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2.28 Advancing Toward Evil, Part I: Maria’s Role

June 16, 2011

Maria woke thinking the day was perfect. Life was perfect. Everything was finally falling into place. She was home, Red was here with her, and everything was going to be all right. She had a nagging sensation in the back of her throat, though. The last time she felt this good she lost her mother and sister within months of each other.

No, she thought. I deserve happiness. I will have happiness. She was just about to snuggle back into bed when a delicious aroma drifted upstairs. Pancakes! Maria flew out of bed and ran down the stairs, practically tripping over herself in the process. Red made pancakes. See, she thought, life is good.

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Maria sat at the table as Red dished up large stacks of steaming cakes loaded with butter and syrup.  She smiled, and Red looked at her with the gleam of love in his eyes.

“You look gorgeous today, babe,” he said.  “You are absolutely radiant.”

“Must be the pancakes,” Maria said with a laugh.

“No, seriously,” Red persisted, ” You are positively glowing.”

“Well,” said Maria, “I’m happy.  And I’m enjoying being happy.”

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Maria sat, reveling in this happiness while she watched Red devour his plate of pancakes.  Inching through her happiness, again, was that nagging feeling, scratching at the back of her throat.  Was it her imagination, or did Red look…worried?  Oh hell, she thought.  Better to know than not to know.

“Red,” she began, “is something wrong? Something you’re not telling me?”  Red half choked on a mouthful of pancakes.  “Oh crap,” continued Maria. “I knew it.  I just knew it.”

“But how did you know?” Red asked.  “I tried so hard not to ruin this morning.  You just looked so happy and peaceful.”

“Well, cat’s out of the…” Maria began before she was interrupted by an unusual rumbling in her stomach. Suddenly the smell of pancakes was everywhere, assaulting her senses.   The smell that was once warm and comforting was now beating at her mind.  She felt as if giant stacks of pancakes were towering around her.  Her stomach churned, and she felt the rush of lightheadedness, and knew.  “Hold that thought,” she said, and raced out of the room.

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She returned to an even more worried looking Red staring at her. “Are you all right, babe?” he asked.

Maria sighed. “Yes, fine, I’m fine,” she said, and sat back down next to Red. The pancake smell was a warm comfort again, at least for the moment. “You were telling me something,” she gently prompted, “something you didn’t want to worry me with, but I think you should just get it over with and tell me.”

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Red’s expression turned grim. He set down his fork next to his stack of pancakes and closed his eyes as if to think of how to gracefully put into words a conversation he did not want to begin.

“You know how I told you I’d talked to the Elders…to my bosses…and how they’d released me from my life as a Protector?”

“Ye-es,” said Maria in that way she had of drawing words out when she figured she was not going to like the response.

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A deep breath escaped Red’s lips. “Well, there’s one more job I have to do.”

Maria scrunched her face while Red simply looked at her. “Is that it? You’ve been doing the job forever, I trust you can do this one last thing and come home to me safely.” She tried not to think about the fresh scar he was sporting across his nose while simultaneously considering attempting to eat a second plate of pancakes.

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“That’s not it, actually,” Red continued. “You have to do the job, too.”

Maria stared at Red for a long minute. “What?” she asked softly.

This is way worse than when she yells, thought Red. He took a breath and let the words rush out all at once. “Um, you have to go help Allie and her friend break into the Goth mansion and then help someone escape.”

“So, I need to go back to the place where I was made to be a monster, risk life and limb to break someone out, then try to get out myself?” Maria asked, still eerily calm.

“Yes,” said Red.

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“And you’ll be doing what, exactly,” she continued, “while I’m doing all of this?”

Red thought of a million replies to this question. Most were smart-alec responses to Maria’s strange new tone. Finally he decided on honesty. “I’ll be training my replacement,” he said.

“Why is it again that I need to go along?” asked Maria. “Allie is a very competent witch all by herself. She doesn’t need me. I’m not half of what she’s become.”

“You underestimate yourself,” said Red. “But that’s not the main reason, you’re right. Allie is very strong on her own.  But this is Bella Goth we’re talking about, and Allie needs your knowledge of the layout of the mansion, and your understanding of Bella’s habits. Allie is powerful, but she is still young, and doesn’t really know what she’s getting into. She will fail if she goes without you.” He paused for a moment before adding, “She and her friend are planning on going tonight.”

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Maria arched an eyebrow, but remained calm. “That won’t do at all, will it?”

“No,” said Red, “I suspect it won’t.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lissabry permalink
    July 11, 2011 11:01 am

    I suspect someone has a little flapjack in the oven lol 🙂 I hope tonights adventure wont have a negative effect on it :-SS

  2. pieridae permalink*
    July 11, 2011 12:05 pm

    🙂 We’ll soon find out 🙂

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