Shadow of Doubt
The room was dark and seemed to be growing even more dismal. The sense she'd felt earlier was beginning to fade. The feeling was like some sort of curious hold on her mind. She couldn't explain it. It was almost as if she had no control of who she was or what she wanted. But now the impression was lessening. She was relieved about that. All she needed to do now was get away of this peculiar house and out of this strange town.
The voice from the mirror called out to her again. Cora Laskey had almost convinced herself that she had been hearing things. Mirrors didn't talk, at least, not in her world.
"Release me!" Her own reflection beaconed her to comply. The only thing she wanted to do was run, run anywhere that was away... just away.
"This isn't real. Reflections don't talk," Cora whispered.
Cora could feel herself frowning but the woman on the other side of the mirror smiled. It was a smile that said ‘trust me'. She found she was far from convinced to do that. An ice shiver ran up her spin as she told herself, once again, she wasn't afraid.
"I am very real, can't you tell? Can't you see? We're sisters of a sort. And in a way, I am you. The you from 1692 who was called Abigail Hobbs.
Cora came closer which was strictly against her better judgement, but it wasn't everyday you saw yourself talking to you. She was amazed at how the mirror reflected her own image, but also the image of the woman inside who was talking to her. The woman seemed to be her exact double.
"How is this possible?" Cora wiped away a bit more of the dust. It was then Abigail revealed her power, even from her virtual prison inside the mirror.
"No more dallying," Abigail insisted. "The box must be opened. I must be free again!"
Abigail's hands flared forward as invisible beams seemed to force Cora's body closer to the box hidden by the cloaking spell.
"There. Right there. Now open it!" The woman's voice had become as turbulent as a wild storm blown up from nowhere. Cora could not resist as Abigail forced her hands into the empty space on the pillar below the mirror. The box opened as soon as she touched it releasing Abigail from her imprisonment. This was good. This was not good at all.
"Thank you very much," Abigail congratulated her. "But now I'm afraid you must be going."
Abigail raised her hands and waved them above her head. Cora suddenly turned from a human into a ball of magical energy. The ball swirled around the room and flew with precision toward the mirror thrusting Cora into the Shadow Realm. Abigail had trapped her.
Cora screamed and pounded on the opposite side of the mirror. She could see Abigail walking around the mansion stretching her arms and reveling in her freedom. With a mere wave of her hand, Abigail's clothing changed from her sackcloth dress circa 1692 into the very outfit Cora was wearing.
"I'm very sorry," Abigail said to her. "But I have things to do, people to kill." She waved at Cora and winked as she exited the house and walked out into the real world.
"NO!" Cora screamed. "Come back! Let me out!" No one could hear her cries. She was trapped inside the mirror.
Morgana LeFay worked in her bell tower laboratory. She had been frozen inside the statue for too many years. She only had one mission. She wanted to perfect the vampire virus anti-toxin and make her son, Mordred, who was now called Lane Larson, love her again. If she freed him from the prison she had put him in, maybe one day he would call her mother. Maybe one day she could in return call him son.
The vampire virus hadn't been hard to create. She had wanted Arthur, now calling himself A.W., to pay for shutting her out of his life. It had been a joke, a folly, something she had conjured in a blinding rage. Morgana had wanted the perfect little utopia he had created to fall. But not at this price, the price of her son's very life. Never did she know the vampire virus would be stolen and used against her own son.
She suspected the culprit to be none other than Jack the Ripper. Jack had been in love with that wisp of a mortal, Violet York in 1888. But Violet, alas, was in love with Lane and he with her. It was a recipe for disaster. She guessed that Jack stole the virus, then injected it into Lane so that once he died, Violet would be free to love only him.
Morgana was sure Jack had been the one to steal the virus. She was as sure of it as she was that Nicholas was the one who had trapped her in the statue to save his precious Ella from the wrath of her evil enchantress ways.
Once the vampire virus was out of Lane's body, she vowed to bring her son back to the side of evil and away from Nicholas's influence.
"I will have my son back, Nicholas," she vowed and promised. "And it will be soon."
A man in a hooded cloak materialized inside the bell tower Morgana had called home for so many years. He was darkness and evil under the robe. Nothing but a black hole resided where his face would be.
"You summoned me, my Queen?"
Morgana was happy to see that some people still respected the old ways and the reign that was so rightly hers.
"Yes, Sark. I want my son's body brought to me. My magic cannot penetrate the de Charme mansion, but I know yours can reach inside its walls."
"Yes, my Queen. My magic can reach inside. But it won't be easy. Lane will know when his body is being transported."
Morgana wasn't worried. "I can bind his astral state to his body temporarily." She consulted her heavy book for an appropriate spell. As she recited the incantation, she felt something in the essence of the Hollow shift more toward the side of evil.
Lane Larson and Nicholas de Charme hovered over the body of Ella. They were worried like they had never been before.
"Now that Jack is here, he is most likely the most powerful being in Hollow Creek."
"I don't care about him, Nick," Lane's astral image shivered in rage and anger. Ella is dying and all you care about is Jack?"
Nicholas's eyes glowed red. "Understand this, Lane. Jack did this to Ella. He is the one responsible, but he is the only one who can save her."
"NO!" Lane shouted. "This can't be happening. He'll never help us heal her."
"He can. And he will. I will see to that. Everyone has a price, even Jack."
All motion ceased as Lane fell to his knees. A yellow energy burst settled over his astral image and remained there. "Something is happening, Nick. I... I.. Can't fight it off. The power is... too strong."
He groaned in pain before his image flickered and then disappeared.
Nicholas knew this day would come sooner or later, he had only hoped it would be much, much later.
He picked up Ella and used his free hand to phone Thornswell. They had to find help for Ella quickly. Time was of the essence.
Katherine Laskey couldn't remember anything. The only thing she knew for sure was that time was running out. Something horrible was going to happen soon. She ran through the hallway of the de Charme mansion and into the foyer. It was coming. Something was coming. Sooner. Sooner than she first thought.
A scalding pain lanced through her body like a fiery, hot poker. Katherine screamed. It felt like her body was ripping apart.
This was it. This was what she had foreseen, an image in her mind she couldn't banish. She had been running away from this moment for as long as she could remember. For six months she had lived in fear. Fear that something was coming. Something horrible.
But it wasn't a person that had come, but instead it was this – this transformation. Everything was much clearer now. Another pain from inside her body dropped her to the floor and she slipped on the waxed parquet, skidding into the wall. Her head made impact causing her to see stars.
Somehow she must have known this day would come. That was why she had left her family, her daughter and son.
Cora's image was a pale reflection in the foyer mirror. She could see her mother. She was only an arms length away, but even that distance was too far.
"MOM!" Cora cried, pounding on the reflective surface of the mirror. "Mom! I'm here. I'm right here. Can't you see me?"
Katherine sat up, turning toward the mirror. "Who's there," she whispered, her voice frought with agony. The pain inside her was only getting worse.
The older woman stood up and stared into the mirror. Suddenly, at the last moment, Katherine remembered everything. She remembered she was the Oracle, the owner of all knowledge good and evil. She remembered her children Cora and David from birth to present day. And she remembered what was now happening to her. She was transforming, becoming a new being. Her old body was too weak to contain all the memories and events that would flood her mind in the future.
Katherine approached the mirror and smiled at her daughter who was only a reflection.
"Everything will be fine, sweetie. This was supposed to happen. It is my destiny."
"Let me out of here, Mom!" Cora couldn't stand seeing her mother in so much pain.
"In the right time, you will be free, my love. Now turn away. I don't want you to witness this."
A white light emanated from inside Katherine's body. It grew brighter and brighter until Cora couldn't watch any more. She shielded her eyes from the light. It seemed hours before the brightness faded.
When Cora was able to see again, she noticed a body on the floor where her mother had been, but there was something different about it.
All around the body was a blackened scorch mark. The clothes she had been wearing were now gone, burned away by the light. There was a strange aura surrounding her. It sparkled with a new energy and little points of light.
Cora gasped, then screamed.
The woman lying there was most definitely her mother, but not the mother who had turned 40 before she disappeared. Instead, she was looking at the mother she had only seen in photos. The woman lying on the foyer floor couldn't have been more than twenty years old.
It was impossible. But it had happened. Her mother had somehow shed her old body like a snake shedding its skin. And now she had been transformed into a girl only a few years older than herself!
The notion was so overwhelming she fainted, passed out in the Shadow Realm.
Coming Next Time