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Chapter 33 - Comeuppance

 

 

 

One evening there was Woodsman outside in Bianca's glass foyer.  It was presently set to one-way-mirror so he couldn't see in.  When she opened the door he fell to his knees, called her mother and grabbed her around her lower thighs, burying his face in the front of her dress. It was quite pleasant so she let him hold her like that for some time.  Then she told him to come in.  She noticed that unlike last time he had a cloth bag at his waist with a long strap over his opposite shoulder.  Once inside he realised that he already knew her.  She was the all-knowing woman with Zaire who had left him at the park bench until Kat came and took him home, very annoyed, he still has the bruises. 

Now he didn't know what to do. Kat had told him to pretend to be an idiot and tell her nothing, particularly where he'd come from, because Bianca McLeish is a witch.  But this woman already knew him and knew he came from Kat.  This upset all the plans Kat had told him to follow. Bianca hadn't pushed him off, as expected, and now she was asking questions about Kat again.  He was on the strictest orders not to mention her. 

Before she started questioning him she'd messaged someone called Edmund and they had a long chat ending with: "tomorrow morning then."

Bianca had been amused to see Woodsman at her door in the flesh.  He'd been allowed past building security because she'd anticipated this visit.  She could see why Margery had chosen him. He was a fine figure of a man.  She was becoming quite an expert on the male of the species herself.  Although not at Margery's level of expertise Bianca was now becoming quite proficient at mesmerising those who had been made vulnerable by the right pre-conditioning.    

***

After her success in Phuket Bianca had been interested in what had happened to Burma and Flower. She'd decided to visit their town to see how they were getting on.  She found them at their church after Mass. After Bianca touched her lips Burma had become convinced that Bianca was his distant cousin.  The couple had never met a Grad and Flower had been doubtful about being related; and about Burma promptly inviting his long lost cousin home.  But Burma was determined that Bianca should come and stay the night. There was no need for her to get a hotel suite.

Bianca was familiar with Zaire's stories of Bogan life but she found it fascinating to actually visit a Bogan home.  The place was huge with two kitchens and half a dozen bathrooms; a giant living room into which their pool intruded; several games rooms and a video cube.  There was a large hangar for their aircraft, ground vehicles and recreational water craft in the grounds which also featured areas for playing various games; trampolines and so on.  Everything seemed to be made of recyclable plastic. Flower proudly showed Bianca their latest purchases.  It must have taken an hour to wonder around admiring all their stuff. 

As they went from room to room Bianca found a moment to question Burma about married life. Apparently they had a licence to have two children and desperately wanted them but nothing was happening.  Bianca decided to enchant Flower to hear her part of the story.   It turned out that Flower had been horrified by quite normal foreplay and intercourse. Burma kept wanting to do those filthy things to her before they tried to make babies. As a result the copulations were quick and uneventful. 

Bianca knew that when it comes hypnosis people will not do what is against their nature.  You can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink.  She had stayed the night and tried to seduce Flower on Burma's behalf but Flower was surprisingly resistant.  Was Flower asexual or was there something in her past that made sex revolting?   In Flower's case, questioning while enchanted revealed that a priest had taken advantage of her family's trust when she was only five.  His abuse would take many months of gentle love and affection by Burma to put right.  Having primed them appropriately Bianca bought them back and explained what had happened and how they needed to get over it.  Flower wept for some time and Burma comforted her.  He had been losing patience with her and chatting up another woman at Church.  Yet after Bianca's visit he was convinced that he loved Flower and would help her to love him.   

Immediately before Woodsman arrived Flower and Bianca had shared a video conversation.  It had happened.  Flower was pregnant. Bianca found that she was extraordinarily happy as if she was the expectant mother herself.  She'd been struck by the amazing change in Flower, who had once seemed quite plain.  Now she was beautiful in that Bogan way, covered in tats and made-up like a super-model.  They make a handsome couple.  Bianca could imagine them in the near future at their Mall proudly pushing the latest most fashionable double pram.  Bianca had even dared to ask about their sex life and learned that Flower was often the initiator. 

"Nothing like it for keeping a man like Burma under control," she told Bianca laughing.

***

After enjoying her time in Phuket, Bianca had felt guilty about her lapse in faithfulness to Lucent. Then she doubled her crime by breaking her own rule and looking at his private messages. She told herself that it was to see how much he was missing her. She was not incredibly surprised to discover that he had not been monogamous either.  It had after all been six months.  As a result, Bianca no longer felt a great need to be faithful.  But she didn't need a life companion; just a bit of hormonal rebalancing; and fun.  Remembering Margery's advice regarding fishing she'd been on a couple of 'fishing trips' to Bogan religious events.  Since her first success she has a preference for virgins who offer a clean slate and can be trained to her specifications.

The gullible ones are easily persuaded that they have been 'taken up' when they experience her lift for the first time.  And her apartment seems so unreal to a Bogan that they can be persuaded that they are in a hovering space craft. The ones she rejects are thrown back with no firm memory of what happened.  Since then several have confessed to vivid dreams of alien abduction and sexual shenanigans. 

After selecting the best physical specimens or those with grace and natural beauty Bianca put them through their paces like an equestrian looking for a new horse. Several turned out to be fine around the arena in a dressage test but she was also looking for companionship or at least someone who would be fun to have breakfast with.  The best rides all turned out to have absolutely no interest in anything but sports, that Bianca has no interest in, and Jesus. 

Bianca was at a Church Picnic thinking that these fishing grounds contained nothing but holy carp and tadpole cod, when she saw Oliver.  He was about her own age and had reluctantly accompanied his sister to the Church Picnic as chaperone. Oliver has an ambitious mother who gave him a non-Bogan name in the hope that he would someday move into Grad society, which his mother worships from afar. Oliver's a gardener who, thanks to his mother, can read and write, a skill he uses to write short stories for VPA's to read to their Bogan owners.  Bianca was immediately attracted to him, a Grad in Bogan clothing, like Zaire.  Before the day was out Oliver's head was in Bianca lap as she quietly sang along to the hymns.

The following day over breakfast he told her that he was not quite sure how he had ended up in her bed as he was sure he hadn't been drinking.  Someone must have spiked the punch.

"Oh dear," she said. "Does that mean that you wouldn't have been attracted to me if you weren't drunk?  That's a trifle insulting."

"All it means is that I'm better at picking-up beautiful, and I might say incredibly libidinous, women when I'm out of it, than when I know exactly what I'm doing," he responded, having no idea that he'd been enchanted.

Bianca had released him from his trance after just one time around the arena.  Oliver was a keeper. She immediately thought of another Keeper: Oliver Mellors in Lady Chatterley's Lover the Game Keeper.

So that breakfast, over her favourite blue Damask tablecloth with the little dab of yellow yolk, observed that as he was a gardener she would henceforth call him Oliver Mellors. To her surprise he laughed heartily. 

"But that is my name," he said.  "My family name is Mellors, so my mother called me Oliver after the character in the book. So I'm going to call you Constance Chatterley." 

Somehow he knew that they were more than a one-night-stand.  He couldn't imagine being without her in his life. It was as if she had some hold over him. He had been bewitched.

Bianca took this for granted too.  Yesterday at the picnic the sister had been a hindrance wanting to leave early but fortunately one of Bianca's earlier tryouts was in attendance and after a word from her he had whisked the sister away.  The man, who still imagined he was a virgin, knew more than he realised about seducing women and Oliver had been amused rather than alarmed that he had completely failed as a chaperone.  Neither would believe that they were still virgins tomorrow morning.

Once the sister was otherwise engaged Bianca and Oliver had talked for hours about his writing and his interest in history and art.  He was like a male version of Zaire.  His subsequent performance in the dressage ring had clinched it.  There was no need to tell him to forget her apartment, he was to be here often from now on. 

He would need to move.  He found that this was exactly what he needed to get new experiences for his writing.  Bianca messaged her mother to get him a temporary job in her local park as groundkeeper. 

"So I'm to be your lover on call? You don't have a crippled husband somewhere do you?"

"Well for a while I did have a cripple here," she told him.  "But he sacrificed himself for love of another woman."

"Sounds like there's a good story in that," he said.

"Actually, I do have a boyfriend in exile, so there are to be no strings attached either way between you and me.  Are you happy to fuck me regularly on that basis?"

He didn't answer. He walked around the table; took her in his arms; and carried her to her bed.

Since then they have been practicing in the dressage ring regularly.  As once predicted by Margery Bianca's becoming quite addicted to his charms.  He calls her Connie does a good line in four letter Bogan words before and during sex.  Like her namesake in Lady Chatterley's Lover she loves that.

***

Strangely, her no-strings relationship with Oliver was making Bianca feel a trifle guilty about entertaining Woodsman. 

Woodsman turned out to be quite easy to enchant.  He apparently spent a good deal of his life enchanted by Margery.  Bianca delved around in his unconscious memories and preferences to learn more of how Margery went about it. Margery was like a Zen Mistress when it came to capturing another's mind.  

Now Woodsman, was there something you had to do here?  What have you got in your bag?  It isn't an apple is it?"

"Yes," he told her: "It's apple juice or you.  I have to put some on your food or in your drink and if you go to sleep I'm to drink some myself and lie down beside you.  How did you know that?"

That was when Bianca gave him a few suggestions of her own then gave him a trigger to re-enchant him should she want to in future and released him. 

He found that he desperately wanted to show her everything that had happened with Zaire. The next morning when they had breakfast together Woodsman had been restored to normality.  He was a well built, good looking and intelligent man not dissimilar in appearance to popular images of Jesus. They discussed the coding that he had so admired that Mohandas had produced and Bianca recalled the help that she had given him on that fateful day when he had taken it into his head to investigate her.

She had enjoyed his company last night but had reluctantly avoided sex with this rather attractive man out of his proximity to Margery; and her growing affection for Oliver. 

As breakfast was cleared she said: "Now Woodsman it's nearly time to go.  I'm not going to take you to the park this time; nor back to your place.  I'm going to take you to Kat's apartment.  I bet you don't even know where she lives or that her real name is Margery. Bring her apple juice with you."

Woodsman said that he would like to see where Kat, "I mean Margery," went when she left his place.  He would like to see what sort of a palace her apartment was and where she went at night as she had never stayed for breakfast at his apartment. 

Bianca called Claude and told him they were on their way.

Claude's VPA still had the simulation of Mohandas' widget in her App library.

Margery had gone to a job interview that Edmund was conducting for a position at the University.  At least she would go out with a bang.

***

Claude let Woodsman in.  He was interested in the man that Margery had been training while she had been his partner.  A fellow victim.  At first Woodsman seemed very impressed that it was indeed Kat's apartment.  He went around examining everything.  He spent a long time looking at a photograph of her and Claude and a certificate on her wall with her real name on it. 

As he looked around he realised that he was peripheral to her real life and fundamentally unimportant to her.   For the first time he was fully aware that he was simply one of her victims. Nothing but a tool, or perhaps an ego booster, to her.  Something snapped inside him.  He sat on the floor of her bedroom like a yogi, legs crossed, and started to sing the Dwarfs Song from Snow White. "Hi Ho, Hi Ho," sob, "It's Off To Work I Go..."

I did dig dig dig dig dig dig dig
In her Mine the whole day through
To dig dig dig dig dig dig dig dig
It's what she made me do
It ain't no trick
To get rich quick
If ya dig dig dig
With a shovel or a stick
In her Mines
In her Mines
Where her million fancies shine
I dig dig dig dig dig dig dig dig
From early mornin' til' the night
I dig dig dig dig dig dig dig dig
Up everything in sight
I gave her my time
She demanded more
Now I don't know what I was digging for...

His voice broke and grew louder as he contemplated all his time spent, metaphorically digging for her; vainly endeavouring to satisfy a woman whom he had thought of as a Goddess but, who now turned out to be nothing but a normal woman who used trickery and drugs and hypnosis and sleight of hand to create illusions.

After a couple of repetitions he began to sob in the most alarming way as he realised the the abuse he had suffered, tears rolling down his cheeks:

What had Margery done to this poor soul?

***

Claude knew of another who had spent a good deal of his lifetime in the same endeavour and gave the Bishop a call.  The Bishop got a terrible fright when Claude appeared on his screen and he imagined the worst.  But Claude told him about another poor soul that Margery had captured and was undergoing hell on earth.  The bishop would recognise him, he said. 

The Bishop had often considered killing himself and was alarmed that there was someone else in the same position.  He'd also considered killing Margery on many occasions but when he saw her she offered her hand presenting that satanic ring; he would kneel and kiss it; and all his resolve would evaporate.  Perhaps he could sneak up on her and do it?  He imagined holding up his cross and stabbing her through the heart with a wooden stake.  Which would be the greater sin, killing himself or Margery?

When Claude let him in to her apartment there was the very embodiment of the Saviour in obvious distress sitting on her bedroom floor.  Margery was nowhere to be found.  The Bishop embraced Woodsman, knowing of course that this was not Jesus but a poor mortal soul in terrible peril.  His heart went out to a fellow victim.  Woodsman understood that the Bishop was there to help and ceased his morbid song.  They talked through how they both had an impulsive urge to obey Margery like a goddess and how they'd been conditioned to obey her so that they were helpless before her. 

In more than a dozen places the Bible warns of witches and sorcerers and powerful women and insists that they be destroyed.  The Bishop recalled in particular:

Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail…
Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it .  Isaiah 47:12,14

A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood [shall be] upon them. Leviticus 20:27

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.  Exodus 22:18

As they waited for Margery to return they feared her power to overcome them with a single word or gesture.  They determined not to let her speak and to approach her from behind.  They recited the ancient 23rd psalm that has given succour to Jews and Christians for millennia, over and over, and gained strength in the Lord. 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

After each repetition the Bishop would elaborate from the later psalms:

Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.
Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

Unto thee will I cry, O Lord my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.

Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.

***

When Margery eventually walked in happily, having recently enjoyed Edmund's undoubted skills, they were so strengthened that Woodsman smashed a heavy glass video ball, the nearest thing they could find to a stone, on her head.  Her blood splattered across his beard and the coarse fabric of his caftan.  He hit her again as she fell, splashing his sandals.  The metallic smell of her blood filled the apartment.

Together they dragged her unconscious body to her bedroom and lay her on the altar of her larger than king-size bed. There they set upon her with her bloodied glass ball; taking turns smashing her bones; before with the aid of a kitchen knife they tore her flesh asunder, limb from limb. 

When they were satisfied that her soul had been properly despatched with those that go down into the pit, they calmly knelt before their gory handiwork; her huge bed overflowing with her flesh and blood; their hearts at last cleansed by her death of sin; and sipped from a cup filled from Woodsman's flask of sweet apple juice.  Unsurprisingly it had been transubstantiated into to synthetic hemlock.  With beatific smiles they faded away.

As they were not Biblical scholars Bianca and Claude had not expected anything of the kind.  They were horrified at the reports from the floor below.  They had expected that Margery would be fed her own apple juice and that the other two would be redeemed by the experience.  But fate moves in mysterious ways.

 

 

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