Chapter 34: Prisoner in My Own Body.
I knew that Plum was right about my misgivings, but I also knew that getting me to mistrust Delilah would benefit Plum. I was still very angry about Plum invading my body and attempting to imprison me. Just thinking about it filled me with impotent rage. With her inside of me, I couldn’t punish her without hurting myself. Her voice droned on and on inside my head. She was seemingly oblivious to my growing hatred. Plum’s voice intruded on my murderous thoughts.
“I’m well aware of how angry you are Patricia. What do you want me to say? I would do the same thing all over again. I was not going to let your little friend attack me without exacting a little payback!”
“Which is why I’m not helping you.”
“Aw, you’re so cute. Trying to protect your little buddy. Five minutes after meeting some common whore in a rundown bordello, you think you’ve made a friend for life. Open your eyes darling. People like her don’t have real friends. She’s using you to get to me.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. She knew nothing about you…”
“Until two minutes after you met her. No doubt you told her your whole life story. I don’t even have to read your thoughts to know that darling. You are so very predictable, I always knew what you were feeling before you were even aware of it. Walking around with your heart on your sleeve is going to get you killed. No, I’m not saying your precious little friend is trying to kill you. I wouldn’t put anything else past her though, once she gets what she wants from you.”
Plum had struck a nerve with such precision that my reaction was more reflexive than intentional. A sudden overwhelming urge to block out the sound of her voice, before she said another word, evoked the image in my mind’s eye of a brick wall. All at once, my mind was silent.
I sat up in bed breathing heavily. The idea of being betrayed and abandoned again had dredged up long buried pain. Had Plum been rooting around in my memories? The impotent rage returned with an intensity that left me trembling. She had no right! There were things in my past that I didn’t even allow my mind’s eye to see. Lost in thought, I didn’t notice that Delilah had opened the door and stuck her head in until she spoke.
“What’s wrong Patricia?”
“Huh? I….nothing, I guess I’m just a little freaked out over having someone else inside my head.”
“I know and I’m sorry you have to go through this. I promise we’re gonna get the situation taken care of post-haste. We’ll hit the road first thing in the morning.”
“You mean we’re driving back to Philadelphia?”
“We’re going to have to, there’s too many of us going to get that many plane tickets at this short of a notice.”
“How many people are going?”
“I don’t have an exact number yet. I’m still making calls.”
“Are we talking more than five?”
“Oh, hell yeah!”
“What? Why so many?”
“Think about it Patricia. You and I couldn’t face down an entire coven on our own. We need backup, for even a snowball’s chance in hell of getting in and out of her place alive.”
“You make it sound like we’re heading into some sort of battle.”
“I don’t know about all that Patricia. What I do know, is that they will probably need a little…convincing before they cooperate. We don’t need to worry about that tonight though. Why don’t you lie down and get some sleep?”
“I’m not tired. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sleep again.”
“You need to get some shuteye. I know, I’ll make you some chamomile tea. That always relaxes me.”
I nodded grudgingly, just to get her to leave the room. I needed to process what she had just said, and Plum’s attempts at invading my thoughts was distracting me. Mental exhaustion was weakening my resolve and I could feel the barrier between us beginning to buckle.
Thinking that splashing cold water on my face would revive me, I went across the hall to the bathroom and flipped the switch to the left of the door. The light hit the collar around my neck and the gleam made me stop and stare. I leaned in close to the mirror, trying to see past the shine and make out the shapes etched into its polished surface. Delilah walked past the open door with a mug in her hand. Seeing the guest bedroom empty she turned and saw me in the bathroom.
“What the hell are you doing Patricia!”
“You’re kidding right? What does it look like I’m doing?”
“Get away from that mirror!”
“Ouch, let go of me Delilah!”
“Ok, look I’m sorry. Just stay away from mirrors. I don’t want you looking at that collar.”
“Then maybe you shouldn’t have put it around my neck.”
“I know you think I’m being ridiculous, but we can’t let Plum get a good look at the runes on that collar.”
“You can relax, I’ve blocked her out.”
“Maybe you blocked her out from seeing what you see at this moment, but she can still access your recall of what you’ve seen.”
“Don’t remind me. I think she already rooted around in my memories. Who knows how much ammunition she has on me now? If you would have just forced her out when she first invaded my body, that never would have happened!”
“Oh are we assigning blame? Don’t forget that your interference got you into this mess. Nobody told you to go down to the room alone with Flame.”
“How was I supposed to know that Plum had returned? I was just trying to be nice…”
“Well, you see where that got you. Look, let’s not fight Patricia. I can see that you are exhausted. Come on back in the bedroom. Your tea is getting cold. I’ll reheat it for you.”
“That’s okay, it’s probably still warm.”
I sat on the bed and bolted down the tea, in the hopes that Delilah would go away. Mental exhaustion had my nerves on edge. Delilah held her hand out for the empty mug. In passing it to her, I noticed what looked like traces of a gritty substance in the bottom of the mug. Drowsiness suddenly began leaching away my strength.
“What is this in my mug Delilah? Did you drug me?”
“It’s just a little something to help you sleep. Lay down Patricia.”
“I don’t want to go to sleep! The minute I’m unconscious, Plum will try to take over.”
“Not if you put her in her place.”
“And how am I supposed to do that while I’m unconscious? She’s a witch.”
“In the natural world, she is a skilled sorceress. But anyone can be a sorceress in their dreams Patricia. You’re only limited by your imagination.”
“What does that mean?”
“A minute ago, you said that you had blocked her out of your thoughts. How did you do that?”
“I don’t know. I just sort of envisioned a brick wall between us.”
“Well there you go. In your dreams, all you have to do is concentrate on what you want and it will manifest. You just have to believe. You’re a lot stronger than you think you are Patricia.”