The Contest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: All Star Story Writers

Chapter 32 (v.1) - THE ENGAGEMENT

Submitted: October 11, 2018

Reads: 56

Comments: 2

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Submitted: October 11, 2018

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Surprised to find such a speedy reply from Vilelet waiting in my inbox, I read it with apprehension …

Dear Princess Eemay,

Thank you for your cymail.

Firstly, I would assure you that I fully comply with all laws governing the witchcraft profession, which includes the Humane Rights Act. I am also a member of the Chartered Institute of Witchcraft.

The law states that transformation spells must be temporary, up to a maximum term of five years. However, I note that you require urgent reversal.

Again, I am legally required to provide early reversal spells on request. The cost for the spell will be 3,000 cyber pounds, plus admin costs of 500, making a total of 3,500 plus Super Sorcery Tax at 50%, making a grand total of 5,250, payable in cash.

To enable me to mix the spell, I will need a DNA sample from the animal (a tuft of fur will do nicely). The most popular method for reversal from dog to human is in powder form, sprinkled over the animal’s food. It can take up to 30 minutes for full reversal to take place using this type of spell, so you will need to allow sufficient time.

I look forward to doing business with you.

E Vilelet FCIW.Dip.Cyber Spells

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I read it through several times, feeling relieved to know that, at least, it was reversible, but, I was not prepared to wait five years. Anything could happen to Scott during that time, so I decided there and then, that although she was demanding a huge sum of money for her services, it was a small price to pay to get him back. I was determined to do whatever was needed, and would just have to take out a bank loan to pay for it. At least now I knew I would soon be reunited with Scott, and that was all that mattered.

Despite her reassurances, I remained convinced that duplicating my personal cymail address for her own business purposes, without my knowledge or consent, was against the law, but decided to wait a while before making further enquiries into it. The last thing I wanted was to upset her before I had the spell and, as I would have to involve the Police, Hugh might also get to hear about it, which would ruin my plans for revenge.

“How to get a tuft of fur,” I pondered. My immediate thought was to ask Penny, but then realised she was supposed to be away on holiday, the very reason for Scott’s stay at the Kennels. I’ll think of a way, I told myself, before replying to Vilelet’s message

 

Dear Madam,

Thank you for your prompt reply to my enquiry. I have to say I was not expecting to have to pay such an extortionate fee for a reversal spell, but in the circumstances, I have no alternative.

As soon as I have obtained the required tuft of fur, I will arrange to deliver it personally, and to pay your fee in full.

I will be in touch with you again shortly.

HRH Princess Eemay of Cyberia

--------------------------

I was just about to rummage through my fancy dress box, when there was a knock at my door. After closing the wardrobe, and shutting my lap-tab, I opened the door.

Hugh was standing there with a big grin on his evil face. “Oh come in,” I offered. He then proceeded to wrap his arms around me in a vice like hug. It took a mighty effort on my part, but I threw my arms around his neck, trying my best to resist the urge to choke him.

He stepped back, took my hands in his, and looked deep into my eyes. “Would you like to go out somewhere special for dinner tonight?”

“Oh Hugh, you are so thoughtful, I would love to.”

“Leave it to me, I’ll arrange everything and will meet you tonight at seven thirty.”

“See you later then,” I said, closing the door behind him.

I resumed my search to find something to disguise myself. Pulling out a short blonde wig styled in a bob and a red beret, I seated myself at the dressing table mirror. Scooping up my hair and placing the wig over it, I then positioned the beret at a jaunty angle over the wig, smiling at my reflection with satisfaction. No one could possibly recognise me, I thought, putting both items into a bag, with a small pair of scissors, before setting off for Baskerville Kennels.

Approaching the kennels, I pulled into a secluded lay-by to put on my disguise, and eventually arrived to a chorus of incessant barking.

Making my way up the path, I spotted a young man grappling with three monstrous dogs, dragging him furiously along the ground by their straining leads.

“Can I help you?” he asked breathlessly as he tried, and failed, to control the massive creatures. “I’ll just put them into their kennels and will be straight with you,” he shouted, disappearing at a violent pace, his feet barely touching the ground.

A few moments later he emerged looking completely frazzled. “Now, how can I help you?”

“My friend’s dog is with you at the moment while she’s away on holiday, and she has asked me to drop by to make sure he has settled in,” I explained. “She is a bit over the top really, but I did say I would call in and check on him for her. Her name is Penny and her dog is Sonic.”

“Oh yes, I know the one, I’ll take you over to him.”

I followed him to a compound where about half a dozen dogs were all jumping around barking madly, and spotted Scott in the middle of the mad pack. “Oh there he is,” I said, pointing to him.

“Oh yes, he’s having a great time, bit of a ringleader actually.”

Suddenly thrown into a fit of panic, I wondered how on earth I intended to get a tuft of fur without appearing suspicious, but surprised myself at how quick thinking I had become.

“Oh, I did promise my friend that I would give his coat a brush while I was here. Would that be too much of an inconvenience?”

He looked slightly puzzled but didn’t seem to mind. “Oh, I don’t see why not, his kennel is over there,” he said, pointing to a far block. If you carry on I’ll bring him over to you.”

He walked in with Scott on a lead and I followed them into one of the kennels. “Shall I leave him with you for a while?” he asked.

“If you wouldn’t mind, it won’t take me long.”

Scott immediately started to bark lustily, it was obvious he hadn't recognised me. I stroked his coat and whispered, “Scott, it's me.”

He stopped barking at once, and began to circle excitedly.

“Scott, I can’t go into detail now, but I need to cut off a tuft of your fur for the reversal spell,” I whispered, stooping down by his ear. I took the scissors from my pocket, and quickly snipped some off.

“Are you OK?” I whispered.

He barked twice. His eyes were dull, and he hung his head. I knew he thought I had come to rescue him and his desperate disappointment was obvious. As I ran the brush along his back I tried my best to reassure him. “Look Scott, you will be out of here soon, I promise, but you must bear with me.

I can’t risk taking you with me today, but it won’t be long now.” I kissed the top of his head and left.

“All done,” I said walking towards the young man and handing him back the dog grooming brush.

I felt awful having to leave Scott behind, particularly as he seemed so upset. My eyes welled with tears, but I took consolation from the fact, that at least he was safe from Hugh.

I pulled in again at the lay-by to remove my disguise, and on my way back, called at the bank to withdraw the money I had loaned to pay for the spell.

On my return to the palace, I contacted Vilelet and arranged an appointment for the following morning at eleven o’clock to deliver the tuft of fur. Feeling hugely satisfied that I had completed my task, I glanced at my watch, conscious that I had a dinner date with Hugh.

Making a special effort with my appearance, I went all out to impress him, spending time and effort styling my hair with the help of the latest frizz busting products. With my stubborn frizz turned into glossy curls, and with my skin glowing and my eyes sparkling I felt glamorous and confident. (it’s amazing the difference a bit of clever make-up can make). I changed into a short straight purple dress - an absolute bargain from Cheapfrocks4u.

It was obvious that my efforts had paid off, as Hugh was quite speechless when we met later, and just stared at me with his mouth gaping.

The taxi waited to drive us to the posh restaurant where Hugh had reserved a table, and on our arrival we were welcomed by the Head Chef and Waiter.

“Welcome to Castella Restaurant,” the Chef gushed. “We are delighted to have the pleasure of your company this evening. Rest assured, will do our best to ensure your evening is both enjoyable and memorable.”

He escorted us to a quiet table covered in a crisp white linen tablecloth. Candles flickered seductively, crystal glasses sparkled, and beautiful flower arrangements filled the air with their fragrance. Once seated, we were handed lavish menus. Waiters hovered attentively, pouring iced water into crystal glasses before picking up the carefully folded linen napkins from the table, shaking them out dramatically and carefully placing them across our laps.

“This is wonderful,” I said, genuinely impressed.

“I wanted tonight to be special, as I have something to ask you.”

“Oh, and what might that be?” I enquired, smiling broadly and fluttering my eyelashes.

He was trying his best to be all seductive and mysterious. “Later darling, after we have eaten.”

As Hugh was paying, I deliberately selected the most expensive food I could find on the menu!

Determined to make him wait, I deliberately ate really, really slowly. After finally finishing the goat’s cheese and red onion starter, I then slowly waded through the main course of tiger prawn risotto with lobster sauce, pausing for long intervals to chat to the waiters and take numerous unnecessary visits to the ladies loo. As I was now beginning to feel quite full, I took extra time reading through the dessert menu, asking waiters for their recommendations and making lengthy enquiries into the ingredients. In the end I ordered toffee fudge bananas, slowly savouring every sweet, sticky mouthful.

Hugh on the other hand, barely touched his food. He appeared excited, but also edgy. I noticed he had developed a nervous twitch under one eye, which he touched self-consciously.

Getting ever more agitated as the evening progressed, he became quite desperate when, after finishing my enormous pudding, I then ordered cheese and biscuits. By now I had eaten so much I felt ready to explode, but the effect it was having on him, was worth it.

Just as our waiter was about to serve coffee, his patience ran out. He bent down on one knee, fiddled around in his pocket and pulled out a tiny box, which he opened to reveal a sparkling Rubal ring, a trendy hybrid pink stone, made from tiny blended fragments of rubies and opals.

“Eemay, will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?”

“Oh Hugh, I thought you’d never ask. Of course I will.”

With trembling hands he took out the engagement ring and shakily tried to place it on my finger. Everyone in the restaurant had their eyes fastened on him, increasing his agitation further. In the end I took the ring from him, and let it slide over my finger. The restaurant erupted into applause, waiters hovered with glasses of champagne, and Hugh face broke into a nervous, twitchy grin.

We finally left the restaurant just after midnight. Harry was waiting and we jumped into the car.

“Harry, allow me to introduce you to my future wife,” Hugh said proudly. I obediently lifted my hand to show him the glittering Rubal ring.

“Congratulations, I am so happy for you both.”

“Eemay, you have made me the happiest man in the world and tomorrow I will ask your father for your hand in marriage.”

When we returned, I thanked him for a fabulous evening, and mounted the stairs two at a time. I could not get away from him quick enough.

Curled up contentedly in my bed, I felt satisfied that events were unfolding exactly as I had planned.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Hugh could not settle. Although Eemay had agreed to be his wife, he still felt disturbed and was now obsessed with the wedding. His need to own and control her overtook his mind, until he could think of nothing else. He needed to see the King first thing in the morning to get the wedding plans put in place as soon as possible, but the nagging doubt that he might object, now began to torment him further.

He tried to sleep but his mind raced. He was physically tired and mentally drained, but could not rest and paced his room anxiously. He had got what he so desperately wanted, but still could not find peace of mind.

With Scott disposed of he had, at first, felt a great sense of relief, but his anxiety had soon returned, taking over his thoughts and tormenting his mind. This is not like me, what on earth is happening?

He suddenly remembered Eemay’s words during their journey back from the Charity Lunch. Those who have witnessed the Corridor of Fear are never the same again.

No, he cried out in wild defiance. I can and will fight it!



© Copyright 2020 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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