Chapter 39: Plum Drives a Hard Bargain.
“Plum, now that you’ve found yourself a new host body, what do we do now?”
“Now we wait for Delilah and her crew. Obviously, the tracking spell they cast is weak. Otherwise, they would have caught up to us by now. If we sit tight, then they’ll find us eventually.”
“Are you joking? I didn’t do all that running to just give up!”
“We’re not giving up. We’re rejoining the group.”
“Oh, we’re rejoining the group…now that makes sense. Thanks for clearing that up,” I said sarcastically.
“We need to go back to my house with them. It’s the best way to watch my coven in action and ferret out any weak links.”
“Let me get this straight. You want me to roll the dice on my life by allowing those lunatics to inject me with Propofol, so you can see how your coven handles itself under attack?”
“It’s more than that Patricia. I think someone is using the people in my inner circle to attack me or somebody in the group is trying to take my place. I need to know if there’s a weasel in the henhouse…so to speak.”
“Why am I taking all the risks? What’s in it for me?”
“Ooh, look at you finally standing up for yourself. Alright, what do you want?”
“Teach me everything you know about magic.”
“That would take a lifetime dearie. How about I teach you enough to protect yourself?”
“Ok, you’ve got a deal. Now, help me take off this stupid collar. It’s beginning chafe my neck.”
“Sorry sweetie, no can do. We need them to believe I’m still trapped inside your body. That way, we can catch them off guard. Don’t worry, they’ll be here before you know it. Then, you’ll be in such a deep sleep that you won’t feel a thing. Sit tight while I grab some cash. I’ve just found Ross’ memory of the combination to the safe.”
I felt an involuntary shudder, suddenly reminded of what it felt like to have Plum rooting around in my brain. It was a relief not to have to shield my thoughts from her anymore.
On the other hand, when we shared a body and she was in my head, I could easily sense whether or not Plum was being honest. She hadn’t exactly proven herself trustworthy. I was startled out of these ruminations by the sound of crashing. Fearing some attack, I ran to Ross’ office and found Plum tearing it apart.
“All of the money I gave him for safekeeping is gone! That greedy bastard cleaned out the safe! No wonder he was acting so weird.”
“So, why are you digging through his files? Do you think he stashed cash in there?”
“No silly, I’m looking for clues as to who put him up to it. He would never have the balls to do something like this, without a psychic nudge from someone. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything and we’re running out of time.”
“Out of time for what?”
“We have got to get you back in that chair before the others get here.”
“I’m not getting back in that chair Plum.”
“Of course you are. How else would we convince them that you were captured?”
“Can’t you just tie me up or something?”
“With what sweetie? We have no rope and those idiots will be here any second now.”
“I don’t know, can’t you conjure up a rope? You’ve got your powers back right?”
“That shows how little you know about magic. All spells, no matter how trivial, exact a cost from the spell caster.”
“What do you mean?”
“It takes energy to manifest something out of thin air. What happens if I squander energy making a rope and then they attack us?”
“Won’t you have to expend just as much energy binding me to that chair?”
“No, there should be enough residual magic inside the pentagram, from the previous binding spell. A small spark from me will reactivate the spell. Now come on, chop, chop sweetie. We haven’t got all day. Get your ass back in that chair.”
Against my better judgement, I used the restroom and then got back in the chair. I was a nervous wreck. Delilah was good at reading people. What if she took one look at Plum flouncing around in that man’s body and saw right through our little scheme? I was a sitting duck trapped in the chair.
Plum’s unmistakably feminine way of talking coming out of the face of a pudgy little man was comical. Watching the seductive roll of his chunky hips when she made him walk was even funnier. Delilah and her crew would instantly suspect that something wasn’t right.
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this Plum. They’re not going to take you seriously flouncing around in that body.”
“Good, I want them to underestimate me. Don’t look at me like that darling, I will butch it up when they get here. Stop worrying so much or you’ll get wrinkles.”
We didn’t have much longer to wait. Delilah and two of her dancers rang the doorbell. Plum showed them in, doing an impressive imitation of Ross. The sound of Delilah’s voice started my heart galloping painfully. I could hear enough of what she said to glean that she was pretending to be a concerned friend and portraying me as a mentally unstable.
They walked in and the trio paused respectfully, just inside the door. Plum walked across to the opposite side of the room, placing me in the middle of the group. Delilah and I looked at one another. Her anger was palpable, but she smiled sweetly at Plum and thanked her for keeping me safe. Plum played along, doing an admirable job of mimicking Ross’ mild-mannered behavior.
Delilah started walking towards me, “I apologize for any inconvenience Patricia may have caused you. We’ll just take her and get out of your hair.”
“Not so fast, I think I deserve some…compensation for taking in your friend.”
“What did you have in mind,” said Delilah coyly.
“Two thousand dollars ought to do it,” Plum said blandly.
“Two thousand…dollars? I don’t have that kind of money on me.”
“There’s an ATM at the convenience store on the corner. We’ll be right here, when you get back.”
Delilah’s anger flared like a struck match. She exchange looks with her purple haired dancer and the woman suddenly raised her hands and lobbed an attack at Plum. It happened so fast, I didn’t have time to react or warn her. Imagine my surprise, when the spell rebounded and knocked her out. Plum’s laughter came out of Ross as a guffaw.
“Silly rabbits, didn’t anyone ever tell you that weak magic can’t cross a magic circle?”
“Are you a warlock,” asked Delilah in disbelief.
“Something like that. The question is, are you really witches?”
“If you’re looking for a pissing contest, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I haven’t got time to play games with you.”
“Oh, I’m dead serious. You’re not going to just walk in here and take Patricia.”
“We’ll see about that.”
Delilah looked at her other dancer and jerked her head in my direction. Plum’s warning fell on deaf ears. The dancer stepped onto the carpet and inside the pentagram chalked onto the floor underneath. One activating word from Plum and the woman’s feet were held fast to the floor.
“Why do you keep trying to cheat me?”
Plum advanced on her. Delilah raised her hands submissively, backing away. All at once, she turned and bolted for the front door. Plum grinned at me.
I wondered why she was letting Delilah get away. The woman could be going to get backup. I was about to ask the question when a deep growl sounded in the hallway. Beastie backed Delilah into the living room. She seemed to be hypnotized by it’s eyes.
“Okay…okay, let’s make a deal. Come with me I’ll get you your money and then some.”
“Come with you where?”
“To the home of a very powerful witch.”
“I’m intrigued, tell me more.”
“We just met. Allow a girl to preserve some of the mystery,” said Delilah suddenly coy again.