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A vulnerable couple fall into the hands of an unscrupulous psychic.
[Introduction] Maria and Denis are former psychiatric patients livivg in Care in the Community. They form a romantic relationship. Unfortunately Denis suffers a relapse and in a manic state goes to consult a psychic, Mrs Adams. Mrs Adams swiftly establishes a psychological ascendancy over the couple. She sets about depriving Maria of her recent inheritance from her mother.
They walked side by side through the back streets, she trotting to keep up. He marched on silently, dogged and morose. They reached the High Street. She saw immediatele they were outside that shop she had passed so often. It was the psychic's shop! Denis stopped and looked at the neon-lit sign. There was a dazed look in his eyes
"Oh, no,Denis," she begged. "Not a psychic. That's totally unchristian - and unislamic."

"It's un-Buddhist too," Denis said, "but I am very curious about psychics. You know that, Maria."

"But you shouldn't be," Maria protested. "Why can't you just leave them alone? Everytime we go past a fortune-teller's shop or a hand-reader's tent you want to give them a dollar and see what they say. It's pagan foolishness. How can you believe in that crap?"

Denis put his hands on Maria's shoulders. "You just don't understand it. Sure, some of them are fakes and phoneys, but some of them are real. This Mrs Adams looks interesting. I at least have to talk to her and find out."

"Please don't do that," Maria said. "I'm begging you. I have a ... a strange feeling about it."

Denis laughed. "What kind of feeling? I thought you didn't believe in psychic phenomena so why are you acting so spooky about it?"

"Oh go ahead and see her then! But don't say I didn't warn you I had a bad feeling about it!"

Denis and Maria walked into the shop. Over the door a neon sign said: "Mrs Adams - Psychic Readings".
They entered the shop. Inside was a tiny waiting room They sat and waited nervously. Maria eyed the bamboo curtains opposite her and wondered if she could yet dissuade Denis from his purpose.
After a few minutes the bamboo curtains parted and revealed a short, dark-complexioned, gipsylike woman in a flowing dress. She regarded them coolly from under her heavy lids, and, with an imperious gesture of the hand. directed them behind yet another curtain into her consulting room.
Maria rose, but the woman indicated she wanted to see Denis alone. Maria waited as Denis disappeared into the consulting room and poured out his tale of woe.
Shortly Mrs Adams appeared and told her to come in.
Maria was overwhelmed. Such a small room, but such a mass of idols and icons, representing perhaps every religion known to man. The statue of a Hindu goddess
dominated the room.
Maria sat down and Mrs Adams regarded her solemnly.
"You did well to come to me," she said. "Because he has been suffering for a very long time. This is a very evil woman."
She indicated the photogaph of Saida, Denis's ex-wife.

Maria gasped. "Denis! You are still carrying a photograph of Saida on your person? Why?"

Denis presented his hands palms up. "I could not help it. It was just something I had to do. I don't love her anymore. You know that."

"I thought I knew it until I saw this photograph. I cannot believe you carry it with you all the time."

Mrs Adams made a calming gesture. "You must understand that it is not your huisband's fault. This Saida is a very eveil woman and possess dark powers."

"Oh pshaw!" Maria said. "Don't give me any of that mind-reader phoney baloney!"

"Maria!" Denis said. "At least listen to Mrs Adams. Aren't you curious why Saida's photo is in my pocket?"

"Yes," Maria said. "I'm curious. I just don't believe Mrs Adams knows anything about it."

Mrs Adams smiled knowingly. "Oh yes, I know much about it. The spirits tell all to those who are willing to listen."

Maria crossed her arms. "Go on. What do the spirits say?"

"Saida did not want your husband to go away from her. She wished to keep him for herself forever. So she cursed him with a binding spell. He has been trying to resist it, because he loves you very much, but Saida's power is very strong. She was able to make him carry her photograph with him. And through the photograph she has been able to gain more power over him."

Maria rolled her eyes. "Then let's destroy the freakin photo! What could be more simple?"

"Yes," Mrs Adams said. "Yes, you are right. We must destroy the photo, but we must do it the right way. We must do it in such a way that the spell is broken. If you were just to tear up the photo it would only hurt Denis and it would not break the spell."

"And I suppose you know how to break the spell?" Maria asked.

"Yes, I do. You must return to me tonight at midnight and bring the photo of Saida with you."

"And then what?"

"I am afraid I cannot reveal the details of what we will do because that would render what we do ineffective if you had advance knowledge. But rest assured that after tonight Saida's spell will be broken."

After they were back outside on the street again Maria asked Denis, "We're not coming back here are we?"

"We have to," Denis said. "We have to break Saida's spell."

"Oh good grief! Let's go eat a good supper then. I guess it will be a long night. Zheesh!"
They went back to the flat. Maria was disturbed at what had happened, but Denis seemed quiescent and reassured.
"Perhaps if he wants to believe in it, it will help him," she thought.
As the time approached for th meeting with Mrs Adams, she suggested they call a cab.
"I don't want to walk through the dark streets so late at night," she said.
Denis agreed.
At 11.30 pm she called their usual cab firm. When the cab came, the driver looked at them rather curiously, especially when Maria asked to be taken to the psychic's shop on the High Street, but he said nothing.
He dropped them outside the shop. A dim electric light shone inside. Maria nervously approached and pushed the door. It was open. They entered. Waiting for them was - Mrs Adams.
"I have brought the photograph, Mrs Adams," said Denis.
"Yes,yes, that is good." Her eyes glittered in the dim light. "But first I must warn you. You are in terrible imminent danger. You particularly, Denis, but you, too, Maria, because your spirits are so close..."

"Sure," Maria said. "We're in trouble. I'm just going along with this because it's what Denis wants."

Mrs Adams a candle while she looked Maria up and down. "Do you love him very much?"

"What? I don't see that it's any of your business, but yes, we love each other."

More candles were lit by Mrs Adams. "And do you believe that Saida is an evil woman?"

"Saida is in the past. I wouldn't say she was evil in the sense of being like a devil or anything. Certainly she wasn't good for Denis or they would have stayed married to each other. Right, Denis?"

"Yes," he said. "But I believe Mrs Adams is right that Saida is a lot worse than even you and I suspected. She must have occult power to make me carry her photo around with me."

Maria shook her head. "Oh, Denis, you could have gotten rid of that photograph. But I don't want to argue with you. We are here now and Mrs Adams has agreed to destroy the photograph in the so-called correct way, so let's do it."

Mrs Adams switched off the electric lights so that the room was only lit by candles. "Now you must both remove all your clothes."

"What!" Maria said. "That's ridiculous! I'm not going to take off my clothes."

"Please, Maria," Denis said. "It's sometimes required in occult transactions that there be nothing interfering with the participants' auras."

"Oh poppycock! I told you I don't believe in this stuff so why should I have to get undressed?"

Denis looked beseechingly at her. "Is it so much to ask? I know you are not that shy about your body."

Maria looked at the ceiling. "It's just the idea of it. This is creepy. Candles and this old hag and now getting naked!"

Mrs Adams had bristled a bit at the the "old hag" remark. "I can assure you, Maria, that it is necessary to be unclothed for the best results. You are playing into Saida's hands by resisting this. And I can assure yopu that Saida is not in the past as you say but is very much alive and with us today. Do you want Saida to have Denis again?"

Maria glared at Mrs Adams. "Very well, I'll get undressed."

Mrs Adams waited while Denis and Maria removed all their clothes.

Mrs Adams drew a pentagram on the floor with a piece of chalk. "The two of you must stand within what I drew."

"This is so ridiculous," Maria said.

"Just do it," Denis said,

"Now I will light the Incense of Balzarra and sprinkle some of the Essence of Mitzkenzabbi on you."

A strong spicey smell filled the room and they felt a few drops of liquid fall on their shoulders.

"I take this photo which is enchanted," Mrs Adams sang. She turned it into a sort of chant, saying it several times and adding to it:

I take this photo which is enchanted
I take this photo which is enchanted
The spell it holds must be recanted
I take this photo which is enchanted
Fingers tear and fire burn
Evil knowledge be unlearned
I take this photo which is enchanted
The spell it holds must be recanted

On and on the chant of Mrs Adams droned and Maria found herself becoming sleepy. "It's so late, Denis," she murmured. "I can hardly keep my eyes open."

Maria drifted off into a trance and began to dream...

She was somewhere blue. Or was that the sky? It was a warm summer day and she was lying on her back on the fresh grass looking up at the sky. "Maria!" called a voice. "Maria, come over here!"
Maria sat up and rubbed her eyes.
She took in the savannah-like landscape around her. Could she be in Africa?
Who was calling her?
She perceived in the distance a slender, dark-skinned woman who was gesturing to her. It was Saida!
She approached Maria and looked down on her.
"Why did you steal my husband?" she demanded.
Maria had wrestled with her Catholic conscience many times.
She attempted to defend herself.
"I didn't steal him. He had left you long ago."
"Did you not think of John Piotrkowski?" said Saida.
"How do you know about him?" asked Maria in amazement.
"Never mind how I know. He was a Catholic like you. He could have offered you marriage."
"Why are you bringing up all this stuff? What do you want?" demanded Maria.
She struggled to her feet.
Saida gestured for Maria to follow her. She led her through the long grass to a wooden shack.
They entered. It was cool inside.

On a round wooden table sat a shallow bowl of water. "Look into it," Saida said.

"Why?" For some reason Maria did not want to look.

"You will see things you need to see."

"No," Maria said, but her eyes were drawn to the water and the scene she saw unfolding there. It was her husband Denis in bed with Saida. Maria gasped and turned away. "Witch!" she said. "Why do you show me that?"

"Because it is I that Denis truly loves. I was his first love BEFORE you! He does not leave you now because he is afraid to hurt your feelings when you realize he no longer loves you. You must let him go. You must release him so he can be with me who he truly loves."

"NO! NO! NOOOO!" Maria yelled. "You are evil!" Maria grabbed the edge of the bowl and flipped it so the water went into Saida's face.

Saida screamed as if she was burned by the water, then her face became ferocious with anger and she plunged her fingers with their long fingernails at Maria's face.

Maria felt a scratch down her cheek and blood begin to flow. She grabbed Saida's hair and the two women went down on the floor of the hut, fighting like animals, knocking over the round table and and anything else that could fall.

© Copyright 2011 peedee37, Steev the Friction Wizurd, (known as GROUP).
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