CommonSense Inc Part 2 – Friday the 13th

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CommonSense Inc.

- Part II -

Friday the 13th

 

By

Corey A. Burkes

 

EBook Edition

PUBLISHED BY DESKTOPEPICS Entertainment at Smashwords

 

(Please be kind and give a review. Good, bad or indifferent! Thank you!)

PO Box 1841

Marietta, GA 30061

http://www.desktopepics.com

 

Copyright © 2012 Corey A. Burkes

 

Discover other titles by Corey A. Burkes at Smashwords.com

 

The CommonSense Short Stories are a work of FAN FICTION and,

as such, respects and honors the creators and copyrights of the original films and characters.

 

All of the characters and events in this book are fictitious.

Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

 

No part of this document or the related files may be reproduced, edited, changed or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher. A free short story does not equate to ‘public domain’. The publisher has used its best efforts in preparing this book, and the information provided herein is provided “as is.”

 

DesktopEpics Entertainment makes no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaims any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose and shall in no event be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damage, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. If you purchased this version of the CommonSense series (with NO ISBN) at any cost, other than any nominal download fees, if applicable by a third-party distributor, you should be aware that this eBook is 100% freely downloadable. Please report any sites offering this eBook at a retail cost.

 

Cover Design by Corey Aaron Burkes

All Rights Reserved. Printed in the United States of America

 

January 24th 2012

 

First EBook Edition

 

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

 

Started Writing: 12/30/2011 1:07 PM

Ended First Draft: 1/24/2012 2:50 PM

 

 

 

Everyone has their own timeline.

There is a timeline that leads up to your birth …

… and one that continues till your death.

You constantly walk, divert from, change and connect to

a multitude of ever changing timelines.

 

This is why the future is hard to read …

… but it can be manipulated in your favor.

 

While it is a severe crime to change the past,

You most definitely can change your future—in the present.

 

With a few calculated nudges, you can take control of your timeline.

However, it should be understood, any change you make

also affects someone else’s.

 

 

Beginning …

 

Camp Krystal Pond

June Friday the 13th 1958

 

Summer at the camp was exciting to all the children who had the chance to do the full overnight package. All summer, every day swimming. All night campfire songs and roasting marshmallows: sheer relaxation for children of all ages, watched over by a crack team of experienced counselors forever willing and ready to tend to a child’s every need.

Unless the child is out in the pond by himself and drowning.

Otherwise, every dime spent in the summer getaway adventure for children would be money well spent. The few random failures in the system, as one counselor would put it, you just can’t watch every child every minute of the day.

Something’s just—happen.

So on the day camp counselors Mike and Yvonne finally got a chance to hook up, this was when little Jayson Vorcent, an old family friend of the Kristie’s (owners of the camp grounds), would go out to the pond to put his bravery to the test. The summer bullies had made the rounds, beating up on various kids and today, on his birthday, it was Jayson’s turn to get the wedges’ and the nuggies and all the other taunting routines expected of an under-weight weakling with a speech impediment.

The older boys challenged Jayson to swim out to the deck in the middle of the pond and back. If he was able to do it, they would leave him alone and even let him hang with them. If he didn’t, they’d beat his ass in the middle of the night. Simple as that.

Jayson, in his mind, didn’t have too many choices. If he said no, they’d beat him up. If he ran and told the counselors, they’d sneak up on him later and beat him up. If he told his parents, they would yell at the bullies and, guess what? Beat him up later. The upside? If he swam to the center deck and back, he’d finally get some peace. There was only one problem.

Well, maybe two.

He didn’t swim very well and he had breathing issues. Not necessarily asthmatic, but when he was nervous, he just couldn’t breathe well when he was supposed to. Being that he spent most of his tender years scared of everything, he was always nervous and when he spoke, it just came out poorly and people misunderstood him. He often looked like a shivering Chihuahua.

He only had one choice. Putting his toe in the semi-frigid water, he glanced back at the four boys pounding their fists at him with no camp counselors in sight. Right about now, it would have been a great negative-positive for Jayson. He would have been saved by a vigilant counselor without being deemed a snitch and the bullying would be basic minimal.

He stalled long enough. With no counselors looking to save him and the angry boys getting angrier, Jayson walked into the water bracing himself.

 

 

Meanwhile, behind the bleachers, Counselor Mike was just about to show Yvonne a tongue trick he learned when the wooden frames around them started rattling. Mike ignored it, quite certain it was the entrancing moves he was putting on Yvonne and her tight, yellow Camp Krystal Pond t-shirt.

Just when things were just getting good between the two, Mike looked up to see a billowing smoke brisk past him and Yvonne’s prone position in the dirt. A kind of fog rolled over them and for a second, he swore he thought he saw someone in the mist, kneeling less than a yard from them.

Quickly, Mike pulled up his shorts. “Shit! Who’s there? Can’t you see we’re busy?”

“I see,” Mildred Common stepped from the fog, hooded and cloaked as mysteriously as only she could. “I also see two counselors on the clock, fraternizing when a death is about to occur.”

Mike pulled Yvonne back from Mildred as the smoke dissipated giving them both a clear view of the woman before them. Though she wasn’t clearly seen with her hood over much of her face, Mike could identify her as a Black woman.

He had seen one before, but never this close up. Least of all not at the camp. What he knew of them in 1958 was they were always looking for equal rights and stuff. If they’re not being sprayed down by the cops, they were being riled up by that terrorist Malcolm T? Malcolm X—Whatever. They were a people Mike’s parents didn’t associate with so neither did he.

Checking out Mildred’s plentiful bosom, he started thinking he had to make that change right away! Her skin was a smooth, Hersey complexion and, once he got past his indifference to the things he wasn’t sure of culturally, he even thought she was twice the woman Yvonne could ever be. It’s when he started wondering how she would be in bed when …

“I can read your thoughts, boy!” She proclaimed. “You’re still young to open your mind quite a bit more and while I semi-applaud your crude, yet progressive, steps forward about race, NOW is NOT the time. You both MUST go to the pond and stop Jayson Vorcent from drowning this instant!”

“Why should we listen to you?” Yvonne said indignantly. “Who are you? I should call the cops.”

“Maybe you should. I will only ask you once more to intervene and stop the senseless death of many people while you still can.”

“First you say save one kid. Now you say many people. Which is it?” Yvonne demanded.

“Both! One death will cause others to suffer more.”

“Why don’t you do something if you know so much?”

“I’m doing more than I should already. I cannot directly intervene with this timeline. Not with the keys players of the problem. However, you two are indirect players—indirectly starting the problem, and so I must act indirectly as well.”

Needless to say, both Mike and Yvonne were incredibly confused and stepped back from Mildred, bewildered.

Mildred sighed. “Follow me and just do your jobs.”

Mildred walked away from them in a floating manner that gave them both the heebee-jeebees , regardless of the noon day sun above them.

“You’re not seriously thinking of going are you?” Yvonne asked. “You’re not finished here!”

“She knew Jayson by name and knew where to find us. What do you think?” Mike said, using his brain. Not wholly trusting the mysterious Black woman but also realizing he was getting a whole $7.00 an hour for his work watching the little buggers. “I want to check it out.”

“If you go following her, you’ll never touch this again.” She finalized, putting her hands on short camper shorts.

Mike looked in Mildred’s direction, then at Yvonne’s body, licking his lips.

When he started taking down his shorts again, Yvonne just knew everything was going to be alright.

 

 

Jayson had swum to the deck and it was not an easy feat at all. His success getting there was based on a decent lunch he just ate, having been modestly well rested the night before and having a basic amount of stored energy typical of a boy his age. What wasn’t typical was he lost all that energy on the way there whereas anyone else would have been able to get back with ease.

Jayson was stuck on the deck, alone, many yards from the beach and a bunch of kids waiting for him; laughing at how he could barely catch his breath. Lying out on the recently painted deck, Jayson let the sun bath his body; trying to soak up the power of the sun like he would read in the comic books. He so desperately sought some inner peace, he even considered just staying there. This way, the bullies couldn’t get to him and he would stop being a disappointment to his family.

He would stay at the pond and be stronger than anyone ever with the power of the sun to keep him young and alive forever. No one would ever bother him. Ever.

He liked that fantasy. He had to eventually think about how he was getting back, but not yet. Not now. This moment, he was free. No taunting—or being picked on. He could barely hear those boys on the beach as he let their nasty voices drift away. Jayson’s breathing slowed, and for the first time in years, he dozed off unguarded. Truly relaxed.

 

 

 

Mildred sensed all of what Jayson was feeling and felt a twinge of sorrow for the boy; partially wanting to slash the throats of the boys on the beach, partially wanting to scoop Jayson up and rescue him, partially wanting to get the attention of another counselor. All of which were the ‘wants’ in a timeline she didn’t belong to and bound by laws greater than she to let everything stay the course.

It was a severe and punishable crime to change the past because it tampered with the written and locked history of ALL people in the present. The smallest change to one is a change to multiple timelines—multiple people. While Mildred has been known to hold the law in the highest of regards and meted out punishments on behalf of her order—and has given hour long speeches defining the end of time as they knew it if changing past events wasn’t put in check—unless she was able to break the law and make a necessary nudge in this timeline, she would suffer the greatest sorrow of her existence.

Mildred walked between the boys who were pointing and laughing at Jayson from a distance. She scared them almost out of their skin by her silent approach.

What’s with the Halloween costume lady?

She looks weird?

Are you one of the counselors?

She let them redirect their questions at her while she stared across the pond, thinking of the future. How, in a few short minutes, things would be eternally bad for so many people. Why don’t you do something? was always the question put to her at times like these. Then she would lecture the potential futures for tampering with timelines. A lecture she needed to remind herself, but chose to ignore.

This is exactly why the average human would never ever experience time travel. Mildred snorted at the very thought. They’d screw up everything. All anyone needed to do is think wisely and manage the time they had.

Time Mildred did not have at a later date.

The boys grew tired of throwing questions at a silent Mildred. When they attempted to push each other into her failed miserably—like being pushed into a steel wall—they decided to leave her be and walk off the beach before anyone started asking them questions about Jayson.

 

 

Jayson woke with a start, having dreamt something very disturbing. It started wonderful: he was big as a mountain with big, strong arms and he must have made it to professional ranks in hockey because he wore a goalie mask in most of the dream. The disturbing part was instead of a hockey stick, he had a machete and the things he did at the end of that machete woke him out of a sound sleep.

No, that was not him at all. Jayson wouldn’t … couldn’t … hurt anyone.

He looked to the beach and saw that the kids have left him— finally. The only one there was someone in a weird looking hood and cape. Like the ones he saw in the comics or in Life Magazine about monks and monasteries. She must be part of tonight’s entertainment.

The main part was the kids have gone and he felt some-what rested enough to start making the trip back. Taking in a little bit more of the sun, Jayson slipped into the water with a small splash, going under—not coming back up as soon as expected.

 

 

Later that evening …

Mrs. Vorcent was the cook at Camp Krystal Pond every summer. This gave her a chance to be productive for her family and it also giving Jayson, her son, a chance to have a good summer for free. Mrs. Vorcent liked working for the Kristies and above all, she loved her son more than life itself.

Being somewhat of a country gal, she also loved hunting, fishing, target shooting and knife throwing. She was happy to have a boy like Jayson, regardless of some of his setbacks health-wise; teaching him everything she could as long as his strength held out.

She figured she couldn’t afford to mother the poor boy and with great restraint, had to let her son find his way around the bullies and cruelty of the world.

Time was moving on and dinner approached, followed by the usual nightly clean up. By 7pm, although she was busy guiding the functions of the camp cafeteria, her mind drifted back to her son and she started asking around if anyone saw Jayson. She caught up with Jayson’s direct counselors, Mike and Yvonne, who were getting the nightly campfire prepared for another evening of guitar playing merriment.

“Have you seen Jayson anywhere?” Mrs. Vorcent asked. She wasn’t quite worried. It was a camp after all—and maybe he was just out and about with a friend or two. IF he made any friends.

Mike started getting nervous. “He hasn’t been with you?”

Now, Mrs. Vorcent was worried. “What do you mean with me? I work here just like you. Why would he be with me?”

“Well he’s your son.”

“Well you’re his counselors! I’m the cook! Am I asking you to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner?” She suddenly grabbed Mike by the collar with an unexpected amount of strength. “Where the hell is my son?”

From the distance, though extremely faint, a tiny voice could be heard through the gentle summer breezes.

Help … me … mommy!

Mike and Yvonne heard it, too, and they went cold with fear.

“Dear god! Jayson!” Mrs. Vorcent followed the voice of her son, running directly toward the pond.

 

 

She hit the beach, stumbling past the archery and sports cabin. Running on a beach isn’t easy for anyone and often used as a training method to strengthen the legs and thighs, but she ran with the grace of an Olympian while the younger counselors grew tired a few paces back.

“Jayson!” She called out, splashing into the water. The pond this time of the year, after a good rain season, reached about six-feet deep by the deck floating at the center of the pond.

Mrs. Vorcent, at 5’11 and owning a display of swimming trophies in her parlor wall, thought the pond was a good starter for kids like Jayson … provided they stay within range of their counselors. “Where’s my son?!? You were supposed to be watching him! What were you doing?!”

Yvonne finally felt like she did something wrong. “Well, Mike and I … he … wanted to … well, you know?”

“Me? You wanted it too!”

“You were what? What were you two doing when you were supposed to be watching my boy!”

“We went behind the bleachers to … well … I’m sorry, Mrs. Vorcent. Are you going to tell our folks?”

“Jayson!” She screamed out to the Pond, then turned and pointed at the two counselors, gritting her teeth. “Don’t you two go anywhere! If something happened to my Jayson …”

He … he …help … me …

They fell silent to search for the voice, but Mrs. Vorcent knew exactly where to look, splashing deeper into the waters and diving in. “I’m coming baby!” She said tearfully.

Mike looked at Yvonne, frowning. “Just throw me under the bus, why don’t you?”

“Look, we can blame that Black girl we saw earlier. If something happened, we can say she did it.”

“Are you crazy? What Black girl? Where is she now? I never saw her before and there’s no Black people for miles around here. This is New Jersey, for Christ’s sake!”

“I’m not taking the rap for anything that happened to that kid.”

“You’re a stupid bitch and I’m not listening to you anymore.” Mike ran for help, leaving Yvonne back at the beach wondering how she could avoid the backlash soon to follow. Time will simply write her and Mike from history as indirect catalysts.

The real problem started at the center of the pond.

 

 

Mrs. Vorcent could hold her breath for many minutes and swam unsuccessfully poking around the mire of a pitch dark pond fearlessly. She eventually had to come up for air and clung to the side of the floating deck, heaving—staring up at a woman draped in a cape and face hidden in her hood, staring down at her.

“Mrs. Vorcent.” Mildred greeted solemnly.

“Who are you? Where’s my son?”

He … ki … … ki … help! He … he … help! Ma …ma… ma …Mommy!

“Jayson! Where—? Jayson!? Where are you! Don’t you hear him?” She cried. “Help me find my son! Please!”

“I cannot. If I interfere here and now, I will change time as I know it.”

“Time? What time? What are you talking about?”

“The counselors were negligent and allowed your son to die. He was too weak and he perished hours ago.”

“You LIE!” She screamed. “Jayson! You lying BITCH! I can still hear him.”

“You hear the echoes of his screaming soul. Echoes of a soul unrested. Soon to be compounded and strengthened by a mother’s love … and seething vengeance.”

“Ohhh, you got that right,” Mrs. Vorcent nails scratched at the deck, peeling back wood, splintering it with her vicious anger. “Those bastards let my son go out here. He wasn’t a very good swimmer. I’ll make sure everyone pays for what they did to my son.”

“And so,” Mildred stepped back. “The past is as bent as it ever was—with one minor change. Here, keep this.”

Mildred tossed down a gold chain with a gold, half broken heart pendant at the end that read ‘forever’. Mrs. Vorcent picked it up, staring at the pendant in wonder.

“What is this?”

“I will give you advice and in turn, you will give this to your son, Jayson. You will tell him not to kill the person wearing the other half of this pendant. You will make him swear that to you.”

“So my son is still out there. He’s … he’s … still alive!”

Mildred gazed at her balefully. “In a manner.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“In a manner.” Mildred repeated.

“What advice are you going to give me?”

Mildred took another step back and closed her cape around her. “Don’t wear it around your neck. I’m late—and I have one more stop to make.”

With that, she vanished in an engulfing gust of black and gray smoke. A dazzling and ominous display under the Friday the 13th full moon.

Ki … ki … ki …

 

 

Middle …

 

Present Day

Friday 13th …

 

Thomas Kristie, age 89, whom everyone was an old friend of, got off the elevator on the fourth floor of 1616 Montefiore Avenue, looking to his left and right for office 4004. He straightened his $150 tie and let his walking cane proceed ahead of him as he casually eyed the quaint business environment. The only mar in his presence was the ugly scuff stain of a foot print on his expensive leather shoe from an earlier employee on his way out of the office. He would have to remember to fire that person.

This floor had accounting offices, legal affairs and comfortable wall-to-wall cream colored carpeting that practically spelled professional and that was exactly what Thomas Kristie was all about: professionalism.

Casually, he walked to the furthest end of the hall on his left where he saw a maintenance man pushing a manual carpet sweeper. Thomas smiled at the manual labor the man was doing and reflected back to the years when he, too, had a blue collar job. Wouldn’t it be special if he communed with a worker for a change? He thought he would have a go at it.

“Excuse me, young man?” Thomas started. “Keep up the good work. The halls look splendid.”

The maintenance man, with his back to Thomas, turned and nodded. “Why, thank you kind sir. On both accounts, by the way. I haven’t been young for quite some time.”

Seeing the man was of balanced conversation, Thomas smiled and extended a hand. “Thomas Kristie.”

Shaking the man’s hand, the maintenance man scratched his head with surprise. “Thee Thomas Kristie?”

“What if I told you I was?”

“Then I would shake your hand twice! Perhaps some of your money advice and wisdom will rub off on me.”

The two men shared a laugh, shaking hands even more.

“Then allow me to provide the wisdom you already know. Hard work, intense focus and purpose. That is why I am alive today and benefited from my occasional good fortunes.”

“Occasional? Your family has owned all of the most magnificent country clubs and camping grounds across America. You and your family supported saving wildlife and making hundreds of acres national preserves. You support the state parks and your name is on everything. I haven’t even started on you being named Fortune 500’s #2 in the world. If that’s occasional then I need to get in on some of that occasion.”

“You can and you will! Keep doing what you’re doing.”

“Ha! Thank you for your kind words, but you and I both know you did not get where you are by cleaning floors.”

“Do you know how I got my start? With my first camp ground in New Jersey. I bought it back in the mid 50’s for practically nothing. The grounds were a mess. Nobody believed I could make it work. I did all the fixing myself. With these two hands. These bloody, dirty hands—always getting a nail stabbed in them or some sort of splinter. Damn well broke my finger twice one year. But I got it to work. The children came and the rest is history.”

“Amazing. So what brings you down here to the city? Downtown, no less?”

“I’m here to see a Miss Mildred Common, suite 4004.”

“That’s her office right here.” He gestured to an ornate wood sculpted door; certainly out of place for types of offices doors they had in the 21st century. Delicate depictions of bold men and voluptuous women in Boris Vallejo poses. Thomas actually had a few original paintings by the master fantasy artist but he’s never seen work quite like this; not so detailed and amazingly vivid. In fact, looking a little closer, he could almost swear they were …

“I wouldn’t look at that door too long, Mr. Kristie. Bugs your eyes out.” The maintenance man laughed. “Makes you think their moving.”

The door to CommonSense Inc. creaked open next to Thomas, followed by a series of barely audible whispers.

Directly into Thomas Kristie’s mind.

“Come, Mr. Thomas Kristie,” Mildred Common’s voice echoed into his frontal lobe. “Time is expensive with NO return policy.”

 

 

Thomas cautiously stepped into a perfect box. The room was all white with one square of a window on the wall in front of him and above. If it weren’t for slight color variances of white in the corners, the room would look endless on either end; an effect of the room looking wider than it actually was.

To his left, seated on the floor with his legs crossed was a hulking Black man with a baseball cap and a sheathed sword leaning against his shoulder. Massive muscles heaved with his breathing. He wore jeans and a t-shirt with an emblem that read ‘Joke’, crossed out in the center of a circle. “Ah. That’s rich! No Joke.” Thomas smirked.

“Indeed, we are not.” Thomas was in such fear of the man on his left, he failed to see the hooded and caped young woman to his right, also seated in the lotus position against the wall. He honestly didn’t see her when he walked in. Mildred glanced up at him expressionless. “Welcome, Mr. Thomas Kristie.”

“Thank you granting this visit.”

“I granted nothing. Mr. Thomas Kristie, I told you NO three times.” She frowned.

“You look oddly familiar. Have we met before?” He asked, scratching his chin and rubbing his still sore foot against his leg.

“I can assure you we have not.”

“I haven’t even discussed why I needed your services and you continue to tell me no before you hear me out. I’m intrigued.”

“No,” she said gruffly. “What you are is an enormously wealthy individual who hasn’t heard the word no in such a long time, you pursue to set things right personally. That led you to my office where you will be told no, yet again, personally.”

“Never give up. Never. On anything. That’s my motto.”

“I agree. However, it’s one thing to be persistent to surmount your own failings or extend your endurance. But to never give up against someone’s policy is asinine. Even now, I’ll turn you away and you’ll be back tomorrow, correct?”

“Correct.”

“That I cannot allow. Eventually, Nick will kill you and things would be ugly, to say the least.”

“Fine.” Thomas said firmly. “With the threats out of the way, here I am. Let me state my …”

Mildred interrupted. “Mr. Thomas Kristie, why would you waste your breath telling me something I already know. I declined your offer before you told me. Meaning I already know. The moment you thought of involving me, we were connected and I know as much as you do from beginning to end from your perspective alone.”

“Then you know I …”

“Yes.”

“But all the murders …”

“No.”

“Then why are we …?”

“Because of my protégé.”

Thomas was confused beyond belief and lost track of what he wanted to say to this woman. He looked at the man to his left, assuming he was the one she referred to as her protégé.

“No, Mr. Kristie. He is my oldest friend and partner, Nick Sense. Please step aside. My protégé will be entering the office right behind you.”

The door opened just as Thomas side stepped from a young woman entering the office. An attractive young lady with blonde hair, soft features and a body to die for; she carried nothing but an IPod, headphones and wore biker shorts and a top; in physical shape from riding a bicycle from place to place.

“Hello.” She nodded to the visitor, moved around him and sat, legs crossed, against the wall below the window. Without saying much more, she adjusted her headphones to her head and adjusted the volume of her IPod, closing her eyes.

Thomas, still a man regardless of his age, enjoyed the curve of her body and rear end, smirking with thoughts that made him feel a twinge of youth again.

“You’re late.” Mildred said aloud, not looking directly at the Tabitha.

“I know, I’m sorry. I had a flat.”

“Mr. Thomas Kristie, this is my apprentice. The gifted, and often tardy, Ms. Tabitha Banner. Her abilities outweigh her blatantly endless disregard for time in a position where time is essential.”

The pounding of guilt into Tabitha was evident—making her cringe at every word. By the last statement, Tabitha looked at Mildred, cutting her eyes at her whilst speaking to Thomas. “Hello, sir. Should I call you Thomas Kristie or just Mr. Kristie?”

“Thomas Kristie is acceptable.”

“Seems like a mouthful if you ask me.”

Mildred gestured to the elder gentleman. “Mr. Thomas Kristie has traditionally preferred to be called by his full name, unless you are an old friend of the Kristie’s, of which we are not. He has made it a tradition to pass out one half of a gold broken heart pendant to show his loyalty to friendship. If you were to possess the alternate half, you would enjoy the illustrious benefits of being an old friend.”

Thomas Kristie reached into the folds of his shirt, suddenly realizing something was missing. “Oh, my. It’s gone! My pendant. I always wear it. It’s been my lucky charm for years.”

“I’m sure.” Then Mildred pointed a finger squarely at Tabitha. “Begin your lessons.”

Tabitha shut her eyes again, turning on her IPod. With the room deathly silent, Mr. Thomas Kristie could just barely hear the music she was playing, watching Tabitha bob her head to the beat.

Thomas looked very concerned over the misplacement of his pendant. “I have to go back to the office and see if I left it there. God help me if I lost it!”

“You will go back to your office, that I can assure you. But not before we finish here.” Mildred said.

“You must think I’m a stuffy, superstitious old man who doesn’t see past his checkbook, don’t you?” Thomas asked.

“I KNOW you are a stuffy old man whom doesn’t see past his checkbook, Mr. Thomas Kristie. As for your superstitions, I suggest you hold time to them. You and I both know the value of your missing pendant and how fortunate you have been because of it.”

“My dear, it’s crucial. You have no idea.” Thomas looked as if he was suddenly unprotected.

“No,” Mildred said flatly. “I know exactly how crucial it is.”

“Will you take my job or not.” He asked. “I’ll double my offer. Triple it!”

“You never mentioned your offer.”

“You said you knew it already. You’re the witch or something. You tell me.”

“Sorceress is just fine and I prefer to be understood as manipulating other arts. Applying labels with color cheapens the good I can do for you. Natheless, you need to understand timelines. The future of us all is based on how we interact with each other’s timeline. You can walk down the street and smell the perfume of a beautiful woman, turn and engage in a conversation that will start a love affair for the rest of your life. When you study her timeline, you’ll see what brought her to wear that perfume that day or that particular fragrance. If you study your timeline, we can look back to when you were young—a lost love wore a particular flower that reminded you of past love. All of which accumulates to the connectivity of your time right now. With that description alone, no matter what I know, you must speak your mind and let time flow forward. Make it, shall we say, official.”

“What do you mean, time flow forward? For whom?”

Mildred paused, looking to the ground for a moment. “Speak your offer, Mr. Thomas Kristie.”

“I’ll give you sixty-million dollars, in cash, if you can solve my problem.”

Suddenly, Tabitha heard everything clearly—through the loud music. “Holy …! Sixty million?!?”

“Ms. Banner …” Mildred fumed.

“Mildred! We could easily pay off what I owe the school!”

“Tabitha …”

“I’d be out of debt for life! Even if you portioned just a small percentage to me and …”

“Silence!” Mildred flared. Once the room settled back down, Mildred stood in one fluent rise. “You need to hear the facts first before volunteering services. Mr. Thomas Kristie requests us to rid him of the infamous, and most deadly, Jayson Vorcent.”

“Gasp!” Tabitha gasped. “Jayson has been on a murderous spree since the early eighties! They made, like, twelve movies about him and …” then she realized, looking at Thomas Kristie. “Oh, I’m so sorry. You’re thee Thomas Kristie. The murderers took place on your camp grounds.”

“As you strengthen your timeline reading, you’ll have full knowledge of what you need to know,” Mildred reminded, “without resorting to pulling things out of basic memory. Like setting the clock in the evening when you need to be at work on time in the morning!”

“Alright! I’m sorry! But I’m fairly good now with timeline reading. I’ve learned a lot from you.”

“We’ve been together for only six months, Ms. Banner. Fairly good is not enough to stop Jayson Vorcent. Others were sent to handle Jayson. Very talented finishers like Nick and myself. Nevertheless, Jayson always came back. Time and energy have been wasted. While I know Nick would love an opportunity to cross blades with this demon, I simply won’t allow it. Jayson Vorcent is an evil like none other. Second only to Michael Cryers, of course. Fortunately, that one is known to make his appearances around late fall around All Hallow’s Eve.”

“Halloween.” Tabitha grimaced, thinking intently on the money they were about to pass up. Thomas could see it on her face, too. If he wasn’t going to get what he wanted from Mildred …

“You,” he referred to Tabitha. “Ms. Banner. I’ll offer you ten million for the same job.”

“What happened to the sixty?”

Thomas Kristie laughed. “For one, no offense, you’re inexperience.”

Mildred crossed her arms, sighing purposefully loud. “Yes and for two, her involuntary natural greed! I swear, Ms. Banner. I’ve done all I could to stamp out your average human desire for money!”

“You might as well stop because I love money! Come on! Money is GREAT! We all need it. Why else do you collect a fee for your services?”

“The service fee is to prove the validity of the clients’ claims and depth of commitment—or did you forget the test I gave YOU when we first met?”

Tabitha remembered all too well the amount of jewels, gold and trinkets she had to scratch together in order to meet with Mildred. A fee she, ultimately, didn’t have to pay. Tabitha stood closer to Mildred in order to speak to her privately. “He obviously has the money and he’s serious. We can do this.”

“Oh no, Ms. Banner. This timeline is already in effect. It is you who has a choice to do this or not.”

“Why me?”

“Read your timeline and see.”

“You know I can’t.” she frowned, defeated. “You know I’m not strong enough yet.”

“But you are so certain that you can confront Jayson Vorcent on your own.”

“It’s 60 million! We damn well sure can try!”

“It’s 10 million,” Mildred corrected and turned from Tabitha, “and I suggest you get half of it up front.”

While Mildred walked to the still seated Nick, Tabitha approached Thomas Kristie with a world of thoughts running through her head.

“Dear girl, are you truly up for this?” He asked nervously. “I need Jayson stopped once and for all.”

Tabitha looked to him trying to show no expression at all. However, her eyes said she wasn’t sure, her heart said you’re going to get yourself killed and her bank account said feed me.

Somehow, the bank always won. “That’s what we ‘finishers’ do. I’m ready.”

“Very well, when should we start?” Thomas was elated.

Mildred looked over her shoulder at him. “After you answer you phone. Tabitha—to me.”

As Tabitha motioned to her mentor, Thomas Kristie’s cell phone started buzzing in his jacket pocket, just as Mildred said it would.

Mildred was not very happy. But at the same time, it was hard to tell. She rarely smiled. “I will not tell you not to do this. All decisions you make are yours.”

“It’s 60 million dollars!”

“10 million. You’re still in training and only a superior level practitioner of the other arts can confront Jayson Vorcent and survive.”

“What is this?” Tabitha wondered. “Are you worried about me?”

Mildred paused, looking away from her apprentice; grimmer than only a moment ago.

“I have been cold to life and death, Ms. Bann … Tabitha. For a very long, long time. I have never had anyone to train before. Mostly by choice. Except for Nick, I could never bring myself to trust anyone. With you, I …”

“Mill,” she called her. In the eons of work she’s been involved in, Mildred has never worked with anyone so casual. That was the heart of her interest in Tabitha; she reminded Mildred of who she used to be. “Don’t think I take any of this for granted. I’m so psyched about all of the stuff you taught me.”

“Still teaching you, by the way. I’m hoping you will take the hint.”

“What hint?”

Thomas turns off his cellular phone after what seemed to be a grave conversation. His face paled to almost snow. “That was the police. They told me they received disturbing phone calls from my ranch office. Screaming and what sounded like people being hacked. They went to respond to the calls, but the ranch is in full lock down. They can’t get inside.”

“What do you mean full lock down?”

“I prepared the ranch as my fortress against Jayson should he ever find its location. It’s designed to keep him out. Thick doors, windows … everything. Once activated, the ranch won’t open until I personally release the system. Somehow, he got inside and the system has trapped them all with him.”

“Oh, damn!” Tabitha looked at Mildred. “We have to go right now!”

“Thomas Kristie,” Mildred said to them all, “you are taking my apprentice, Tabitha. In essence, you will also be taking me. I say to you, I trust her judgment from this point forward and her voice is mine. The contract you make with Tabitha Banner is the contract you make with CommonSense Incorporated. That said, Tabitha’s fee for services soon to be rendered, success or failure, is sixty million as originally offered. From this point, Tabitha Banner will be your sole contact over all proceedings.” Then she looked squarely at Tabitha; her somewhat flickering hazel colored eyes staring beyond her. “I will not be involved.”

Tabitha stared back at her. Her infantile amount of timeline studying unable to pierce through Mildred’s experienced wall of history and skill. “What do you know?” Tabitha whispered to her master.

“Things I can’t tell you. The fact that you perceive something is why I …” She trailed off again. “Ms. Banner … Tabitha … I chose you to be my apprentice because you are talented. We have a ways to go in your skill. I knew that when we met. More importantly, aside from all of that, I … appreciate you and the person you are. In you … the way you think … I see …”

Tabitha saw Mildred doing a great deal of struggling to craft the words into uncommon sentences she wasn’t use to saying, rescuing her. “Boss—it’ll be the Hobbit up in here. There and back again. I promise you and we’ll have 60 million in the bank. My way of thanking you for taking me on. I won’t fail you.”

Mildred lowered her head. “A beautiful heart you have, Tabitha. I know you will try very hard to succeed. Just understand, I cannot interfere.”

“Well, alright Yoda. I’ll remember my training. Save me it can.”

Mildred’s tender moment passed quickly, shaking her head. “However, I am not in the business of taking chances like you clearly enjoy doing.” Mildred said. “Nick will be accompanying you.”

No one saw it—as it was always hard to see Nick’s expression while he wore his Georgia Bulldog cap so low over his face—but a sinister smirk cracked the corner of his lips.

Tabitha was awash of relief. Bringing Nick with her just raised her chances of success by a considerable margin. She practically slammed into Mildred, giving her a thankful hug.

“Fine, it’s settled then.” Thomas looked stress regardless. “If we leave now, my jet will get us there by—”

“Jet?” Tabitha snapped her fingers in three sections of her body; from top to bottom. Like an unfolding blanket, she produced her own cloak and hood from the air. It draped over her as if she always had it on. Dramatically, she grabbed Thomas by the shoulder. “We got to get there now! Check out one of my newest tricks.”

Mildred blanched. “Tabitha, no!”

It was too late. Tabitha and Thomas Kristie vanished into a ball of grey and red smoke.

“Now why didn’t I see THAT coming. Hmmm …” Mildred stood in the middle of the room thinking. Nick was still in the office with her, looking up from the position he never moved from with no expression. While he never spoke, his eyes casted a thousand words. Intense words that forced Mildred to turn from him.

“I know what I’m doing.”

 

 

 

End …

 

Kristie Corporate Ranch: Third Floor

The only power available in the four acre-squared compound called the Kristie Corporate Ranch, in the hills of Colorado, was enough to keep the six-inch thick metal plates on each of the 113 doors and windows as well as a few sparse emergency lights hanging over stairwells. No elevators, no landline access or a means to open the doors was available to anyone.

Anyone still alive, that is.

An axe was dug into the wall, light fixtures swung above, dislodged from their positions. Walls were blown out as if someone was thrown through them. Everywhere, in what was a neo-country business atmosphere for a billionaire to run his corporation in, was a war zone.

On some floors, blood and body parts would be found littered randomly.

Carelessly.

Tabitha and Thomas’s entrance through the fibers of her sorceress ‘trick’ landed them on the third floor by the cafeteria in an explosion of smoke and a spark of flame. While Tabitha had acquired a stomach for these exits and entrances, first timers tended to suffer what was likened to extreme nausea. It wasn’t every day that the body was ripped apart at the cellular level and reconstituted miles from where it started.

Thomas landed on his knees, hacking and coughing his breakfast and the light snack he ate on the way to Mildred’s office.

“Yeah. Did that to me too the first time. You actually do get accustomed to it after the first four or five times.” Tabitha looked about carefully, extending a hand to summon enough light for her to see. A glowing yellow ball formed at the palm of her hand giving her unobstructed vision of the hallway and double doors to the cafeteria off its hinge. The place looked as if a number of battles took place—and a lot of people lost. She may have seen the movies that replicated the hell of Jayson Vorcent. Now, she was in the middle of a real account and the grip of fear was just as real inside of her.

Calm down! She thought to herself. What made matters worse was when she looked around to make sure her little group was together, she realized she was missing someone. “Oh damn!”

Then, it got worse …

Thomas Kristie stopped vomiting and now he was on his back holding his chest in excruciating pain, gasping for air.

“Mr. Kristie!” Tabitha yelled; her voice bouncing off the walls.

“My heart …”

Short or long distances, teleportation was not for the weak. Certainly not for senior citizens. Tabitha knew of no spells, ricks or even CPR to help this man. She could hear Mildred now. Where’s all that self-assured cockiness you just had?

To be honest, she felt like she left it back at the office with Nick. Here she was, not a minute into her charged duty, and the client was dying in front of her. She hadn’t the experience to realize what this trip would have done to him.

“What can I do?” Tabitha panicked. She wasn’t thinking and brought her spelled hand too close to Thomas and the light almost singed his eyelids and eyebrows.

“Aaarrgggh!” he screamed.

I’m such an ass! Tabitha started to cry, flicking off the light and attempting to open Thomas’s shirt to give him air.

“P … P ….” He coughed.

“What? What do you need? What can I get you?”

“Pi … Pills … pen … dant … Off … off … office.”

“Pills. Got it. Where’s your office?” Naturally, if she was strong enough to read timelines and the life of Thomas Kristie, which was quickly fading, she would know where to find everything he needed.

“Pen … dant. I … I need my … Pendant!” He exclaimed, gripping his chest and breathing erratically.

She wasn’t sure why he wanted that as much as his pills and since he wasn’t helping her find his office, she took matters into her own hands and dug deep to find it herself—the way Mildred would have told her. She could forget trying to clear her mind because that went out the window from the start. She was a bundle of nerves and the best she could do was follow the lessons she was told.

Gradually, Tabitha recited the spells and peered into the other realms where information was in abundance. Details long past, and possibly to come, of very specific timelines were displayed to her like a Google map: zooming in and out at her command. She waved off unnecessary people and features and channeled her vision on Thomas Kristie only, but went too far back on his timeline to when he was born.

Her hands waved in front of her, scrolling an incredibly graphic history of Thomas Kristie to get to the current date of his life but went too far forward. What she was looking at now was Thomas celebrating his 95th birthday in Hawaii and his retirement from the board. That would be six years from now.

He won’t die today.

That was good news for Tabitha who scrolled backwards and checked for Kristie’s movements within the last month and, just as she needed, found his office in the ranch. One floor down and to the left. “Everything is going to be okay, Mr. Kristie. I’ll go to your office and get everything you need. I’ll be right back. Try to breathe and everything is going to be okay. I promise.”

She hadn’t the ability to transport twice in a day. Not recommended even by the most experienced practitioner, so her adventure continued on foot while Mr. Thomas Kristie sat in the dark of his complex feeling the cold of death slowly approaching.

 

 

Kristie Corporate Ranch: Second Floor

Tabitha rushed through the halls with her light to guide her. Scared as she was, she ran like she and Thomas Kristie’s life depended on it; all the while trying to perceive her own timeline to see how this misadventure was really going to turn out. As hard as she tried, she only saw darkness. As if she had no timeline at all.

Mildred said, from day one, that reading her own timeline would be the most difficult because the human mind’s persistence to write its own perception. Once she learned to remove herself from ‘herself’—in short, get cold and emotionless as Mildred—she’ll be able to discern the lives of many and herself.

The problem was she needed that wealth of experience now. If she had just an ounce of any information about what would happen next, Tabitha would have seen the human form lunge at her the moment she burst through Thomas Kristie’s office door.

She had no instincts to defend herself and she was tackled to the ground like a ragdoll. She didn’t have the ability to deflect moving objects from her standing position like Mildred, either.

She had nothing but an axe hanging over head, about to disconnect it from her neck. “Who the hell are you?” Said the man holding axe, wearing a shirt and loosened tie.

Tabitha was in tears and shaking under the man’s weight. “I’m Tabitha. I’m here to help Mr. Kristie. Please get off of me!”

“Christ!” The man stood up and helped Tabitha to her feet, tossing aside the axe. “I almost killed you! I never saw you before. How do you know Thomas Kristie?”

“Who are you?” She asked.

“Jeremy from accounting. What’s with the robe and hood? Is Kristie here?”

Tabitha stepped back from Jeremy and ran for the main desk of the wide office. “He’s here. He came with me so he can open the emergency system. But … but there’s a problem.”

“You can say that again!” Jeremy sucked down a bottle of water, wiping his mouth on his sleeve. “Do you even know what’s going on? Jayson’s in the building and he’s hacking anybody in his way. I swore to god I thought you were him coming through that door.”

“Mr. Kristie is upstairs but he has some sort of heart condition. I’m trying to find his pills and …”

“Bottom drawer to the right.” Jeremy pointed. “We’re all required to know in case we need to get them to him.”

Sure enough, a drawer of six prescribed medicine bottles rested in easy reach. All of them seemed the same, so Tabitha scooped them all up, just in case. In addition, under the bottles, was also a gold pendant with half of a broken heart with the engraved words ‘friends’. “I got everything. Let’s go!”

“Let’s who? You mean you and me?” Jeremy balked. “I’m not going out there! Jayson’ll kill us both!”

Somewhere between knowing why she came here in the first place, her duty to save Mr. Kristie and just never caring for people who were chicken shit, Tabitha found the ability to decrease the fear that was coursing through her and build off the anger she had for Jeremy. “Your boss and my client is upstairs in a bad state. If you want to make sure your next check gets signed, you’d better find the balls to follow me ‘cause only one of us can have a pussy!”

Jeremy decided to take the low road. “Then pass me a tampon. I’m not going anywhere.”

That was enough for Tabitha, channeling her anger to good use and she vanished right in front of him.

 

 

Kristie Corporate Ranch: Third Floor

By the time Tabitha reappeared in front of Thomas Kristie, she was well spent of any energy at all. The teleportation of a human body was taxing alone. Two bodies and a second disappearing act wiped her clean and she fell to the ground …

… Face to face with Jayson Vorcent, finishing the last of Thomas Kristie by hacking off the man’s arms and feet; butchering the man in multiple pieces that bled throughout the floor.

Tabitha dropped the pills and fell backward, speechless and with a loss of every spell and lesson she had learned.

Jayson was huge. Light that had emitted from the cafeteria or emergency stairwells traced the outline of Jayson as he stood, wearing a bloody hockey mask tightly strapped to his bruised, hairless and fleshy head. He said nothing—placing a foot on Thomas Kristie’s dislocated torso to gain leverage to pull his machete out of its position. Blood splattered into Tabitha who gaped at Jayson’s size.

She crawled backwards.

He stepped toward her.

She double timed her pace.

Jayson started running for her, raising his machete up over his head for his next kill. Tabitha crawled, without looking, into a blockade in the hall. A mix of office equipment and metal drawers were in the way, ending her escape as Jayson prepared to add another body to his count.

Tabitha screamed and shielded her eyes, hoping death would be swift.

Nothing.

She opened her eyes, hoping it wasn’t something cruel, like waiting for her to open her eyes to watch the butchering. The only thing she felt was the gold pendant she took from Thomas Kristie’s office softly rocking against her face—held by her hand that was preparing to deflect what was inevitable, but never came.

Jayson lowered his blade arm, staring down at her from behind the mask.

Tabitha was shaking so hard, the ground beneath her was vibrating. Why didn’t he kill me?

Jayson backed from his almost victim, turning from her as if she didn’t exist anymore, walking away and back toward the remains of Thomas Kristie. Tightly wrapped to his wrist, coated with the blood of others, a smeared pendant similar to the one in Tabitha’s hand—the other half of the necklace with the engraved word ‘forever’.

Less in fear for her life, and even though Jayson was walking away from her, the floor was still vibrating. Additionally, the air had a sudden sweet and burnt embers smell that Tabitha knew immediately from where it came.

Jayson stopped jarringly in his place, staring ahead of him with his machete extended in a ready position.

“Nick!” Tabitha cried.

Nick stood from his appeared position in front of Jayson, popping his sword from the scabbard singlehandedly with his thumb on the hilt, displaying his blade and it casted a moment of white, reflected light.

Jayson wasted no more time and bounded at Nick with a force of a nonstop boulder. Nick gripped his sword with one hand, keeping the scabbard in his other and proceeded two slammed into each other—the halls rumbled.

Jayson was much bigger than Nick in size, but Nick was a fearful, stealthy set of muscles upon muscles, with time tested skill and agility. While Jayson swung his blade ham-fisted, Nick dodged and cleaved with purposeful cuts and slices classic of a focused samurai.

But Jayson did not fall.

Neither did Nick. Even when Jayson caught Nick occasionally with a blow to the chest or legs, Nick held his ground and returned the favor with calculated and faster cuts that caused Jayson to stumble.

That was enough for Tabitha to start cheering. “Nick! Kick his ass!”

Blades collided and sparked the dark hall. Both giants pounded on each other relentlessly. Nick grabbed Jayson’s weapon hand and flipped the masked beast over his back and, unfortunately, toward Tabitha. For a moment, time seemed to slow for Tabitha as Jayson’s massive form lifted and slammed toward her.

Tabitha rolled out of the way just as Jayson crashed into the jumble of office supplies that blocked her path, splintering everything under him.

She needed to get out of the way and dodged back to get close to Nick, whom apparently wasn’t finished with Jayson and made a motion to supplement his attack when both he and Tabitha abruptly disappeared.

Jeremy was on his own.

 

 

1616 Montefiore Avenue

Mildred sat cross legged against her side of the floor as she always did when Tabitha and Nick reappeared about a foot off the office floor. Nick knew all about re-entry from teleportation and landed well enough. Tabitha however …

“Ouch!” She yelled, landing on her shoulder.

“It should have been your head.” Mildred harrumphed.

“That wasn’t very nice. I thought you cared about me!” Tabitha rubbed her smarting shoulder; a bruise that planned to last a few days. Compared to what could have happened to her, she would let the hurt arm slide.

As well as the bruised ego. A moment didn’t go by and her thoughts we on Mr. Thomas Kristie. She allowed that man to die and she couldn’t do anything about it. Tabitha fell apart in front of Mildred in a heap of tears. “I’m so sorry.”

Mildred looked at her protégé with infinite compassion. More than she was willing to share. More than she would dare under any normal circumstances.

So she let Tabitha cry on the floor before her; a sorrowful, remorseful weep that needed to flow to expunge the emotions and, more importantly, as a tool of instruction. Tabitha would likely never overstep her inabilities again. A lesson that can only be learned by experience—and realizing how much she wasn’t prepared for.

The stuff that made a better student.

Mildred cared for Tabitha. More than she would ever realize. Tabitha would not have to know what lengths Mildred had to go because she cared for her apprentice. Tabitha didn’t even have to know she was reading Thomas Kristie’s real timeline—the one that he should have enjoyed. All Mildred could do was hope that what she did would go unnoticed by any concerned—because on this day, Mildred broke the law …

 

 

Previously …

 

Camp Krystal Pond

June Friday the 13th 1958

 

“And so,” Mildred stepped back. “The past is as bent as it ever was—with one minor change. Here, keep this.”

Mildred tossed down a gold chain with a gold, half broken heart pendant at the end that read ‘forever’. Mrs. Vorcent picked it up, staring at the pendant in wonder.

“What is this?”

“I will give you advice and in turn, you will give this to your son, Jayson. You will tell him not to kill the person wearing the other half of this pendant. You will make him swear that to you.”

“So my son is still out there. He’s … he’s … still alive!”

Mildred gazed at her balefully. “In a manner.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“In a manner.” Mildred repeated.

“What advice are you going to give me?”

Mildred took another step back and closed her cape around her. “Don’t wear it around your neck. I’m late—and I have one more stop to make.”

 

 

 

Kristie Corporate Ranch – Second Floor

Many hours earlier …

 

Mr. Thomas Kristie retrieved the address to CommonSense Inc.; certain that if he went to the office personally, he would have this Mildred Common see things his way. His problems with Jayson Vorcent were so bothersome; with the wonton deaths of many on his camp grounds worldwide, he was finally ready to do something about it.

With Jayson being a supernatural being, he had to fight him with the same supernatural force. Regardless of the fact that Mildred Common called him before he called her and declined his offer! A very odd and intriguing woman, he made it his business to get into his finest suit and travel there himself.

Before he left, he took his daily heart medicine from the bottom drawer to the right, popping a few pills, grabbed his walking cane and walked out to prepare his private jet.

Bang! The door to his office opened and an employee, a nerdy, spectacle wearing Black woman whose name he couldn’t remember, barged in and stepped directly on his foot.

The pain was immense considering her size, causing him to stoop over in pain, right into her chest which was a lot softer than her foot.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Kristie! I’m so sorry!” She was practically begging for her job without even knowing the end result of this collision. You just don’t step on the toes of the man that pays you.

Thomas fixed himself right, straightening out his jacket. If he wasn’t in a rush to get to see this occult person, he’d have her taken to human resources and have her released from her duties.

“What are you doing here? You need to watch where you are going!” He barked.

“Jeremy told me to bring up these reports you asked for. I’m really sorry Mr. Kristie.” She sobbed.

“No, no. It’s fine. Just fine. Go put it on my desk and be careful next time.”

“Yes, Mr. Kristie. I’m sorry, Mr. Kristie.”

He grunted something and left the office, leaving the woman to put the meaningless papers away on his desk … as well as the gold pendant she maneuvered off of Thomas’s neck when he bent over into her chest. Mildred didn’t have to use her powers for that sleight of hand maneuver. Sometimes, she preferred to go old school and just pick a pocket when the need ever presented itself.

He didn’t even feel her take it off from around his neck.

Placing the gold pendant in the drawer, under the heart medicine, Mildred did something she recognized as her measure of how fearful she was. She studied this timeline backwards and forwards and believed she covered every possible base. If all went well, her apprentice—her friend—will not become a victim.

Anything or anyone else … especially an 89-year-old man, wasn’t of interest to her.

She vanished in a cloud of smoke.

 

 

- The End –

 

 

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About the Author ()

No one special at all. The only gift I have is storytelling.

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