The Witch Bridle

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Chapter 48

March started much the way as February ended, as Oona worked diligently on her projects, hopeful throughout that she would continue to keep the dark beast at bay while she meticulously prepared to obliterate Lucia in her own time in the past. She continued to plot her machinations. Gran Liv was the anchor for Oona’s launch and her journey back. She would depart from the safety of her own room, and pray that her return to the same place would be possible and safe.

Oona estimated five days for a 50 mile journey to Salem, on foot through mostly dense forest which was scarcely more dangerous than the sparse settlements from which suspicious eyes would be cast on her. While not winter travel – from old Westbridge – Oona knew that distance was possible entirely on foot; difficult no doubt in the wet, early spring, but doable. She would avoid the settlements and the white settlers as much as she could. Travel on foot from Westbridge to Salem was rife with danger. Shelter was needed when not mobile, and she needed to stay warm and dry, and keep a low profile, with a good story if and when encountered. The journey would leave plenty of time for the planned murder, even in the worst of weather, and still not leave so much time as to overstay her “welcome.” If she somehow arrived too late, the entire mission was for naught. Arrive too early and there were great risks of discovery and death!

That is, if it all worked.

Oona was never fond of New England weather. “I require warmth from head to toe,” she mused. “I shall produce extra layers of clothing protection, with more than a few secret pouches for small necessities. Pi Gran Liv instructed me of such a method of transporting petite objects. I may not bring a sack or a bag, and must sew little things into pouches on to a cape or on the fringes of my garments; pouches to hold articles, items, extra socks and so on. “Only the clothes on my body will transport to the past.”

Anything brought to the past must be purely degradable or hidden beyond doubt, as discovery of modern day wares would mean certain death.

“I must practice starting fire with flint,” she confided to KC. “Everything about this must be authentic. One good thing is that, in a short time, I shall be liberated from twenty-first century clothing; my breasts shall be unfettered, wrapped only (and she pushed her ample breasts together) in gauze-like material.” The heavy weight of the Dark Witch pressed against Oona’s thoughts. She looked wantonly at KC and supposed that this adventure just might be what she needed all along.

Later, secluded in her room, surrounded by the power of a Five Finger Blossom of Cinquefoil, Oona smiled a weary smile down to Stinkly who rested on the bed beside her. The house was alive with Lucia’s presence. Is it she or I who is confined? Oona could not be sure.

She spoke softly to Stinkly and said, “There is likely very little written on the manner in which such a hated murderer and witch went to her death on the gallows. I have found all I can find on Lucia, and used what scarce written records survived to piece a puzzle together. And so far there is no firm foundation of facts.” And in spite of a lingering malaise, Oona worked on and on.

With her most special paranormal skills Oona surmised that Lucia performed the Spell for the Devil in the moments before she was hanged. When said aloud and unhindered, Lucia would reawaken from the dead someday, once a Willing Witch opened her Great Book – Pi Gran Liv – to the proper page. Oona was certain that that incantation, spoken over 300 years ago, allowed for Lucia’s re-entry into the world of the living.

Oona wondered: “Did Lucia ‘kick and scream’ on her way to the hanging tree?” She evidently did manage to proclaim her love for the dark forces and incantate herself back to life. “Had she been sedated at her moment of death? Did her executioners subdue the woman; was she calmed with herbs, or simply left to meet her fate as a wild, untamed beast she had become? Or did Lucia simply go as those other pathetic witch frenzied souls who followed her to the gallows a few months later?” All these things were important to Oona. If she were to change the past, she needed to know what to change.

“How can I prevent the incantation?” she asked Stinkly. “How can Lucia be made to act in a manner of my choosing?” The good witch was intrigued that their future was dependent on the past that, she hoped, was vulnerable to change. “The devil plucked Lucia out of hell and placed her on the very soil of her most cruel tormentors, Massachusetts, and where she now exacts her vengeance.” And as that witch invaded my time, so now will I encroach upon hers.

Oona decided to take on the identity of a Spanish woman of means, married, and among the Spanish Main Seafarers who traveled to Salem and Boston, and were at that time in regular contact with the English colonies of North America. Theirs and other ships sailed routinely back and forth to the Old World. She would surely not be a seafarer but rather a landsman of some sort, some means, only a traveler among the seafarers. Oona would masquerade as Señora Dominga de Sánchez, who arrived to join her husband, a merchant businessman in Boston or, depending on when in her travels she needed to disclose the deception, Salem, Plymouth or Providence. She considered a potion to diminish her perfect skin in the eyes of her colonial beholders. She decided in the end there was no need to change her skin tone, though such a beauty as she would surely be rare among the mariners, with their faces blackened by toil and sea.

But what will my exact role in the ruse be?

“I shall need a stated purpose all along the way to Salem and then again back. I must demonstrate as an outsider with great care, to not be accused of witchery while also assuring that nothing else I do there changes the course of history?” How to intrude without disturbing anyone or anything?

Oona knew she would figure it all out, or die trying. From KC, to Stinkly, to Trixi on weekends, Oona had all the sounding boards she desired, though in the end, her own decisions were what mattered.

Oona had little doubt she could seduce and spell anyone who stood in her way, though that assertion assumed (and he hated to assume) that her powers would follow her into the past. And while Pi Gran Liv helped with the spell, even it betrayed how much was uncertain or dependent on other circumstances. Oona would do what she had to do to bring the Lucia nightmare to an end, even if it meant her own doom. The details of her deception once she “landed” would have to wait. She was sure she could spin credible yarns as needed, to explain her sudden presence in the New World – that is, if the Trick worked.

Oona was next obliged to make the period garments for her journey. “And while never a cold-weather person, I shall embrace this challenge and endure it in spite of New England’s climate and the risk to my body and perhaps, my soul. I shall create multiple layers of rough clothe in a good, even colorful, assortment to assure warmth and durability against an early spring in cold and wet New England. My garments need to be made of heavy wool. And making the clothes to fit my role as a Spanish Señora is very important.”

“Is that practical? How demanding do you think that will be?” KC asked. Far more articulate than Stinkly, KC sat mostly quiet though deeply worried about the fate of her friend.

Oona took a deep breath, and recounted all the work she had done so far.

“I suppose that notion is totally impractical,” she conceded. “I would never be satisfied with my own work. Apparel needed to be authentic in every way you can imagine, and warm enough to keep my body protected from the dreadful weather. And I do fully expect dreadful weather.” She smiled at her friend.

No one but the family in this house can know of my plans.

KC nodded silently and cast her hazel eyes down to the floor.

“I will visit my friend Heida, the finest theatrical seamstress in Boston,” Oona said. “Heida’s work is always meticulously assembled and historically accurate in every detail. Heida will press wool for me to resist the early dampness of the New England spring and even the harshest weather of the cold.” New England’s dampness and humidity be damned! “I shall have long woolen socks and simple, strong shoes – shoes which I could never produce without Heida.” I love how she calls me Kikka. “And rather than being ‘left out in the cold,’ I shall bundle up for my journey through time.”

That is providing I can even reach the late seventeenth century wilderness.

“I’m sure you’re right,” smiled KC.

“Surely Heida would use the best wool and work craft for the time I will spend in the past, if I make it there.” She winked. “Boston’s fine theatrical tradition will help me tremendously. I will garner such things on which my life may well depend. Friends can provide a few authentic props, discreetly of course.”

Once KC left her to return upstairs, Oona paced throughout her suite, which now resembled a fortress protected by flowers. She believed the masses of cinquefoil had maintained an insulating aura about her affairs and her possessions.

“Yes, with Heida’s expert hands, I shall have places enough – patches of embroidery – for notes and other tidbits. And we shall assemble enough woolen clothing, blankets as well, for my dash to the past. I normally do not mind ‘over packing,’ though given the nature of this travel, I prefer to acquire, possibly steal, extra layers in seventeenth century Salem rather than discard unneeded ersatz clothing.” She returned to her room and took a seat in the corner, one leg crossed over the other.

It seemed that addressing one task left a mountain of others. Attention to detail was only one thing. Integration and believability were no less important. She had to obscure her ear and nose piercings so as not to give herself away to the locals.

And all this time I thought that nannying was difficult.

“I must arrive on time, before Lucia goes to the gallows and do something that will forever contain the Evil One in hell. I should be able to find the needed herbs to make concoctions – everything I need I will find there. I will take nothing with me except for the layers of clothes on my back and those safe items which I shall sew into the cloth. Notes from my precious spell book will be carefully woven into the ‘guts’ of my garments, well concealed for the time each is needed, with other spells and instructions for what to gather and what to do next. These things may be worked into the hood and common rough cloth of my young Spanish Señora.”

Every instruction must be heeded, for sewing objects in clothing could transport quite messily.

“I shall need a primer of sorts, a history or a listing of prominent people I might otherwise overlook – invisible to history these days – but important functionaries from that era, knowledge of whom may save my life.

Will the time remaining be with me or against me?

Oona searched for a seventeenth century compass, and after going on line she drove to Boston where she searched antique and collectible stores, and inquired of collectors and local historians to find that and other possible, usable objects. All was to no avail. She settled for a reasonable facsimile, with good working innards to help guide her through the wilderness. A compass was about as necessary as anything else she could think of for her imminent journey. The weather would probably be appalling but doable, and it would be very difficult to navigate by the stars, the sun or the moon, with likely dense cloud coverings. And even with her best of her special powers, Oona could not assure sound direction. With the compass and a crude map she had drawn, and with whatever magical skills would be available, these would just have to do.

Pi Gran Liv taught caution at all times. And from her personal experience, Oona knew that partial results often brought complete failure and that complete success was usually decided by small factors. And known failures are most often due to known mistakes. Oona’s attention turned back to Lucia and how to assure that the Dark Witch would never invoke her call to the devil. And only the devil could cast Lucia out of hell.

As her departure approached, Oona confidently declared that her assumptions would prove correct, though she conceded important pieces of the puzzle still awaited discovery. It was Friday night, the eighteenth of March, and Trixi had just arrived for the weekend in her Zipcar rental. The two sat comfortably in the family room. KC had left to visit her children at Frank’s.

“The condemned needed to perform the Spell for the Devil incantation in order to freeze her soul for a future return. Without that incantation, Lucia would never have come through.”

“Had Lucia’s captors constrained her with a Witch Bridle?” asked Trixi. She had done some research of her own. School at Suffolk was good, and she had some extra time to do favors for Oona.

Possibly, possibly not.

“Lucia was condemned as an escaped slave-murderess and not as a witch. That much was written. It is a good question whether they had a bridle on her.”

“There are still so many questions,” said Trixi. “Why not take a few minutes for us?”

Oona regarded the young woman with get interest. Her legs were most prominent, wrapped with the shortest of skirts, the grayest of tights, and the lowest of ankle boots.

“I am so sorry, ma chère. I am pre-occupied.” Oona could barely believe she said those words.

And neither could Trixi.

“I thought you might like what you see,” Trixi said with a smile.

“You know I do! The truth is that the time approaches and I still do not know what day to leave!” I will admit that things are left to do, but the day I depart is most critical. I shall proceed with the greatest of care and attention to Boston, and obtain critical information which is otherwise unavailable.”

“I suppose you will find out things once you arrive.” Young Trixi fought back tears and longing. She struggled to keep an alluring face.

“Yes, dear. And with the criticality of my facts and the likely conditions of dreadful rain and the elements, I must finally set the day to invoke the Trick.”

“You will be missed,” Trixi said. “I would prefer we all move to Holland and forget this witch!”

“I believe it is most likely that Lucia was hanged on Thursday the thirty-first of March, Friday the first of April, or on Monday, April fourth. I will leave on the twenty-sixth at the earliest to account for the calendar disparities.”

“The change to their calendar systems affected dates between December thirty first and March twenty-fifth, all the way up to the Year 1753,” Trixi offered boastfully.

“Ah, yes,” Oona agreed, with a nod and a small smile. “And if the Trick works and my research correctly reveals all the key particulars of Lucia’s demise, then I know I have a chance.”

She looked deeply at Trixi. “And if I do make it there, I hope to survive at least until I defeat the Evil One in Salem”

“And I hope you will travel back from Salem and set the stage for your return visit to the present day.”


It was the twentieth, a lovely March Sunday. Everyone but Thankful was together at Frank’s red cape-style home, once owned by KC and Drew. The kids and adults were all light hearted with food, drink, and games. Frank and Charley were full of March Madness talk. No one mentioned Lucia though she was the invisible elephant in the room, heavy on everyone’s mind. And where Lucia’s actions were so highly unpredictable, the overriding mood remained one of resistance. The group resisted collectively, and all in their own ways. For the kids, it was generally easy, though Thankful had become a big question mark for the adults. At times it was as if they expected Thankful to turn into the girl in The Exorcist. Still they all had fun at Frank’s, and he and his wife loved having all the kids around. Their own Little Andrew was and would always be their only child. When at the house, KC lived in fear and danger although she freely chose to stay home, be strong and, at Oona’s side, unconditionally resist the Evil One.

It pleased Oona that, for now, Thankful was happy and apparently at ease. The girl seemed to understand the threat of Lucia, and their efforts to protect her and the boys from the Dark Witch. For now anyway, Oona was confident that Thankful’s dislocation was only temporary. For certain, the child-witch was critically needed for Oona’s “D-Day invasion” of the past and her return to the present. And for safety’s sake, and a few more days, all the kids were kept from the house and the Book. When the time came, the boys and their mother would protect the child-witch and the Book.

Lucia’s Great Book was safe from her for now; and that infuriated the Dark Witch. Gran Liv was well concealed and remained with Oona at all times, wherever she went. And because a Willing Witch was necessary for Lucia to lay her cold ghostly hands upon the Book, Thankful was not among the partiers. The temporary solution was to keep Thankful from Gran Liv. And even in the company of Oona, the control of Gran Liv could not be assured when in the company of Thankful or, for that matter, any Willing Witch.

And if the Time Trick, from the pages of the Great Book, worked for Oona, she feared it could point Lucia to her in the past, and even demolish her own passageway home to the present. Thusly, Oona’s mission to 1692 clearly required completion before Lucia should ever take possession of Pi Gran Liv Maji.

With Thankful physically separated from the Great Book, and with the weakened though determined Oona who steadfastly guarded her Great Book, the Dark Witch was enraged and left the house to spend considerable time elsewhere. With her strength slow to replenish and stunted of late, the Evil One chose to wreak considerable havoc on the North Shore. Far-flung acts of retribution focused on the Greater Salem area of Massachusetts.

From the time Oona and KC first noticed Lucia’s absence, they and the others enjoyed a bit of a reprieve. Two kids in the Salem area, and one adult man, were horribly murdered. Their names didn’t matter as much as their bloodlines. Lucia’s targets were enormous in number, all blood descendants of her many tormentors. “Salem was ‘even older than Boston’,” Oona told the adults gathered in the open space living room. “There were the slavers and the sellers. There were also the Butlers and the Smiths, the Smythes and the Smithsons, the Joneses and the Tuttles as well. These people ranged from chief to petty tormentors and torturers. There were mentors and teachers among them; town and village officials, yeomen; and others.”

Oona looked tiredly at KC who, along with everyone else, found the good witch most captivating. She was compelling with her research and her resolve, with what seemed to be the ever-expanding complexity of her mission. It had been a shambolic last few months, thought KC. It was now past the middle of March and KC planned to return to work full time the next day. It was time for her to get past all this and still hope for the best.

“I know the date approaches when Lucia went to the gallows. It will soon be time,” she said dreamily. Then she unexpectedly whispered. “I shall depart on the twenty-sixth.”

’When is Easter?” KC asked offhandedly.

“It is not then, ma –,” Oona started. “My point is “that we should séance one last time. We should try to reach them and confide if we can about Lucia. Anton or even Drew may know something. Either may also point to blood ancestors of yours who may assist me with my mission, and especially those who knew her.


Though “time” was not really a factor, Drew eventually “sat down” with Anton and together they compiled his Annals. Drew recalled that in life Andrew Gerhard Boehme always believed he’d deal with death once he got there. Now he was there and he had to deal with it. Drew prepared to fulfill the final requirements before placement in Plebe status, or “Plebianship” as it was called by the Heavenly Hierarchy. Drew had nearly concluded his most serious work when Anton heard the voice of his beloved great-great-great grandson, Louis.

Oona wanted to certify with a higher authority exactly when the dark Witch Lucia went to the gallows. Where legend held that prayers were always heard, their séance seemed more like a prayer session, the main purpose of which was to implore Anton to furnish Lucia’s dates of life and death, most importantly her actual date of death. Oona, KC, and Louis needed to be heard with their prayerful request delivered through the spiritism of the séance. The Group of Three were fortunate, though unaware, of Anton’s actual record-keeping role in the Hereafter.

Anton noticed Oona’s brand on the boy’s words. And while he remained suspicious of her motives, Opa thought the boy’s words were sincere.

“Help us with the past,” Louis appealed to his unseen ancestor.

“Oona,” Anton said softly to Drew.

After a brief delay, when Oona instructed the boy on what to say next, Louis finally said, “We need you Opa to call up some seventeenth century ancestors of Ma’s, to help us against a really bad witch named Lucia.” Louis hoped for the mirror to come alive, but nothing happened.

“Is she more good than bad?” Drew asked about Oona.

“More than good, perhaps, but her soul is not all bad.”

“I hope you hear me, Opa. Dad?” Louis asked. “Can you hear me?”

“Opa, let’s hope Oona is more good than bad.”

Louis’ big blue eyes pleaded for his loved one’s intervention. “Please hear me.” His pure advocacy comforted Oona who could feel in her own soulful being that the boy had been heard.

Oona telepathically communicated her wishes anxiously through the boy; she knew the date approached for her departure, and that time would forever alter her life and the lives of those around her. She prayed that Anton could help her and assist with the fundamental changes which would occur to everyone and their families as a result. She channeled her appeals directly through Louis:

“The death date of the Great Witch Lucia is critical to the success of my mission,” she said through the boy. “The Great Witch Lucia has returned from hell to deliver her cruel vengeance. To defeat this accursed monster I must do so in her own time. I beg you, please, give me guidance. Anything will help me," Oona pleaded through the mouth of young Louis.

Anton walked in the direction of his desk. He looked back over to Drew and candidly reminded him, “She did try to paint you quite unfavorably to your wife and kids.” Then Anton took a deep draw from his pipe.

“You know I think she’s just hot for KC,” Drew answered. And even in death, the fantasy was no less enticing for him.

Still, could anyone completely trust Oona?

“Forgiveness is the greatest of virtues, Lieb.”

Drew was silent. The corners of his mouth turned up slightly and he nodded gently to Anton. There seemed to be no response, though behind the nothingness Anton began to understand the immensity of Oona’s challenge. He took his seat at his desk. Both Anton and Drew continued their silent assessments.

As the long silent moments passed at the séance table, Oona was overcome with doubts of her crafted plans to obliterate a fellow witch. She was torn now by those well-known edicts promulgated through the World Coven, which would condemn the brazenness of her plan – to intrude upon the time-space of another witch, and in particular, one as legendary as Lucia – as an audacious action that could change the course of history.

L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace!”

But sadly it seemed Oona’s plan stood in sharp contrast to nearly everything she had ever believed in. And even worse, she might incur severe or even fatal consequences.

Unbeknownst to the Group of Three, Anton conferred with Drew, and with a quick view on his computer screen, Anton said, “There is a Goodberry man who may be of some assistance to her.” He took a well-deserved sip of his pilsner. “Isaak Goodberry is a neighbor of John Proctor and is KC’s first cousin, a dozen times removed. Either Isaak or Mary (Goodberry) Dalyber, the matriarch of the Goodberry witches, may also lend support and shelter."

“A Goodberry,” was all Drew said in return. Before his death, Drew had been the keeper of records for their family tree, and reflected on how much he enjoyed his research and fact gathering for it. In life, Drew supposed that once he died, he would meet his vast array of family ancestors, by blood and by marriage. And KC’s Goodberry blue blood ran back to the earliest settlers, to an indentured servant who reached Boston in 1630. “You know Robert Goodberry?” he asked Opa.

Mein Lieb: I only know of him. I can see here Robert was a father of many children. And he was a well-intentioned man during his time on Earth. He passed on about ten years before Lucia.”

“When Robert completed his servitude in 1637, he was given land in Salem,” Drew flaunted. “There he settled for years with his first wife and his ever-growing family. Robert and his second wife later moved on to Gloucester.” Drew nervously scanned over Anton’s shoulder at a cluttered screen full of what looked like gibberish, and an ancestor who was ever more engaged at his desk.

“What’s old Robert doing now, Opa?” Drew more innocently asked.

“I can only say Robert Goodberry is among those in Paradise,” Anton stated. Then a look of concern overtook Anton’s usually content-looking, moustached face. “I see a most troubling connection between the witch Lucia and another Goodberry man, one not worthy of the name ‘Goodberry.’ Samuell Goodberry was a prime torturer of Lucia, an abuser who ultimately thirsted to see her die.”

“So the evil in my house is this witch Lucia?” said Drew. “And my family is fair game for her vengeance? Opa, we have to help KC.” Drew knew there was something bad down there and he would not rest until it no longer threatened his loved ones or Oona.

Anton nodded. There is more, Lieb,” he rejoined. “Less than three months after her own death, and only three days following the terrible earthquake that shattered Port Royale in Jamaica, Bridget Bishop, the first convicted witch went to the gallows in Salem. It was June 10, 1692.”

“And Bridget Bishop is another relative of KC,” shouted Drew. “That’s right,” he added, and he betrayed more than a little enthusiasm. “She was hanged like a common criminal,” he continued.

“You know even Cotton Mather said that almost all were innocent.”

“And she was the first of many,” Anton added.

“So when was Lucia hanged?” Drew asked. “When did she die? Remember? Louis said they needed to know the date.” His eyes looked pleadingly to Anton. “Can you do that? You must have that date.”

“I am sure we can find it,” Anton stated confidently. “And the exact alignment of her death date to Oona’s calendar is critical.” Opa puffed again on his beloved briarwood.

There seemed to be no connection with his dad or to Opa. Had they even heard? At the table, Louis’ mother sat expressionless – stone faced. Moments passed quietly before Charley took over the room with his lively presence. It was late and a school night. The Chain was broken when the two brothers took random places on the soft couch.

Young Louis was virtually spent, as Oona also seemed to be. She and KC remained at the table for a while before they ascended to the first floor. Still smartly dressed in her deep gray business suit, pencil skirt and blazer, KC had had a long day in Boston. She led the way upstairs and the nylon folds behind her bending knees drove Oona mad. Applied instant beauty and Voilà, nylon enshrined legs made perfection even more so.

Oona selected a bottle of fine Merlot to take onto the couch in the family room. KC kicked back and described the commute home from work with a cute kid on the train who spoke so lovingly of her cat.

“‘And he only scratches me’, she had said so proudly.” KC smiled and took a sip of her red wine.

Oona laughed politely. The good witch Oona looked tired though she was lively enough to goad KC on several fronts.

“I have grown too old for this,” KC heard from her inexperienced nanny and imperfect friend.

“You’re not even 30,” KC responded coolly.

“I am more than halfway to 50, ma chère,” Oona said with a tired wink.

“You said you’d never call me that again.” KC was weary but lovely. She playfully threw a shoe at Oona, one of her black pumps. Her white blouse was opened at the collar and exposed her strong neck encircled by a thin gold chain with a Christian cross. KC was strangely torn now between the compelling urge to relax and the sudden onset of a foul mood.

It could only get worse.

“Get over it!” Oona snapped, and she took a long sip of her wine. She thought of the exquisite body in the small frame who was so close by, wrapped head to toe in the finest, removable fabrics, exposed bra and breasts, full still. The sound of KC’s nylon-encased foot, which brushed occasionally in and out of her remaining well-fitted pump, intoxicated her.

“Don’t talk to me like that!” KC snarled.

“I am truly sorry, KC. My mind is a mess, and it is nearly midnight. The time for me to depart rapidly approaches. Please. Gran Liv must remain in Thankful’s hands. Gran Liv is necessary both to launch me into the past and later to serve as my anchor to bring me back to this time – our time.”

KC looked distraught and whatever inner strength she possessed was undetectable. Would Oona make it there? Would she be killed there? Would she be unable to return from there? Would Oona live out her days within the parched pages of an old history book?

“In a little while you and the children must take flight, with Gran Liv, and go into hiding for a while, somewhere safe.” Oona looked at KC lovingly. “Have you a preference?”

“I’m not sure where you’re going with this. I assume it’s all about Lucia and that cursed book!”

Oona nodded and begged her to continue.

“I suppose we could go to Ireland or England; yes, London perhaps, where Vicki lives.” She looked off to the side, away from Oona’s eyes. “No, maybe we should go Holland or Germany. Yes, our friend Barbara in Germany would love to have us. Drew’s ‘little sister’ we used to call her. We could all stay with her. And if she’s not available, there are Trixi’s parents.”

“KC: I think it is best to stay in North America. You see Gran Liv must remain behind, close at hand to launch me into the past and, later, to anchor me back into the present time. Distance and travel may prove decisive factors in this campaign. You must be close enough to return quickly once the Gran Liv is needed.”

“Of course,” said KC. “Well, we can drive south. Not the Caribbean, right? We shouldn’t go that far.” Once she answered her own question, KC offered, “Maybe north by car – maybe up to Canada. There are places up there.” KC hastily bit at a nail and looked to be a wreck “Or maybe there’s a hunting lodge in northern Michigan.”

“KC: it is important that you be prepared for a ‘long haul’.” Oona looked lovingly at her star-like obsession. “This may take longer than a few weeks.”

“So the children will need tutoring.” KC came alive as the caring mother as she would so naturally do in a time of crisis. “I’ll discuss the whole matter with Mr. Cloverdale at school, and use Drew’s death as the primary reason for our departure.”

“So do you know where you will go?” asked Oona again.

“Well, what does it matter Oona? Do you have to know right now?”

Oona shrugged, “No.”

“Can that Lucia bitch get me in one place and not another?” KC did not wait for an answer. “I get the Caribbean thing; it’s too far and Lucia’s too knowledgeable of those places too, right?”

“Well yes…and no. And this is serious business, KC. Do you think we are really ready for that final battle with the Evil One?”

“Oona: we’ve got to get rid of this thing. I think she’s saving the best for last! No matter how we do it. It doesn’t matter anymore. I’m serious Oona. Don’t give up. Please don’t give up. You’ve got to destroy her!” KC burst into tears and reached out to her friend who was eager to take her in her arms.

Oona smiled and patted her back and squeezed her shoulders. The glint of her nose ring coolly reflected the lighting.

“There are people out west,” KC started to say. “They own a farm in the Midwest, at a place where Drew and I took shelter many, many years ago.” KC reached back to that time when their travel plans were abruptly changed by a passing tornado. And the Tooeys took them in. “After all the years, we have always managed to stay in touch with this kind and generous family. We always send Christmas greetings and they sent us condolences on hearing of Drew’s death. They have always extended a standing invitation. ‘We’re always here,’ they told us more than once. ‘There’s always someone here to greet you’.”

“Yes, there or thereabouts will be perfect,” Oona sighed and nodded. Though she was weakened by Lucia’s magick, Oona’s physical being still surpassed the metaphysical presence of Lucia. For now while the Dark Witch roamed freely and was apparently able to replenish herself, Lucia was constrained by Oona’s powers and remained a rootless spirit. But in time Oona had no doubt she would be overcome by Lucia unless she stopped her first. “There is little time to spare,” Oona told her. “And please make plans to depart once I do the same, at midnight on the twenty-sixth.”

“And how do we know when to return?”

Oona smiled childishly and off-handily shrugged her tired shoulders. “I estimate two weeks’ time. You must remain in hiding until then. Return to the house at that time and place Pi Gran Liv at the same place that you find it once I leave. And, if I have been successful, Lucia will have been defeated, and what happened by her hand until that time may remain in memory only, and nothing more of it will happen, as if the whole affair never were.”

KC listened intently if a bit unsure of what she had just been told. “Okay.”

“But be cautious,” Oona continued. “Lucia may lay in wait, hungrily and secretly, for the return of Gran Liv. You will never know for sure, so bring the book once you are…reasonably confident. And if I failed in my mission, you will surely feel her horrible presence around the Book.”

“And if she gets the book?”

“You must flee! Go far, far away! No one will be safe, and this is why you must proceed very cautiously.”

“As if the world depended on it”

“Something like that,” Oona smiled. “Danger still exists from a vengeful spirit, whether or not she ever takes possession of Gran Liv. Pi Gran Liv is Lucia’s key to the world of the living. You will never be entirely sure until it happens. That is, unless I defeat her and keep her in hell. I am so sorry KC.” Oona looked drowsy, as if she were in a fog.

“When do you need to know where we’re going?” KC asked. Her mouth, with red lipstick, was irresistible.

“I should not know where you go.” Oona smiled wearily. “Please heed my instructions.”

“And you may never come back.”

“I will plan to return,” Oona nodded.

KC’s plan, whatever it would be, would remain with KC alone. Do not dwell on your plan.

And Oona would keep her own plans as far away from Lucia’s thoughts as possible. There was no telling how powerful Lucia was at reading thoughts. Oona had to assume the worst.

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