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  • The Oracle

Love, Death, and Chocolate

*The following post has strong language and scary images. Reader discretion is advised.*


Summer in Calgary

It is a hot summer night in Calgary, Alberta. The sun sets low with the pinks, yellows, and purples blending in the sky. A little boy named Luke Kellogg is playing outside in the beautifully manicured yet safely fenced-in backyard of his parent’s house. His mother, Cathy watches him from her kitchen window. She lets out a smile, seeing him play with the brand-new drone he got for his birthday.


He is so entranced by the toy that he didn’t pay much notice to the bushes behind him. He hears them shaking but Luke doesn’t think anything of it. It’s usually the neighbor’s beagle. “Ramus!” He calls.


He thinks that “Ramus” is a weird name for a dog but loves playing with him. This dog must be with him on his new adventure. “Ramus! Come here!” He calls as he moves closer to the bushes.

His mother moves away from the window to pick up her buzzing cellphone. “Hi Mindy!” She says and continues her conversation with her mother-in-law. “Luke just loves his drone. He’s outside playing with it right now…”


She interrupts herself when she looks outside to see Luke is gone. His drone and the remote are abandoned.


*****


The police station is all abuzz with phones ringing, people shouting, and faxes coming in. Alan Drummond sits at his desk reading one of the faxes. He is one of the lead detectives in the kidnappings that has been happening in the city. Two kids have being taken and there is no clue what-so-ever as to where they are which is very strange. Alan has been told more than once that he is a brilliant detective but tonight, he sure didn’t feel like it.


This way

“Alan.” Spencer Crick says as he walks towards his desk. “Here is the Lane file you wanted.”

“Thanks Doc.” Alan says. Spencer runs a hand through his straight cut reddish-blond hair. His big blue bespectacled eyes see his friend pour over a pile of files and faxes. Spencer has known Alan for a long time and he often worries about him.


“Please tell me you have some good news.” Alan moans and rubs his tired eyes.


“What? Like my husband’s new business account?” Spencer smiles and lights up with pride.


Alan chuckles at him and says, “No but that is good news. I’m talking about our case here.”


“You’re still pouring over the Sarah Keyman file?” Spencer asks.


Sarah Keyman is a five-year-old girl who has been missing for two months. Her parents put her to bed and when they go into her room the next morning to wake her up, she was gone. She was taken from her bed (by Alan’s guess) around 3:00 AM. Her parents say that she’s a sound sleeper and doesn’t even get up in the middle of the night. There were no fingerprints, no sign of any kind of assault, or any kind of clue that would lead them anywhere. The only clue they have is that her window was closed that night but that morning it was open. A sure sign of kidnapping.


“I’m stumped Doc.” Alan says, shaking his head. “What are we going to do?"


“I’m not sure. There are no leads and no suspects.” Spencer pauses as he sits his long, lanky body on the edge of Alan’s desk before he continues. “What about your …”


Sarah Keyman's Vacant Bed

“Mind-reading abilities?” Alan whispers carefully, so no one else would hear.


“Yeah.” Spencer says, “That’s how you found out the Keyman parents weren’t the culprits.”


“That’s the beauty of my abilities. It’s easy to spot the liars and they weren’t lying.” Alan says putting down the fax he was reading. “But it wasn’t just that. There’s evidence that proved they weren’t the culprits. Forensics proved that they were in their beds all night. We searched the whole house for any kind of evidence that she was taken by one of them including computers, phones, and there was nothing.”


“But it was your abilities that helped us find that evidence. I think we can do this again.” Spencer says pointing a long finger at him to make a point. Suddenly, the phone on Alan’s desk rings.


“Kidnapping.” Alan says into the phone. “Mrs. Kellogg. What can I do for you?”


Alan sighs as he listens to the frantic woman on the other line. A fresh feeling of worry washes over him as he hears this woman crying over the fact that her son has vanished from the backyard. He wishes that he finds the culprits and these kids soon.


*****


A New Chocolate Shop

The grand opening of Mia Moreau’s new chocolate store “The Chocolate Sorceress” is finally here. She is so excited for it and can’t stop thinking of all the new possibilities that will come with this new shop. As she checks her displays, Mia thinks back to when she was eager to learn all about the world of chocolatiering at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology otherwise known as SAIT. It is challenging, demanding, and absolutely magical.


Since her first time working with chocolate, Mia made enchanting things happen for those who tasted them. She has a gift of knowing what a person needs even before they do. Her Costa Rican mother told her that she has the gift of clairvoyance. Every woman in their line has it but it would make itself known in its own special way. Mia’s way is through chocolate which is a delight to her Belgium chef father.


Mia picks up the flowers that a kindly florist told her will bring great success and moves them to the center table. As she straightens out her long-sleeved fuchsia wrap dress, she starts to remember the first truffles that she made in SAIT. Her cooking partner Ricky was so painfully shy, that he could not bring himself to ask out a girl in their class named Lila. He had the biggest crush on her but didn’t know how to approach her. That’s when Mia had a feeling for what he needed. It was a mixture of rose petals for romantic feelings, raspberries for confidence, and a touch of cinnamon for instant attraction. As soon as he bit into that chocolate, he walks over to Lila, offers her a chocolate, and asks her out.


Mia’s name became quite famous in SAIT. People called her the chocolate sorceress and that is why she calls her shop that today. She absolutely loves that nickname and by the look of all the people lining up at her door, so did they. So, she opens her doors to let the day begin.



*****


So much deliciousness

At 9:00 PM, Mia finishes sweeping the floor after her last customer has left. A smile forms on her face knowing that her grand opening is a huge success. After she locks her door, she sees a little boy with a Blue Jays baseball cap and his mother with her hair up in a ponytail, walking down the street.


Mia walks in the same direction as the mother and son. The little boy is laughing with his mom, holding her hand, and doesn’t have a care in the world. Mia looks at them and smiles, thinking that is how life should be. That is until two men jump out from the alley at the family. One of the men grabs the boy’s mother and holds her arms while the other tries to grab the boy. Mia instinctively starts running towards them despite wearing high heels.


Mia races over with her hairspray can, and shoots the mugger who is holding the boy in the eyes. He releases the boy while screaming in pain and runs into a street pole. The mother elbows the man that is holding onto her in the gut, spins around, and knees him in the groin. That doesn’t have him keel over just yet but Mia with her empty can of hairspray throws it at the man’s head and knocks him unconscious. The mother grabs her son.


“Are you okay?” Mia runs towards the mother and her son.


“Yes, we’re fine.” The woman says shaken.


Mia gets her cell phone out and calls the police. The line rings as the mother starts crying into her son’s head as she holds on to him. Mia finally hears a voice over her cellphone.


“Hello? Hello?” Mia says and the voice responds. “RCMP. What is your emergency?”


“Yes. Hi. We were just involved in a mugging and …” Mia spins around to look at the boy who is looking over to the alley. When she sees his fear, Mia notices that he is looking at something. She turns to see what he is looking at and sees this sinister entity hovering over the unconscious muggers. The police woman on the other side giving her instructions becomes completely soundless.


The Spirit on Camera

The entity has long stringy black hair to the knees and a long flowy white dress that doesn’t reveal the feet. Mia can tell that this is a feminine entity by its shape. She wears a porcelain mask with black around the eyes and blood red lips. Mia couldn’t see the eyes but she can feel the evil radiating from her. It points a long white dirty finger at the two of them and they feel a cold wind brush past them.


“That child is mine.” She whispers in a grizzly frightening voice. “Stay out of my way!”


Then she turns into a swirl before vanishing into thin air. Mia is in shock with her phone away from her ear and her mouth open. The woman on the other side of the phone starts to yell, “Ma’am?! Ma’am!”


Mia puts the phone back to her ear and listens to the woman. “Can you get to a safe location.”


“Ah… Ya… Yes.” Mia says trying to sound calm on the phone. “My chocolate store is just across the street.”


“Alright. Go there and the police will be there shortly.” She says.


“Okay. We’ll go there now.”


Mia gently shepherds the family to her store. They go inside and wait for the police to arrive.


*****


The police and the paramedics arrive at the scene while Mia watches over the mother and child. They are wrapped in blankets and a paramedic looks them both over. With a blanket around her shoulders, Mia sees a tall blonde man with stunning blue eyes walk towards her. Mia quickly studies him before he reaches her. He looks like a Greek god with his chiselled features and statuesque build. His slicked back hair, and downturned eyes reminds Mia of the sun god Apollo. As soon as he comes up to her, she could not help but run a hand through her hair as if trying to be presentable.


“Hi. I’m detective Alan Drummond.” He says while looking at his report. “I hear you intervened with the assailants.”


“That’s right.” She answers and tells him about the mugging but not the entity. Alan finishes his report at the same time as Spencer walks up to them.


“I just got the family’s statement.” Spencer says and looks at Mia. “It’s very impressive that you stepped in when you did. Who knows what could’ve happened?”


“Our kidnapping case would be in jeopardy for one thing.” Alan says to him but realizes that he hasn’t finished talking with Mia. The look of whoops appears on his face.

Mia’s face turns into concern at what she hears. “I have been reading the news online and it sounds so awful.”


Alan nods at her and says. “It is and these perps are not messing around. You did a great thing today and thank you for helping that family.”


“But?” Mia inquires.


All that Stringy hair

“But that was also very dangerous too. So please in the future be very careful.” Alan in a gentle but no-nonsense tone says. He takes out a business card from his jacket. “and if you have any information or concerns. Please let me know.”


Mia takes his card and she lightly touches her fingers on it, suddenly she gets a vision. She sees Alan holding onto his chest as he lies on the ground bleeding. He struggles to breathe and the light in his eyes slowly dies. Sadness fills Mia’s heart as the vision ends and she is face to face with the detective again.


He looks at Mia with concern, “You okay? What’s wrong?”


“It’s nothing. I’m just freaked about all of this.” Mia is too in shock to tell the full truth.


“Alright, one of our police officers can drive you home or you might want to get checked out by the paramedics.” Alan says.


“I don’t need the paramedics but it might be best if the police could take me home.” She says without making eye contact with Alan. She turns and walks to the closest uniformed officer.

Something is troubling her. Alan knows this but he chooses not to read her mind. With telepathic abilities you can’t cross certain lines. She is a gorgeous woman through. Her jade green upturned eyes, her honey toned skin with a soft glow, and brown thick curled hair that shines gold in the streetlights. He shakes his head and tries to concentrate on the rest of his report.



*****


Alan and Spencer stand outside of the interrogation room and watch the two men who tried to mug the Cavendishes. It turns out that these two have some history with the police. Spencer is reading their file while Alan studies the men. He reaches into their thoughts to hear what they are saying. The words, “She is here.” Keeps repeating over and over in their heads. Alan knows that they are afraid of something, but he can’t see what…yet. He is determined to find out.


“These two have a history of assault, battery, drug dealing, and possession.” Spencer explains as he closes the file. He looks to Alan, knowing that he would be reading their minds right now. “What are you getting from them?”


“Not much.” Alan says still studying them. “I keep hearing them say, “she is here.” I don’t know what that means.”


“I guess you might have to find out.” Spencer says and Alan nods.


Alan walks into the interrogation room where the men are sitting in their chairs. By the needle tracks on their arms, Alan realizes that he is going to have his work cut out for him. He sits across from them and watches them both as they try not to look at him.


“Benjamin Hodges and Tanner Wakefield.” He speaks out. “You two really stepped up from getting into fights and shooting up some coke. Now its attempted kidnapping and robbery. What do you have to say for yourselves?”


“She is here.” The disheveled raven-haired man on the left says.


Alan's Vision

“Who?” Alan says.


“The Two-Faced Sorceress.” He utters looking around, sharply moving his head in odd directions while his partner just sits and stares. “She owns us. You can’t stop her.”


He starts giggling and Alan who’s sick of Hodge’s babbling tries harder to go into the mind of the very silent Tanner Wakefield. In his vision, he sees a silhouette of a woman with very long black hair. He walks towards her and reaches out for her, but she turns to face him. She wears a white porcelain mask with red lips where her face would be. She shrieks at him, giving him the biggest headache imaginable. Alan snaps out of the vision and nearly falls out of his chair.


Ben is still snickering and Tanner stares across from him. Alan takes several deep breaths and leaves the room.


“Are you okay?” Spencer says as he sits Alan down and gives him a glass of water. “What did you see?”


Alan says breathlessly. “I saw this entity. Those two are so brain dead that I think it’s controlling them. It’s the reason why they grabbed the Cavendishes.”


“Well good we have a motive but what evidence can we give?” Spencer asks.


Belmont Diner

“Nothing tangible.” Alan says sipping his water. “Let’s face it Doc, we can’t exactly go in a court and say that a demon made them do it.”


“True but we have our perps.” Spencer says. “We will find the kids, They’ll go to jail, and the kidnappings will stop.”


“I hope so Doc.” Alan says regaining his composure. “I got a bad feeling about this sorceress that they speak of.”


“I’m sure it’s just crazy talk but If you can describe this entity to me. Maybe I can find it in my volumes.”


“No it’s okay Doc.” Alan says, “Maybe your right. This Two-Faced Sorceress is probably just something they made up in their drugged-up stupor.”


Spencer pats Alan’s back. Alan stands up and walks out the room. Spencer makes a mental note to look up the “Two-Faced Sorceress.” If it puts his partner’s mind at ease to know a little bit more about it then maybe he will see that they have the perps and he can relax.


*****


Chocolate Milkshake

In the morning to celebrate catching the perps, Alan and Spencer are sitting in their favorite diner, The Belmont of Marda Loop. It is a classic diner that is modernized with touches of 50’s decor. Its like home for the detectives.


As Spencer gets his cup of coffee with his breakfast sundae and toast, Alan gets his waffles with fruit and extra whipped cream along with a chocolate milkshake. Spencer shakes his head and snorts as he puts a little bit of cream in his coffee.


“What?” Alan says as he scoops up a fork full of waffle.


“You eat like a child.” Spencer laughs.


“You’re surprised?” Alan laughs as well. “I’ve always eaten like this.”


“No, I am just wondering where the pop-tarts are.” Spencer jokes.


“I ate them before I came here.” Alan smirks at him.


They both laugh at that and go back to enjoying their breakfasts. There is something on Spencer’s mind that he can’t let go of.


“So, what was the deal with you and that lady last night?”


“What do you mean?” Alan asks.


“You were checking her out.” Spencer studies Alan when he pauses with the fork halfway to his mouth. “Ooooh! You like her.”


I saw the Sign

“It is nothing like that.” Alan says not quite meeting his friend’s eyes. “She just seemed troubled about something and she stared at me in a really odd way. I think she might have psychic abilities of her own.”


“Did you read her mind?” He asks.


“No. You know I would not do that to a normal civilian, whether they are psychic or not. They have a right to their privacy.”


“As opposed to people of interest.” Spencer adds.


“That’s right.” Alan confirms pointing his fork at Spencer.


“She seems nice though and very attractive.” Spencer points out.


Alan puts his fork down and grabs his milkshake. “What would you know about it?”


“Hey!” Spencer says, “Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I don’t notice especially since my best friend clearly notices.”


“Alright yes she is absolutely gorgeous.” He puts down his milkshake revealing his milk mustache.

Spencer laughs and puts his finger on his lip to signal the mustache to his friend.


“So, what are you going to do about that then?” Spencer asks adjusting his thick-rimmed glasses.


Everyday Breakfast for Alan

“Nothing.” Alan answers and continues. “But she does have a secret. I have to find out what it is.”

Spencer doesn’t believe that his friend isn’t attracted to her but won’t push it any further. He knows Alan and Alan has his own way of doing things. He is confident that by the end of the month, Alan and this lovely lady are going to be an item.


*****


Meanwhile, Mia is busy in the backroom of her shop. During the night, she had many dreams of what she must create for chocolates that day. The people coming in today are going to need special kinds of chocolates. Something that will make them feel safe with these kidnappings happening. The rhubarb, strawberry dark chocolate will make a person not only feel safe but give them loving comfort. Like a hug. For the milk chocolate bars she is adding blue berries, rosemary, and pink Himalayan salt for the ultimate protection but she has a feeling that the white chocolates with cranberries and raspberries are going to sell faster than the rest. No matter what, all these chocolates are going to help people feel safe again. It also helps that when she makes her chocolates, Mia always puts focus, intent, and love into her confections. That alone will make magic happen.


When she hears the bell on her shop door ring, she grabs one of her chocolate trays, and walks into the store front. There she sees the mother and son that she saved last night. The boy had fresh clothes on but still has the Toronto Maple Leaf’s cap on. The mother still has a ponytail but this time she has blue scrubs and pristine white nurse’s shoes on her feet. Mia’s face lights up as she walks over to them with her tray.


“Hello! Welcome to my store.” She says warmly. She rolls her eyes and shakes her head. “In better circumstances of course.”


“Of course. My name is Sue Cavendish and this is my son, Timmy.” The mother says smiling and reaches to shake Mia’s hand. Mia switches the tray to her other hand to return the shake. “I wanted to stop by to thank you for helping us last night. I don’t know what we would’ve done.”


“I’m happy to have helped.” Mia says. “Can I interest you two in some chocolate? Free of charge just for you two.”


“Oh we don’t want to trouble you…” Sue says but Mia immediately interrupts. “It’s no trouble at all. Call it a “Lets be friends” gesture.”


Sue smiles at her but Mia can see that something is bothering the boy. Sue asks, “Do you have a washroom? May I use it?”


Hot Chocolate Fixings

“Sure, its just in the back of the store.” Mia nods and points to the backroom as she stands aside. When Sue goes to the back, Mia turns to Timmy and says. “Please, come to the counter sweetie.”

He walks towards the counter and sits up on one of her stools. She goes to the other side of the counter and asks him in her best speakeasy voice. “What’s ya pleasha, Mista?”


“Anything.” He says smiling up at her liking her funny voice despite being so worn down. The dark circles under his grey eyes say that he has nightmares. “I’m so tired.”


She sees how drained the boy looks and makes it her mission to cheer him up. She holds out her hand for him to shake and speaks in her normal voice. “I’m Mia. It’s nice to meet you. The least I can do is make something special for you. After what we saw last night. You must be having a lot of nightmares.” She pauses when she sees the surprise on his face.


“Did you see her too?” He asks with his sullen eyes. “The witch? I’ve been seeing her in my nightmares a lot lately. Even when I’m awake.”


Mia sighs and nods her head. “Well I got something that might help with that. Do you like hot chocolate?”


He smiles up at her and says, “That’d be great.”


Mia gets to work on her special hot chocolate for the boy. Mia mixes in some jasmine petals to induce happy feelings, lemon verbena to stop bad dreams, and peppermint to sooth and comfort his fears into a semi-sweet hot chocolate. She also gives him a dollop of whipped cream for a little added sweetness. She hands it over to him and as he reaches for it, Mia can see it’s change on him even before he drinks it.


“Smells good.” He says holding up the cup to his face to take a sip, “Tastes good.”


When Mia sees his contentment, she decides that it is time to talk to him about something important. “Good. I’m glad you like it. I’m sure you know now that I have abilities of my own too.” He nods, takes another sip of his hot chocolate, and listens closely. “Usually it is different from what I saw last night. I’m what you call a clairvoyant. I see things that are often like puzzles that give me hints on what is going to happen. I usually use this gift to help people with my chocolates but today is different. You are different.”


Timmy looks down at his cup like he is ashamed. Mia puts a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Sweetie. It’s nothing to be embarrassed of. Its apart of you. It’s up to you how you want to handle it but if you ever need help or someone to talk to. You can come to me anytime.”


The boy’s face brightens as he smiles. Mia hears Sue come back into the room and sees that her son looks a lot better than he did when they entered the store. The first tear falling from the mother’s face has Mia get out some special chocolates. Mia grabs some little leaf shaped green and white chocolates.


“I haven’t seen him smile like that for a while.” She explains wiping away a tear. “After last night. I thought he would be scarred for life. But seeing him this happy is a miracle.”


“Here. A little gift for you to boost you back up.” Mia says giving her the chocolates.


A wrapped sample

“What is it?” Sue asks.


“It is matcha green tea in white chocolate with holy basil and chia seeds. It will help you with the long hours you work too.” Mia says smiling.


Sue shrugs, takes a bite of one, and lets out a sigh of pure satisfaction. “That is just amazing Miss…”


“Mia Moreau.” Mia gives her a couple more of those chocolates and says, “It was nice to meet both of you. I hope that you both will come again.”


Timmy smiles and nods at her as Sue says. “We sure will. Thanks again for saving us and for the chocolates. They are just heaven.”


They turn to the door and leave, walking hand-in-hand. Timmy turns and smiles at Mia as they leave. As the door rings, Detective Alan Drummond walks in with a somber look on his face. Mia smiles at him and brings the tray she had to greet him with.


“Good morning Detective.” She says smiling and showing him her chocolates, “Would you like a sample today?”


He gives her a half smile, and sticks his hands in his pockets, trying not to touch the delectable looking chocolates, “No thank you. I’m just here because I have some follow up questions for you.”


“Oh?” She says as she walks behind her counter.


“Yeah.” He says and stumbles a bit. “And I wanted to make sure you were okay after what happened last night.”


“I’m fine.” She says smiling at him. “Splendid. In fact.”


He leans on her counter and asks. “I just couldn’t help but notice that you had this odd look on your face last night. It was like you wanted to tell me something.”


A sad look appears on her face, but she quickly replaces it with a smile again. “No. It’s nothing really. I think I was just a little nervous.”


Alan has a feeling that is not the case but lets it go. He can tell that she is more than what she seems. And with knowing about his own abilities, he doesn’t want to press further since he wouldn’t want to be grilled about it either.


“It’s okay. I understand.” He says giving her a kindly smile. “But if there is anything you want to talk about feel free to call me anytime.”


Mia is surprised that he didn’t press further like the detectives she keeps seeing on TV. “Thank you, detective.”


As Alan turns to leave, Mia picks up one of the milk chocolate truffles that contains ashwagandha, ginger, and a little bit of passionflower. This chocolate will help him destress and lift him up during difficult times.


“Wait.” She trots after him. He turns around and she gives him the truffle. “On the house.”

He smiles and to humor her he puts the truffle in his mouth. As it slowly melts on his tongue, he finds his heart opening and the joy replacing his frustration and depression over what has been happening with his case.


“Thank you.” He says with a big smile. “I didn’t know how much I needed that.”


Mia's home

“Good. That means you’ll come back.” She smiles up at him. Normally she isn’t impulsive or flirty, but she says. “Would you like to come over for dinner? I got a new recipe that is supposed to be the best with company.”


He looks at her with amazement. It’s not everyday that someone surprises him, but this woman did. He knows he should refuse but for some reason, he accepts her offer.


She writes down her phone number and address. He walks out and chuckles at himself while Mia does the same as soon as he leaves. They both look forward to getting to know each other and to take a break from all the crazy things that are happening in their lives.


*****



Alan walks up to the address that Mia had written down for him. He looks at a three-story manor with an apple tree sitting out front. He is a little charmed by the house because it’s like something out of a fairy tale. At the same time, he wonders how she can afford a place like this. He walks to the door and before he could knock Mia answers with a smile.


“Hi.” Mia says. “I’m glad you’re here. Follow me.”


She brings him inside; he follows her down a white hallway that has doors on either side with numbers on them. This manor has been converted into apartments so that makes sense to Alan now on how she can afford to live here. They go up a staircase until they reach apartment three. She opens the door to let him inside.


“Dinner’s almost ready.” Mia announces behind her counter as she dishes up plates of spring vegetable risotto and stuffed portobello mushrooms. “Would you like some wine?”


“Sure.” Alan says. “It’s a nice little place you got here.”


Mia's Green Dress

“Thanks. I was lucky to scoop this one up when I did. It is rent controlled, and It has everything that I need.” Mia explains as she pours the wine. “It also helps that this building is owned by an uncle of mine.”


She hands him a glass of wine then finishes tossing the salad. He studies her over his glass of wine. The green dress with little white flowers she wears brings out those exotic eyes in mesmerizing ways. The way her hair curls down her back makes her look more like a movie star than a chocolate shop owner. The serene look on her face and her careless skills in cooking has him feel the warmth, joy, and love radiating off her. He wishes he could just freeze this moment.

Dinner is served as they both sit at the dining room table. Alan looks at the food with his mouth watering. The risotto is a melody of bright colored vegetables and smells like a creamy garlic delight. The portobellos look like cheesy volcanos with the wonderful scent of herbs coming from the bright red tomato sauce. Alan couldn’t wait to dig in.


“This looks amazing.” Alan says as he cuts into his mushroom. “I can’t remember the last time I had anything like this.”


“Thanks. I got this recipe and ingredients from Hello Fresh!” Mia says as she sips her wine. “I’ve been so busy with the shop that sometimes I just don’t have time to get groceries.”


Vegetable Risotto


“Hey I hear you.” Alan says taking a sip of wine. “When I am on a case, I am lucky to even sleep let alone get groceries. That’s why Spencer and I eat out a lot. But I hear Hello Fresh is expensive.”


“Not this time. I won a draw.” She says chuckling.


Alan chuckles and feels himself relaxing. Here he is with a beautiful, exciting woman who is treating him to a meal. For the first time in a long time, he is just going to let everything go and enjoy the moment.


*****


Mia’s shop is bursting with customers and each one has a need. The woman she just served is feeling less than beautiful, so Mia sells her a milk chocolate bar with habanero chili peppers and sea salt to cleanse her of negativity and help her glow in a beautiful way. Earlier a man came in and wanted to lower his cholesterol, that’s when Mia gave him a dark chocolate bar with almond milk and tree nuts. She explains to him that he must not eat all of it in one sitting. That it is important to eat only small bites a day, so it lasts a week. Mia finishes wrapping up some chocolate truffles and sees her favorite customers come in.


Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

“Ah! Sue! Timmy!” She calls out to them, grinning. “How are you?”


He walks to her counter while Sue looks around at all the chocolate carvings. He jumps up on her stool and Mia notices that he looks upset about something. Even the way he climbs up on the stool seems lethargic.


“What’s wrong? Nightmares again?”


“Yeah.” Timmy explains. “That witch keeps coming back and says that I belong with her.”


“Well that is not good.” Mia nods. “It looks like you could use a little pick-me-up. Another hot chocolate?”


Timmy gives her his most sincere smile. “Yes please.”


Her hot chocolate is going to be different this time. She is going to make him a dark hot chocolate with vanilla soymilk. In this hot chocolate, she puts in oranges, cinnamon, and cardamom with a dollop of whipped cream on top. She brings it to him, and watches Timmy’s smile grow bigger.


“Oh Mia.” Sue calls over to her at the shelves with chocolate boxes. “I need your help for a moment please.”


“Sure.” Mia says and whispers to Timmy that she’ll be right back. “How can I help you today Sue.”


“It’s just…” She says, tearing up a little bit as she looks at Timmy sitting and drinking his cocoa. “I haven’t seen look so happy. Even his child psychologist never made him feel good the way you do. I just wanted to thank you.”


“It’s my pleasure.” Mia says holding Sue’s hands comfortingly. “I’m always happy to see you both.”


“Well you definitely got customers for life now.” Sue says wiping the tears from her eyes and asks.


“So, do you still have those green tea chocolates that you gave me the other night. I’d like to buy some more.”


“Sure.” Mia says. “The hot cocoa is free, and the chocolates are $15.”


Life is like a box of chocolates

“Deal.” Sue says as she pulls out her card and follows Mia to her cash till.


Mia waves good-bye at the Cavendishes and looks around her store. It is steadying off now and her patrons are looking around more than buying anything. She knows that someday; they will want to buy some chocolate. As a gentleman in a suit leaves, a little piece of paper drops on the floor. Mia goes to pick it up and sees these symbols on it. She doesn’t know what they mean but she’d like to find out. That is when a vision hits her.


She is in a dark and lonely street. The lampposts aren’t even shining that brightly except the one she is standing under. It’s like a spotlight. She hears a rustling like fall leaves being pushed by the wind. Mia looks around to try and find the source of the sound. It is so dark that she doesn’t see anything. Suddenly, a silhouette emerges across the street. She instantly knows what it is by the feminine look of it. For a few good seconds, they stare at each other. Until the entity sinks into the ground and a second later pops up in front of Mia outside of the spotlight.


“I will have that boy. Stay away or I will destroy everything you love.” She says in it’s grizzly manner.


Mia shows her no fear as she says. “You will do no such thing. I have no idea who you are or whatever you think you are going to do. Just know that I will take you down before you get anywhere near Timmy.”


“You have made an enemy of the Two-Faced Sorceress.” The entity hisses at Mia before she is right in her face.


The long black hair covers her mask and Mia doesn’t move. Suddenly, a cold wind pushes her hair away so Mia could see her eyes. The entity lunges at her but before she could get her Mia snaps out of her vision. She looks around to see that she is still crouching on the floor.


“Are you alright dear?” Asks an elderly woman with concerned eyes.


“Oh yes. Yes, I’m fine, thank you.” Mia says as she stands back up, straightens out her dress, and forces a smile back on her face. Before she can ask to assist the woman, Mia hears her phone go off.


She excuses herself, walks to her counter, and answers her phone.


*****


Dark Visions

A couple of nights later, Mia locks her doors for the night and goes to the back room to grab a broom. As she starts sweeping around the center table, she hears panicky knocking and screaming on the other side of the door. She turns to look and sees a fearful Timmy with tears streaming down his little cheeks. She runs to the door, unlocks it and lets him in.


“The witch is chasing me!” He cries and grabs Mia’s waist. “She’s going to get me!”


Mia slams the front door and locks it. She sees the entity across the street. It looked a lot like the vision she recently had but this time, Mia is prepared for this creature. She grabs the sea salt that she has keeping by her door and makes a generous line of it at her front door. The entity saunters slowly across the street. A car comes and it drives through her. The Two-faced Sorceress didn’t even flinch and continues to make her malicious way to the shop.


Mia turns, kneels down facing Timmy, and orders, “Go get the white roses from the back room! Put them on the center table! Fast!”


Like a little shot, he runs through her door and gets the vase with seven long stem white roses in it. As he puts it on the center table, Mia lights the white long stick candles and lines them up along her windows. Mia makes sure that she has the golden frog, Jin Chan on the left side of her door and the waving cat, Maneki Neko to the right. These two Asian charms should help her because in her vision, Mia saw that the shape of this entity’s eyes is oriental. She grabs two cross-shaped onyx crystals to help her because she is from both a pagan and catholic background. She beckons Timmy to join her behind the counter. She gives him an onyx cross and they both crouch down.


“Pray with me.” Mia instructs as she hands him one of the crosses. “Our father, who art in heaven…”


Two things to keep Demons out

The two of them pray as the entity starts slamming at the window. She screams at them in rage but thanks to the candles at the windows and the salt at the door, there is no way she can get in the shop. The sorceress uses a huge force to break the door’s window. Mia and Timmy look towards the broken window. The broken glass scraped some of the salt from the door to break the seal. As the specter reaches her pale hand in, it starts to burn so much that it turns black. She shrieks in pain as she looks to the golden frog and waving cat. The sorceress lets out a hiss before disappearing into thin air.


The air feels normal again and Timmy holds onto Mia, crying. She pulls out Alan’s card and reaches for her cellphone as she strokes Timmy’s hair. She calls his number and waits for him to answer.


*****


Alan and Spencer arrive at Mia’s store. Timmy’s mother arrives five minutes after they do. Spencer is talking to Sue and Timmy by the shelves while Alan talks to Mia at her counter. Mia decides to tell him everything that happened. In Mia’s mind, it’s time for the truth to come out.


“Alan.” Mia says nervously to him, hoping that he won’t think she is crazy. “I think I know what’s kidnapping these children and it isn’t those drug addicts.”


“Oh no? Then who?” Alan asks.


“It’s this demon that calls herself the Two-Faced Sorceress.” Mia states. Alan looks at her with déjà vu. He knows that name and continues to listen to Mia. “She has long-stringy black hair to her knees, wears this long white dress, and has a porcelain mask on her face.”


“Oh my god!” Alan says as he puts a hand on his face in disbelief. “That’s what the perps said.”


“They said that?” Mia looks at him with concern.


“Yeah I thought it was all drug-crazy talk.” Alan says.


Spencer walks over with Sue and Timmy behind him. “What is drug-crazy talk?”


“The Two-Faced Sorceress.” Alan says to Spencer, who instantly becomes intrigued. He also has an idea.


“I think we should all sit down, put our heads together, and figure this out.” He shares.


“That sounds like a good idea.” Mia agrees, “How about I make us all some hot chocolate and we can sit at the counter to talk.”


“Sounds good.” Sue says nodding while Timmy gets a huge smile on his face.


Mia walks behind her counter and gets to work on a special hot chocolate. It will be milk chocolate this time with blackberries, a touch of clove, and a tablespoon of fennel. It will taste a bit like licorice but the blackberries will give it a nice juicy flavor. The point of these ingredients is to prevent the evil spirit from possessing or manipulating them in anyway.


The sorceress's hair

As she stirs the hot chocolate, Alan comes behind her to set the tea cups on the counter for her. She sees this and smiles at him, showing her gratitude. He smiles back at her as he pulls up a stool to the side of the counter. After she dishes up the hot chocolate for everyone, she sits on the stool next to Alan. Mia takes a sip of her creation and feels the calm envelope her.


“So what’s this Two-Faced Sorceress?” Sue asks after sipping her hot cocoa.


Alan looks to Mia and she can sense that he is very reluctant to say it. So she says, “It’s the entity that is stalking Timmy.”


Sue’s expression turns to utter bewilderment and disbelief. Her cup isn’t even brought to her lips as she looks around at the adults, waiting for some kind of punchline. After seeing that they aren’t joking, she looks to Timmy after he tugs on her shirt.


“It’s true Mom.” Timmy says holding onto her shoulder. “She’s why kids are disappearing.”


Sue looks at Timmy in shock and says. “You mean the one from your dreams? Timmy that’s not real!”


“With all due respect Miss Cavendish, it just might be.” Spencer says putting down his cup of hot chocolate. “I’m a man of science and I find it hard to believe too but I’ve been looking into it. In one of my volumes there is a footnote about this creature. She is a powerful Korean ghost that wears a porcelain mask and feeds on children.”


“How do you know this?” Sue asks in bafflement. “You’re policemen not ghostbusters!”


“I have telepathic abilities.” Alan says reluctantly. “I saw her in the minds of the perps who attacked you. I honestly thought that it was crap in their druggy minds but when Mia told me that she saw her.” He pauses looking at Mia and looks down to his cup. “I know it’s true.”


The whole room looks to Mia as she explains. “The first time I saw her was when I saved you and Timmy from the mugging. And before tonight, I saw her in a vision when I touched this piece of paper.”


Mia's back cabinet

Mia excuses herself from the counter, walks to her cabinet, and takes out the piece of paper with symbols on it. She brings it back to the counter and shows the group. They all study it closely. It doesn’t seem to mean anything to them.


“This is Korean.” Spencer suddenly pipes up. “Sadly, I don’t know what it says but it if you all give me a day or two, I can translate it.”


“Doc, you are always good with languages but I think I need to visit an old friend at the library.” Alan says. “Time is of the essence.”


“But wait!” Sue speaks up anxiously, “Shouldn’t we take this into the police?”


“Sue,” Alan starts to explain. “As far as they are concerned, the muggers are the kidnappers. They aren’t going to believe that a supernatural entity is behind this. Whatever is going to be done about this, we have to do it.”


Sue nods at this, knowing that Alan is right. Spencer suggests. “I’ll go back to the police station and do some more research on these kidnappings. I might be able to find a pattern from where these kids are being taken.”


“I’ll go the library and talk to my friend about this note. He can probably shed some light on this.” Alan says.


“I’ll come with you. I want to help protect Timmy from this thing.” Mia insists. “I also have to find out how to do that.”


“Alright.” Alan smiles at Mia, seeing no harm in taking her along.