Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Revenge - Chapter 25 – Part 1 of 2



Revenge
By Karen Singer


Chapter 25 – Part 1 of 2

Susan was up very late that night trying to figure out what to do.  She’d had the germ of an idea to turn Monica and her friends into real witches – to Steve anyway.  It wasn’t something intentional, but she realized that doing so would also add yet another layer of protection so that Steve would never know about her.  All he would be focused on would be Monica and her friends. 
Making Steve believe they were witches would be easy.  The part she was having trouble with was what kind of spell they should put on Steve.  She had several ideas for things she wanted to try on Steve in the future, but they were all things she was planning on doing without Monica.  She supposed she could send Monica one or two ideas to choose from, but since it had been a while since Steve had really felt any kind of humiliation, she thought the coming weekend would be a good opportunity to start things off.  But to do that, Monica and her friends would have to be ready fairly quickly, and even more importantly, Karen had to be programmed.  There wasn’t time for Monica to make a decision about what to do or not. 
Since she was hopeful that Monica would go along with what she had decided she wanted to do, when Karen emailed that night, she had Karen phone her again and Susan gave her some very strict instructions.  What she asked Karen to do would be very difficult for her.  The control she would have to exercise over Steve would be very difficult for her to manage.  But Susan had confidence that Karen could pull it off.  Karen had already proven herself more than adequate on a number of occasions.  She finally told Karen to call her again just before Steve went to lunch the next day.  It was the best she could arrange.  With Karen set, she wrote a lengthy email to Monica.

Dear Monica,

If you’re interested, I have this idea I wanted to try on Steve.  Since I haven’t had a chance to really punish him in some time now, I was hoping that you and your friends would be available to cast a spell on him before he goes home Friday night.  Then of course, it would be up to you to find ways to see what happens. 

If you are agreeable, I will need to know before your lunchtime since I will have much to handle on this end.  If you have something else in mind, I will need to know that as soon as possible.  I may or may not be in a position to make whatever you have in mind happen…at least not that quickly. 

Here is my idea for our first trial spell….

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

Monica got Susan’s email as soon as she got to work on Friday.  By the time she had read halfway through it, Diane was reading over her shoulder. 
“Oh my God!” Diane exclaimed.  “Is this for real?”
“It looks like it,” Monica replied, equally surprised.
“We’ve got to call the others right away.”
“Yeah, and maybe we better all meet for lunch.”
“Good idea!”

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

Steve was feeling more confident by the minute.  Nobody had demanded to see what kind of underwear he was wearing for several days now.  In fact, several times the women had all seemed to go out of their way to avoid him.  Feeling happy and more in control of himself than he had in some time, he wondered if he could get away with removing his stupid bra at lunchtime and go without.  The pantyhose could go too for that matter.  They were hot and still felt strange against his legs.  He quickly made up his mind to do just that.
Shortly before lunch, he was thinking about the gun he was about to buy.  Hopefully his permit for it would be in the next day.  He had plans to take it straight to the gun range and try it out. 
He wondered if it might be advisable after that to let Monica know he had the gun, and that he wasn’t afraid to use it!  The damn witch!  He couldn’t think of any woman who deserved to be shot more than Monica.  Who would ever believe that witches actually existed?  He didn’t…until now.  But once he had his gun, if she even thought of crossing him the wrong way – pow!  Right in the heart!  Scratch one mean old witch.
As Steve daydreamed about having his gun, he never realized when he zoned out a little further as Karen put him gently to sleep and took over.  As Susan had asked, she took Steve’s cell phone and called Susan.  A minute later, a very unmasculine giggle escaped from Steve’s cubicle as Karen learned that the game was on.  Karen couldn’t wait for Steve to discover what was about to happen to him. 

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

“Oh Stevie….” Monica’s singsong voice came over his phone line shortly after lunch.
Steve nearly threw up.  He had just finally removed the bra and pantyhose he had been wearing.  “What do you want?” he asked cautiously.
“Oh Stevie, I want lots of things.  I want my ring that you stole replaced for one thing.”
“Fine!  I’ll buy you a new one this weekend.”
“Oh Stevie.  I appreciate that.  And you will buy me a new one, but I’m not sure you’ll want to do it this weekend.  Or maybe you will.  I haven’t decided yet.  In fact, that might just be fun.”
Steve was immediately worried that she had some new humiliation in store for him.  “What are you planning on doing to me this time?”
“Oh Stevie, that would be too easy.  I think it would be much more fun if you figure that out on your own.”
“I don’t like these games you’re playing with me!”  He came close to warning her that he was buying a gun.  Shooting her with it was becoming more of a possibility – soon!
“Tough!” Monica replied.  “Because we’re just getting started.  Just make sure you get your pantied ass down here after work today, or there’ll be hell to pay!  Got that?  Don’t you dare disappoint me!”
“Tonight?  But it’s Friday?”
“Good for you.  You noticed.  No wonder you make so much money.  Now I just hope you’re smart enough to show up after work.  Or else…trust me, you’ll really wish you were.  I’m still just dying to give that signed confession of yours to the police!”
Steve said nothing.  He was fuming inside.
“Stevie…do you hear me?  Do you understand?”
“Yeah,” he mumbled angrily.
“Good.  Oh, and Stevie, I know Diane and I have been pretty busy all day.  Have any of the other girls bothered to check your underwear this morning?  I haven’t heard from them.  Hmm?”
The line went dead.  Steve started angrily at his computer, then raced for the elevator and his car where he had left the bra and pantyhose he had just taken off.  It was a good thing the witch couldn’t hear the angry cursing that was running through his head…or the thoughts about shooting her sometime this weekend – just as soon as he got his gun!

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

Steve didn’t exactly hurry down to the shipping department after work.  In fact, he did everything possible to delay it.  But he knew that going was inevitable.  He got in the elevator and headed downstairs.  As he stepped off the elevator, he saw Carla and Ruth just going through the doors to the shipping department.  As he opened the doors himself and walked through, he was just in time to hear Carla and Diane telling the head guy in shipping that they were all taking Monica out to the club that night.  And that it was time for her to start trying to live a little. 
Carla turned and saw Steve coming in.  “And here’s Steve,” she said.  “We’re all going to make sure Monica gets everything she needs.”
The head of shipping grinned.  “Good!  She’s been pretty troubled these last few days.”  He looked to Steve and seemed to nod approvingly.
Carla linked her arm through Steve’s and dragged him back toward Diane and Monica’s shoebox of an office.  “We’re here,” Carla announced the moment she saw Monica behind her desk.
“The guys haven’t left yet though,” Diane said quietly.  “We need to give them a few minutes.  Steve, why don’t you get comfortable in my chair over there.  None of us are going anywhere for a while.”  And then she giggled.  Steve took her giggling as a very bad sign.
Five minutes later, Monica and Diane’s boss poked his head into the office to let them know he was leaving.  He was just in time to hear Carla describing her new dress she was planning on wearing that night.  Not wanting to get into that kind of discussion with the women, he quickly said, “We’re leaving, make sure you lock up when you’re done.”  He grinned at Monica.  “And for heaven’s sake, try to have a good time tonight.  Okay?”
Monica grinned.  “Trust me.  I plan to.”
Diane watched him leaving, and a few moments later, she watched as all the men left the shipping department.  She followed them to the door and locked it.  “We’re alone,” she told the others as soon as she got back to their office.”
“Okay ladies,” Monica said, “you all know what to do.  Diane, make Steve here comfortable.  She handed Carla a box that she picked up off her desk.  “Ruth, you take these,” she said as she handed Ruth a stack of papers.  She turned to Steve.  “Don’t you dare give Diane any trouble!”
“Oh don’t worry, he won’t,” Diane said with a small giggle. 
Monica nodded and walked out.
“What’s happening?” Steve asked nervously.
“You’re getting undressed down to your pretty undies,” Diane told him.  “Right now!”
A few minutes later, Steve was again sitting in Diane’s chair, only this time he was only wearing his panties, pantyhose, and his bra.  His bigger concern though was all the packing tape Diane was wrapping tightly around his wrists that were now pulled together behind the chair. 
“Now you just stay there and stay out of trouble,” Diane told him as she threw the tape on her desk and walked out. 
Steve had no idea what the women were planning, but he knew it couldn’t be good.  All his questions about it so far had gone unanswered.  As he waited in the chair, his thoughts turned towards the gun he was going to get tomorrow.  The gun – he would shoot Monica with…and maybe the other witches too!
A few minutes later, Carla and Diane came back to get him.  “Okay Stevie,” Carla said to him.  “Get up and come with us.”
Steve didn’t want to go anywhere – except home.  But when Diane walked up to him and pulled up on his arms, he forced himself to push out of the chair, struggling a bit to get his bound arms over the back of it.  Then with Carla holding one arm and Diane the other, they led him into the big room where Steve now saw a large space prepared.  A large space where a big star with a circle around it was now drawn in chalk on the floor.  Candles were set at each of the five points of the star. 
Diane and Carla led Steve to the middle of the star.  “Down on your knees!” Diane ordered.
Steve had little choice since both Diane and Carla were pushing him down.  But once on his knees, Diane moved quickly and started binding his ankles together with more tape, then she bound his wrists to his ankles.  “That should keep you out of trouble,” she said to him.
“What’s going on?” Steve demanded again.
But instead of getting an answer, he watched as Monica walked right up to him, reached out, and pulled a hair from his head.  “Ouch!” he cried as Monica turned and left the middle of the circle.  Steve soon found himself alone in the middle of the star on the floor. 
“Ladies,” Monica said, “I think we’re ready.  Diane, will you get the lights please?”  She looked directly at Steve.  “I recommend you stay inside the pentagram…for your own safety.”
His own safety?  Steve would have felt much more safe outside the damn pentagram.  Like maybe several states away from the thing.
The lights dimmed, and suddenly Carla struck a match and lit one of the candles next to him.  Steve saw Monica smile evilly at him before she lit the candle at the top of the star.  All five candles were soon lit and each of the women spread out around him with Monica staying at the point at the top of the star.  Steve’s fear had him drenched with sweat.  He noticed now that each of the women were holding a piece of paper in their hands. 
Somewhere very deep inside of Steve, Karen was laughing.  The women were really making it look good!  She just hoped she was up to the task and wouldn’t let them down.  There were a lot of things she was going to hate doing, but since she knew Steve would be very embarrassed by every bit of it, she couldn’t wait to get started.
Monica looked around at the other women.  “Are we ready?”  She saw them all nod.  “Then let us begin.”  She looked down at the paper in her hand and started reading out loud.  All four women read it aloud together.

Demons of the earth and sky, hear us now our sacred cry
Grant our plea thy powers lend, harken now this spell to send
Upon this man this curse descend, until three suns shall rise again
As man’s best friend this soul shall be, a mix of man and dog decree
Parts of one and some the other, jumbled up and tossed asunder
Cursed to live by newfound rule, show the world just who’s the fool
Demons hear us, lend thy power.  Grant our wish, this sacred hour.

The women stopped and Steve looked around fearfully.  Was something supposed to happen?  He saw Monica reach down and pick up a coffee cup and something else.  She held them aloft – he realized she had the hair she had pulled from his head. 
“The token,” Monica proclaimed to everyone.  She then dropped the hair into the cup in her hands and pretended to drink it all down.  “Ahhh…” she sighed when she was finished.  She set the cup and the hair down on the floor and picked up the paper with the spell on it again. 
Once again all the women read through the spell, but this time, as soon as they got to the end, they started reading from the start one more time. 
Steve didn’t feel any different as he listened to the women reading the spell through for a third time.  He didn’t feel any different, and he hoped he wouldn’t.  Actually, he was hoping that whatever magic they were trying to do wouldn’t work.  He pulled yet again on the tape binding his hands and ankles.  Crazy women.  Not women – witches!  Real…live…witches!  And it was obvious that Monica was their ringleader.  The main witch!  Well, she wouldn’t be the main witch much longer.  Once he got his gun, she’d be a very dead witch instead.
The women finished the third time through the spell, then they each bent down and blew out the candles.  Diane quickly snuffed out the last candle then raced to get the lights.  She giggled as she ran.
Steve’s eyes nervously watched all the women. 
“I guess that’s it?” Ruth asked Monica.
“As far as I know, we’re done,” Monica replied.  She faced Steve.  “How do you feel?  Any different?”
Steve didn’t feel any different at all.  Just scared…and very angry.  “N…arf!”  Steve’s mind suddenly went crazy.  He had just tried to say “no,” but instead it had come out as a bark.  “Arf!” he said again, trying to get the word out.  “Arf.  Arf!  Arf!”  No matter how hard he tried to say something intelligent, his words came out as some kind of high pitched dog bark.  And the more he tried talking, the more like real barks those words sounded.  “Arf!” he tried one more time, amazement written all over his face. 
The women were all laughing.  “Um…I’d say it worked,” Carla said.
He sounds like one of those yappy little dogs,” Diane noted.
“Don’t all men?” Ruth asked.
Steve was hyperventilating.  What had happened?  How could it possibly happen?  The only sounds he could make were to bark like a dog…and a little dog at that.  He tried to ask how long it was going to last, but the moment he opened his mouth and tried to say something, he barked instead.  He couldn’t even ask questions!
“Diane,” Monica said, “why don’t you cut our little puppy loose and help him get dressed.  I’ll start cleaning the floor.”  She turned to Carla.  “And I guess we’ll see you at the club later?”
“Is Mike still picking you up tonight?” Carla asked.
“Yeah.  I finally relented and agreed to go out with him.  But every time I think about it, I’m still seeing what happened to my apartment after our last date.”
Carla looked down at Steve on the floor.  “Hopefully, we won’t have to worry about that again.  See you at the club later?” she asked Steve?  Steve looked up at her like she was crazy.
“You better be there,” Monica told him.  “We’re all expecting our little puppy man to show up tonight.  We want to have fun!”  With a laugh, she walked off to find some cleaning supplies to clean the chalk off of the floor.
“Come on puppy Stevie,” Diane said as she used a blade to cut the tape that was binding him.  A moment later, he was free.  He started to get to his feet, but Diane pushed him back down.  “No, you can crawl back to the office instead.”
As Steve finally drove off toward home a short while later, his main thoughts were about how he could manage to get a gun tomorrow – if he couldn’t talk.  And for that matter, how long was this…curse…supposed to last?  He vaguely remembered something in that spell the witches had chanted about three suns rising.  Did that mean until Monday morning?  That was as close as he could figure.  He tried to shout a string of angry curses, but all that came out were more barks.  He tried to scream in frustration, and barked again.  It was impossible!  He would be forced to remain silent until next Monday…or whenever the miserable curse finally wore off.  At least he hoped it would wear off.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Revenge - Chapter 24



Revenge
By Karen Singer


Chapter 24

Monica’s mind had been busy all night long trying to come up with ways to get her revenge against Steve, and not actually kill him like she had done with her husband.  No, actual murder was out, for the rest of her life.  No matter how justified she had been in murdering her husband, it was still something she couldn’t get over, and never would.  She had taken someone’s life.  Did she deserve to be free and not in prison?  To this day she still wasn’t sure, but she was never going to let someone hurt her again.  And Steve had hurt her – badly!  And now she needed some way to get back at him.  Some way to hurt him as much as he had hurt her…or worse.  In fact, worse would be better.
“Morning Monica,” Diane said cheerily from her small desk as Monica walked into their little office. 
“Morning, Diane,” Monica returned the greeting.
“Any news from the Sorceress yet?”
“I just got here!” Monica replied with a laugh.  “Give me a chance.”
She put her purse down on the desk, pulled a mirror out to check her face and hair, then put them away again.  Only then did she boot up the old computer that the company had given her.  It was an old computer, but it was far better than Monica’s own computer.  And the company’s internet was fast! 
Once she got into her email program, it took her no time to spot the email from the Sorceress.  “Got one,” she announced to Diane before she opened the email. 
Diane hurried over to read over Monica’s shoulder, but what she read drained the blood from her face.

Monica,

I was going to do as you asked and remove all of my control over Steve, but I learned something troubling last night that you need to know about.  Steve went out last night and started looking into buying a gun – with the single purpose of shooting you!  He has an appointment to meet with someone tonight at a gun range in your area for advice on the subject. 

Because of that, I have put a small but temporary control in place over Steve to prevent him from actually harming you.  But it is only a small measure. 

Since you are the one who wants all the control, what do you want me to do?  I will anxiously await your answer in the morning.

The Sorceress

Monica’s first instinct was to get up from her desk, run to her car, and leave the city for good.  Steve wanted to murder her, and she knew perfectly well that he was capable of doing it. 
“My God!” Diane exclaimed.  “What do we do?”
“I don’t know,” Monica replied.  “Call the police?  But we’ve got no proof that he’s intending on killing me.  And if the police don’t have proof, they literally can’t do anything at all!  Trust me.  I know.  Diane, he’ll kill me, and the police can’t stop him.  It’s just like with my…”  But she stopped herself right there.  She had already said too much.
“Your what?” Diane asked, totally surprised by what Monica had already said. 
But Monica couldn’t answer.  In a rush, she got up from her desk and literally ran for the door.  She wasn’t sure where to go.  With tears of fear falling from her eyes, she finally ran to the ladies room, closed herself into a stall, and cried her eyes out.
Diane followed Monica through the halls.  She saw her run into the ladies room.  She saw her crying.  Hesitantly, she followed her inside, but she went no further than the sinks.  She listened as Monica cried inside one of the stalls.  She let her be for a while.  Five minutes later, she finally knocked softly on the stall door.  “It’s just me, Monica,” Diane said softly.  “I’m here if you want.”
“Go away!” Monica cried, the terror still very evident.
“I’ll wait out here instead,” Diane replied.  “You just cry all you want.”  She went back to the sinks to wait.  A minute later, she heard Monica’s crying slow down to an occasional sniffle.  The stall door finally opened and Monica came out.  Diane quickly went to her and hugged her tightly.  “Don’t worry,” she said.  “We’ll figure it out.  Whatever it is.  We won’t let him get you…or me either.  Because he could just as easily go after all of us.”
Monica’s started crying all over again.

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

“You going to be okay?” Monica’s boss asked, his voice full of concern.  Monica was back at her desk, but the tears refused to stop.
“She’ll be fine…eventually,” Diane told him. 
“Anything I can help with?” their boss asked.
Diane shook her head.  “Remember the break-in at her apartment?  We just found out that someone may want to do something worse to her.”
“Who?” their boss asked quickly.
Diane shook her head.  “We’re not sure.”
“Call the police!” he suggested.
Diane shook her head again.  “We’ve got no real proof of anything.  Just…something we heard.”
“What?”
“Don’t ask,” Diane told him.  “I think it may be tied up somehow in her past.  Maybe with her ex-husband or something.  We’re not really sure.”
Their boss nodded.  “Some guys just don’t know when to quit.  Take it easy this morning if you need to…or as long as you want.  Just keep me in the loop.  You know I’ll be more than happy to help if you need it.  We all will.”
Monica smiled.  As to the problem being from her ex-husband, that was impossible, but she didn’t need to tell anyone why.  “Thanks,” she replied.  “I…appreciate it.”
Their boss nodded and walked out. 
“So what do we do?” Diane asked.  “The Sorceress said that whatever she had done to him will only last a few days.”
Monica shook her head.  “I don’t know.  I can’t even think right now.”
“Maybe we should get all the others together and talk to them.  Like I said, he could just as easily come after me…or any of the rest of us.”
Monica looked at Diane with a very troubled look on her face.  “Diane, we’ve got to warn them.  We’ve got to tell them…and soon!”

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

They all met in Ruth’s small office upstairs, Ruth, Monica, Diane, and Carla.  It was Diane who was able to relay the problem better to all of them.  Monica was still too much of a mess. 
“Damn!” Carla exclaimed.  “Knowing him, he just might do it.”
“So what do we do?” Diane asked.
“Are you sure you want to trust what this Sorceress says?” Ruth asked.  “It could just as well be another attempt on her part to get you to back off with Steve.”
Monica considered it.  “I…don’t really know,” she replied.  “But I just can’t take the chance.  I…can’t!”
Ruth nodded.  “Okay.  So the bottom line is that you’re going to trust this Sorceress woman…at least for now.”
Monica considered it for a minute, then nodded.
Ruth shook her head.  “I don’t believe in magic.  Not at all.  It’s all smoke and mirrors.  But I’ve got to tell you, I’ve never seen anything like she’s done to Steve.  Never!  So I really don’t know what to make of it.  And until I figure it out, I have no choice but to watch with the rest of you until I know how she’s doing it.”
“So what do we do?” Diane asked.
Ruth shook her head.  “If this Sorceress is as powerful as she seems to be, why don’t we ask for her opinion?  Level with her.  See what she suggests.  Although my bet is that she’ll just try to claim Steve all for her own.  But if that solves your problem, then so be it.”
Monica looked around at all of them, then nodded.  “Any other ideas?” she asked.
Nobody had any other suggestions.
“Monica,” Ruth said when nobody had any further suggestions.  “Will you forward all the emails to me between you and the Sorceress?  Maybe I can see something in them that you missed.”
Monica readily agreed.  Ruth only wanted the emails as further information for her now growing file on Steve.

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

It was early in the afternoon before Susan received an email from Monica.


Sorceress,

I don’t know what to do.  None of us know what to do.  And none of us have any way of knowing if this threat you warned us about is real or not.  That’s part of our problem.  That and the fact that Steve could just as easily go after any of us as he could just me. 

As much as I’d like to dismiss this threat as something you’ve made up to manipulate things to your own advantage, because of circumstances in my past, I cannot – and I dare not!  That, and I’ve already seen what Steve has done – to me.

For those reasons, I am at my wit’s end, and as much as I hate doing so, I am asking for your advice…no matter what the consequences between us. 

Because of my past, I am a frightened woman now since your last email.  I beg you to tell me just how real this threat is, even though it may mean handing full control of Steve over to you.

Thank you,
Monica
           

Susan read Monica’s email with great interest.  But it was a troubling email.  She couldn’t miss the note of desperation in it.  She had to wonder about the circumstances in Monica’s past that she had alluded to – twice!  Circumstances that evidently left her very frightened. 
The biggest thing that Susan realized from Monica’s email, was that Monica was indeed very frightened of Steve now.  Susan of course had no way of knowing, but if she had to place bets, she’d bet that Monica had a battered past.  Most likely, a husband or lover.  The proof was all over the words in the email. 
As much as she wanted nothing more than to have full control over Steve, she couldn’t simply grab it this way.  She was a trained psychologist.  She couldn’t let Monica rot in such a troubled state.  Since she had been so troubled in her own past, Susan had dedicated her life now to helping others.  She simply couldn’t leave Monica like this – battle over Steve or not.
Preventing Steve from harming Monica was a simple affair, she had already done that in a brief phone call with Karen, telling her to stay in the background and let Steve do whatever he wanted, but don’t let him hurt anyone.  But for selfish reasons, she had told Monica that what she had done to Steve would only last a few days.  So now what should she do?  She quickly wrote back to Monica.

Monica,

Please give me some time to consider a course of action.  You are safe from Steve for now.  I will consider ways to make your safety from him permanent.  For you and your friends as well. 

As to the threat being real, it is so real that I will not take control of Steve away from you.  At least not completely.  I still have the ability to control him in certain ways.  But for now I will do nothing else with him unless you request it.  The important thing now, is to find a way to keep you all safe.

Please allow me time to think.  In the meantime, will you consider telling me about the circumstances in your past that you mentioned?  You didn’t say it, but I’m guessing they concerned a man.  The more information I have, the more I can help.

Sorceress

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

Monica was alone when she read the Sorceress’s email.  She was feeling better, but she was still troubled.  The Sorceress had said they were safe for now?  How would she know for sure?  But then, how had she done so many incredible things to Steve already?  As much as she didn’t want to, she had no choice at the moment but to trust what the Sorceress had to say.  But she would still have felt better if there was some way she could get absolute proof. 
The other little matter that the Sorceress had brought up, telling her about her past, that part was definitely out!  Nobody would ever know – if she could help it.

Sorceress,

I have little choice but to trust your word for now.  As much as I hunger for some kind of proof that Steve will never hurt me, or any of us, I know that such proof will be all but impossible. 

As to my past, that is something I will not reveal.

I, and my friends, await your advice anxiously.

Thank you,
Monica

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

Steve couldn’t believe it when none of the women even phoned him all day.  In fact, the one time he had seen Diane in the hallways, she had seemed to stop and quickly turn to go another direction the moment she spotted him.  Was he done with them all?  He could only hope.  He knew better though.  That Witch Monica was planning something.  Something evil.  And he had no doubt she’d spring it on him soon.
As he had made plans to do the night before, right after work he drove to the gun club.  He met the man he was supposed to, and spent the next hour learning how to shoot a handgun.  Steve was surprised, it was total fun!  The most fun he’d had in a while.  He now had even more reason to buy himself a gun. 
When he left the gun club, he went straight back to the sporting goods store where he filled out an application to buy a gun.  Before he left, he put his money down on a sweet little model that the guy at the club had recommended.  By the time he left, he knew that in just a few days, he’d have the means to protect himself…and get back at the witch once and for all – with total finality!

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

Susan struggled all night with what to do about Monica.  What to do about Monica and Steve.  And things were worse when she read the latest email from Karen explaining what Steve had done at the gun club, and then had actually gone and bought one.  Even though it would be a few days before his gun permit came through, she was very glad she had programmed Karen to make sure he wouldn’t hurt anyone. 
But now she had to figure out what to do about Monica.  Things would have been so much easier if Monica had never entered the picture.  But she was there, and now Susan had to deal with her – and her problem. 
It wasn’t until she woke up Thursday morning that a germ of an idea finally came to her.  She had named herself The Sorceress.  Steve thought of Monica as a witch.  For the past week, she and Monica had been locked in a battle over Steve.  What if…the Witch and the Sorceress joined forces?  What if they worked together?  In fact, since Steve thought Monica was a witch, maybe they could even make that more real for him. 
There was another possibility as well.  She had noticed that Monica wasn’t the least bit afraid of humiliating Steve in similar ways to what she herself was doing.  Perhaps….

--- §§§§§§§§§§ ---

Since Susan was still struggling to get all her ideas sorted out, it was late morning by the time Monica received an email from her.

Monica,

I have a proposal for you.  But first, please rest assured that I have now “fixed” Steve so that he absolutely cannot physically harm anyone.  Of course he doesn’t know that yet.  I must also relay to you that he has applied for a gun permit which he expects to receive in a few days.  He has already purchased a gun and will get it when the permit comes through.  But as I said, other than shooting at targets for fun, he can no longer do anything else with it.  As far as shooting someone, or hurting them by any other physical means, I have rendered him incapable.  I realize this is difficult for you to swallow, but trust me that I have managed it.  And Monica, the things I have now done to Steve for everyone’s protection have nothing at all to do with my proposal below.  Steve can be all too cruel.  Measures had to be taken.

Now for my proposal.  You and I have been fighting against each other, not just for control over Steve, but for the right to punish him for things he has done.  What I am proposing is that we stop fighting each other, and work together instead.  I want to humiliate him as much as humanly possible for the things he’s done to me, and it seems that you have no problem going in a similar direction with him.  Why don’t we join forces?  We can even share ideas and perhaps improve on the ideas of each other. 

Kindly let me know.  But either way, trust me when I tell you that Steve has now been rendered incapable of physically harming any of you.

Thank you,
The Sorceress

Monica didn’t quite know what to make of The Sorceress’s proposal.  How had she fixed him so he couldn’t harm anyone?  But then, how had she been able to do any of the other impossible things to him?  It left her completely baffled.  As the Sorceress herself seemed to be pointing out, there was no way she could know that Steve was “safe” to be around.  But did she dare trust in it?  She had no doubt at all that she couldn’t.  Perhaps she never would. 
Then there was the question about joining forces with her.  That would negate all the satisfaction she would get from punishing Steve herself.  Or would it?  She couldn’t be sure.  Maybe, the Sorceress could help.  She simply didn’t know enough. 
She got up from her desk and went in search of Diane.  She showed Diane the email and the two of them discussed it for a few minutes.  As soon as they got a chance, they phoned Ruth and discussed it with her.  Carla found out shortly afterwards. 
After work, the four of them again occupied the small office shared by Diane and Monica down in the shipping department. 
“I wouldn’t trust anything that woman says,” Ruth offered as they discussed the situation.  “And how do we know if Steve is buying a gun or not?  We don’t!  It could all be made up as far as I’m concerned.”
“That’s the problem, we don’t know,” Carla replied.  “But I for one am completely confounded at the things we’ve actually seen her do.  To be honest, I’m more afraid of her than I think I am of Steve.”
Monica and Diane grudgingly nodded their agreements. 
“So what do we do?” Diane asked.
“I don’t know,” Carla replied.  “It’s your party, Monica.  You’re the one who started all this in the first place.  I just went along for a fun ride.  But then you know me, anything for a good party.”  She smiled.  “And some of this has really been a blast!”
When no one said anything for a moment, Ruth spoke up again.  “I’ve already told you what I think, but now let me tell you what else I think.  I think you should team up with her.  Hell, she has done some really remarkable stuff.  It makes my head spin trying to figure it out.  After what Steve has done to you Monica, I just can’t see him getting away with it…not without some kind of retribution from us…I mean you Monica.  You deserve to see him suffer.  Heck, I want to see him suffer too.  So for what it’s worth, let’s see what this Sorceress has in mind.  I guess we can always say no later on.”
The four women looked at each other, realizing quickly that they were all in agreement.  Monica pulled up her email program and wrote.

Sorceress,

I guess we have no choice but to hope Steve will not try to harm any of us.  It’s either that or use the confession I have to put him into jail immediately, which I’m almost more inclined to do.  The only reason I haven’t done that so far, is because it would bring to light what I and my friends have already done to him.

But I and my friends are now curious to find out what you have in mind if we work together.  Please let us know how you wish to proceed.

Monica

Monica and the others talked for a few more minutes, then began preparing to go home.  Before they walked out, Monica saw another email from The Sorceress come in.  “Wait everyone!” she said quickly.  “We’ve got another email.”

Monica,

Since the Witch and the Sorceress are teaming up, how would you like to be even more of a witch, at least in Steve’s eyes?  In fact, if your friends are interested, we could create the image of a real coven for him to fear.  Steve will have even more reason to fear you as a powerful witch, and my sorcery in the background will make everything happen. 

Let me know if you’re interested.

The Sorceress

The four women looked at each other uncertainly.  “Oh hell,” Carla breathed.  “It sounds like a real party to me.”

Monica quickly typed back.

What do we have to do?

All four women were excited when they went home that night.  The things that the Sorceress had suggested they might need to get were easy.  Unfortunately, beyond gathering up a few simple items they might use if they wanted, the Sorceress had no other information for them.  But somehow, they were all laughing over becoming real witches…at least to Steve.