Resolving the Effect


Máire Flynn

The two women manifested into the physical plane. For Vandra, this was a simple process that had become second nature like tying a shoe string. For Carrie, the new conscript, the process was a wee bit more difficult. Vandra kept her aura outstretched, ready to embrace Carrie at the immediate sign of trouble. It was a learning process that had to be done if they were going to confront them.

So far, Carrie was doing a commendable job. The first thing that took shape was the purple glow of her aura, or at least, one layer of the aura. Then next her body started to come into being. With Carrie's full astral consciousness, she easily knew every single code of human DNA, along with every cell in the body. She could become anyone she wanted. As the body's formation solidified into a human shape, the outline of the gender she identified with became more apparent. She appeared to be taking on the form of an Asian female. Vandra, who had taken the form of a 6'1 female with red hair braided down to the small of her back almost every time she came down, understood that there were just some forms that were simply comforting to the individual. Carrie had manifested as an Asian girl twice already.

As expected, the surge of physical plane emotions tried to overwhelm Carrie, like wading into a river with a powerful current. I wonder if she has gotten the hang of it yet, Vandra wondered. The first time they had manifested together, Carrie had fallen to her knees crying. When Vandra knelt to console her, Carrie had begun laughing hysterically and proceeded to kiss Vandra on the lips. Now, however, the girl seemed to be handling the manifestation to a much better degree. Her aura was more stable, this time.

"Wow, I think I've got it!" Exclaimed Carrie as the manifestation process became complete.

"I think you almost have it," Vandra said with a smile.

"What do you mean 'almost?'"

"Dove, look down." And, with that, Carrie slowly brought her gaze downward, wondering what she would see. Had she grown a mouse's tail or something? Upon looking, however, she realized that it wasn't what she had manifested; it was what she had not.

Carrie was completely nude.


"I still can't believe I did that!" Carrie blushed as they walked. "Thanks for manifesting some clothing for me. I don't know what I would have done!"

"Of course you know what you would have done. You would have given the populace of Belfast an interesting view of what Asia might have to offer." Vandra grinned as she toyed with the girl for just a bit. It had been a long while since she had worked with a partner. It was a small way of relieving stress on both their parts. Especially with what they could face ahead in the remaining time they had on that plane.

The situation was more than likely going to be unpleasant. There had been a rather ancient crystal recovered that they had to destroy or render inoperative. Such things should have stayed buried in the ocean where they had been sunk to begin with. They also had to find a person named Ceara Lothgair and save her. She had been marked by them. The crystal could be dealt with, but Vandra had no idea how they would go about dealing with them.

Snatching the thought from Vandra's mind, Carrie asked: "So, how many of them are we to expect?"

"If we're lucky, two. Maybe more." Vandra's face revealed nothing. Her aura even had that same look of grimness that masked what was going on inside. Carrie could simply not understand how someone could keep herself together in such a way, especially while in the face of uncertain doom.

This is what this war does to people. This is what it has done to her. Give it enough time, and it will do the same to me. Carrie took her eyes off of Vandra and simply looked straight ahead. There was a road ahead of her. Just another brick road, but Carrie did not see the road. She saw an undecided future wrecked with pain and conflict. The road of her future would also be littered with those who had fallen. Some good...some evil. Such knowledge was not just something she could just stop seeing. It was there, regardless.

Yet, she still walked forward.


Ceara frantically typed out the last few words on the big keyboard as she heard a knock at her door. She expected it to be the police, just as she had called. At least she had still remembered the number. She had done it while in between typing. Things had become so difficult to remember, but she had remembered the police. Thank God.

She jumped down from the huge chair at her desk and padded into her living room, where she would answer the door and begin the long, difficult task of explaining the situation. Her button-up shirt easily reached her ankles, and her socks had slipped down significantly. She kept stepping on their fronts as she walked. When Ceara opened the door, she gulped real big and hoped they would believe her.

But, there were no police.

Only a small doll.

Not just any doll, though. It looked like her old doll - Emily. It looked exactly like her! Everything down to the missing buttons. She picked it up and began cradling as she closed the door to keep the warm air from escaping her home. Cradling Emily had always made her feel in control of the situation. When her parents had been angry at her, she always had her doll. Emily had never ignored her. Emily would never object to her affection.

(Emily burned in the fire with everything else in that house!)

Ceara paused. Her memories seemed like horribly faded images that had been on T-shirts washed a few hundred times, but wasn't there something to that memory in particular? There had once been a fire, hadn't there? Things had been lost in that fire. Toys. Dolls. But not just any toy...Emily!

All of a sudden, she looked at the doll in her arms. She really looked at the doll in her arms. It was missing all the right buttons and the dress had all of the loose threads, but there was no way it could be Emily. Emily was lost in that fire. So was my goldfish. Everything was lost in that fire when I was four.

She was four years old again, though. But she wasn't! That thing had regressed her. That crystal! Dolls just don't show up at a person's door. Dolls don't do that!

She slowly, yet deliberately, sat the doll on her sofa and backed away from it. She may have been an adult earlier that day, but she was definitely a child now. She was all alone in a home that was poorly lit and with very little comfort.

Ceara had called the police and they had still not arrived. She heard the sirens of ambulances and police vehicles in the distance, yet none had yet to come anywhere near her home. That usually meant one thing: a terrorist attack. But, now of all times? Things had been relatively peaceful in Northern Ireland as of late. Why had things just happened to flare up that early in the pre-dawn hours?

She paced back and forth and tried to turn the problem over and over in her head, but that wasn't working out to well. Her mind felt like it had four hundred pounds of fertilizer thrown on top of it. Ceara Lothgair knew that the life experiences of the past two and a half decades had not just vanished. She could attain glimpses of them, but they just seemed muddled.

And the doll seemed to be staring at her.

Ceara stopped pacing and stared back with hunted eyes. She had owned dolls throughout her entire childhood, and never had one given her such a feeling of dread - especially from one that looked like Emily. The eyes were the creepiest part. In such a dimly lit room, illuminated by only one lamp, the eyes seemed to be black. They looked like the deepest well into the darkest soul that no loving god would have created. She wanted to walk over to the doll, and set it on its back so the eyes would close. Only problem was, she was way too frightened to actually go and do that.

A voice broke through the tar pit her adult mind had become and spoke in a voice of firmness. I've seen a woman killed a couple of hours ago. Turned to bones. It's only a doll. Just walk over there and do it, girl. Stop standing here shifting your weight back and forth like you have to pee. Go do it. It was the voice she had once had when she was an adult. Some-where deep down, she still was that person.

Ceara Lothgair began walking to the doll. Each step closer seemed like the last steps a condemned criminal would make to the gallows. She was now within five feet of it, yet it just sat there. No movement, nothing. It continued to be an inanimate doll, but its eyes had not changed. They still looked darker than the deepest grave. Three feet, and still it did not move. Two feet and she was almost within reach of it. One foot and there she stood in front of it. Emily, or whatever it really was only sat there and regarded her with its horrible eyes. Now all she had to do was reach out and set it on its back. That was all. She had done this to a million dolls before. This doll would be no different. She kept reaffirming this to herself, but try as she could, she could not will herself to actually take that final leap of faith.

It has me now. I've been lured over to it, and now I'll stare into those eyes and it will have me. I've been tricked. She wanted to turn and run. She wanted to scream. She wanted to wet herself in the process, but she could not move. Ceara felt every last ounce of will being drained from her body and then being deposited within the dark recesses of the doll's black soul.

It was almost priming a pump. A little water is given, and then a lot of water is spewed forth in return; only problem was, she did not want to see what spew forth from within the thing that sat before her. She really did not want to see. She had to run. She had to get away from it she had to-


Ceara sprang back from the doll almost instantly. It only sat there and regarded her silently. Someone was at the door! Someone had finally come. She wouldn't be alone any- more! She ran to it and threw the door open expecting to see the police. They had been delayed by whatever crisis had befallen the city, but they had finally come!

Yet again, it wasn't the police, but at least people had come to her door. Maybe they were concerned residents of the neighborhood. They were two women. One of which was extremely tall with beautiful red hair. It probably would look even better if she had it let down. The other girl was also pretty. She was Asian with her hair cut rather short. It made the woman look professional.

"Ceara Lothgair?" The tall woman seemed a bit confused. Her accent could not be easily placed. She must have been American or Canadian.

"Um, yes ma'am." Ceara spoke hesitantly. Would they believe her?

"This isn't what you are supposed to be. Aren't you older?"

"Umm.... well.... yes. I was older, but the crystal my umm.. Asso... assosh..."

"Your associate was killed by it, am I correct?" Carrie only glanced at Vandra with discomfort of the deadpan comment. How could she be so cold and straight forward about a situation that would have driven most people mad?

"Why um, yes." The tears almost came. Some how Ceara fought them back, but they had almost overtaken her. "Please, come in."


Vandra and Carrie stepped into the cozy, yet dimly lit living room of Ceara Lothgair. The little girl before them could not have been any more than four or five years old. She had short auburn hair and an adorable little button of a nose. The girl had seemed extremely on edge when she had answered the door. She must have been waiting for someone to show up, probably the police, by the looks of it; but they were tied up on the other side of town with some sort of explosion. It did not take much to assume that they had something to do with that.

"Ceara, dove, I want to help you. I should be able to restore you to your old self again, only thing is that I need to destroy that crystal."

Ceara looked at the woman with a guarded expression. Was that what these two had come for? The crystal? Were they from some organization that had found out about it and wanted it in their hands? "Doctor Rhoten did not know how it worked. How are you going to fix everything?"

"My name is Vandra, and this is my associate, Carrie. We have come here to save you and make sure that no one uses this crystal again. We also fear that you may be in danger."

"Danger?" Something in Ceara's eyes made it clear that she had an idea about something dangerous already in the works.

"Has there been anything out of the ordinary that has occurred after the incident with the crystal and your age regression?" Vandra asked. The little girl only nodded quietly. She was definitely afraid of something.

"Don't be afraid to tell us," Carrie took Ceara's little hand. Gods, she couldn't help but feel protective over such a little girl, even if she had been in her late twenties before all of this had started. "We are here to help."

"I had a knock at my door earlier...and...when I opened it, there was a doll sitting there. It looked like my old doll, Emily, so I brought it inside...but it's eyes weren't right...they seemd to be completely black and it wouldn' me and...and...I just wanted" Ceara was coming unglued. Vandra took Ceara's hands and looked into her little eyes. The girl went calm instantly.

"Where is this doll, angel?" Asked Carrie in a voice that was calm, yet growing with alarm.

"It's right over there on the......sofa."

There was no doll there.

Vandra and Carrie exchanged brief glances of knowing. Just then, they heard something hit the floor in another room. It sounded like a book or something. It also sounded quite deliberate, as though they had been meant to hear it.

Vandra picked up Ceara gently and walked over to the sofa and sat down with the little girl on her lap. She brushed some of Ceara's hair from her little brow like a loving parent and smiled. Ceara was quite nervous as well, yet she smiled back. How could she resist?

"Carrie, dove." Vandra spoke as she continued to look into the little girl's eyes. "Would you be so kind as to go find that doll."

"ME?!" Carrie shouted with fear and outrage.

"Yes, I mean you. I'm not leaving this child alone, especially when they have a marked interest in her, and it's only a doll."

"Only a doll! Only-a-doll! It got up on its own and left the room! The fucking thing is alive!"

"Dove, it's one of them. We came here to stop them. That is what we do. Are you just going to run every time one of them shows up?"

"I've never fought one alone before. You know this. I have been with you through my entire training. I am still in training. Let me stay with Ceara. I'll protect her."

"Protect her? In case more of them show up? You can't even confront that one in there. Of all forms that thing could have taken, it took the form of a doll. I've seen worse. We have both seen worse. It fled the room when it heard us coming. That's a good sign, but don't get cocky. Just be true to yourself and go face it. It's now or never, Carrie. Either be brave or run out the door. They can fight, and they can kill, and I don't want someone at my side who will just get ripped to pieces without any sort of struggle."

Carrie only stared at Vandra with disbelief. She tried to come up with some sort of retort, but nothing came. She simply had the option of running out the door or going after the doll. It was now or never.

"Fuck you," Carrie said to Vandra coldly. Vandra said nothing in return. Perhaps she even agreed with Carrie somewhere deep down. From the outside, however, she only continued to gaze into little Ceara's eyes.

Carrie looked down the dimly lit hallway that led first to a kitchen on the right, then to two rooms at the very end. Of all damned things, it had to take the form of a doll, Thought Carrie as she began walking down the hall. Anything that took the form of something so tiny had to be sure of its chances of victory. Not to mention, dolls were just creepy. Especially the ones that opened their eyes when elevated to a ninety-degree angle. This doll just had to be one of those. Carrie had no way of knowing, but she was certain it would be one of those sorts. Except this one won't close it's eyes if it is laying on its back. They'll stay open and then it will grin at you. That's the type this one is.

She made it to the kitchen and looked in the door. Aside from the open drawer where the knives and silverware were held, there did not appear to be anything out of the ordinary. Unless the doll was by chance hiding in a cabinet. Carrie hesitatingly went down the row of cabinets, opening each one and jumping back, expecting to see a demonic doll lunge at her with a knife in hand, but nothing of the sort was exposed.

Carrie stepped back into the hall and turned for the two rooms. The lights were out in both rooms. She could see a desk with a computer monitor turned on in that room. The light from the monitor was the only illumination to speak of. When she stepped into the doorway, she reached in and flipped the light switch, only no lights came on.

Just fucking great. Thought Carrie. Everything was being set up just right to enmesh her in the doll's trap. The light probably worked before. No, she was certain the light would have been operational under normal circumstances. Just not this time. It may have a doll's body, but it has a few other tricks up its little sleeves.

As she stepped into the room completely, she waited for it, and of course it happened: the door closed behind her. The predictability of the situation would have been humorous under most circumstances. It had been in every bad horror story she had ever read. The stupid heroine walked into the dark house where the monster silently waited, and once she entered its immediate vicinity, the door always closed behind her...leaving her alone with it.

"It's so dark in here... I'm so scared." It spoke in the whispery voice of a small child. Carrie said nothing. She had walked into its trap, which had been the only course of action to take. They were quite adept at toying with a person's fears. When confronting someone like Carrie or Vandra, that was their Trojan horse. With that in mind, it was simply a matter of not letting the horse inside one's defenses.

"Well, now I'm here, squirt. Let's play." Carrie heard it hiss in outrage. It had failed to psyche her out, now it would have to attack.

"Yes, we'll play. And just when we get started, you'll be begging me to stop." Each of it's words came in venomous spats. "You'!"

Carrie heard metal scrape against metal. It was scraping - presumably a kitchen knife - against the metal side of the computer desk. The little games were just beginning, but Carrie wasn't as afraid as she thought she would have been. The doll was still trying to frighten her. Was that all it had in its little bag of tricks? Carrie snickered out loud. The scraping stopped. Then she heard it rushing at her. She could not see with her eyes, but she could feel the doll coming for her. It was charging at her right flank with the knife raised. She saw this in her mind, and she knew right then and there that she had it where she wanted it.

She spun around, pivoting on her right heel. The doll was almost within stabbing distance, but Carrie was coming around from her spin, with her foot raised. She brought her boot heel straight into the doll's chest, knocking it flat on its back. The doll attempted to get up for another run, but Carrie had pinned one of it's little arms to the floor with her right foot. It tried to claw at her foot with its one free plastic hand, but that vain effort was stopped when Carrie crushed the doll's mid section down with her other foot.

"Oh you fucking cunt!" The doll screamed petulantly. "You've won nothing! You miserable little bitch!"

Casually, Carrie bent down and picked up the knife the doll had weilded with such clumsiness, and regarded it coldly. The blade began to glow a bright blue color in her hands. Soon its radiance lit up the entire room. The blade had been anointed, and now it was her weapon.

"Oh you dare not you cunt. You dare not you dare not you dare not you dare not-" Carrie drove the blade into the doll's forehead with lightening-quick precision. She took her feet off of its little body and stood back. The doll, which Carrie had once upon a time feared because it had been one of them, burst into blue flames. It's body spun around in circles on the burning blade, like a clock hand gone mad. It was trying to get free from the burning blade. After spinning for nearly fifteen seconds, the head managed to melt off from the blade, sending the mutilated doll's body flying across the room and hitting the wall, where it slowly slithered to the floor. Burnt plastic and some stinking red ooze smeared the wall where it had slid.

Carrie watched as the flames died down on what had once been a doll. Now, all that remained of the creature was just a small melted wad of plastic and burnt doll clothes. The doll then vanished, as though it had never been.

I did it. I fucking did it! Her mind screamed triumphantly. Then the moment completely caught up with her, causing her to collapse on her knees and desperately fight back a wave of nausea.


Carrie walked into the living room, smelling of burnt plastic. Ceara still sat in Vandra's lap, but something seemed different about her. Vandra, for the first time since they had first known of the doll being in the house, looked Carrie in the eyes. "You found the doll." It wasn't a question. How could there have been any question with all of the screaming that thing had made?

"Yes. It's been taken care of." Answered Carrie in as calm a voice as she could muster. Vandra smiled, serenely.

"You have been true to yourself, Carrie. God bless you." With that, Vandra stood up. Little Ceara stood as well, only now Carrie understand why the girl looked different. She was taller. Older. Ceara looked up at Vandra and smiled.

Vandra looked down - not nearly as far down as before - at the girl and said: "It's not exactly right, not yet. She's been hit by a very powerful energy force, and I have only been able to chip a little away from its hold on her. We will have to go and stop it at its source if we want her back as close to the way she was as possible."

"What do you mean 'as close as the way she was?'" Carrie asked. "Why are we trying to approximate her former self instead of just setting things back to normal?"

"If and when we bring her back to her rightful age, there will be nothing normal about her, in many respects." Now, Carrie was confused. She could understand the trauma of seeing an associate reduced to bones before her very eyes, but that was not what Vandra was getting at.

"Are you saying that the crystal has somehow altered her in an irreversible way?"

"That's exactly what I'm saying, dove."

"What's wrong with her, then? Is her mind regressed to a child's state?" To Carrie, that would be one terrible fate, indeed. It basically amounted to mental retardation if nothing could ever be stored in such a mired intellect.

"No, it's nothing like that at all. It would be a whole lot simpler if you would just come over here and see for yourself. That is, if Ceara doesn't mind you taking a look at her." Vandra looked down at the little girl and asked "Do you, dove?"

"Oh no, it's quite alright," the eight year-old answered brightly. With that, a bewildered Carrie stepped around the coffee table and knelt in front of the little girl. She took Ceara's soft hands into her own and closed her eyes as she began to read the girl's vibrations.

She was no longer there with Vandra or Ceara. She was in the late nineteen seventies, or was it the early eighties? She was being whipped by her father for causing yet another ruckus in Mass. She knew that she hated church, for it usually meant being smacked in the ass by her father's ruler, afterwards. Yes, she definitely despised the bastard. He only attended church just to bolster his political clout in the community. He probably did not even-


realize that she was now in somewhere completely different. This wasn't Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland? Why in the hell should it be Northern Ireland? It was Orange county, California. She was in the sixth grade, and her mother - Wanda - had just picked her up from school. She had been sick, actually, she had been more than sick. She had been menstruating, but she had not told anyone that she had started. Least of all, she had not told her mother. To everyone in the world, she was just sick. Christ, was her mother pissed for having to pick her up from school early! She had been in the middle of a meeting with a very important client and she had not wanted to be disturbed. Yeah yeah... She knew the whole routine. If Mom lost her job, they would -


lose the house! The house was burning way too fast! She had just woken up when the smoke detectors had gone off. Her mother had practically dragged her out of bed. She had enough time to get her slippers on, but she couldn't just leave! What about her doll, Emily? What about her fish?! Her goldfish!! Would he be alright? He was in a bowl full of water (imagine that), so maybe he would be alright, maybe -

Carrie let go of the girl's hands and nearly fell backwards. Yet again, she was confused.

"I don't understand. Why does she remember growing up here in Belfast, and living in California at the same time?"

"Because one set of experiences is not Ceara's."

"Then whose experiences do they belong to, then?"

"Her late associate, Dr. Rhoten." Vandra's eyes seemed lit up with some sort of emotion Carrie had never seen in them before. Excitement? She briefly wondered.

"Does she remember any of these 'phantom' memories?"

"No, not yet. But she will. In fact, she will remember everything that was Christina Rhoten."

"Everything?" Carrie could understand that having another person's lifetime of experience would be interesting, but they had both seen more things happen on the physical plane and otherwise that made the current events seem rather bland.

"Carrie, just think of it this way," Vandra patiently explained, "imagine having over twice the amount of one's lifetime experiences in the space of twenty years. Imagine what one could do with such experiences."

"And that's why they wanted her?" Carrie looked down at Ceara, who was simply regarding them quietly. She was well reserved for an eight year-old. That's because she's not an eight year-old, you twit. She's twenty-eight, and not just that, but a supercharged twenty-eight year-old with two quantum physicists' worth of information crammed into her head. "If left alone, she would eventually grow up again and would use her mind to do something constructive like invent the longer lasting light-bulb, right?"

"Or, something." Answered Vandra with a slight smile.

"But, in their hands, she could be manipulated into producing something else a weapon?"

"It would not even have to be a weapon, Carrie. They could just stop her from using her potential, and that might do far worse than any weapon."

"Umm... Pardon me," Ceara interjected, "but could you at least speak like I am in the room with you?"

Vandra blushed a little. Guilt was another one of those emotions that was not too common on her face. "You're absolutely right, hon. I apologize for alienating you, so let me explain what will be done. We need you to guide us to Dr. Rhoten's home, where we can find this crystal and dispose of it once and for all. There will probably be more beings there that may wish to have their way with you, and we cannot allow that. I will handle the crystal, and Carrie will stay at your side and protect you in the event of any...hostilities."

Carrie nodded in understanding of the plan as well as in appreciation for given the honor of protection over someone's life. It was a frightening proposition, all the same, but she had finally earned it. "There's one small thing, you two."

"What would that be, dove?" Vandra asked patiently.

"Ceara, do you have an automobile?"

"The girl thought about it for a moment. "Yes, but I don't think I can drive it anymore."

"That's quite alright. If you have the keys, perhaps I may drive."

"Umm... Yes, I still have the keys. They're in my coat pocket, over there."

"Ladies," said Vandra as she walked over to the door, "I believe its time we go and finish this task so that we can get on with our lives. "With the crystal destroyed, I don't think that any hostiles will be able to hunt Ceara down without an energy signature to go by. And, they will definitely leave her be once we can place a protection spell of our own on her. "

Ceara ran over to her coat and tried it on. The sleeves were long on her, and its waist ended at her knees, but she felt comfortable with it, all the same. She reached in her pockets and pulled out the keys and threw them to Carrie, one of the grown-ups. She knew that she was supposed to be older, but the mind muddling effect of the crystal coupled with the psychology of being only 49 inches tall made her feel quite out of control. Her life was in the hands of others.

For better or for worse.


The car ride to Doctor Rhoten's abode was mostly uneventful. The three of them were rather nervous, for they all had an idea of what they would face once they arrived. They would more than likely run into more of them. That was a given. They would obviously not be too happy about losing a comrade, and they had another chance to get their hands on little Ceara before the curse could be properly lifted. They would also have a chance do away with two meddling conscripts.

Then, there was the crystal.

"Vandra?" Ceara asked.

"Yes, dove?"

"What is this crystal that did this to me and Dr. Rhoten?"

"A long time ago, way before humanity had been born, there had been a race of beings that were the lords of this Earth. They had been extremely unstable in their thoughts as well as their actions. They were mad, and they were quite evil.

"When the next race of beings took control of this world, what you might call Atlantians, they had managed to recover many devices that had once belonged to the race before. Atlantians

loved the application of crystals for many things, so they found that old relic suitable for their uses. Especially with its uncanny ability to alter some of the unified workings of the physical universe, such as time.

"The old race had been very close indeed to unlocking the secrets to higher planes of reality. They had desperately wanted to reach the highest plane imaginable - the god head. They even attempted to build a tower that would take whoever should enter to what ever plane of reality they wanted. They had almost completed it."

"Then what happened?" Asked Ceara, fascinated. Still, she had an idea what happened. It was there. The answer had always been there. It may have been covered with the mud of religious propaganda, but it was there.

"They did not know when to stop. They managed to reach some of the higher mental planes - which is well above the level that Carrie and I reside when we are not in physical shape, but they were not satisfied. They wanted to reach God. They wanted to just enter this tower and - alla-kazam - be one with God and the universe. This is a task that many souls spend countless incarnations and higher plane evolutions to attain. Their insane arrogance cost them dearly."

"You mean, God punished them?"

"God is not about revenge. God is about everything existing in harmony. That may not be so apparent on this plane, but it becomes more obvious the higher one goes. God did not have to punish them. As they madly built this twisted tower to the heavens, they over-looked some of the basic principles of energy management."

Ceara cocked an eyebrow as she stared at Vandra intently. "Energy management?"

"A lot of the energies on the higher planes could be converted into a physical reaction of disastrous proportions. If you find that difficult to believe, just look at the atomic bomb in your world. That is all started by one atom. Just an atom. When they had their little accident, and some of those higher energies came cascading down, their tower and this world was decimated in a matter of seconds. I doubt the substance that generated the explosion even measured the size of a tear drop."

"Oh my god. It's just like the tower of Babel."

"Why do you think that was in the Bible, to begin with?" Asked.Carrie as she drove.

"They were all but wiped from the slate of this world, save for a few - and some of their inventions. The few that remained created some bizarre offspring, and fought numerous wars with the newly arrived Atlantian civilization.

"Soon the Atlantians helped evolve a certain species of primates with an uncanny reasoning ability. When the Atlantians moved on to other wolds than this one, it left its human counterparts to run their empire. And to early mankind's credit, it did a commendable job, until arrogance and greed brought about the distruction of Atlantis.

"That crystal, is a remnant of the destructive legacy of Earth. When certain elders would become too old, the crystal would be used to kill them. When it was charged full of that person's essence, it would then be used to rejuvenate another priest, king or whatnot into a guru of life experiences. That is why we have to destroy this thing before it is used by greedy humans for negative purposes. And, that is why they wish to stop us.

"They?" Ceara cocked an eyebrow again. It was a very adult expression that looked incredibly foreign on her soft, innocent features. "Who or what exactly are they?"

"Our enemies," Carrie answered.

"Well, yes... But can't you fill me in a little more?"

Vandra regarded little Ceara as they drove onward. The girl's face briefly lit up as each street lamp passed. It was not difficult to surmise that she would be a knock-out when she reached adulthood - Again, Vandra added. "They are walking contradictions. Twisted remnants of their lives before the Dark Work. They make no sense to us. They want to make the universe fall into decay. They are organized to help elements of chaos. Don't you see the irony in that?

"It is the goal of every plane to improve itself. The more each plane elevates itself, the closer it is to the love of God. Even the Ancient Ones of this Earth understood that to some twisted degree. But, these creatures we fight...they want to reverse the evolution of every plane and send it all crashing back into chaos. Anarchy. Disease. War."

"But..." Ceara tried to formulate her sentence, but this was too much! She thought humans just struggled and slaughtered each other on their own, without the benefit of evil creatures seeking to ruin mankind. "How can they win? Everything strives to improve itself. Look at how far we've come!"

"Yes, dove," Vandra agreed. "But look at it the way they look at it, and the way we are too frightened to look directly at. Everything decays. Everything. The physical plane is constantly in a state of entropy. Swords rust, leaves wither on the tree and fall off. The edges of paper become flaky, and the center does not hold."

"But..." Ceara desperately grasped for an argument.

"They consider themselves to be conscious evolutions of that entropy. They think this entropy is natural and should be embraced -- and that God and the Great Work should not be strived for. If they have it their way, there will come a day on this plane when all machines will break down, one at a time. When the world will break down. When you won't be able to walk across the room without somehow conveniently falling and breaking your fucking leg. That is their grand vision. It may take a thousand, or ten thousand years, but they are patient."

"Just stop....p-please."

"And, what will me stopping do? They won't go away. Quite the contrary. We are

sitting on one very large battlefield. Behind their ranks is an infinite multitude of fallen worlds. Behind us are an infinite multitude of worlds that aren't even aware of each other. Full of people like you who don't want to hear about it."

"Vandra! Fucking stop this at once!" Carrie shouted all of a sudden. "Yes, they want this world ruined. Yes, many don't want to be involved, but, fucking correct me if I'm wrong; she has enough problems on her chest at the moment. Hell, she doesn't even have a chest anymore! She's sitting there wearing clothes that used to fit her, and there are twisted monstrosities after her that take the form of children's toys. Just, back off."

For a wonder, Vandra did not become angry or even say anything in retort. In fact, she said nothing. No one said a damned thing in that car as they entered the neighborhood of the late Dr. Christina Rhoten.


The late doctor's house stood there silently and regarded the arriving women. To Carrie, the house seemed to speak to her. The word interlopers passed her mind for a brief moment. Had there not been a story she had once read entitled The Interlopers? She shuddered, briefly, and it wasn't from just the cold. She also remembered the ending of that story and tried to push it all out of her mind.

"Okay," Vandra spoke softly. "Carrie?"


"You will stay out here with her. I will handle the crystal, and whatnot."

"Maybe we should stick together, Vandra." Carrie firmly warned. If we split up, they'll concentrate the whole of their forces on each smaller group."

"I know, but this time, it is different. You have to trust me on this. I just want the two of you the hell away from me during the disposal of this crystal and if any of them decide to make a fight of it."

Now, Carrie was confused. "What in the hell are you talk-"

"Just listen to me. Please."

"Fine." No. It wasn't fine. Carrie wanted to grab Vandra and shake her till her teeth rattled, actually. What the fuck!? Carrie's mind screamed. Things were definitely turning into a bad horror story. They had already decided to split up in the face of god knows what sort of creatures. All that's missing now is a guy in a hockey mask.

Vandra got out of the car and walked up the sidewalk towards the house. When she reached the front porch, she turned and stared back at Ceara's car - at Carrie, in particular.

Carrie only stared back with a desperate look on her face. I HOPE YOU KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU'RE DOING! Carrie mentally screamed at her mentor, and she hoped Vandra got the message.

Vandra smiled, and then turned to face the house and what ever waited within its dark walls. She slowly turned the doorknob and stepped inside. The door closed behind her. Carrie was not sure if it closed from Vandra's doing or from some other force.

Please know what in the hell you're doing....Please.


The house was dark, but Vandra was not intimidated. It was not the dark, but the things that resided in the dark, n'est pas? She willed a small white orb to appear above her head. Its radiance illuminated the entire living room. There was nothing revealed, not to Vandra's sur- prise. After all, it was not yet time for them to make themselves seen.

She closed her eyes for a moment and concentrated. The crystal was very close. In fact, it was right below her. The good doctor must have had a lab in her basement. This seemed humorous to Vandra. She was reminded of an old urban legend she had once heard about while in North America. A man had died, but then his wife started seeing things. She thought it was his ghost. She finally called in paranormal investigators to get to the bottom of the unexplained phenomenon. They too started seeing strange things. After a while, they finally figured out what was really going on. The dead husband had an LSD lab down in his basement. The family cat had been running around through his things and had managed to get a hefty amount of LSD on its fur. Everyone who had seen "ghosts" had been also petting the cat's soft fur, and thus they had absorbed the acid.

After a short moment searching for the proper door that led to the basement, Vandra found it. The crystal was beyond that door, like an old dirty secret. Vandra wished it had just stayed a secret in the first place, but here she was; the one sent to right the wrongs. She turned the knob and pulled the door open. The stairway was lit up by the light of her orb. Still, nothing out of the ordinary was revealed.

Pet the acid cat.

With that thought, Vandra stepped down into the basement lab.

The lab was a shamble of panic, and last minute attempts to reverse what had begun. Vandra could feel the emotions from the events that had transpired only a few hours earlier. Sitting on a table in the center of the room was the crystal. It was probably the size of a twenty pound turkey, and rather round, save for a couple of stalks jutting from the top of it. It sort of reminded Vandra of a space cadet's helmet from one of the many B grade science fiction flicks that littered the nineteen-fifties. The crystal was dim and silent. No energy stirred from within it. The cycle had begun with Dr. Rhoten's demise, and ended with Ceara's rejuvenation. It simply waited for someone else to come along and discover it's curious little tricks and abilities.

Vandra stepped over to it, lifted it up above her head, and dashed the terrible relic to the floor. It shattered into thousands of pieces. If the shards were tears, they would still not equal the amount that had been shed during the crystal's golden age. Now, it was no more.

Vandra went up the stairs again and noticed that the lights were on in the house. All of them, probably. As she turned around the corner from the basement door to the living room, she saw a scene that had once been rather familiar and somewhat humorous.

Nebbazel, Ryusnin, Hazresh, and some short little dwarf (this one she had never seen before) wearing a black undertaker's suit with a top hat and a cane all sat on the sofa and loveseat. They all looked up at her as she entered the room.

Nebbazel grinned, warmly. His red hair was as long as she had remembered it to be. He still wore his face makeup. His eyes were black, as were all of them - as hers had once been as well. His skin was whiter than marble, save for the red sliver of what looked like face paint on the left side of his face. A bluish sliver marked the right side. They began halfway up his forehead and descended down to his eyes, where they would momentarily end, but then resume under the eyes and continue down to the cheeks. His lips were red as well.

Ryusnin's true face was hidden behind what looked like a Kabuki mask. He wore a black flat rimmed hat on his head. His duel swords were slung on his back, as they had always been. Once, he had even taught her how to sword fight. There was scarcely a better teacher to be found anywhere.

Hazresh was quite tall, with skin as black as his eyes. His ivory teeth, complete with fangs, were exposed with his smile. He had a yellow eye painted on his forehead. That was new, it seemed to Vandra. But, then again, she had not seen any of them in ages.

The dark dwarf only grinned at her, exposing his horrible needle-like teeth.

"Vandra, you never write us! We've been worried sick about you. It's such a dreadful world out there," Nebbazel scolded in a very theatrical voice. He had always liked to toy with his prey before ripping it limb from limb.

"Sorry, fellows. It's hard to correspond when you jump world from world like you do. I can't keep up." Vandra's retort made Hazresh snicker.

Nebbazel stopped grinning. Now here was the moment of truth. He would either try his best to dismember her, or he would try negotiating with her. "You destroyed that old crystal. Kudos to you. You have the little girl under a trainee's supervision. Bad mistake...we'll eat that little slut up...if we so choose."

"I think you overstimate your chances with her," Said Vandra, unwaveringly.

"Ha! Don't bluff us Vandra. Don't bluff us. You forget that we know you. I know you best of all. Vandra was not bluffing, and perhaps Nebbazel even realized that to some small degree. "We are willing to let both of them go. Little Ceara can go off and save the rainforests or something with her little noggin...she can have your little friend as a guardian angel."

"So tell me this," the dwarf interrupted. "Are you two carpet munchers or what? I bet you're the man in this little dyke-licking relationship. Tell me I'm wrong."

"Nitzel, I will feed you your fucking heart if you don't shut your trap," Nebbazel said without blinking. "Just interrupt me again. Please."

Vandra regarded Nebbazel for a moment, waiting to see if the dwarf would talk his way into getting his own black heart for a free meal. When there was silence, Vandra asked: "You'll just let them go. Fuck your mission and everything. At what price?"

"Oh, just to have you back, of course."

"Ah! Of course!" Vandra laughed.

"Don't be stupid. Don't sell yourself short to those damned self-righteous Walkers of the Path. We're winning, and we will always win, because it is the natural order of things. You believed this too, I might remind you. Maybe you still do."

"That's a laugh, Nebb. I did not come here to negotiate my soul. I do what is my will, and my will is to throw you back down into the pit that embraces your twisted souls."

"Vandra...Vandra...We need you. I need you. Things have been a fucking bore since you left. Hazresh has one god-aweful singing voice, and it's just not the same as yours. We can be a real team again. Fuck that stupid midget over there. He could never raise the hell that you used to, back in the good old days. Did you know there are worlds in our embrace where the parents still frighten their children with stories of you? They say 'If you don't behave, I reckon old Vandra will come get you and take you where she takes every other child who's bad.' It was fucking great when you were with us. You had it all...but it can be yours again! You could have every nation in this world under your grasp. You could have every world in the palm of your fucking hand! The universe is heading for the bottom, dove... But we can ride it all the way down. Whattya say?"

"Fuck you." Nebbazel stood up and looked at his hands, absently. His fingernails began to grow, then fusing together into sharp blades. The one on his right took the form of a broadsword, the other took that of a scythe.

"Perhaps you should reconsider." Hazresh and Ryusnin stood as well. "We have always loved you, but don't push it. You are technically the enemy. We'll show you no favoritism if we decide to tear you down like some whore. Speaking of which, we'll also just have to go on with plan B and put an end to that little cunt out there and take little Ceara under our wing.

"Do so, and all of you will die here." Vandra's eyes were ablaze with the inner flame of her powerful soul. They saw that as well.

"Fine, then." Nebbazel looked to the dwarf named Nitzel and spoke sternly: "Go, now. We will handle this and all will go according to plan."

The dwarf frowned, but vanished without saying a word.

Nebbazel turned his head back to Vandra, but before he could issue one final warning, she was nowhere to be found. As his mind caught up with what had happened, he turned to where Hazresh had stood. Now, the goliath was laying in two halves on the floor. His black blood pooled at the feet of where Vandra now stood. When the hell did she learn to move that fast? Extending from her arms were extensions of her aura. The extensions were shaped like swords, glowing with a purple radiance that any aspiring magician would have been proud to have.

Ryusnin drew his swords faster than lightning and swung at Vandra with little hesitation. She immediately blocked with her swords. What ensued next was a blurring multi-clash of swords as the teacher and former student tried their damnedest to reduce each other to ribbons of blood.

Nebbazel, not one for patience, summoned up a strong charge of energy in one of his blades and unloaded his volley upon where Vandra stood and fought. Vandra easily dodged it with that same unreal speed she had displayed a moment before. The energy burst passed by both contenders and blew out the window as it traveled out, slamming into a tree in the front yard, splitting it in two.


Carrie jumped out of the car immediately at the sight of the energy burst. Through the broken window, she saw that the drapes were on fire. In the living room, she saw Vandra fighting some masked figure with two swords. Leaning up against the wall, impatiently, stood a tall man with long red hair with facial paint.

"Fuck! She's fighting two of them!" Ceara screamed.

"Stay here." Carrie began running for the house. One of her hands began glowing blue as she began up the walkway to the house that was more than likely about to catch fire.

"But Carrie! She said not to..." Ceara's voice trailed off as she realized the woman was not listening to her.


When the front door of the house was kicked open, all eyes turned to Carrie bursting in. Nebbazel smiled with surprise and delicious humour as he regarded the young Asian lady standing before them.

"I told you to stay out!" Vandra screamed, but it was too late.

In a motion easily as fast as Vandra's, Ryusnin lunged toward Carrie. She had no time to react. His right sword pierced through her left shoulder. She screamed in agony as he lifted her off her feet and nailed her into the wall with it. There she hung, clutching at the hilt of the blade, trying to pull it out.

Vandra rushed forward, intending to put an end to Ryusnin once and for all, but all of a sudden there was a flash in her mind. It was like a camera going off in her head. Then, she realized something wasn't right. She was not moving. She looked down and saw the reason: Nebbazel's hooked blade was jutting out of her stomach. She stared at it with silent fascination for a moment. So, this is what it's like to be impaled. Somewhere - thousands of miles away, it seemed - Carrie was screaming. No longer from just physical pain, but from seeing Vandra's predicament. Vandra tried to remove herself from his hook and explain to Carrie that all was well, but instead, she felt a calm hand come down on her shoulder. She fell to her knees.

The strength was fading from her rapidly. Vandra had to do something and soon. She had to think, for the love of God she had to think! She looked up at Carrie, who was whim-pering uncontrollably - not to mention bleeding uncontrollably. She had to get Carrie away from this fast. There was still hope for Carrie! Vandra closed her eyes and concentrated for all she was worth. She raised her palms outward, where they took on a purple glow again, but this time, not in the form of blades. The hand of Nebbazel left her right shoulder, and she knew why. It was more than likely growing a sword...he was intending to finish her off before she could do one last act, but he was too late.

Tears of fundmental pain of every sort streamed from Carrie's cheeks as she watched the man with red hair draw back his sword, intending to decapitate Vandra. As his sword came down in it's diagonal sweep for her throat, a huge burst of purple energy flew from her out-stretched palms at Carrie. The swordsman moved as far away as possible, as it passed by him and crashed into Carrie. Everything began to go white in Carrie's mind. The world went out of focus. The last thing she saw was the blade finally reaching her former mentor's neck, but she was spared what came next as consciousness was lost.


Sunlight blinded Carrie as she opened her eyes. As she raised up, she saw that she was sitting under a tree on a hill out in the middle of nowhere. The grass was as soft as an angel's kiss. One of the first objects that caught her eye was a sword. The sword that had belonged to one of them. It was sticking out of the ground like a tombstone, a dark reminder of what had transpired. Carrie looked down and saw that she had no scar from where she had been pinned to that wall...And that she was nude.

"It's a lovely view, I think. That's probably why Vandra sent you here."

Carrie jumped to her feet immediately in alarm, but relaxed a little as she saw the owner of the voice. It was Campbell. "I bet it's quite a view for you," she said coldly. He only shrugged and walked over to the tree, running his hands down its bark.

"I'm sorry about Vandra."

"I should have listened."

"Yes, you should have. But, what's been done has been done."

"What happened to Ceara?"

"She's with them now. They are probably at her house, waiting for someone stupid enough to go after her."

"Wait a minute, I thought that was the go save her!"

"That was the mission. Now Vandra's dead, and they would have made short work out of you too if she had not gotten you the hell out of there."

"My mission was to save that girl at all costs."

"That was your mission. It's over. We've lost this one. We are pulling out of this world. Sure, a few of the heavy hitters will continue to conduct missions into this world...but for people like you and I, we're on to others. Maybe we can make more of a difference somewhere else."

"Fuck that, I have a mission. I'm going back."

"The fuck you are! They will cut you into tiny pieces and feed you to dogs. Vandra saved your ass. Now walk away with your life. Fight another day. That was her gift to you. Now just walk away."

"Yes, she saved my ass...but if I know her well enough, she would expect me to save that girl. I fucking owe it to her!"

"Look, fine. You stay here with the sinking ship. I'm getting out while the getting is good. I'm sick of fucking arguing with you."

"Campbell. I need you to do me a favor. I need some clothes manifested, and if possible, a handgun as well."

"A handgun? What are you wanting to do, a drive-by shooting?"

"Just do it, if you can. Please."

"Oh, alright...."

"Thank you."

"Hey, you're welcome. One hardly gets the pleasure of seeing someone with such a beautiful body."


"Alright, alright..."

"One other thing."

"Yes, Carrie?"

"I need a bowl as well."

"You get weirder and weirder every time I see you."


After Campbell left, Carrie silently went about preparing herself. The sunny sky began clouding up, as she hoped. Still nude, Carrie drew a circle into the ground and stepped inside it.

From there. She sat Indian-style in front of the bowl that Campbell had manifested and closed her eyes.

Minutes passed, and rain began falling. She could feel it running down her back, dripping from her hair, and making her nipples hard from the cold, but she maintained her concentration all the same.

After the bowl completely filled with water, Carrie picked up the .45 caliber handgun, removed the clip from it, and then removed the bullets from the clip. She placed her hands over the bowl of water and summoned blue energy to her hands. Soon the blue spread to the little bowl and the water began to glow as well. She then reached down and picked up one bullet at a time, dipping each tip into the blessed water.

After that task was complete, she walked over to the sword, wrapping both hands around the handle, and removing it from the soil. She brought it to the bowl, and poured the remaining contents of the water onto the blade. The water fizzled in reaction to touching the blade of its former owner, but soon just ran down the blade. It had been anointed to it's new owner.


"So, little you like cartoons?" Nebbazel asked as he ruffled the little girl's hair with his hand. They were at Ceara's home, now, for the other place had caught fire and long since burned down. It was now time to slowly recondition the little girl for changing circumstances of a new world.

"No. I'm twenty-eight years old." Ceara answered with a little unease.

"Right, of course you are!" Nebbazel shouted. Ryusnin ignored them both as he sat in a rocking chair, polishing his one remaining blade. He was expecting to get the other one back. Nebbazel wondered what that other woman would do. Would she run? Would she come back for the girl?

"Yes, sir." Ceara finally answered.

"But you don't look twenty-eight! You look about eight at the most. Let's do something about that, shall we?" And, with that, Nebbazel snapped his fingers.

Ceara began to feel woozy as things began getting smaller. No, wait... she was getting taller. As her size increased, the amount of flesh that her button-up blouse covered decreased. Her chest began to fill out again, along with her hips. It took her a moment to readjust to the weight that was on her chest again. When the process stopped, the front of her blouse barely reached past her mound of pubis. She tugged down on the shirt, nonetheless. Nebbazel laughed at her discomfort and snapped his fingers again. The shirt fell to tatters at her feet. There she was, completely nude.

"Well, that certainly makes my stecker pick out.. If you know what I mean!" She only blushed as she covered her breasts.

"How old do you say you are, dove?"

"Uhm.. Well... I would say about twenty-uhm.." Why in the hell couldn't she say 'eight'?

"Twenty?!" Well, if you say so.

Ceara felt her breasts firm up, just a slight. It was a strange feeling. She presumed she was now eight years younger.

"There you go... twenty years old! Damn, that can't be right... you look a little younger than that. Have you been trying to pull my leg?"

"No!" She shouted, but her voice betrayed her. It did sound younger. Hell, her breasts seemed a little less substantial as well.

"You can't be twenty. I would have to go with fifteen. Damn, you know, girls never look their age. If they say they are twenty, then they must be fifteen...but if you think they're fifteen, they must be twelve."

There she slipped, yet again. The weight in her chest that she had enjoyed readjusting to was dwindling again.

"Of course, you know that every twelve year-old girl I have ever seen always had breasts. You must be nine at the most. Sorry. I can't believe you are twelve years old. Stuff your bra and try that one on me again!"

Ceara needed not look down to notice that her chest was flat as beer on a pub floor, or that her crotch was bare again. She felt everything grow again. This should have been more maddening that it was, but she simply just went along with his game. Maybe he would make her death quick.

" day you'll be one hell of a knockout..."

"At twenty-eight years old, I would say she already is a knockout," A female's voice spoke from across the room. All heads turned in surprise, for there Carrie stood - the last student of Vandra.

"Carrie!" Screamed Ceara as tears came to her eyes.

"Hush, little baby," Nebbazel spoke grimly. With that, Ceara found herself shrinking even more. Soon, everything was incredibly huge. She tried to run to Carrie, but her legs gave out from under her. She tried to crawl, but then that too became too much of an effort. She gave up and cried with a baby's voice.

Ryusnin drew his sword and rushed at Carrie. He saw the sword in her left hand, and intended to take her arm as a lesson to her for such insolence. She stood calmly, and just as he reached her, he realized she was holding something behind her back in her right hand. Before he could react, she drew her right hand in a blur, revealing a handgun. He almost had time to laugh at the idea of bullets hurting him.

Until she pulled the trigger.

Ryusnin stopped dead in his tracks and looked down at his chest, from which blood poured. His blood! He looked up at her with disbelief, but his questioning stare was met with her pulling the trigger again. His mask shattered, and he fell backwards. Whatever he had looked like under his guise was now a ruined mess of blood and porcelain fragments from the mask. After a moment, his remains vanished.

"No," Nebbazel had time to whisper, hoarsely. It was now she who rushed at him. He grew his blades to meet her advance, but was too slow. She moved fast - easily as fast as Vandra had during her final moments. He brought his hooked arm up to hack the little cunt down as she rushed in, but she had anticipated his move. She drew her sword and went straight for his hooked arm. Damn she was so fast.

What happened next was simply a blur of movement that left Nebbazel confused. He found himself down on his knees, his left hand missing...well...not exactly missing. It was jutting from his stomach just as it had from Vandra earlier. He tried to stand, but a firm hand forced him to remain down.

Carrie stared calmly down at the man and drew back her sword. All feelings were gone. She had become something akin to a machine fueled by vengence. Vengence for all the deaths that they had caused. The sword moved with a blur even faster than before. It made a rather loud boom as the sword moved faster than the speed of sound, decapitating the red haired man. There was no blood, for the heat generated by the sword's friction build-up from sudden speed had sealed the wound shut.

The body fell over, without even a single spasm. A moment later, and it had completely vanished. Carrie looked over to where baby Ceara had been, and saw a small child growing into a larger child, then to a teen-ager, and then to someone in her twenties. Ceara was briefly reminded of the movie Star Man, where the alien had gone from an infant to an adult male in the space of seconds. Try as she might, she never could quite kick the memories of her old life.

Ceara stood up, still quite nude and dusted herself off. She did not seem to be that shy seeing Carrie. Then, to Carrie's surprise, she began picking at her buttocks. "Do you have to do that now in front of me?" Carrie asked with bewilderment.

"Sorry, it's just that I was sitting on the hard-wood floor when I started to get big again, d my ass started scooting across the floor and..."

"Oh! I'm sorry, I just thought..." Carrie shook her head and laughed at her own idiocy. How could she think of such silly things after everything that had happened in the space of twenty-four hours?

After the splinters had been safely removed, Ceara stepped over to Carrie and smiled. "Thank you...for everything." Ceara then kissed her first on the forehead, then on each cheek. Carrie kissed her back on the cheek, timidly, then on the edge of Ceara's lips...then fully on the lips. Ceara kissed her in return.

The physical plane emotions were on the verge of taking Carrie away, but she pushed Ceara back, gently.

"Your welcome, and thank you in return."

Ceara watched as the young woman before her faded away and then was gone. She tried to touch Carrie's cheek, but she was gone.


The room in the maternity ward of the hospital was full of wailing babies, to say the least. Carrie walked down the isles, looking for one in particular. She was invisible to adults, however the newborns would see her, but they would not complain about her unauthorized entry into the room.

She finally stopped at one crib that held a silent baby. Yes, it had the aura Carrie was looking for. She had followed that vibratory pattern here, and she had finally found the right one. The baby looked up at her and regarded her with huge, blue eyes. Carrie reached into the crib and gave the baby her hand. It wrapped its little fingers around the tip of one of hers, and grinned. It's little smile was brighter than a thousand sunrises combined.

"Yes, you know there is no reason to be sad...This world is still ours."

The baby continued grinning, but yawned a little.

"I just wanted to say, I'm sorry for disobeying you.... and thank you for saving me...Vandra."

Máire Flynn Jan. 24th, 2000