, as if she made the call.

Miriam shuddered, remembering when she called Dreamer at eleven p.m. that night, knowing that the party would be over, Pandora and Marlon would most likely be in bed, and Ted would be watching the news.

“Dreamer, what’s going on? You and Damon Stile, how-”

“It was an accident,” said Dreamer calmly, much more in control than before. “We’ve been close for years, I never-”

“Why?” Miriam cut across, then she remembered her profession. Never lose your temper with the client. Miriam took a deep breath, then she said “You told me you and Ted are made for each other. What happened?”

“Ted’s hates me being a witch now,” Dreamer replied. “And Damon- well, he loves it. He can never get enough of a spell, Miriam, or a trick-”

“You wanted Ted to love you for who you are? What you are?”

“Yes! Oh Miriam, I’m so glad you understand.”

“Tell me more,” pressed Miriam. “That can’t be all.”

“Damon confessed he loves me after I turned his hair blonde,” Dreamer said flatly, as if the fact meant nothing to her. “He told me he knows he’s Ted’s best friend but he doesn’t care anymore. He loves me and ’Dora-”

“Pandora?” Miriam cut across sharply, eyes narrowing.

“As a daughter,” Dreamer said, annoyed. “He was telling me he wanted us to move in with him, but I refused- it was meant to be a small kiss, nothing more, and then-”

“Don’t,” sighed Miriam. “Spare me the details.”

“Then I found out I was expecting my third child-”

“Dreamer!”

Suddenly Dreamer was crying again.

“Damon was over the moon- he just knew without me telling him- it would be his first born- but I couldn’t do it, Miriam! I couldn’t!”

“I understand,” said Miriam gently. “Does Damon know you got rid-?”

“Dreamer?” said a voice in the background. “Are you all right?”

“Teddy, I’m fine.” Dreamer sniffed before repeating it. “I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes,” said Dreamer miserably. “I’m on the phone, Ted.”

“Sorry.”

Dreamer waited before saying “Miriam, I feel that I… I’m going to die.”

“What?!”

“I’ve been having dreams,” Dreamer said sadly, “Ever since I got rid of the baby. Damon thinks I’ll give up everything and live with him, but I can’t- I won’t. I love Ted and I always will- I belong to him.”

Miriam smiled, feeling a little jealous. “That sounded lovely, Dreamer.”

“I’ve been having nightmares about Damon and Pandora,” said Dreamer quietly. “He may have been- they could be just dreams, but-”

“What, Dreamer? What’s been going on with him and my- Pandora?”

“He’s been doing things to her,” whispered Dreamer. “My little girl, and I didn’t even know. He’s been tutoring her since she was twelve- I didn’t suspect, nobody did. Maybe there’s nothing to suspect. But my dreams-”

“Ok Dreamer, ok. What does that have to do with you dying?”

“He’ll find out I got rid of the baby, and he’ll lose control.”

“You mean he’ll-!!”

“Promise me you’ll look after my baby girl, Miriam. Promise me.”

“Dreamer, you can possibly know you’re going to-”

“Promise, Miriam!”

“I promise!”

Dreamer hung up then, not wanting to take the conversation any further. Miriam, mind spinning, tried calling back but the phone was turned off. A day after Dreamer’s murder Miriam ran straight to the police and told them what she knew. Ted also happened to be there as she ran to the officer in charge of the case, saying “Dreamer had an affair with her killer. She called me- she knew she was going to die-”

The policeman pulled her into an office the same time Ted grabbed her other arm, frantically asking “What did you say? Dreamer and-”

But the officer pulled her into the office and slammed the door shut. Pulling out a notepad and pen, he said “Talk.”

Ted did the same thing as soon as she left the station. Eyes brimming, Miriam told him who she was, what she was to Pandora, and what Dreamer had told her only a week ago.

“Where is Pandora?” she asked desperately. “Please Ted, tell me.”

“She’s in hospital,” Ted replied, looking away. “It turns out Damon-”

“Yes yes, I know- will she be all right?”

“No,” said Ted flatly. “She’s in shock- she witnessed the whole thing.”

“No,” said Miriam, shaking her head in disbelief. “No! How? When?”

“I was at work. Marlon was at football practice, Dreamer was home with Pandora. Pandora’s refusing to tell the police what actually happened, she just keeps saying it was him. He killed her.”

Ted’s eyes filled, Miriam’s too. They walked in silence, then Miriam asked “What about Agnes? Does she know?”

“She called beforehand, telling me I must stay with Dreamer. I told her I couldn’t, I had a very important meeting at work-” Ted’s hands balled into fists; he was angry. “If only I did- Dreamer might still be here.”

“You can’t blame yourself,” started Miriam, then she felt annoyed. Why did she always use her mentor technique? Why didn’t she say that what Ted was saying might be true? If he had listened to Agnes Dreamer might still be alive. She’d been a mentor for so long it was now a part of her.

“Um… here.”

She fumbled with her purse, pulling out a card.

“Please contact me as soon as Pandora leaves the hospital. I’m her godmother. I love her, Ted- like my own daughter.”

“She’ll immediately think you’re trying to take her mother’s place.”

“I want to work with her as well,” explained Miriam. “I’m a mentor- that’s my workplace on the card, and work number.”

“So we don’t have to tell her who you are?”

“No,” said Miriam painfully. “Not for a while, anyway.”

“Why didn’t Dreamer introduce you to the family, uh…” Ted peered at the card before saying “Miriam Hughes?”

“I’m not sure, but I did travel a lot. I was never in one place.”

“I see.”

“Promise me you’ll call and let me see Pandora?”

“I promise.”

“Earth to Miss Hughes,” said Pandora, scowling. “I didn’t come here to watch you gaze into space, you know. I could be at home in my room.”

Miriam smiled at her, loving how feisty the girl was. “I’m sorry.”

Pandora hesitated, then she smiled back. “Never mind.”

“Pandora, I… sit down.”

Pandora sat, looking curious. “Is something wrong?”

Miriam opened her mouth to say no, then she nodded. “Yes.”

It had been three years. It was now or never: she had to know.

“Would you like to know what I was thinking, love?”

“Not really.”

“I was thinking about your mother,” Miriam said gently. “About you.”

Pandora looked nervous now. “What about us?”

“Get a cup of water, Pandora. You may not like this…”


“I knew you was,” Pandora said flatly, an hour later. “I could tell.”

“You could tell I was your godmother?” said Miriam, bemused. “How?”

“I have dreams,” Pandora said shyly. “Like my mother used to. Isn’t that what you told me?” Miriam nodded. Pandora was eighteen now: there was no need to hold anything back. “I never told you, but you looked real familiar when I met you three years ago.”

“Oh honey, you should have said.”

“Yes, I know. I-” Pandora hesitated. “I have a box.”

Miriam leant across her chair, interested. “A box?”

Pandora nodded. “It’s made of pure gold; it was my mother’s.”

“Dreamer had a box… that’s interesting. Is it a magical object?”

“Yes,” Pandora said, nodding. “When I’m… upset or angry, I write.”

“Yes, you did tell me that.”

“I write it down, and I put the paper in the box. Then I light the candle.”

“Candle? What candle?”

“That’s just it, I don’t know. When I write it appears in the box.”

“And you light it?”

“Yes, and I put it in the box on top of the paper.”

“Pandora, you could have started a fire.”

“It’s magic, I said,” said Pandora impatiently. Miriam smiled at her, wanting to hear more. Pandora had never looked so exultant.

“Go on, love.”

“And I put the candle on top of the papers, and I close the box and go to sleep.” Pandora hesitated, then she whispered “It glows. Bright yellow, so I don’t need my lamp on.”

Miriam nodded understandingly: Pandora was afraid of the dark.

“But three nights ago Marlon barged in on me, and he saw it glowing.”

“What did Marlon say?”

“Nothing,” scowled Pandora. “He just stared at it. And I told him not to tell Dad and he stared at me too, then he backed out of the room and closed the door.”

“Do you think he was scared?”

“Marlon’s not scared of magic. Our mum was a witch, remember?”

“Yes, I remember.”

“He doesn’t take it seriously,” grumbled Pandora. “This morning he was grinning like a Cheshire cat when he told Dad about the box.”

“Oh no,” said Miriam, though she was smiling. She thought Marlon a delightful boy, though Pandora was her favourite. She remembered when they had both come to meet her. Pandora didn’t answer her when she said hello, but Marlon smiled and shook hands. Then he stepped back and said “No offence Lady, but I don’t need a shrink. I’m all right without one, because I’ve got my Dad to talk to about my Mum and stuff.”

He hesitated, then he asked “Is that all right?”

“Of course it is,” Miriam said soothingly. “Would you like to leave?”

“Yes please. Come on, Pandora.”

Pandora looked at him, then back at Ted, who was waiting. Then she looked at Miriam. Miriam thought nothing of it at the time, but now she knew that when Pandora’s green eyes had scanned her face it was because she was experiencing some sort of déjà vu.

“Would you like to stay and talk?” Miriam asked her gently, hopefully.

Pandora opened her mouth, then she shook her head and walked away.

“You keep thinking,” complained Pandora, as Miriam smiled. “I might as well go back home now, you’re not even doing your job.”

“I’m thinking three years back-” Pandora went rigid in her seat, Miriam quickly adding “When we met properly.”

“Can we just start the session please, Miss Hughes?”

“Pandora, I’m your godmother.” Miriam’s smile was ravishing: it felt so good saying those words. “You don’t have to- you can call me Miriam.”

“I don’t want to. I’m not used to it.”

“Well, you don’t have to be so formal now that you know.”

“I just said I’m not used to it,” Pandora said heavily, drumming her fingers on the chair arm. “Besides, I want to talk for once. Just because you’re my godmother it doesn’t mean you can start slacking, you know.”

“Well said,” smiled Miriam. “How are you, Pandora?”

“Fine.”

“Can you tell me what’s on your mind?”

“September,” said Pandora, sighing. “I have to go to college.”

“I think that’s a very good idea.”

“I’m going to drop out anyway,” she said, shrugging. “You know I- I…”

“You have a problem with socialising since your mother died?”

“Say Dreamer,” said Pandora sadly. “You was friends, right?”

“Very close friends, but love, you just told me I can’t start slacking on the job.” Miriam smiled as Pandora scowled at her. “Right?”

“Right, you flipping…”

Miriam burst out laughing, Pandora smiling grudgingly.

“So, Pandora. You have a problem with socialising.”

“Yes. I hate it, and now I have to go back to college again. I dropped out of the last two courses,” said Pandora, shrugging a shoulder. “I hated them. Why was I doing a load of Science? I don’t want to be a scientist.”

“Pandora, you’re eighteen now. You know you can choose whatever you want to choose,” Miriam told her gently.

Pandora shrugged, saying “I did choose them when Dad suggested Science. Nobody made me. I wish there was some sort of magic course; that’s why I chose Science. Loads of experiments and stuff, right?”

“But Pandora, you also like to write.”

“Yes Miss Hughes, I know.”

“Would you like me to help you choose a course for September? If you’d like, I can gather some prospectuses and we’ll-”

“Are you allowed to do that, Miss Hughes?”

Miriam knew she said it to goad her, but she couldn’t help reacting.

“Pandora, I’m your godmother. Stop thinking of my job, ok darling? To be honest I’d really like to take you out one day, just us. Shopping, the cinema, you name it. In this office I am your mentor, but think of outside it. Wouldn’t you like to know me a bit more? Your godmother? Right now all you have is Ted and Marlon. You can have me as well, love.”

Pandora hesitated. “How do I know you won’t leave me?”

“Pandora, I’d never leave on my own accord. I promise.”

“What if we have a big falling out?”

“We’ll work it out.”

“What if I tell you something you wouldn’t like?”

Miriam laughed. She couldn’t stop herself- Pandora looked so worried!

“Pandora, remember I’m your mentor. For three years we’ve been talking, and you’ve told me plenty I didn’t like.”

“Oh.”

“So how about it, Pandora?” asked Miriam. “Let me in your life?”

“No, I… all right then. But I bet ten pounds you’ll leave me soon.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“I guess I’m getting there,” said Pandora thoughtfully. “First I had just two people in my life for over two years, and now I’ve got three.”

They looked at each other, and they both smiled.


Pandora didn’t come home until eight that night. Ted was practically ripping his hair out with worry: she was always home by four latest. It wasn’t his rule of course, but he had gotten so used to Pandora’s ways that it hadn’t occurred to him she might want to stay out later.

“Where’ve you been?” demanded Marlon, rushing downstairs in nothing but a towel around his waist, his hair dripping with water. “I’ve been worried sick, Pandora! You’d better be grateful I didn’t call the feds…”

He trailed off in amazement, Ted staring at her as well.

Pandora’s smile was so broad it lit up her features, revealing the girl they loved and lost the minute Dreamer was pronounced dead.

“Dad, I’m sorry you worried, but… first I had just you two, and now I’ve got a third person to spend time with.”

“Who is he?” demanded Marlon, but Ted knew what she was going to say. Pandora shook her head at her brother, saying “Not a boy, idiot. I hate boys and I hate girls too. I hate people. I’m talking about Miss Hughes, Marlon.”

“The shrink? What about her?”

“Her and Mum were friends. She’s my godmother.”

“What!” exploded Marlon. “Your godmother?? Since when?”

“She told me everything when I went there,” said Pandora happily. “She even told me the church I had the ceremony in and everything, and she talked about Grandma for a bit too- and I never really spoke about Grandma… isn’t it nice, Dad? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t want you to think she was taking your mother’s place, ’Dora.”

Pandora’s smile faded as she thought about that.

Marlon was seething. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Come on son, I didn’t know until your mother died.”

Marlon’s expression cleared immediately, then he scowled.

“You want to watch her, ’Dora. She’s really attached to you. Remember what happened last time when certain people were attached to you?”

“Shut up, Marlon!”

Pandora shook her head, but the images were in her mind again. Stile hovering over her as she played the piano-

“Pandora,” said Ted firmly, but she didn’t respond. “’Dora, stop thinking about it. See what you’ve done?” he said to Marlon, who shrugged.

“I’m just warning her, Dad.”

“Yes, and are you going to warn her if she makes new friends too?”

“No, I-”

“Get some clothes on, Marlon.”

Marlon looked hurt by the dismissal, but he obeyed.

Before Ted could talk Pandora left as well, looking as moody and down as she did before she left the house this morning.


Pandora scrawled Damon Stile’s name down frantically, placed it in her golden box and lit the candle. Closing the lid and watching as the box began to glow, she breathed deeply. Soon Stile left her mind totally, Pandora whispering “Thanks, Mum.”

Dreamer had taught her so much. Pandora climbed into bed, wondering about her godmother. It wouldn’t hurt to have a woman figure in her life, would it? And Miriam was very fond of her, for some wild reason. Pandora knew it was because she was friends with her mother, and had watched her grow from a distance, through pictures and letters from Agnes and Dreamer. How did she know that? She just did.

Ted knocked on her door, Pandora calling “Don’t come in!”

“Will you come out, then? I miss my little girl.”

“Dad, we’ve got tomorrow to talk. And Saturday too.”

Ted laughed, saying “I only want a hug, ’Dora.”

Pandora cringed. Physical contact was out of the question.

Ted knew that of course, but it couldn’t hurt to try for the thousandth time. Pandora gritted her teeth before saying “I don’t want one, Dad.”

“All right then. Sleep tight.”

“You too.”


Pandora’s alarm went off at ten a.m., Pandora rolling over in bed.

“Why do I even have a cell phone?” she muttered, sitting up slowly. “I mean, it’s not like I get calls anyway. I should give it away.”

She swung her legs out of bed into her slippers, yawning as she looked at her golden box. Where did Dreamer get it from? Grandma Agnes, probably. And the spell book as well. Pandora smiled, knowing that Ted would go berserk if he found out she stole Dreamer’s dusty old book from her bedroom, along with the magical box and crystal quartz, and her wand. Her wand, Pandora thought hungrily.

Ted had burnt all of Dreamer’s things in anguish, except her pictures. Marlon stole some of her things too, but Pandora didn’t know what things. She didn’t care. She had her mother’s wand and spell book and box and crystals, and that’s all she needed. Ha, thought Pandora smugly. Witch in the making.


“Pandora, I’m sorry for getting at you last night.”

Pandora ignored her brother totally, appearing deeply immersed in her book as she drank her tea. Marlon tried again.

“I was being an idiot-”

“As always.”

“And I’m sorry.”

Silence.

Marlon looked at Ted, who said “Pandora, your brother’s talking to you.”

“Can’t you see I’m reading, Marlon? Talk to me afterwards.”

“I give up,” said Marlon angrily, getting up. “I’m going to watch TV.”

“Try getting a job,” Pandora replied, turning a page.

“You’re such a-”

“Nothing worse than you, big brother.”

“Hey,” said Ted warningly, when Marlon opened his mouth furiously. “It’s still morning time. What are we doing today, then?”

“I’m staying home,” Marlon said, looking daggers at Pandora.

“I’m staying in my room,” Pandora said flatly, then she glanced Marlon’s way. “Keep out of my way, Marlon.”

“I’ve got nothing to say to you anyway.”

Ted sighed, picking up his briefcase. “See you this afternoon.”

“Bye Dad.”

“Bye,” said Pandora, not even looking at him. Ted smiled, feeling that they were getting somewhere. Before Pandora wouldn’t even have acknowledged his leaving, and now… he knew he had to thank Miriam.

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