The Witches of Eriadne:
Something Wicked this Way Comes - Part 5: Finale

by The Space Witches

A souvenir from Disney Planet.
A souvenir from Disney Planet.

Chapter 3

December 2279

Angel walked into the library and after a quick search, found the book she was looking for. One of the villagers had developed a severe rash that wasn't reacting well to any of the treatments she had tried. The old Brakiri had adamantly refused to let her use a regenerator on him. That was the way with some of the older Brakiri - they believed in the 'old ways' more than modern technology. It didn't matter that it made her job all the more difficult.

Sighing, Angel took the book over to the reading table in the middle of the large room and sat down. It was a book on the Ancient Healing of the Aztecs. It dealt with obscure and long forgotten herbal remedies. Hopefully it contained a recipe for some kind of balm that would help heal Kantaran's rash.

Since returning to Eriadne, Angel had once again taken up her job as healer for the village. Like a full circle, she'd returned to Eriadne and her old life. [Except, so much has happened], she thought sadly. She was no longer the same innocent, vivacious, carefree girl she'd once been.

Angel sighed again and pushed the book away from her, staring out the window to the orchard beyond. Her eyes were not really focusing on the view, as her thoughts were once again dragged into the depths of despair.

Very little these days gave her pleasure or made her feel genuinely happy. She carried out her duties as if on auto-pilot. Friends in the village tried to cheer her up and did their best to keep her busy so she wouldn't have time to think. But her thoughts were so bound by the past, that nothing could keep her from them for long.

Like now.

Not even the regular--almost daily--contact with her sisters could keep her from despair or from thinking of Lucas, Michael and most especially about the baby she'd abandoned to the care of a monster.

Pain cut through Angel's heart causing her to whimper. Every night for the past several weeks she'd been woken by the sound of a baby crying. It wasn't real, of course, just her tortured mind playing tricks with her. After waking, she never could go back to sleep. She ached for her son, Gabriel. Should she have given him up so easily? Should she have walked away and left her son alone with Lucas? Maybe she should have been stronger and stayed, at least fighting for the soul of her son.

[It wouldn't have done any good.]

She had sensed something in her baby boy right from the start. Even without the Rage, her son's soul was dark. "And evil," whispered Angel, with a shudder.

Yet, if she hadn't discovered that Lucas had murdered her husband maybe, just maybe, she would have been willing to stay, to at least try. Maybe she could have protected her son and tried to lead him away from whatever dark path he was intended for.

[You know Lucas would never have let that happen.]

It was true, and she knew now beyond any doubt that Lucas would never have allowed her to have any influence over his heir. And she was certain that if she'd stayed, Lucas would have killed her eventually. Any hope she'd had that beneath the Rage the real Lucas existed, worthy of love, had been crushed when she'd learned the truth about Michael. Those were the reasons why she couldn't have stayed. If she had, either she would have killed Lucas, dooming her son to being filled with the Rage right from the start, or Lucas would have killed her.

Maybe she was selfish, but she couldn't let Lucas destroy her, and she couldn't live with destroying him. Why did she feel that way? She knew the answer. While she hated Lucas, there would always be a part of her, now buried deep down, that would always love the man. A part of her own soul would always be bound to him, even now that she'd broken away from him and never wanted to see him again.

No, staying had been impossible, and Angel still felt guilty for that. She'd abandoned her child. How could she have done that? It was something she'd have to live with for the rest of her life. As would Gabriel. How would he feel growing up, knowing his mother had chosen to leave him? The knowledge that Gabriel would probably grow up hating her broke Angel's heart.

There were other things she felt guilty about, that only worsened that pain in her heart, like having to leave Harry and Baby behind. She missed their company so much. She missed Harry's dumb jokes that had always cheered her up and she ached for Baby, who would stare up at her with his big brown eyes all sparkling and filled with undying love, always offering comfort. Angel wondered if they were even OK, or if out of spite, hatred and anger Lucas had done something to them. Angel shuddered; she couldn't bear to consider that possibility.

Angel stood and moved to the window, looking now past the orchard to the landscape beyond. A few miles away lay the Carillon Gap, a narrow fracture in the surface of the planet, with a drop of over a thousand meters. It was so deep that the shadows prevented anyone from seeing the bottom, although the views of the surrounding scenery were spectacular.

Many times in the past few weeks Angel had spent the hours necessary to walk alone out to the Gap, and stood close to the edge. She hadn't really thought of jumping, or at least she hadn't at first. Lately, she would just stand and think, [All it would take is one little step forward. One little step and all the pain and guilt would be over.]

If her sisters knew her thoughts, they'd no doubt scream and yell at her, And Demon would probably descend on her, insisting that Angel return to Earth, where her older sister could watch over and protect her. The truth was that Angel hated feeling that way and felt more guilt for thinking about killing herself. But the pain was so great, so consuming, that it was crippling her. Angel no longer felt human, just an empty shell masquerading as a person.

Her waking thoughts were filled with bad, painful memories of Lucas, Gabriel and Michael. And so were her dreams. They were driving her crazy and killing her inside, day by day.

[Would ending it be so wrong?]

Part of her said it was. Her inner voice kept telling her that things would get better. All she needed was time to heal. That was why she had come back to Eriadne. Demon and Gideon had protested, in fact all of her family had. Demon and Gideon had offered her a home with them. John had told her that she had a place on the Excalibur any time she wanted it, and that Lily would be thrilled to have one of her sisters back on the ship. None of them believed that Eriadne was the best place for her, so far away from her family, who might be able to help her and be there for her.

But Angel couldn't bear the thought of being around her sisters. She needed to be alone and away from them. She hadn't been able to tell them that she couldn't stand seeing them because they had everything she'd lost. A loving husband and children.

Angel didn't need to be constantly reminded of the fact that she was alone. A tiny glimmer told her that she wouldn't always be that way, but it was hard to accept that, when she now believed that love and happiness were not her destiny.

Maybe if she had hope that the happy ever after she'd dreamed of was her real destiny, then she could go on and struggle to fight through the depression and her broken heart. But hope, like Michael, had been murdered by Lucas Buck.

[Just one little step,] thought Angel as she moved even closer to the window, picturing the Gap in her mind.


Angel froze at the sound of the low voice behind her. There had only ever been two people who had called her by her full name. One of them was dead and the other... He was long gone. A ghost from her past.

Heart racing, Angel turned and found her ghost in the present. He was smiling as he approached her. Angel took an involuntary step backwards, a small startled sound escaping her lips.

"You look like you've seen a ghost, Angelique," said Jack Gideon, teasingly, still approaching her.

Mind racing along with her heart, Angel couldn't form a coherent response. It had been nearly seven years since Jack Gideon had left the Excalibur and disappeared. She had often looked back on her time with Jack with deep regret and pain. She'd lost him because of careless words and her inability to get over Lucas. Thoughtless stupidity had driven Jack from her life and her heart had nearly shattered, because in Jack she had seen the possibility of a life and a love she'd only dreamed of. But once again, because of Lucas, she'd lost that happy ever after, just as later she'd lost the one with Michael.

Now, somehow, Jack was back and Angel couldn't believe it. How was it possible that after all this time, he was standing in front of her and smiling?

"A certain blonde told me to get my butt over here. She said you needed me," explained Jack, as if able to read her thoughts.

[Demon?] Her sister had contacted Jack? How? Angel found herself unable to take her eyes off the man who stood in front of her. The years had treated him kindly, and he looked hardly a day older than he had when they'd last seen each other. The silver in his hair hadn't spread, but in the intervening years, Matthew had become equally gray. The two men looked even more identical than they had all those years before. Angel was brought back to the present by Jack's voice.

"Demon tracked me down, Angelique. She told me what had happened to you. She's worried about you," said Jack gently.

Angel's mind raced furiously, trying to digest what Jack was telling her and what it meant. [Demon knew where Jack was? Has sent him to me? Why? I can't believe he's here.]

"I've missed you, Angelique," admitted Jack as he stopped in front of her. He was so close Angel could feel the warmth from his body. Jack had always been hot blooded, in more ways than one. Angel trembled as something sparked to life inside her. She craned her neck back to look up into the warm, kind hazel eyes, but still she was unable to speak.

"There's something I have to tell you, before you say anything. I'm not going to let you push me away or tell me to leave. You see, I can't leave, because..." he paused, seeming to search for the right words to explain himself. "Because I left you once before and that was stupid. I love you. I've never stopped loving you since the day we met. I know you probably aren't ready to hear that. Then again maybe now more than ever you need to hear it."

Jack paused again, reaching out and lifting Angel's hand to his lips, kissing her fingers gently before going on, "Do you remember what you said to me when we first met? I've never forgotten your words. You told me you knew how it felt to lose everything, even hope. And you told me you'd love me and care for me, if I let you. Well, I was stupid, and I left you, not allowing you to love me, and I've regretted it nearly every moment of every day since."

Angel felt a lump rising in her throat as Jack's warm golden eyes filled with pain. She knew there was only one thing, one person who could ease that pain, but she found herself unable to speak, her voice silenced by the lump in her throat. Jack smiled gently, as he said, "We've been apart for too long, Angelique. You need me, and I need you. We're both damaged people, who've known more pain and loss than any two people should have to suffer in a lifetime. Maybe we can heal each other's wounds. Maybe together we can be happy."

Angel had enough experience with Lucas to know when someone was trying to bullshit her. As Jack had spoken she'd heard nothing but sincerity in his voice. She'd seen it in his face and most importantly had seen it in his eyes. Something began to return to her heart--hope.

"So, what do you say, Angelique?" asked Jack, smiling gently at her.

Angel hesitated, and then she started to smile as tears began to burn her eyes. She moved toward Jack, and as his arms came around her, pulling her against him, the lump in her throat dissolved at last and she whispered, "Hello, Jack."

Lucas stirred the burning logs with the toe of his boot and brooded, barely listening to the music playing softly in the background. The flickering light from the fire illuminated the darkness in the study, casting dancing shadows on the walls. He knew he should turn on the lights in the gathering dusk, but somehow the gloom was comforting, more fitting to his mood.

The fire was a necessity in the cold evenings on this planet. Autumn had come rapidly here, overnight changing the color of the leaves on the trees that made the place look so earthlike. This was the home to which Lucas had brought his son after leaving Regula IV, within days of Angel's departure. This was a bolt-hole he had prepared long ago for just this necessity.

The house was large and comfortable, and Lucas was respected by the small local community as a wealthy stranger who had long held property locally, but had only just moved there in the wake of his wife's death in childbirth. Lucas had arrived carrying his son in his arms, with Harry trailing behind him, carrying Lucas' bags in one hand, and Baby's carrier in the other. Nothing Lucas had said to Harry had been able to persuade the idiot to leave the dog behind.

Lucas' lip curled in contempt at the sentimentality displayed by his mentally challenged subordinate. Harry had held onto the dog as a remembrance of Angel. Lucas didn't need any such reminders.

His eyes lifted to the painting over the mantle, and this time Lucas sneered at himself. If he was so superior to Harry, why did he need to hang this picture so prominently? It was the portrait of Angel he had commissioned when they had returned from their trip to Disneyplanet.

As he stared at the portrait, Lucas nodded his head in approval. The artist had done a damned good job. He had posed Angel standing, wearing the red evening gown Lucas had given her when they were reunited on Eriadne. The painter had captured the porcelain pallor of Angel's skin, the translucent glow that lit her beautiful features from within. Her raven hair was caught up into soft curls, tendrils of which hung loosely around her long, graceful neck. Angel's crystal blue eyes seemed to gaze into Lucas' soul, and somehow the artist had caught the expression in them that Lucas loved best. Her eyes in the portrait flashed with passion and humor, and her generous, sensual lips curled into a soft and loving smile.

Lucas' eyes followed the line of Angel's cheek, down her firm jaw and her soft throat, to the shoulders that were left bare by her dress, finally resting on the swelling of her breasts. He sometimes dreamed of those breasts. Dreamed of laying his head there and finding the peace that eluded him in the rest of his life. He looked up at the image of the woman he knew he would never see again and whispered, "I had to do it, Angel. I had no choice. I couldn't share you with another man. He had to die."

Lucas knew it was stupid and useless, but somehow he felt the need to explain to Angel's picture the things he'd been unable to tell Angel herself. Maybe the portrait could understand what Angel had never understood. Maybe the image could comprehend Lucas' inability to keep the Rage under control at all times. Sometimes it did what it wanted, regardless of Lucas' wishes, and it had wanted Michael Healy dead. The problem was that Lucas knew it hadn't just been the Rage. He had wanted Healy dead, too.

The sound of a distant wail dragged Lucas' attention back to the present. Gabriel was crying again. The brat did that a lot recently. Lucas knew it was just attention seeking. His son had worked out very quickly that if he cried in a certain way his nanny would come rushing to see what was wrong.

Lucas smiled to himself as he thought about his choice of a nanny for Gabriel. He'd thought about bringing Claire along with him to do the job, but eventually decided he'd had enough of the tiresome, if willing, blonde. So he'd abandoned her on Regula IV, leaving her enough money to last her a lifetime if she was careful, but not really caring what became of her.

Arriving at this new home, he had hired a local woman to work for him as housekeeper and nanny. She was in her forties, and had a face like a horse, but Lucas had seen past the drab and baggy clothes she wore to the spectacular body she hid underneath. It hadn't taken him long to seduce her and bare that body, and she now looked after him and his child with total devotion, day and night. Lucas didn't worry about her not being beautiful. He always took her from behind anyway, then sent her back to her room after he'd finished with her. That way he never had to wake up in the morning and see that face lying next to him. There was only one woman's face he ever wanted to see on the pillow beside him, and she was gone.

So his new housekeeper, Anna, cooked, cleaned and serviced him, as well as taking care of Gabriel, while Harry looked after the maintenance of the house and garden. Lucas was slowly introducing himself into the community, and would soon take over a position of authority. He just hadn't yet decided which local official would have an 'accident' to clear the way for him.

One of the logs in the fire collapsed into ashes, sending a shower of sparks up the chimney. Lucas leaned forward and lifted another log from the basket by the fireplace, dropping it on the fire, then pushing it into place with his toe. He smiled again as he looked at his boot. One good thing about this place was they had a shoemaker who could turn out a damn fine cowboy boot. Lucas may never have got nearer to a cow than the hide he habitually wore as suede jackets and vests, but he did prefer to wear finely crafted cowboy boots. The extra inch or so of height they gave him enabled him to look down at most men, and turned his stride into a strut that the ladies admired.

Lucas sighed and moved away from the fireplace, sitting on the sofa and switching on the table lamp. The soft glow created a pool of light in the now near complete darkness, and Lucas leaned back and relaxed, unbuttoning the collar of his shirt and his cuffs, rolling back the sleeves and spreading his arms along the back of the sofa. Lucas closed his eyes, pleased to note that the child's wailing had now ceased, and the music that had been playing was once more easily audible. It was music from the period he liked best: the late twentieth century. It was by one of his favorite singer/songwriters, and as the song then playing drew to a close, the lyrics suddenly pierced his ears and his heart.

You were my compass star, You were my measure
You were a pirate's map, Of buried treasure
If this was all correct, The last thing I'd expect
The prosecution rests, It's time that I confessed
I must have loved you

His eyes lifted again to the portrait over the fire and they filled with tears. His heart seemed to clench within his chest, and the pain lifted a lump into his throat. Lucas found himself whispering the last words of the song along with the singer, as he looked in the image of the clear blue eyes he would never see in this life again.

I must have loved you

In that moment of weakness, the Rage struck. The tiny piece of humanity that Lucas had sheltered, kept hidden and protected, lay suddenly exposed. The small part of him that had retained some kernel of caring, the part that allowed him to show kindness and consideration, even sympathy, was defenseless and vulnerable. As the wave of grief at what he had lost swept through him, the Rage followed, ruthlessly stamping out the last fragment of Lucas' human soul, destroying it completely.

Lucas' eyes hardened and dried. He stood abruptly, and moved quickly to yank at the bell pull beside the fireplace. He stood there, tapping his boot impatiently on the floor until Harry hesitantly opened the study door, and stuck his head inside, saying, "Yes, Boss?"

"Get in here and take that thing down." Lucas pointed at the portrait over the fire.

Harry opened the door a little wider, and hesitantly moved inside the room. His eyes followed to where Lucas was pointing, then opened wider. "Miss Angel? You want me to take Miss Angel's picture down?"

Lucas nodded, irritated as always by the man's slow mental processes. "Get it out of here." A flash of movement in the doorway caught Lucas' eye and he turned to Harry and snarled. "And get that animal out of here, too. I don't want it in the house, leaving muddy paw marks and dog hairs all over everything. Keep it out of my sight, or I'll do what I should have done when it was born. I'll drown it."

The small dog sitting in the open doorway stared directly at Lucas, curling a lip into a silent snarl. The love Baby had once had for Lucas had vanished, replaced by fear and hatred of what Lucas had become. Lucas grabbed a book and hurled it at the dog, but it moved too quickly, turning tail and whisking out of sight before the missile could find its target.

Lucas watched in silence as Harry struggled to get the picture down. The big man paused as he carried the large frame across the room, holding it so Lucas couldn't see Angel's image.

"What should I do with it, Boss?"

Lucas growled, "Burn it. Shred it. Do what the hell you want with it. Just get it out of here." He wasn't sure why, but something about the picture made him angry. Why had he kept it here for so long? He should never have brought it with him. He should have destroyed it long ago. There was nothing about it he ever wanted to see again.

Harry shuffled from the room, and Lucas strode over to the entertainment center, hitting the control that would repeat the last song again. He dropped to the sofa, his lip curled in contempt at its sentimentality.

The music played in a room empty of any shred of humanity.

I watch the western sky, The sun is sinking
The geese are flying south, It sets me thinking
I did not miss you much, I did not suffer
What did not kill me, Just made me tougher

I feel the winter come, His icy sinews,
Now in the firelight, The case continues
Another night in court, The same old trial
The same old questions asked, The same denial

The shadows closing round, Like jury members
I look for answers in, The fire's embers
Why was I missing then, That whole December?
I give my usual line, I don't remember

Another winter comes, His icy fingers creep
Into these bones of mine, These memories never sleep
And all these differences, A cloak I borrow
We kept our distances, Why should it follow that
I must have loved you?

What is a force that binds the stars?
I wore this mask to hide my scars
What is the power that moves the tide?
Never could find a place to hide

What moves the earth around the sun?
What could I do but run and run and run?
Afraid to love, afraid to fail
A mast without a sail

The moon's a fingernail, And slowly sinking
Another day begins, And now I'm thinking
That this indifference, Was my invention
When everything I did, Sought your attention

You were my compass star, You were my measure
You were a pirate's map, Of buried treasure
If this was all correct, The last thing I'd expect
The prosecution rests, It's time that I confessed
I must have loved you
I must have loved you

Ghost Story - Sting 1999

{Chapter 1} {Chapter 2} {Chapter 3}

The Witches of Eriadne: Something Wicked this Way Comes

{Part 1: The Gathering} {Part 2: Persuasion} {Part 3: Divisions} {Part 4: Regrets} {Part 5: Finale}

{The Main Gate} {HomePage} {Wytches World} {We are Family} {A Little Artistic Licence} {No, we don't mean "A"riadne} {Our Home Is Our Castle} {The Witches' Diary} {Witches Familiars} {The Gateway} {Webrings]