A Familiar Experience: A DarkRealms Tale
(Twelve hours later)
Katherine sat in the kitchen chair, refusing to say anything. She just looked at the floor. She was surrounded by two FBI agents, Seargent James King, Mrs. White, Mrs. Conover and Miss Davis from the coven, her sister Debra and niece Laura, who stood with her cat, Mystic in her arms.
“Katherine, you have to reverse your spell. Taylor is not a toy for your amusement! It is forbidden to use Black Magic, let alone changing a sentient being’s physical form!” Mrs. White was quite angry. “Do not force me to use the coven’s magic to get that information. It would be foolishly dangerous for you, but we will get that spell from you.”
“NO, Katherine!” Debra protested, her eyes filled with tears. “That could damage your mind! Please, honey, tell them what they need to know!”
Laura thought that perhaps they were going about this the wrong way. She squatted in front of Katherine and looked her in the eyes. “Aunt Kathy, your gift to me was wonderful, and I love you very much. I also love Mystic, and I don’t think she ever did anything to be punished like this, do you? Please, Aunt Kathy?”
Katherine looked into Laura’s eyes and stroked her hair. “I never meant to hurt anyone, honest, I didn’t!” She looked guiltily at Debra. “I guess I’ve done it again, huh, Debbie?”
“You aren’t a mean person, Kathy, you just don’t think, sometimes. Please, Sis, give us the spell to turn Mystic back into the man she’s supposed to be?”
“I...I’m not sure I know how to do it, and I’m afraid I’ll hurt Laura. I’ll tell you everything I know, and maybe we can do it? I’m really, really sorry, Mrs. White, I am! Please, help me fix this?”
The angry eyes of Mrs. White softened. “Child, it’s as much my fault as yours. We’ve known that you have ‘issues’, and we have done nothing but complain and turn our backs to you. Of course I’ll try to help fix it, but afterwards, you know what we’ll have to do to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.
It’s just become too much, Katherine. The only other transformee we know of was the abusive husband of that teacher, and he has since passed away. Were there any others, Kathy?
“No,” Katherine said quietly. “That man was evil, and he had to be stopped. He was already a pig, I just made his outside look like his insides.”
“She didn’t kill him, of course.” Agent Bowen told James. “The bastard was a thief, murderer and con man, a gentleman on the outside, but a soul as dark as the Devil’s heart. He also had a liver that was eaten up, and was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died of natural causes, and the sickly body was destroyed. Until we discovered this, he was a wanted felon. Hard way to go, but I wouldn’t shed any tears for him.”
“Still, she had no right to do what she did,” Mrs. Conover, a coven member said, angrily.
“I think we can easily argue that she has reduced capacity, Ma’am. I agree she was wrong, but remember, he was in the process of assaulting his wife, very likely with the intent to murder. She didn’t try to kill him, just...stop him.”
Meanwhile, Katherine, Mrs. White and several of the ladies of the coven did what they could to analyze the spell. Katherine told them the spell she had used, and the way she had added to it to get the results she wanted. One of the ladies hypnotized her to help her remember more of the details of the spell.
“If only she could understand the consequences!” Mrs. White told Debra. “She is a genius at creating these spells, so much so that we don’t know the full process needed to reverse it. We’ll have to be very careful, for Taylor’s sake. I don’t want to put him in a worse position!”
“But we can reverse it, right?” Debra asked. “Will it be safe for both of them?”
“That’s the real question, of course. The problem is the modifiers she used. Normally, as you know, the modifiers are arranged so that they are easily nullified. Unfortunately, Katherine not only didn’t use conventional modifiers, she altered them so that reversing them is worse than untangling a ten foot tall knot! There are no visible ‘strings’ to chase down, only the thought processes of a flawed genius. It is frightening to think of what we could do to Mystic and Laura, just by missing one part of what she’s done!”
“There’s no sure way to reverse this, is there?” Laura asked. “What do you think will happen?”
“It’s up to you and Mystic, I think.” Debra said. “It’s a very hard decision, and a horrible, horrible risk.”
Mystic sat on the porch, thinking about her life. She was very frightened and when Laura came to sit with her, she quickly jumped into her lap.
* Laura, I’m scared, I don’t want to die. What if something goes wrong, will it affect you? How linked are we? I wish I could just be sure that everything would be all right.*
*Sorry, love, we have to decide with our hearts.* Laura thought at her, tears running down her face. *I want to be selfish and just stay the way we are. But I also want so badly to be with my true love, to have your children, to live the rest of my life with you.*
*You will always be the most wonderful thing to come into my life. I’ve been thinking heavily about it, and something inside me says I have to try this, love.*
*I-I know. I’m so scared, but I feel it, too, sweetheart. No matter what, I love you and I always will. Let’s go tell them our decision.*
Laura carried Mystic into the kitchen. “We’ve decided, and we’d like to do it, now, please.”
Mrs. White cleared her throat, nervously. “All right. Please, Mystic, stand over here. Forgive me, dears, this could be painful.”
She looked at Laura, but she just nodded, saying nothing. Mrs. White began her spell.
Mystic began to change. The fur disappeared, and she quickly grew in size. There was only a few moans, and Laura, her eyes shut in anticipation of pain, only quietly moaned as well.
There was an odd noise from both of them, and Taylor changed into a more obviously human shape, much to Laura’s happy relief. She ran to the living room and brought back a blanket to cover the lean but healthy looking young man. They looked into each other’s eyes, and she looked away, shyly smiling. He reached for her chin, lifted her lips to his and they kissed. She looked at him with a smile, then threw her arms around him happily and kissed him again.
“Uhm, Laura dear, I’m very sorry, I do love you, but I’m very, very hungry right now, dear. Painfully hungry!”
“We’re ready for you, Taylor.” Debra said. “I’ve got several pizza’s ready for you.”
Katherine, Mrs. White and the members of her cousin smiled and James brought out some sweatpants and a tee shirt. He threw them at the happy couple. Once Taylor had eaten several slices of pizza, he slid the pants on under the blanket, then he and Laura stood and he put on the slightly oversized T-shirt before reaching for more pizza
Eventually, the young couple walked over to James, and Taylor shook his hand.
“Thank you, Jamie,” Taylor said. “It’s so good to see you again. I’d like you to meet my fiancée, Laura Martin. This is Private Jamie King, a very good friend of mine.”
Laura smiled and curtseyed. “Hello, Mr. King, it’s a very great pleasure to meet you!”
James had a charming but mischievous grin as he bowed. “Why, thank you, Ms. Martin, it’s a very great pleasure to know you! Taylor, I’m a Seargent, now, thanks to your parents. You really should call them, sport, they’ve grown a bit lonely for your ugly mug, only God knows why. Give ‘em a ring, once in a while, won’t you?”
“I shall, I shall. Say, I seem to have misplaced my cell somewhere, you wouldn’t happen to have any idea where it could be?”
“You know, I just happen to have come across one quite similar to yours recently, perhaps you may be able to identify it? I’ve charged it completely, on the odd chance that I might run into the owner. Give it a go, then!”
“Good Lord, Jamie, is there anything you can’t find?” He smiled, then took a picture of Laura. “I’ve got to show them the great gal I’m going to marry.” He sent the picture, and then called them. James listened in, and prayed it went well.
“Mum?” He asked. “Yes, Mum. Yes, I’ve missed you, too. How much did Jamie tell you? Yes, a cat, honestly, Mum. Did you get the picture I sent? Yes, she’s very pretty. Her name is Laura, Mum, she’s my fiancée. What? Yes, I’m sure she’d love to. We’ll have to arrange her passport and such. Yes, Mum. Yes, as soon as possible. I don’t know, mum, I’ll have to do some checking, I’m a little out of date right now. Yes, I’ll call as soon as we have some idea of when, all right? I love you, too. Bye, Mum, I’ll talk to you soon.”
“Jamie, how much time do you have until you have to go back to work?”
“I’m not sure, Taylor. I’ve only just started my new job. I’m still learning my new responsibilities. Did your Mum ask for me?”
“No, she never mentioned you. Hey, are you working with her now?”
“Me, working with your Mum? I really can’t say, mate.” Jamie winked.
“Ah, it’s that big bloody secret. Well, the next time you talk to your superior, ask her if you have time to be my best man.” Taylor said with a smile.
Laura walked over to them. “You’re planning the wedding, without me?”
“No, my love, just trying to make sure someone is available. I suspect I know his Superior Officers quite well.”
“Oh, I understand. How did it go with your Mom?”
“Actually, quite splendidly. How would you like to go to England as a honeymoon?”
Laura was a little surprised by the question, but when she thought about it, she found she was very pleased by the idea. “Yes, dear, I’d be very happy to visit England, it sounds wonderful. I think it would be perfect.”
“My parents would really like to meet you, and I told them a little about you.”
“You know I’m a little young to get married in his country, right?”
“You’re over sixteen, so if you have your mother’s permission, it would be all right.”
“That’s right,” Debra said with a smile. “And you definitely have my permission, dear.”
Taylor got down on his knee. “Laura, you know how much I love you. I can never lie to you, because we can see each other’s souls. I am beyond merely in love, dear, you are my life. Please sweetheart, be my wife?”
She knew it was true. If love was a light, Taylor was the sun, shining down on her alone. More importantly, she loved him just as much, and there was never a doubt in her mind.
“Yes, Taylor, more than anything in the world, I want to be your wife.”
“Laura, I am officially one of the happiest men in the world. What kind of wedding do you want, sweetheart?”
Laura smiled. “The fastest kind there is, my love. I think we have time to get to the office to get our license, and then we have three days, unless we go to Las Vegas, and then we could get married tonight, I believe.”
“As tempting as the Vegas idea is, I think the first option would be fine. Let’s get our license, and get things started.”
Back in the kitchen, Katherine faced her fate.
“I hate to do this, Katherine, but you’ve proven you are too irresponsible to be allowed to use your magic.” Mrs. White said. “The rules are quite clear; those who use black magic are to be punished severely. I’m aware of your issues, dear, but I cannot allow that to be an excuse any longer.”
“I will accept whatever the coven demands,” Katherine said quietly.
“Our decision is this. Your magic will be bound, and you will be rendered powerless. Your sister Debra has accepted responsibility for you until we can help you become independent once more.”
The entire coven surrounded her, and after a few minutes the spell was cast, and Katherine was rendered powerless.
“Does this satisfy you, gentlemen? She will never again have the ability to use magic in any capacity. She will be on house arrest for the next two years, and will wear the monitoring device for that time. The coven accepts it's part in the responsibility for this situation, and will provide the funds to hire a tutor to help prepare her for a normal life.”
One of the men stood, “We accept this punishment, and the suggestions of the coven to help Katherine into a stable life. We will monitor the situation in the future. It’s entirely possible that there are resources available that we can help with, and we’ll be in touch. I believe that takes care of everything for now, so we will say farewell, for now, and thank you, ladies, for your cooperation."
The two agents walked out o their car and drove off. Debra was quite surprised. “So that’s it? No arrest, no lawyers?”
Mrs. White smiled. “Debra, under what law is transformation into a cat illegal? Would that be a State or Federal law?”
“But, surely there is something...”
“No dear. Can you imagine the trial for something like that? Or what the media would say? No, there will be no publicity in this case, and no prison time for anyone.”
“But what of Katherine’s accomplice, the Professor?”
“According to her, she was intimidated by Katherine, and felt she had to do as she was told. She has been reprimanded by her employer, and has returned to her work.”
“So, we return to our normal lives?”
“Well, you will have to deal with Katherine’s challenges, but that’s nothing new for you, is it? Then you will need to deal with Laura and Taylor’s situation, and the wedding to come.”
“And now I can put away that cat pan!”
They laughed, and drank some more tea.
Laura and Taylor were outside, walking together, hand in hand. It was quite romantic.
“Tay, honey, you haven’t even started looking for a job yet, how can we consider an apartment? Seriously, love, I know we have to make some plans, and we can’t stay with my Mom for very long, but you need to be realistic.”
“Laura, I’ve never mentioned it, but my parents are very comfortable, and I have a considerable trust fund that becomes mine when I turn 21.”
“But didn’t we have a party for your birthday just a few weeks ago?”
“You know, I do believe you’re correct!” He said, and then laughed as she elbowed him.
“Smartass!” she laughed. “So you’re telling me that you’re loaded?”
“Yes, m’love, I am a charter member of the so-called “idle rich.” I have never been one to enjoy that lifestyle, though, so I have studied to become a geologist. As I’ve told you before, I came here to study under Professor Bernacci, a world famous vulcanologist. She’s the one who sent me to meet Katherine, which got all of this started.”
He stopped and turned to her. “You know, I don’t know if I should be angry or thankful. Without her, we would have never met, and my life would still be bland, boring and unfulfilled. Meeting you was the best thing to ever happen to me, and I don’t regret one minute of my time as Mystic. You are the most amazing, beautiful, wonderful woman in the world. I should get on my knees and thank her for this wondrous gift.”
“You are such a romantic, Tay, and I love it so much!” She kissed him and the look in her eyes gave him a thrill, knowing that this beautiful girl loved him. “Please, don’t ever change.”
“Well, I...oh, wow, that feels odd!” He suddenly shivered.
“What is it, Taylor?”
“My-my body suddenly hurts, like a huge cramp...Aaahhh!” he screamed and fell to his knees.
“Oh, my Goddess! Taylor!” She shrieked as he rolled into a fetal position. It felt like every bone in his body was suddenly, and painfully twisting out of shape, the muscles squeezing together in an incredibly intense spasm. If it hadn’t been so dark, she would have noticed that he was getting smaller, and when she finally did see it, she could tell what was happening, he was reverting to his cat form! “No, please, Taylor!”
Their screams brought everyone out to help. Mrs. White had never seen anything like it...No, wait, she had!
It was Kate Davis that commented first. “By the Goddess, he’s a Were!”
The transformation continued to have it’s way with the young man’s body, and soon a familiar black cat was curling it’s way into Laura’s arms.
“Now what do we do?” She asked, tears of frustration running over her cheeks. Debra smiled.
“It’s not the same thing,” her Mother told her. “Mystic isn’t trapped this way. Taylor’s a were-cat, sweetheart.”
Mrs. White examined him. “Umm, that’s very strange.”
“What is?” Laura asked, worried.
“Mystic is female.” She said, and gave her a puzzled look. “That isn’t possible.”
*Why not? I was female before, what’s so special now?* Mystic said sarcasically in Laura’s mind, which she relayed to her Mother and Mrs. White.
“Well, the first strange thing is that you’re a Lesser Were in the first place!” Debra said.
“But even stranger is the gender change.” The older witch mused. “I’m very curious to see if she’s still female when she changes again.”
*You mean, I can change back? What do I do?*
*Hold on,* Laura said, as she relaxed and stroked the familiar body. *You’ve just made a major transformation. From what I know, you’re going to need food, and maybe a little rest before you change back.*
*I’ll admit, I am quite hungry. Anyone for more pizza?*
In this smaller form, Mystic was only able to get through one large slice of pizza, and then, belly full, she crawled into Laura’s arms, curled up and fell asleep. Laura lay back and relaxed on the sofa, and was soon napping comfortably as well.
By the time she woke, only Katherine, Mrs. White and her mother remained. Mystic was in her favorite spot, on the kitchen table, being stroked by the three women.
“I should have known, you spoiled thing.” Laura said, smiling as she walked into the kitchen. “Always the center of attention, at all times.”
*I love you, too, Darling. We’ve been waiting for you, sleepy-head. Mrs. White has explained that all I need to do is concentrate, and I should be able to change back, so here goes.*
“I told her how to change, but I think she wanted you to be there.” Mrs. White told her.
Out of politeness, Laura said nothing, but merely stood patiently. Slowly at first, Mystic changed once again into the nude form of Taylor. Debra had a blanket and his sweat suit ready, and he quickly changed.
“Much better,” he said. He sat down in a chair, and Laura cuddled up to him in his lap. “Hmmm. I can see why you like this so much. It’s very comfortable,” she said, to the laughter of the other ladies.
“Oh, so many things I could say, my love.” He said, thinking of some inappropriate phrases that came to mind.
Laura looked at him, mischief shining in nher eyes. “Oh Yeah? What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?”
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